Another Year Passes….


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The Lions peeking over the ridge taken Dec 7, 2014

Reflections and musings.  A quick look back.

This year is quickly coming to a close. It has been a year that has offered many insights and challenges.

Depression kicked in earlier in the year. That old devil of mine whispered all my shortcomings to me. The fear that I had pushed back during treatment washed over me threatening to pull me under.

I’ve always had a hard time expressing these emotions,  never wanting to give them voice.

I wasn’t happy.

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The life I’d been building was put on hold while I turned my attention to managing my health.

And now the battle was done and it was time to pick up the pieces.

The work place felt like a lead weight around my neck. I was treading water and sinking fast. And I knew it.

They wanted me gone and I wanted to go. Decidedly the architects pushed the envelope coming up with a lame excuse about getting rid of my position all together.

Oh, I could’ve sued and won. Of this I have no doubt. But I found a better place, a rewarding place and moved on.

Some will say I should have held the architects to task. The abuse over the last five years I was there was substantial. The reward would have been a monetary one as that is the only way I could have hurt them. It’s in their DNA.

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But you know at the end of the day I really believe in karma. I thought of the people that are involved on a daily basis with the partners at the Architectural firm.  I’d met many of them.  I pondered how my rage may have affected them. Everything has a trickle down effect, the good and the bad. It has been my objective over the last few years to move through this life with a forgiving and loving heart.

So I ended things with this particular employer with an air of dignity and appreciation.

The partner, who had tormented me, particularly over the last year, was offered a hug and a handshake with a ‘thank you for the opportunity that you’ve afforded me.  I have learned a great deal.’

And the surprise and astonishment that was written on his face.  He wasn’t expecting my generosity of spirit. I caught completely off guard.

Oh, I knew they would hire someone else. They had to and they did a week after I was gone.

The thing I’ve always done is honour the job, I always have and always will.

And I left with a quiet dignity, not with spite and loathing.

Should I have waltzed into court bearing the mantle of a maligned and mistreated employee?

I did consider this option but quickly dismissed it.

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I’m not a victim. I can and have survived more than most. I knew for several years prior that I was working for an asshole.

And in my stubborn optimism I tried to convert the prick.

My suffering was prolonged due to other circumstances as well. I was seeking another job, a better job prior to the cancer diagnosis.

When that sentence was given to me well, I kind of had to just set the rest of this life I’d been chasing off to the side for a time.

And then I got to thinking too of those we lost this year.

Robin Williams.

A man whose desire to make everyone laugh almost seemed manic at times. What a beautiful soul! And he was weighed down by demons that I can’t even begin to imagine in their brutality.

Yet Robin still wanted to make us laugh even though his own despair was swallowing him in that slow death we know as mental illness.

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That phrase is frightening to many isn’t it?

I know this first hand. I’ve dealt with depression for a lifetime. Denied it for at least half of this journey and it was only when I acknowledged it, said it out loud, and accepted it that I truly began to heal and manage it.

In this I gained an understanding of how to deflate the power this thing had over me.

For all of us that do suffer with mental illness the degree of its savagery is hard to calculate.

I believe also that for Robin the weight of his fame was just one more aspect that he had to deal with.

Yes, I want to be a writer and put it out to the masses. You’ll either like it or not.

And I’m cool with that.

There will always be those who criticize. They’ll nit pick and put down every effort made. Hell, I do this as well at times.

Could someone tell me why the Kardashians are famous for example?

But I don’t know what it’s like to be under a magnifying glass. I don’t know what it’s like to have a demanding public. I don’t know if that would be of importance to me really.

Does it become a drug, something that is craved?

The adoration of the masses? The race to keep them happy?

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What I do know is that a beautiful and troubled soul lost the battle. His family will miss him. His friends will miss him.

They knew a very different Robin. They knew him when he stepped off the stage and turned off the performance. They probably knew the pain he felt, the torment and like him, they didn’t know what to do about it.

And Robin managed to keep the severity of his illness from many and so the torment was experienced in a silent hell.  I’ve visited that room a time or two.

As Christmas draws ever closer, I want to just hang my hinges onto the beauty of the human race and run with it.

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I don’t want to try to imagine why terrorists would walk into a Pakistan school and kill all the children. I don’t want to wrap my head the ideology of a woman who killed her eight year old daughter then stuffed her in the trunk of car.

I do know these acts are the result of a malfunctioning brain and/or brains. There is a disconnect, a mental breakdown.

We are fed a litany of violent images. Sexuality has become this monstrosity that young people now equate with the phone they hold in their hand that dictates their life.

The flash of breasts and other body parts finds young girls forever shamed and some to a point where death becomes preferable.

And what would I tell these girls?

Love who you are. Love your body and delight in the sensations it gives you.

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NEVER BE ASHAMED OF WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU FEEL!

And love this life!  My god, the beauty I’ve witnessed, the rush in the simplest of things.

And if someone tries to convince you that you are less than, that you are a slut, a whore…

Smile and know that you all woman.  I’ve got to tell you as well that all those nuances that are yours hold them close.  They are what makes you the person you are.  Build on them…they are your authenticity.

Labels have been around since the dawn of mankind.

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The understanding of power has been misunderstood as well.  If you are wanting to look like the Photoshopped model in Glamour or Cosmopolitan magazine ask yourself why.

