Only in Vancouver

The blizzard of 2013 took place last night here in the Greater Vancouver region. While we were snug and warm in our beds dreaming the night away the snows descended upon our fair city.

Upon waking the horror was before us.  2 cm of snow! EGAD!

The choice was now to drive or use public transit.  I opted to leave my little steed at home (aka car).  Something happens to people in Vancouver during the first snowfall.  I don’t know what it is but they just drive like maniacs.  And while 2 cm of snow doesn’t sound like much, if there is black ice underneath it you’re going to have a lot of fender benders.

I do know how to drive in the snow but I had to make the choice of which would be the bigger headache and somehow driving won out from past experience.

My daughter and I bundled up and headed out to brave the elements.  We trudged heroically through wind and light snow that still fell, our faces turning a rosy hue.  We departed as I was taking a different line into the city.  I stepped onto the train platform having purchased my ticket only to find everyone being asked to get off the train that was docked there.  Now masses of people lined the way and a scratchy voice came over the PA system offering up an apology and a reason that I couldn’t quite make out.  The man next to me looked just a perplexed.

“Did you get that?” I queried.

“No, couldn’t make out a word.”  he offered.

Like me, I don’t think he is a daily transit user.  I assessed the situation.  If I stayed on this side I would be packed into a train at some point like a sardine.  This held little appeal so I headed over to the other track as I know I can transfer back to this line at the Broadway & Commercial hub.

The other gentleman followed my lead.

My annual public transit adventure had begun.

We whipped along and I gazed out into the dark of morning watching the traffic and waterways.  I saw new graffiti on the back of old buildings.  The train slammed on its brakes suddenly and came to a full stop.  We have no idea why this happened.  Throughout the ride in Skytrain control kept coming on the PA apologizing for the delays.  Due to the extreme weather conditions overnight they were unable to release the full fleet and were working to correct this.  They relayed this message several times.

I smiled at this.  Only in Vancouver…

We’ve had brutally cold temperatures on the coast for the past few weeks.  The mercury would dip to -10 at night and then with the wind chill.  Brrrr!

Now for those on the Prairies it may not sound that chilly but we have a different kind of cold.  Being on the ocean the air picks up the moisture in the air and it just cuts to the bone and stays there.

I made it downtown finally and began the walk to work.  I was feeling quite weak at one point.  I haven’t been able to keep much in the way of food in my system these days and had not yet had any breakfast so it was understandable.  I stopped for a moment at the top of the last set stairs to gather my strength.  I looked about me and everything had a light wash of snow on it.

Vancouver is so beautiful in the snow.

I closed my eyes for a moment and felt this city of mine envelop me and whisper “You don’t have too far to go. Come on, little one.”

As I walked down Robson Street the lights twinkled at me.  I went to the coffee shop and got my brew and a biscuit before finishing the final leg to work.

I’ve been in such an angry place lately with all of the cancer stuff.  Today reminded me to just let go of all of that.

Gotta get my healthy back!

Enjoy your day everyone…





Remember the Fallen

In Canada and many countries around the world November 11th is a day to remember those who have fallen in wartime.

Personally I cannot imagine living through the carnage that is witnessed during combat.  I think about my grandfather and father.  Both served.  My grandfather during World War 1 and my father during World War 2.

I didn’t know my grandfather very well. He passed away when I was just six years old.  And in truth, I didn’t know my father very well either.  I don’t know the man he was prior to going to war, or should I say boy.  He was just eighteen years old when he signed up.  I do know the man he became.

He wasn’t a very kind man.  In fact, he could be incredibly cruel and abusive.  Still, there were times when I glimpsed a man who could make so many laugh, who had charm and ready smile.

He never talked about the war.  That was a topic never open to discussion.  There were many times when he would have a look in his eyes that was terrifying.  It was feral and cold in nature.  Anger would take hold and it was as if all that made him human simply drained away.

I have often wondered if this behavior resulted from his time in the war.

Perhaps I was looking for an excuse to explain the punishments that seems to always be so extreme.  My young mind couldn’t comprehend that he was just like this or that I was go God awful that the beatings were warranted.

After all, my entire family suffered at his hands in some manner.

Always on this day I reflect on those who have fallen. Thinking about the wars that have been waged and that so many young men and women still to this day are subject  to the darkest and most vial side of humanity.

I asked my dad once, and only once, if he had killed anyone in the war.  Seems a silly question.  I was thirteen or fourteen at the time.  Not sure why that question slipped from my lips.

