The Eagles Among Us


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Time to start doing the things I love again.

Admittedly I’ve been traversing through the realms of depression once again.  It’s been a tough year.

And while I may feel a little stuck, one thing I do know, is that I’ll get past this.  I will learn from the events of this year and grow as a result.

I’ve got to get back out there and try things not attempted before.  Oh, don’t worry. By this I’m not talking about leaping from planes or any such nonsense.  Those are activities that have no interest for this gal.

I’ve been considering a public speaking series to be offered in at secondary schools here in Vancouver and surrounding suburbs.  I will be drafting up the idea and then check in with my Toastmaster compatriots for some guidance on this.  I really do want to use the skills I’m developing in this area.

Later today we are having an Open House at Toastmasters.  After just 5 1/2 months I’ve completed the first manual and am working on the second that focuses on leadership.

On the weekend my photography group headed up to the 20th Annual Eagle Festival in Harrison Mills.  This is out in the beautiful Fraser Valley. It is an 1 1/2 hour drive from my home.  Saturday was spectacular weather wise.  I offered to carpool and two members came along with me.  We left at 9:00 AM.  It’s getting cold as winter is coming.

The effect was a magical mist that hung over the river kissing the trees that lined the shore along the way.  The deep autumn blue sky offered a fabulous contrast.

We arrived at our destination and spent the next four hours exploring the area and watching the eagles feast on the spawning salmon.

The area had been hit by a storm with high winds earlier in the week and the evidence was everywhere.

The treat was being able to watch hundreds of eagles!  At times there would be twenty or more circling high in the sky above.

Here are a few images from this event.  Enjoy!

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Another Year…


Fifty-seven years.  Sounds like such a long time doesn’t it?

There are times when it feels twice as long and them seems to have gone by far too fast.

I’ve almost passed another year.

Age really doesn’t bother me so much anymore.  It’s keeping this physical body of mine in good repair and remaining healthy and fit.  These are the factors that will determine how I fare in the next stage of my life.

So many things I still want to do, want to experience, want to see, touch, feel…

For now I have but today and I will try to live it fully.

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For some it may mean that their life needs to be filled with activities and an abundance of wild and crazy stuff.

Tonight I stepped to grab dinner.  I gazed up into the night sky with a sliver of the new moon and a stars dotting the black expanse.

In that moment I was breathless!  Oddly tears stung my eyes as I once again realized I am part of this!

There is an energy that runs through this world and beyond…from our ancient ancestors to those who inhabit other worlds and this energy permeates every molecule of my being.

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Tonight as I walked through the streets of New Westminster, the aches and pains that have resulted from the recent car crash reminded me to take my time.

I smiled.  I’m still alive and kicking, albeit painfully.  But I will recover and rebuild and I will run again.

Shit happens, you know?

Sometimes it feels like you received more than your fair share.  But hell, if anything this only makes me appreciate what I have that much more.  If I can live each day in this splendor then indeed I’m living my life fully.

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I met with friends earlier today. It was an impromptu get together that I tossed out to celebrate the release of the book and my birthday.

Cheryl spoke about Mother’s Day last year…THE BEST EVER!

We were laying on the deck of the Star Princess sunbathing enroute to San Francisco watching ‘Dirty Dancing”.

Yeah, baby!

Then we hit Napa Valley and got delightfully drunk!

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It was ridiculously fun and you know, that’s what it’s all about.  Just being in the moment and enjoying those around you.

Beauty is truly an energy.  It is so far beyond the physical world.

So why do we try to define it?  Try to contain it?  And try to dictate what it should be?

My brother Stephen was mentally handicapped.  He was a forceps baby and suffered brain damage at birth as a result.

He was institutionalized at an early age here in New Westminster.  Thankfully the institution is now gone.

For the last few years of his life though he lived in a facility that provided exemplary care.

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My daughter and I went out to see him often.

Stephen was targeted and picked on relentlessly in his youth because of his condition.  Yet I can tell you he had such a beautiful soul.

Stephen was often given ‘trial’ medications that affected his moods and behavior.  And I hurt for him so much in those moments.

My brother just had such a love of everything and music was right up there.  He loved animals, he loved his sisters and his niece.

He would sing Frank Sinatra and Joe Cocker, though you likely wouldn’t understand the words, but they were there in his beautiful interpretation.  And if I close my eyes I can see him rocking back and forth singing with an expression of absolute ecstasy on his face.