True beauty has so much depth. It is an energy.

So as this year closes I am thankful for the lessons this life has handed me.  And I am so thankful for all of those who have touched my life.  From all of them  I’ve learned and tried to be just that much better.

I will continue on this path.

And thanks to all of you who’ve continued to read my ramblings. The New Year will see the book publication take place and I will continue to continue on this path of mine.

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Peace out!

Back In Training: Week Six: Oh, the Pain!


 

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As I write this my posterior has seized up and my abs feel like I’ve laughed incredibly hard for the last 24 hours!

I am in pain.

Tamer stepped things up yesterday.  She pushed me a little harder, a little further.

Have I mentioned that I’m in pain?

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I told my daughter this in a conversation today and she chuckled and said ‘Good!  Your trainer is doing her job!”

No sympathy, none!  Oye!

I guess I thought that this part of my anatomy was in better shape and of course I’ve had yet another rude awakening.

These new exercises will now be incorporated into the mix as I formulate some new routines for the gym workouts.  The goal right now is to put together four workouts combining the exercises Tamer has given me.  In some cases I will use certain exercises during each workout, for example the T-Rex.  Not too sure why these straps tacked up against the wall are called this but they are great for upper body strengthening.  Perhaps in a week I  will make the attempt at trying to do a pull up from 90 degrees once again.

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I’ve been feeling a little rickety and tired as well.  There have been all kinds of flu bugs making the rounds and I’m not very hospitable when it comes to the flu/cold thing.

Sleep is what the body has been craving and I have obliged it.  Still, I’ll wake after a great night’s sleep and find it hard to stay awake.

I am sitting at my desk these days resembling a bobble head of sorts.  This morning I feel so much better!

And the homestead once again has the appearance of a war zone.  This time with wrapping paper, gifts, cards and ribbon strewn about the place.  In a couple of months time I will be 57 years of age.  I would like to be in the best health of my life and a month into training for the 1/2 Marathon in May 2015.  It is the holiday season and I’ve attended about four social events thus far.  Still have a few more to attend and then the big day itself.

It was a delight to drop off the gifts at BC Children’s Hospital.  This was right after my trainer had worked my behind off!  The pain had not yet settled in.

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Shortly after writing the last sentence, I fell asleep on the sofa. Flash forward and it is now Friday evening at 7:51 PM! And no, I didn’t sleep for the entire week!  :)

This week has been just crazy.  I’m trying to keep things organized as I morph into the persona of Christmas geek.  Oh yes! I love this time of year.  Chocolates, cookies and cards have been given to all the people I work with.  All the cards have now been mailed.  My homestead once a ware zone now looks like a mad woman tried to wrap the interior of it and all the contents.

Photographs, gifts, scissors, tape, gift bags and tags and cards that have been purchased and not used from years past are now strewn across every available surface.

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I was at the gym tonight getting in yet another kick ass workout and opted to step out for a nibble as I must go back to the insanity that awaits me and clean it up.

Most of the Christmas gatherings are now in the bag so to speak.  We are going to go to Bright Nights at Stanley Park on Sunday then I’m off to the bi-annual solstice party!  And I’ve much to be thankful for.

A year ago I wrote on a piece of paper how I wanted to be rid of the cancer, the poor health issues and of the fear.  No more setbacks.  No more tears.  Then I tossed it into the fire and released it.  I had jotted down on a second sheet of paper what I hoped 2014 would bring.

Progress in my growth as a writer and to publish my first book.  A more rewarding position as an accountant.  I wanted to continue to grow as an individual, to give back, to live humbly.  I wanted to continue working toward being a more loving and gentle being and a healthy one at that.

I then tossed that into the fire.

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And I’ve certainly been making progress on all those points.  It is an ongoing thing though.  I know I will never wake up one day and feel that I’ve fulfilled every goal.

For every success or accomplishment, while I can quietly enjoy their purpose, I know that their completion opens up a host of new ideas and challenges to be explored.

What do I want for Christmas?  Just to enjoy the company and love of friends and family.  It really is that simple for me.  If I can make someone smile in delight on Christmas morning that is the ultimate gift.

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And when someone says those three simple words (I Love You) and means them then I know I am truly blessed.

Have a great weekend all and I’ll be back soon bitching and squawking about the terrors of my trainer!

Peace out.

 

 

Authenticity


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“Find your authentic truth.”

These words were uttered a couple of years ago and they stuck as I was seeking that essence of my being that had been shut down and placed in stasis. Feeling half alive or rather just existing was no longer enough.

I wanted more.

A hunger was born.

A desire.

A need to discover. And I was driven by an insatiable curiosity to find my purpose

Sounds rather intense, doesn’t it?

In truth it has at times been quite awkward and my sudden recollections and admissions were at times quite juvenile upon their awakening.

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But then again, how could they be otherwise?   I may well be in my fifties but adopting a new way to look at this world and how I function in it?

Well, you have to go back to the point when your first thoughts were secured about this world, of how you were taught that it worked and then question the foundation of that.

So yes, it can be quite juvenile and innocent in its evolution as you change your way of thinking. There is sweetness to it though, a jubilation as those first spears of clarity shoot through you. There are several emotions that will move through you.

There can be a sense of deceit. What you should keep in mind too is that the borders that you are born into will dictate to a large degree how you’ll be expected to perform in this world.

Then as you question this you’ll have a sudden vision of how this world should function…according to you but is it a healthy vision or one of imminent destruction?

Questioning your foundation is a tough thing to do on any level. Had you been raised believing the world was flat, as this was indeed once the norm, consider the main stream response when they were advised that this was not the case. The landscape before them was flat enough. Should they walk for miles, indeed the land would still appear quite flat.

Yet someone had the edacity to state the world was round, and furthermore they could prove it! There was no end of the world that you would fall off of, no oblivion to fear. So we created our heaven and hell and our purgatory. Sometimes I wonder if indeed these ideologies were created to offset the discovery of certain truths.

And we want an explanation for everything, yes?

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Sometimes we want so badly to believe in something, anything…don’t we?

Tell me you love me and mean it. Tell me that everything will be okay even though this myth of life that I had adopted was crumbling about my feet and I will believe you

Despite the evidence to support the imminent destruction, I don’t want to see it. I will refuse to buy what my eyes tell me.

I sit empty and devoid of any emotion.

How could everything that I so wanted in my life slip away so catastrophically?

Maybe, just maybe, that is not what I needed in my life. The myth of happiness could not be found on the path I was exploring.

Maybe, just maybe my passion and truth would be better directed toward a truth that was in fact born to me. And so the internal inquiry began.

Perhaps the quest, the aspect of this life that I had missed was opening myself to that truth that was inherent to me and inherent to this world that I inhabit.

And now I must ask myself how can I better serve this world? How can I give back? How can I assist in its evolution to a better place, an honest place, a natural place?

And I’ll likely spend the rest of days given to me attempting to do just that and to do so with loving and forgiving heart.

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We’ll always kill. It is indeed a part of this world. But we are different. We have reason, we have logic, or so we are lent to believe, and we have so many fundamentally intrinsic idiosyncrasies in comparison to our animal counterparts. Yet it is what we do to each other that confounds me. The cruelty that we display is at times so discouraging and the creative manner by which we as humans can kill another.

Well it leaves me speechless.

Tonight the geminides will be occurring. And a perfect night for it. The sky is clear. Let the meteorites rain upon us! All I have to do is stay up for another four hours.

I just may do that.

Peace.

 

A Christmas Story


I wrote this originally a year ago.  It was part of a five part series called ‘The Napkin’s Odyssey’.  I quite liked the tale that I developed.  If you like this then please do go back and read the others. Thanks. 

Remembrances

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I set out on my annual Christmas shopping trek seeking those items that would just scream someone’s name at me.  There was quite a bit of foot traffic on this Saturday afternoon along Granville Street.   It’s always good to see the hustle and bustle this time of year as I made my way slowly along the corridor plotting my course and plan of action.

This is one the main shopping drags in downtown Vancouver.  Today, as is typical this time of year, the sky is overcast and a wet snow has begun to fall.  I had been checking to see if any interesting little shops had materialized over the last year.  Unfortunately there were none at this juncture of my quest.

With all the health issues I had faced recently I found myself feeling a little fatigued and decided to find a bench to call home for a few moments.

I sat down across from the old Eaton’s store.  Next year Granville will look very different no doubt.  An American store, Nordstrom’s had purchased the property that was opposite me and it was now being renovated and slated to open sometime next year.

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The old Eaton’s store, considered one of the ugliest stores. 

It was once described as an unending urinal wall.

So much has changed over all the years from frequenting this area of the city.  I gazed up the street.  The Bay looked very much the same on the outside, however, the interior has undergone many renovations over the years and continues to do so.

There used to be an old man that had built this weird conglomerate of instruments and he would sit outside The Bay, right on the corner of Granville and Georgia St. and play a variety of melodies.  From the time I was a young girl to somewhere in my mid 20’s he was there every Christmas.

I would go down to shop and always looked for him.  The contraption he played was drums, keyboard, accordion, spoons, symbols, a horn, tambourine, etc.  All were rigged and connected somehow, and with each note played they combined to make a hauntingly beautiful sound.

I would hear it when I got off the bus drifting down the Granville Street corridor.

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The Bay Downtown Vancouver…Then & Now

The old guy wore a beat up Santa hat.  He was whiskered and a little rough around the edges but the smile and light that danced in his eyes could melt the bitterest of colds.

I always gave him a five dollar bill.  Might not sound like much but in those days it was.

He was still there for the first year of my daughter’s birth but the year after he was gone and I never did see him again.

I sat smiling thinking back to times past.  Looking down toward the south end of Granville I could still recall the neon signs that used to grace the corridor.  Vancouver was a relatively gritty city in appearance back in the day.  Even so, she’s always had a charm and beauty that cannot be beat and still does.

The White Lunch Café was located a few blocks down.  I would go there for breakfast from time to time.  Coffee was ten cents a cup with as many refills as you wanted.  Cinemas, theatres and stores peppered the street back then. There was quite an outrage when the price of coffee was boosted to a quarter for a cup.

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Robson Street was a kitschy place at the time inhabited by artists, fortunetellers, belly dancers and cool little shops and restaurants.