For his 48th birthday we rounded up a bunch his mates and took them all to Boston Pizza.  There was a great deal of planning as many of the guests like my brother had special needs.

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The smile on Stephen’s face that day, well my God, it was just brilliant.  There was such a purity to the joy he expressed.  I remember looking around at everyone that day and saw beauty in its truest form.

Many of those in attendance had lived in conditions that were at times appalling.  They had been treated horrifically at times by an unforgiving society that had cast them out.  And yet despite all of this they found it so easy to love and express joy.

That was Stephen’s last birthday.  He passed away about nine months later.  I was with him as he lay breathing shallow fast breathes.  I kissed his forehead and told him it was okay.  He could let go.

My brother is an angel that I’ve been so blessed with .  He taught me so much about humanity, about joy, about forgiveness, about peace.

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Did he ever look in the mirror and feel less than?

Probably not.

Did he condemn himself  for not measuring up to society’s expectations?

Not a chance!

And here I am now…at the start of another year.

I’m embarking on a new world in terms of the publication and what will be revealed.

This is a virginal moment for me.  There is a purity to it, a newness.

But then in this rediscovery of life that I’ve been blessed with…despite the heart thing and the cancer thing…

I’m coming to understand what it means to just be.

If I can pass this along in any context I will.

Thanks for stopping by and many blessings to you.

Peace.

 

 

 

First Snow


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And I watched the sun settle on this day.  What captivated me was the mountain peaks now cast in virgin snow.  Their beauty was breathtaking as I made the trek with camera in hand wanting to capture the moment.

I cursed not having a tripod.  I cursed that the overpass at the foot of 4th Street is still not completed.  I railed that I could have taken another route.   There were options!

But in the end, perfection can sometimes be so totally incomplete.  And this is what happened.  Just me dazed by the beauty that was surrendered before me.  And I was a fortunate witness.

To be party to day’s sweet surrender into night.  The magical glow of those last few rays of the sun on virgin snow.  The absolute delight that I was included, caught in a lovers’ exchange.

Basking in the afterglow beside a silent river and puddles that had been rendered frozen from winter’s chill.

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And all I could do was stare for a time at the mountains beyond the Patullo Bridge as they were now cast in shadow and withdrew from my sight like a timid lover.

I turned and headed back.   The walkway now all but deserted.  A few young men whipped by on their skateboards and I smiled as they navigated along the boardwalk.  They nodded in greeting and the last young man offered a ‘how are ya?’

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Gone too fast for a reply.

Had I been able to do so I would stated that in that moment I was ecstatic.  I’d stolen a moment it seemed, been given a gift. It was an unexpected delight.

To experience that moment when the mountains are first covered in virgin snow.  They appeared magical and oh so lovely.

And for me day’s end was just that.

Magic!

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Bear Hugs


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He ran with abandon toward the bear then launched himself at the inanimate thing that sat idly on a sidewalk in Victoria. I had my camera at the ready to begin with, so I caught that moment of deep love that happens in make-believe that we all experience, however briefly, when we are children.

That expression of pure joy, of a dream suddenly realized. When we are small so many things are magical to us. In fact, many aspects to this life are.

And then, we grow up.

Some of us become jaded. Our hearts are broken, dreams are trashed but we move on understanding that those childhood notions were simply that.

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Still, we think back to them rather fondly, don’t we?

That desire to feel so uninhibited. Where just the joy of a sunrise could leave us breathless or a stuffed animal that needed a hug.

Or perhaps it was us that needed the hug and not the stuffed animal.

I loved Paddington Bear as a child. I’ve expressed this before.

My very first true love was Mr. Ed, the talking horse.

A beautiful Palomino whose owner was named Wilbur. I adored him and quite proudly told my father that I was going to marry Mr. Ed when I grew up.

My first heartbreak was administered then. Daddy dearest informed me that I was being stupid. I couldn’t marry a horse and besides, by the time of was of age the damn thing would be dead.

And really it wasn’t my first heartbreak. There were many, just one of the more significant ones that was bestowed upon my juvenile tendencies.

That innocence of loving, just because.

And as we grow we have our little fantasies. We have crushes on movie stars and sport stars, on characters.

At 10 years of age I fell in love with Mr. Spock on Star Trek. My girlfriend Cheryl had it bad for good ol’ Captain Kirk.

At 13 years of age I flipped over Bobby Orr. My dad took me to one of the first games Vancouver played against Boston.