I had my tea leaves read by a woman, who in hind sight, was a little scary.  She would stare into the cup, then stare at me, stare into the cup then stare back at me.  Her eyes fluttered closed and she moaned plaintively whilst rolling her head about.  Then the eyes popped open and she unloaded a host of information that made absolutely no sense but she assured me in time, it would.  Whatever was disclosed to me that day was soon forgotten.

Closing my eyes for a moment I just let the memories dance to the surface.

I always went down to Woodward’s.  They had the best Santa Land and the best Christmas displays in their windows by far!  It was the 6th floor that was transformed into a magical place for children each year.

The last Woodward’s Santa Land I attended was in 1987 when my daughter was four years old.  Woodward’s would later close down forever in 1993 . Eaton’s suffered the same fate unfortunately.

And as I sat watching the busy shoppers, I wasn’t saddened, not really.  Change occurs all the time.  It never ceases.  That I have been afforded so many rich memories is what matters most.  And you know, it never is about the gifts that I have received that springs to mind. It never has been.  Always it is a sound, a place, a smell, a touch, a smile, etc.  Some sensation arrests my attention and I find myself propelled into this beautiful, magical spirit we all share.

Of course, as adults, we all know that a man in red suit cannot possibly circumnavigate the globe in a huge red sleigh distributing toys to every child on this planet, yet we propagate the myth.

Why?

Perhaps because it makes us feel good.  There is a certain innocence and magic to it I suppose.  That desire to just believe.

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My eye caught an elderly woman shuffling up the street with her walker leading the way.  Little clips had been attached to hold her shopping bags.  I admired her ingenuity. She wore a brown and white woolen weave coat that fell to mid-calf.  A brown felt beret with a broach of a penguin pinned to it adorned her perfectly coiffed grey hair.

She had the kind of eyes that were like liquid honey and a mischievous smile that graced her lips.   I watched as she made her way up the street.  A stately little gal and I pondered the stories she could tell.  She was close to me now and she caught my gaze.  The smile deepened as did mine.

“Merry Christmas” I offered with a nod.

“And to you, child!” she replied softly.  There was a hint of an accent to her voice from a lifetime ago.  I couldn’t say from where.

A few more glances and I stood.  Time to get back to the task at hand of finding the elusive perfect gift.

A snowflake landed on my nose as I stood and I laughed.  Looking up, I watched as the wet snow transitioned into the big fat flakes.  I was delighted that I’d left the car at home.

As I headed south along Granville St., the lonely refrain of a saxophone rang out.  The first few chords of ‘White Christmas’ echoed on the buildings and for whatever reason, I came close to tears.

Over the course of my 54 years there have been a lot of bad Christmas’ in the mix, along with some very lonely ones as well.  Now I simply focused on letting those that I love know how I feel and try to help a few of those in need as well.

I quickened my step now as the snow was really starting to come down.

Back In Training: Week Five – The Blood, Sweat and Glory!


 

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A close up shot of my tree 

Okay, okay!  The title is a tad dramatic I’ll admit.  But what a fabulous day!  I hustled down for my training session in a down pour.  That’s cool. I’ve got nothing against rain.  Pulling the hood up on my windbreaker I found myself joining a throng of people heading downtown.

New Westminster’s Santa Claus parade was on. I think it is the smallest parade ever.  All of four blocks in length and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss it.  Still the residents of New Westminster gather up their children and head down the hill to take in the festivities.

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My Christmas Tree 2014!

I cut in to my trainer’s establishment a block down the hill.  I’ve been kicking it at the gym.  I have not been able to do much here at home as the Christmas decorations have inhabited the living floor over this last week.  I will remedy that today.

Still, I’ve been pushing myself.  For the Level Two fitness I will be required to do some pull ups on the T-Rex at a 90 degree angle.  Well I’ve done 45 and 60 degrees so Friday evening I decided to try at 90 degree.

Other than grunting really loudly I don’t think I moved!  I certainly stayed at 90 degrees and perhaps my arms got a little longer as they stretched out before me. I was a delightful sweaty mess by the time Tamer had finished with me.

After five weeks I am down almost 5 lbs. Keep in mind, however, that by choice I don’t know what my weight is.  Further more I don’t want to know as I find this aspect rather depressing at times.  And it can detract and dampen an individual’s actual achievements.  The numbers that matter to me are the inches that are coming off.

Drum roll please!  After five weeks I’ve taken off almost 2 inches in my arms, 1 1/2 in my hips, 1 1/2 in my thighs, 3 around the belly button and 4 inches off the waist!  Yay!

The boobs are the same but then the girls can be a little stubborn at times.  They’ll eventually get on board.  This is a great start which will motivate me to push that much harder.  And you know, these little moments of glory are what drive me.  I am feeling tighter everywhere.  The energy that I had prior to all of this cancer stuff is building back up.

As I left I didn’t bother with the hood on my jacket.  I just let the rain fall on me and relished every moment.

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Giant Raindrop next to Canada Place, downtown Vancouver, BC

I’m sleeping deeply again!  For several months I found myself waking up continually throughout the night.  There were several evenings that I found sleep to be rather elusive.

I do have to go for a few more tests.  The good ol’ mammogram.  Oye!  Me and the girls aren’t particularly happy with this test.  Turning the breast into a pancake isn’t as pleasant as it sounds.   The technician will smile sympathetically and tell you that there will be a ‘little discomfort’ and you’re not supposed to breathe or move.

No worries there.  I am incapable of doing either while I am attached to the machine.  Of course, then one must wait to ensure that an adequate x-ray was taken.  Still, you get older and it’s necessary to check and make sure everything is as it should be.  Finding medical issues in advance before they become a major problem is highly desirable.

I’ve heard it mentioned many times about people who find they are having symptoms and yet they do nothing.  Perhaps they are scared.  It is frightening when you know something is amiss.  Best to deal with whatever it may be as swiftly as possible though.

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Lego Whale by Douglas Coupland at Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre

My upper body is pathetically weak at the moment so I’ll have to take a page out of Popeye’s handbook and ‘eats me Spinach’ and gets me to pump it up!

I just visualized myself with a corn-cob pipe hanging out of my mouth and a tattoo of an anchor on my chest!  Scary!

Still that would be fun character, would it not?  Oh wait…wasn’t that Alice the Goon?

I have the hockey game on and I do believe the Vancouver Canucks are getting smoked by the Toronto Maple Leafs!  Oh the horror!  The horror!  I just checked and with 8 minutes left in the game we are down 4 to 2.  Boo! Hiss!

The reason I didn’t know the actual score is that I am in my office and the game is being broadcast in Punjabi.  Rather fun listening to it and trying to guess if we scored as the guys get really excited but I think they are from Toronto and want the Leafs to win.  Boo! Hiss! yet again.

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I will leave now and assemble the rest of the decorations then head out to perhaps do a wee bit of Ye Olde Christmas shopping!

Have a fabulous night!

Namaste!

 

 

The Next Chapter


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Today marks the third anniversary of this blog.  I’ve stayed pretty much true to the purpose of its existence and over the course of time and I have written some pretty good stuff.  I have offered up some rather deep and profound insights on my posts. Some have been funny, others have expressed anger.  Poetry has been spewed forth and I have indeed babbled a lot on this forum. While some posts have been well written,  other posts have been a little on the mediocre side.  Errors abound throughout many of them. Oye!

I read my first post for example that does indeed have a number of grammatical errors in it.

I thought of going back and making corrections but decided against this.

Why?

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One of the reasons I started this blog was to exercise my chops as a wordsmith.  If I can go back now and see where a post could have potentially been great then I’ll leave the lesson in tack.

December 6th, 2011 I went in for my heart procedure.  The following day I began this blog and one year ago today I finished up cancer treatment.  At this time a year ago I was violently sick as a result of the radiation treatments.

As 2014 began, the idea that the memory loss which I had incurred as a result of chemotherapy could possibly be permanent, brought to life a fear like none I’ve ever known.  Would I be able to continue with all the plans that I’d had in place prior to this interruption in my life?

And no one knew this fear that I had.  I could not give it voice as then it would be much too real.

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I slipped into denial so easily refusing to accept what was happening to my physical body.  And of course, by doing this the rest of my being suffered the impact as well.  It really has just been in the last few months that I’ve actually come to terms with everything and thankfully my memory has returned full force as well.

It was strange emerging from the fog cancer patients affectionately call ‘chemo brain’.  Stranger yet, was reviewing some of the work I’d done in that state.  Things that normally don’t even require any thought at all, things that are so ingrained they are done habitually were challenged.  And somewhere in that fog I tried desperately to connect the dots of reason.

I’ve corrected the majority of the work but there are a couple of entries at the engineer’s office where I’ve just offered up a simple fix as I’ve no idea what my line of thinking was at that time.  It’s not a big deal. I am only $283.47 out.  I think I know what happened but at this point it’s not worth the time and effort to try to uncover this mystery and again I only think I know.  When the year wraps I’ll send a note to the accounting firm that provides the audit every year.

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Sometimes we need to look back to see how far we’ve come.  There is a benefit too in that if similar behaviours still exist how are they masking themselves?

I’ve a lot to do in the next month.  I’ve a book to release and a campaign to put together.

Christmas is fast approaching and I really need to buckle down and get this put together.  As we speak, the tree is up but the place is a mess. I’ve decorations littering the living room and kitchen.  My office has gift ideas spread throughout as they are in their infancy at this point.  Cards await my attention and I’ve got two events this weekend that are in the spirit of the season.

On Thursday evening some friends of mine met a restaurant known as the Libra Room on Commercial Drive.  Marco, who is my girlfriend’s son, bought the restaurant earlier in the year.  We had a great time.  The food was fabulous and the company even better!  Great way to kick off the Christmas season!

Yesterday we had out Christmas lunch at work.  Later I hit the gym on my way home from work.  The plan had been to tackle the Christmas cards in earnest but a gentle exhaustion enveloped me so I curled on the sofa to watch a few shows deciding to take a bit of break.

I’ve been having issues with the signal on my TV as it keeps cutting out.  So I made the call and an hour and a half later after having a lovely fellow in Guatemala trying to program my TV, I resolved that the cards would have to be done today.  Oh, and the TV is still losing the signal.  Probably needs a new modem.  I’ll have to call again but this will have to wait.

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I will be meeting with my trainer shortly. I’ve had a good week.  I’m really starting to feel tight again.  One of my co-workers mentioned yesterday that she definitely could see a difference.  So I shall endeavor.