And I was torn.

The love of my life was playing against my home team…but I still loved him. We beat Boston 5 to 4 during that game.

I had it bad for David Cassidy of the Partridge Family. And so the list continued. Absurd little crushes that seemed to come out of no where.

Then the heart began to be broken in earnest.

It was as if all those childhood let downs were preparing me for the grown-up stuff.

I was going sideways with the whole thing anyway. It would take a lifetime to understand fully and even now, I’m not certain I do.

There is no fault to be had. It’s just one of life’s little foibles. We make our choices or they’re made for us and we accept them.

Then we act or react to those choices.

Still, there is a sweetness I feel at wanting to run through a mud puddle at the age of 56 or at sitting up late to watch ‘Pinky & the Brain’ on re-runs.

I delighted in Despicable Me 2 and every time I see a horse I feel a little giddy.

I was about 8 or 9 years of age when we vacationed for two weeks up at Canim Lake in BC.  The horse was name King and I was prone to sleep on him at times, so enamored was I.

As I watched the little guy openly display his love for the bear when we came upon a Moose sitting on the sidewalk a little further up the way, I insisted my gal pals settle in for a pic.

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And there is an honesty to just being.  Just taking the moment and running with it, appreciating it for the simplicity and enjoyment that it offers, however silly it may seem.

If there are secrets to this life, then I would venture to say this would be one of them.  Just express yourself freely as long as it is done with love in your heart.

I hope that little boy remembers seeing the bear on the sidewalk and smiles fondly at it as he gets older.

Enjoy your day.  Peace.

 

Gravity


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Many preponderances have been dancing through this head of mine as of late.

I’m on fire. Focus, now.

I have been devouring my fellow blogger’s articles

Helen has had success with her Lymph Node Transfer and I couldn’t be happier for her.  Cristian is trying to raise funds for a medical procedure that he needs.

People are chatting about anything and everything these days.  I can dig it..

There have been several articles regarding health and body image offered up.

Women cry out vehemently about the state of the ‘Barbie Syndrome’ and how it is affecting our culture, sub-culture, confidence, health, relationships, etc.

There is a whole hell of a lot more going on here, folks.

Cristan posted a sketch the other day depicting what ‘real women’ looked like.

This was interesting considering he is a young man who lives in Romania and is now disillusioned by the truth of the female anatomy.  Of course, I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  I’ve never met Cristian.

It got me thinking though.  What I pondered briefly is what would I look like with a boob job?

I’ve got big enough ones, by the way.  Size isn’t the issue here, stamina is quite another.  Trying to prop these babies up is a lesson in futility.  They fight me every step of the way.

When the bra comes off I swear the ladies heave an enormous sigh of relief.

Now if I were successful in getting them to be the perky little darlings they once were, what picture would that paint?

The beauty of aging is that everything begins to sag in unison.

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I would look rather foolish with boobs that were army ready when the rest of me began to succumb to the laws of gravity a few years back.

And if these lethal weapons of mine were plumped up like an Oscar Mayer wiener all the time, then the massage I had tonight would have been incredibly uncomfortable.

I was laying face down and lifted myself briefly to sweep my boobage into their respective armpit.

I’ve never liked Barbie, by the way.  She’s always kind of pissed me off, though I don’t know why.  She is a doll after all.

I can’t tell you how proud I felt when my daughter and her friend at the age of eleven years laid their dolls out on the road in front of our house to watch them get run over.  Ken was included by the way.  He and the gal both went down without a fight.

I might well have strutted about like an abstract peacock, albeit quietly.   After all throwing someone, even a doll, under the bus isn’t a good way to teach problem resolution.

The other thing though is just how reliant we’ve become on what is on the shelves in our grocery stores.  It’s changing us, messing us up.  Processed foods are killing us, slowly.

I picked up a can of Lobster Bisque soup.  It had 46% sodium content.  My arteries began to harden at that point.  I never made it to the sugar and saturated fat percentages as I returned the can to the shelf.

Soup is one of the easiest and least expensive dishes one can make.  Perhaps not Lobster Bisque, mind you, but chowders, bean soups, etc.  Good stuff.

I don’t buy into the ‘stick woman’ ideal.  I never have.  A healthy weight for me is in the 145 to 155 lb. range.  I’ve got to drop about 50 lbs. to reach that goal.