Over the last five years I’ve changed how I live this life that I’ve been afforded.  Having lived the majority of my life in a manner that I thought I deserved, I challenged that notion and decided to go after the life I wanted.
We are conditioned from the cradle on what we should want from this life and I accepted that for a long time.

Now its time to move forward in a big way.

Enjoy your day!  Peace.

 

 

 

Feel It


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I’ve been ruminating on a few conversations as of late.  My daughter and I have discussed at length recently certain behavior patterns.  What is it that makes us revert to habits and mannerisms that are not good for us?

I had a great day yesterday.  Got out and shopped and fixed the car.  Had a stellar workout and focused on getting my home in order.  If I can get the space that I call home organized then this will reflect in my being.  I am certain of this.

Memories of an article that I read a few years back comes to mind.  It was about the psychology of clutter.  When we hang onto things that are of no apparent value or sentiment (i.e. magazines, newspapers, old bills and pay stubs, etc.) and these are just a few examples of what may be accumulated. It is actually a good indicator that you are suffering from an emotional or mental disorder.  In many cases you are holding and trying to stifle certain thoughts, emotions. There is an odd comfort in clutter it would seem.  Then of course, there are several more clues into your mental state with regard to how you manage your clutter.

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When I was going through this period of my life I can say that my clutter was very organized.  I would go through the stacks of magazines and organize each pile accordingly.  I got better with the old bills and would sit down every six months or so with a green garbage bag and tear them up if they were really old.  I’m now making it a point to get as many bills e-mailed to me as possible.

The day that I decided to get rid of the stacks of magazines was quite remarkable. The lightness of being that I experienced in that moment was truly surprising.

I had not read the article at that point as the purge of clutter began approximately ten years ago now.  Silly knick knacks covered bookshelves, coffee tables, etc. but always clean and placed just so.  In fact I had to have the coffee table placed a certain way as I found it incredibly annoying if the wood grain was running up down rather than left to right while sitting on the sofa.

Friends and family found this rather quirky behavior funny.

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These behavior patterns, however, spoke to how out of control I felt at times.  The thing about clutter though is that I could control the piles of magazine and the way the coffee table was centered.  My behavior was at times a little compulsive.

In 1994 I was engulfed in one of the darkest years of my life.  Repressed memories were surfacing in a heartbreaking manner and depression wound its tendrils tightly round me and in that year my home looked like a bomb fell on it most of the time.  Doing the simplest of tasks seemed to take a monumental amount of energy.  Clothes were washed when there were no clean ones available.  This applied to the dishes, the housework…pretty much everything.

I was lost.  During that year I read about two hundred romance novels. I found just attending to my own personal hygiene extraordinarily cumbersome.  Emerging from that year long hell, I was committed to finding a way to manage this condition.  And I’ve done very well at managing it.

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These days when I find myself wanting to partake in something that won’t be beneficial to my health, I often talk out loud to myself.

For example, last night at about 10 PM I felt like a snack.  I wasn’t hungry at all.  Yet I wanted to order a Pizza.  And if I did this, then I would likely eat way too much.

The conversation I had with self went down like this.

“I want Pizza.”

“Why do you want Pizza?”

“I just do.”

“Are you hungry?:

“No.”

“Then why do you want Pizza?”

“I deserve it.  I’ve been so good with my diet lately.”

And this was the statement that, as it slipped from lips, I jumped on. 

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“Deserve it? Why do you want to stuff your face with crap?  What type of reward is that?”

And it’s not a reward.  It is a conditioned response.

Growing up I was rewarded with food for completing chores or just behaving myself.  Cakes or cookies were the norm. I would imagine this may be the case for many children.  I did this with my child as well.  My daughter having been very good would be taken for ice cream or the like.

Unfortunately should things not be so great during the formative years rewarding oneself can morph into rather destructive behavior.  Eating can become a psychological manifestation of trying to comfort or fill an emotional void.  Furthermore it can become a punishment of sorts.

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And it can be learned behavior as well.

As I move through these moments I am always amazed at the intricacies of the brain.  What is it that keeps coming back to insist that I’m being too good and must ‘reward’ myself with things that are not good for me?

What I have come to understand is that I really need to be in the moment, experience it fully and release it.  And with this ideology comes the notion of dealing with what I’m feeling at any given time as it occurs.

Not as easy as it sounds but I shall persevere.

Thanks for stopping by.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

Back In Training: Week Four – Throwing Down the Gauntlet


June 21, 2014 1037 Desire.  Want.  Commitment. Conviction.  Focus.  Determination.  Gratitude. These were the emotions that were pulsating through me as I left the fitness studio today.  I can shower in a moment but first I need to get this down.  Record it.  It’s been a long time since I felt a strength like this.  It feels like years since I could look in the mirror and know that I was truly getting my healthy back.  I experienced this just a half hour ago as I walked back up the hill to my home having completed the Level One Fitness test. I am digging the challenge and rising up to it. van 4 It snowed a little last night and this morning a crisp blue sky greeted me with a brilliant sun that is very deceiving as the temperature is currently about -4 degrees Celsius.  Still, there is something so invigorating about the sting of the cold air on my cheeks.  As I walked down the alley to my building a wash of emotion enveloped me.  I thought back to a Sunday morning back in February of 2013.  I met with my running group and it was about -8 degrees. We ran a 10 KM that morning.  The route took us along W. 4th Avenue to Arbutus Street.  Then up to 16th Avenue and along to Ontario Street.  From that point it was  down to Athletes Village (close to Science World) then along the seawall back to the store.  As I was running down Ontario Street the vision of Vancouver frozen in white in all her splendor lay before me.  I was drenched in sweat and I can’t remember when I felt more alive. And it was in that moment as I tuned into the universal energy that I was so very much a part of that I accepted I could indeed complete a 1/2 Marathon. van 3 The significance of this particular moment is that was the last run I did where I was at my peak.  My energy was fabulous and I felt so strong!  I was building and all the hard work I was putting in was paying off. The following week as we ran the 12 KM my energy began to wane.  The progression of my health slipping from me continued and if you’ve followed this blog you’ll know the reason was cancer.  And the internal battle that ensued I am just now beginning emerge from. Climbing up the steps to my home the tears slipped down my cheeks and I just let myself cry.  Today I felt the same emotions that I did on that winter morning close to two years ago.  I feel so alive right now!  So vital and strong!  I am taking my life back now in everyway. Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous day. QueensPark 177 Namaste.

Back in Training: Week Three – Gettin’ Down to Business


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I really kicked it up a notch this week.  The pain is beginning to subside and I no longer feel like I should be in traction after a workout.  Next week I want to incorporate a couple of walk/runs into the mix.

My next session with my trainer I’ll be doing a Level One Fitness Test for my age group.  Our focus this week was taking me through the components of the test then working on core and cardio.  I am quite confident that next week I’ll ace the fitness test.

I have just drawn up a workout schedule for the week ahead and will incorporate all of the fitness test components into the workouts I have at the gym.  This is what it will look like.

Workout Schedule for Week Four

  1. Crunches w/ medicine ball – 40 x 2
  2. Step-ups w/ medicine ball (on aerobic stepper) – 15 on each leg leading = 30 x 2 sets
  3. Up and Over’s touching down (on aerobic stepper) – 20 x 2
  4. Leg lifts – 20 x 2
  5. Seal Jacks – 20 x 2
  6. Mountain Climbers – 30 x 2
  7. Side Steps – 30 seconds w/ squat at end x 2
  8. Triceps Push-ups – 15 x 2
  9. Skipping – 30 seconds x 2
  10. Plank – 45 seconds x 2
  11. Bridge – hold for 1 minute x 2
  12. Overhead Towel squat – 30 x 2
  13. 45 degree Suspension Row – 10 x 2
  14. Push-ups from knees – 10 x 2
  15. Kettle bell swing – 8 lb. 40 x 2
  16. Back extensions – 20 x 2
  • Continue w/ 20 minutes on Bike
  • Continue w/ 15 minutes on Elliptical
  • Three upper body machines (Optional)
  • Three lower body machines. (Optional)

18.  Two walk/runs over my 5 km route (45 min – 50 min)

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Each gym workout will take 1 1/2 hours in length.  I start with 35 minutes of cardio on the stationary bike then jump on the elliptical.

My diet has improved exponentially as well.  I only ate out once and that was a pit stop at Subway on Monday evening as I ran late at the engineer’s office and didn’t get home until 8:30 PM.  I had nothing prepared so I opted to just pick up a sub sandwich.

The last two Saturday evenings I’ve cooked at home.  Again, not something I’m used to doing.

Funny the habits we get into.  Back in 2005 when my daughter was taking her graphic design program I took on a couple of other jobs to help her out.  Also I didn’t want her to have worry about working as it is often stressful enough just trying to get through your studies.

One of the part-time gigs was at a diner in Vancouver.  For close to five years I worked 20 hours a week there.  Friday’s I left my day job at 5:00 PM and started at 6:00 PM  to 10 PM. Every Saturday was from 2 PM to 10 PM and Sundays from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Consequently Saturdays found me coming home and getting cleaned up then heading up Commercial Drive for  a nibble at Wazubees (no longer there), Havana (now very pricey), a little Greek place (no longer there), or a number of other restaurants.  Because I was working so often I neglected meal planning in a big way.

My organizational skills were still somewhat challenged back then.

What I’ve discovered to be key in managing a busy schedule is to actually plan out your week meals and activities.

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When I left the restaurant back in 2010 I purchased my current home.  The last four and half years have been a whirlwind!

Because I was working so much for those five years my social life was pretty much non-existent as well.

Fridays became synonymous for heading down to the Heritage Grill, the Brooklyn, Hops, the Terminal or a host of other places that are within walking distance for a pint and nibble followed by a writing marathon. I would wander home at 1:00 AM once I’d finished whatever it was I was working on.

Saturdays saw me turning into a social butterfly of sorts.

Sundays were for domestic duties of cleaning, laundry and picking up groceries.

Still I wasn’t planning my meals all that well throughout the week.  My daughter was still living with me so we took turns cooking and for a time it worked.

I was committed to good health and had found the love of running once again.  Emotional issues that I’d long neglected came to fore and finally I had the strength to work through them.  And just as I felt that I’d laid that beast to rest then came the challenges of heart disease and cancer.