The effects of the Cancer treatments threw me into a tailspin of sorts.  But hey, I’m turning it around.  I’ll get my health back.  I’m easing back into my fitness regiment now and will step it up gradually.

We all want to be beautiful, I suppose.  We chase it, covet it…but what is it?

Like art, beauty if very subjective.  What I may find incredibly beautiful another might well scoff at.  In turn, I might shudder in horror at someone elses choice of ‘beauty defined’.

A while back I was at a friend’s house watching the Rolling Stone’s 50th Anniversary special.

Scary, eh?

In any case, Rose and Kathy gushed about Mick.  They would have sex with him in a heartbeat.  Rosey’s hubby seemed to be in agreement that should the occasion present itself, then yes, his wife should do the nasty with Mick.

I shuddered as if a thousand creepy crawlers were on me at that moment.

As the show progressed, The Boss…the one and only Bruce Springsteen came out to do a number.  I felt the juices begin to flow.

“Now there’s a real man!” I proclaimed

My friends both shuddered in horror emitting an exaggerated ‘Ewwww!”

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I’ve stood in art galleries spell-bound by the piece before me.  Emotions that are elicited are at times incredibly deep.  I’ll glance around to see if others are having a similar response and at times want to scream incoherently ‘Don’t you see it?  Don’t you get it?’

Of course what I see and feel is mine alone to experience and appreciate. That is the beauty of it. Pun intended.

What message then does it send when men tell us they like women with a ‘little extra meat on them’.  Later you catch the guy jerking off with a picture of some emaciated model gazing back at him from a magazine.  Her breast implants seemingly a workout just to maintain her balance on a daily basis.  No wonder the poor girl is so thin!

Hmmm!

The idea of beauty is definitely being marketed big time.  Packaged up and offered for a hefty price.  Women are not the only ones buying into this.

The boobs will cost you $5,000 to $10,000.  A tummy tuck…facelift…Botox…skin resurfacing…

It will add up quickly.

Now as you stand before the mirror having gone into debt to buy the perfect ‘beauty package’ designed to give you the life you thought you wanted, that you thought you deserved…I have just one question.

Was it worth it?

Quirks


An interesting observation yesterday.  The past few days I’ve been something of an old grump.  I really don’t like being this way.  It’s the chemo, man!  Yes, as stated this time out there was a bit more of a punch to the effects.

I do not make for a good patient.  I am well aware of this fact.  Hell, I get sick and I’m just this irritable child that sulks about with an air of petulance.  Give me an ice cream and I’m all better…for a while.

Okay, maybe I’m not that bad.  In any case the weird thing has been the numbness.  It is beginning to improve.  Here it is Sunday morning and the coffee taste reasonable.  Yesterday, I could not finish my morning cup.

Another interesting thing occurred yesterday.  As I put my wig on I became extremely annoyed that it looked ‘perfect’.  Not a damn hair out of place!  I can’t change the look either.  It’s just there.  Pull it on, take a comb to it to get all the pieces that are stuck underneath the cap out…and there I be.  Perfect!

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Here is the lineup.  My school picture at 13 years of age.  My shaved head at age 55.  Me in the wig at age 55. 

Then I stopped and considered this reaction.  Was part of my being tied up with this weird relationship that I’ve had with my hair?  Was I feeling bereft at not having any hair to bitch about?  A totally pointless pursuit but one I opted to explore in any case.

I have a friend who had a short haircut that was for her ‘horrific’ at the age of 13 and she has had long hair in the same style ever since.  She is 55 years of age, the same as I am, and we’ve talked about this a few times.  She assures me she will never get her hair cut short ever again.  She is quite confident that she was traumatized at that point in her life and will never try to undo the trauma.

Weird.

Everyone loves the wig, by the way.  So for that brief moment yesterday, I hated it.  I despised its perfection.  Maybe because I was just feeling out of sorts I wanted to ‘take it out’ on something.  Lay blame, assign blame…I don’t know.

Weird.

The coffee isn’t tasting so much like metal and cardboard today.  Not the full richness that I am familiar with though.  I am done sulking.

I went for walk with a friend yesterday who asked about the comfort of the wig.  It is fine for the most part.  Sometimes if I have a ‘hot flash’ it gets a little itchy.  But as I explained, it feels like wearing a hat.  It doesn’t give me the sensation I have with my own hair.  So when I come home I hang it up.  I tried a few scarves and well, I look like some whacked out gypsy who lost her crystal ball.  I also don’t know how to arranged such things as I don’t wear them.