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A little over a month ago I finally accepted that physically I was right back at square one.  This body had gone through punishing treatment and I tried to convince myself otherwise.  I would head out with my running group on Tuesday evenings and the following couple of days my hips and lower back would be in total agony.

The strong core I had once possessed had effectively been destroyed by treatment.  With this admission a depression had set in….and as I am wont to do when this occurs I cried in many, many beer as I nibbled on pizza.

Yes, I was contributing to my own demise once again!

Oye!

I’m not one to wallow in self-pity, however, and in fact I have little tolerance for myself when I get like this.

And three weeks into training my core strength is returning.  The exercises Tamer has provided are excellent for core as well as whole body.  The workout above has many of the core exercises I’ve been working on .  Yesterday she had me take on the ropes.  These two ropes are about 15 feet in length.  Not to sure of their weight but you hold them in a squat position and can either wobble them back and forth (fabulous for the triceps) or up and down.

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She is pushing me and watching my form.  I am learning so much.  Here I thought myself so knowledgeable about fitness previously and well, in the last three weeks I’ve tackled several exercises that I’ve never done before.

If you are curious about any of the above exercise listed above please let me know.

On Friday evening I decided I really needed to replace the blender that had broken down a couple of months ago.  Heading out I found the Nutri Ninja which is what I wanted at a great price.  Later today I’m going to head out and load up on kale, spinach, and host of other goodies!  The veggie and fruit shakes are back, baby!  Yum!

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Thanks for stopping by.

Peace.

 

Back In Training: Week Two…The Agony and the Ecstasy!


 

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“Give me eight more!” Tamer grinned delightfully at me and I did.

The one dreaded exercise that I knew would come came yesterday.  The Burpee!

Still after fourteen days I am down 2 lbs. and have lost 2 inches off my waist, 1 inch off my hips, thighs and arms.

Not a bad start at all.

My trainer has been focusing on some really intense exercises so today my posterior feels extremely tight.

I am getting back into the flow, back into the groove.

I am again pursuing the idea of enjoying optimum health on every level.

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It has been an extraordinarily busy week.  Lately they’ve all been rather crazy.  What I’m finding is that my ability to organize my time effectively is returning in a big way.

I’ve been thinking about some of the challenges over the last year.  Chemotherapy does a number on you, not just physically but with your memory.  I was in a fog.  I’ve spoken about this before but for those who’ve never gone through Cancer treatment, and I pray you never do, let me assure you that this was one of the most frightening aspects to treatment.

When you can’t recall what you were doing a few minutes ago, when everything that is around you is registering then fading into an abyss of thoughts and ideas that just can’t be retained for any length of time, let me assure it will scare the hell out of you.

And I worked throughout this ordeal.

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I am still trying to undo some of things I did with the accounting posts at the engineer’s office.  I’ve almost got everything corrected.  At the time trying to piece together the things that I’ve been doing for well over a decade, the things that I could do typically without much thought were extremely challenging.

I had developed a strange logic back then.  I was forgetting GST payments, I was reconciling bank statements by changing certain posts to match what I thought was the correct version of the money trail.

Why?

Because I couldn’t recall quite how to do it and I was absolutely terrified to tell anyone this.  And the biggest fear was that I wouldn’t recover from this, that the sharp mind I’ve always enjoyed would be lost to me.

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I wrote a lot during this period, particularly on this forum.  It was a way to release.

At times it’s odd for me to read some of the passages back.  Even while I was in it, a part of me refused to accept what was happening to my physical body.

I was chatting with a friend last night who was going through breast cancer treatment last year as well.  As she so eloquently stated, ‘Cancer is one big mind-fuck!”

Indeed it is.

And as I’ve stated before, the Cancer Agency has a tendency to treat patients like mindless cattle.  Much of the information that I gained to assist with certain side effects was not offered by the Cancer Agency but rather discovered by my own research.

A few of the doctors didn’t like how inquisitive I was.  I do want to say right off that I am grateful for the health care that I have at my disposal.

What I realized, however, is that cancer is a business and big one at that.

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Last week on the news a piece was done on a woman who had a rare cancer and the medication that she was taking cost $3,000.00 per month!

She refused to let her husband sell their house to pay for the medications and opted to go off treatment and subsequently died.

To me this is criminal.

Then, rather hypocritically, a family decided to listen to their young daughter’s request and stopped chemotherapy.  The hospital is now taking the family to court insisting that they are not looking out for their child’s best interest.

When you think of the millions of dollars that is raised for cancer on an annual basis, why is a portion of those funds not set aside to assist those who cannot afford the cost of treatment?  Why are the drugs not free?

Considering how much is given to charity annually, and it is an exorbitant amount, should the payback not be free medications?

Perhaps this is a question that should be raised.  Oh, I have know doubt the huge pharmaceutical companies who received the majority of these funds for ‘research’ will throw up the smoke and mirrors about the cost of said research.

But surely then with all the funds we’ve provided to them have we not paid our dues?

Hmmm.

On the upside I am officially wigless!  Yup.  I went for my first haircut in well over a year.  I had it shaped and styled and I like it.

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This is a photo of me taken during the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

It was a very humbling experience.

Of course this morning when I attempted to do my own hair…well,  let’s just say I need to practice up.

I want my health back. I want all the things I was beginning to enjoy back and I’ll have it.

Peace out.