Now some people totally rock scarves.  And some people totally rock no hair at all.  I may have mentioned the girl I saw at the Cancer Agency who had just the most beautifully shaped shaved head.  Man, she looked awesome!

So again I have these strange little quirks that have reared up to perhaps give me a little more insight into this conglomerate known as ‘Nancy’.  And you know, I do understand the issue with my hair.  From as far back as I can remember my hair was trying to be sculpted into something it could never be.

Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye.  I now sport a wig because it just wouldn’t ‘feel right’ to venture out into the public bald.  Oh, going swimming or exercising without the wig is necessary.  Still I have a certain look to maintain at the office.  I don’t know that I would feel comfortable bare-headed.  Strange.

I am working through these little quirks of mine though and trying to understand their origins a little better.  At the end of the day the hair thing is just this weird little hangup of mine.

It is a beautiful Sunday here.  I am going to finish up my domestic duties and get back out and have a walk about.  Maybe take a few pics of the fall foliage.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

Peace.

Test Patterns


I have not made it to the gym the past couple of mornings.  Understandable I suppose considering I just finished up my final chemo session and this one has left me a bit more fatigued than previous sessions.  The numbness has begun to kick in again. The now familiar sensation of not really being able to taste my food, having my entire body with the bottom of feet now feeling sadly lacking in the sensory department known as touch.

In a week I will be rebounding from all of this.  The body can now heal from this experience in its entirety.  Yes, we will be getting zapped but this too will pass.

I stood in the line at Starbuck’s today to grab my morning cup.  A woman of polished perfection stood inline a few people ahead of me.  I admired her appearance then considered my own. I have never been one to have found a way to polish anything about my appearance.

The operation this summer and following cancer treatment has left me 20 lbs heavier.  It is all in my midsection.  I considered why it is we compare ourselves to others.  What triggers this response to suddenly feel less than?

After all, this woman was also substantially younger than I am.  And I thought again of ego and how it drives us so subtly at times. I catch myself doing this from time to time.  Perhaps, as I stood there, feeling numb with a wig that was itching my scalp a little, I felt all too human.  All too vulnerable.  Perhaps seeing a woman in peak physical shape, healthy and beautiful is a reminder that youth is behind me.

I thought of the patterns that form in my life.  The cycles I move through that I am trying to break.  I thought of my quest to find my own optimum health level at the age of the 55.  I love having an abundance of energy and I know that for a woman of my years I am attractive.  Not polished, never that because that just isn’t me.

And as I stood next to this woman while we waited for our order, I wondered if she was happy.  Did she delight in her health?  In her beauty?  Did she like her look and enjoy making herself up each day?  I hoped that she did.

I stepped out into a beautiful fall morning here in Vancouver.  The mountains have received their first dusting of snow.  On the drive in a low fog hung heavy on the trees below a cloudless pale blue sky.  The trees are on fire now with the various shades of reds and yellows.

I guess too knowing that at this very moment the blood moving through my veins is somewhat toxic has an odd effect on the psyche.  For all that I have learned, for all that I have discovered and been made aware…why then can I not break certain behaviours?

There is a frustration on this level. I have survived so much and this statement, as I let it slip through my lips this morning as I got back into my car for the final leg of the journey into work, bothered me.  I don’t want to just be a survivor.  What I want more than anything is just to be immersed up to my eyeballs in this life.  I want to drown in all that surrounds me.  I want to experience all of it fully.

I know I have danced around this concept for a while now.  At some point I am going to have just take a chance and dive in.  I already know that in the survival department I am more that capable of scraping my remains off some venture or another to begin anew.

I am trying to find a path that I seem to keep deviating from.  And I know that its there…maybe a little overgrown in places.  Still, I want to find that ‘aha’ moment where I have the clarity of just where I am going, or is mine to be a blind venture to be summed up in a written masterpiece of such tragic and profound proportions?

Hmmm.  Curious.  Funny what triggers the mind to wander.  Now I need to escort it back to crunching numbers and pushing paper.  Not as exciting as it sounds nor as appetizing.  Again I am digging deeper and beginning to demand a certain code of conduct from myself.  And it is these moments that glare at me asking why I’ve stopped short yet again.

No excuses this time.  I have got to roll up my sleeves and deal with this mess once and for all so I best get to it.

Have a fabulous day everyone.  Thanks for checking in.