He didn’t answer.  The coldness in his eyes and the change in his demeanor told me that he had.  Whatever demons he inherited during wartime stayed with him all the days of his life there after and died with him.

And I will never know if he was like that because of war.

Many men came home and were able, to some degree, to put it behind them and carry on to become loving husbands and fathers.

I hope that we will one day learn to resolve our issues without the use of force or weapons.  Perhaps if we could just understand that we do not own this planet. We never will.  We simply inhabit it, as millions of other life forms do, and we have a responsibility to respect and preserve this home of ours.

Fighting over land, resources, technology, etc. that are being pillaged at a disgusting rate seems barbaric at times.  Yet our appetite and consumption of these resources seems to fuel this ideology.  We have the technology to create clean energy and develop a sustainable resource base.

Many of you are just as aware of this as I am so I won’t dwell on this topic today.

I just hope that there will come a time when we can learn the lessons from the sacrifice of the fallen and live in peace.

They fought for freedom, for choice, for democracy, for a life full of possibilities.

I will not forget.  And I will try to honour their sacrifice by living my life with open and loving heart.


A Time to Give Thanks

This weekend Canadians will celebrate Thanksgiving and I, for one, have so much to be thankful for.  I am very much alive and on so many levels.  At lunch I usually go for a walk.  Stretch the legs and enjoy the beauty around me.  A few blocks down someone put a chalk board along with the chalk out front for their house with a question on it.

“What are you thankful for?”

I have been reading what the general public has jotted down.  People are thankful for their families, their friends, their jobs.  My response is that I am thankful for the gift of life.  There is an urgency now to dive into its depths.  I no longer want to hold back so the push is on.

I would like to think that I will arrive with some semblance of eloquence for my life path.  Somehow though, I’ve a feeling that it will likely be an awkward entrance that will later smooth over.  And that’s cool.

But I know change is coming.

As each day passes I become stronger.  I have a plan, sort of, for the year ahead and how it will look.  Again, sort of.  Its more of what I want to have happen and where I want to see myself in terms of expansion.  Stay tuned!

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who’ve followed my ramblings.  There is still a boat load of information I need to learn about this blogging thing.  Did I perhaps have my Field of Dreams moment in that someone whispered in my ear,

“If you write it they will come!”  Not really.

Hmmm.  Well so far 237 of you have joined my journey.  Then I have my Facebook family that checks in along with a few Tweeters…yes, I am still not very good at that.  And  a big thank you to all of you!

It has been pointed out to me that as I close in on two years of maintaining this blog that my numbers are actually low and I should be looking into the marketing aspect of all this.  But you know the reason I began this blog was to practice the art of writing.  And I do believe I have become a better wordsmith as a result of this exercise.  This forum has given me the opportunity to express myself.  It really is just that simple.

Those of you who have followed for a while will know that I will discuss anything that just happens to be on mind.  And I suppose that is the beauty of this thing.  I enjoy reading a variety of other blogs as well.  Some are very topical in nature.  I think I tried that for a time but got a little scattered, though the underlying theme to this blog has been health and wellness.

I know that as I prepare to launch my first book I need to polish up my marketing skills.  It is an interesting study actually.  And I guess if I am going to make mistakes, might as well be with a memoir that is self-published.

I am looking forward to this process.  And, for the record, the one thing I will NEVER say  is ‘buy my book.’

I believe anyone who publishes wants their product to do well.  Stands to reason, does it not?  At the moment I am looking at who my target audience should be.  Writing a memoir based on being raised in an abusive home and the effects of that is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  There are some extremely dark moments in the book.  So I will continue to do my research and try to make it available in a manner that has a quiet dignity to it.

I just want to be able to let the reading public know ‘I’m here.’

In any case, best I get some work done.  To all of you have a fabulous weekend and thank you for sharing in this journey with me.






Rolling, rolling, rolling…hear that Thunder Rolling!

What I light show last evening!  For well over an hour the skies over the Greater Vancouver area lit up.  I love watching storms.  I was driving over to James’ office last night to work on his books when the first flash of lightening streaked across the sky directly in my line of vision causing me to be a wee bit blinded for the moment.

Then the crack of thunder rumbled angrily above. The clouds became even more ominous in colour.  They now had that deep grey and greenish hue to them.  With the next flash of lightening and crash of thunder the skies opened up and the rain came down in a torrent.  Roads were quickly turning into rivers from the deluge.

As I made my way home a few hours later the majority of the storm had passed.  They move so swiftly, don’t they?  The torrential rain remained thought it was strange as I would pass through a cell that required my windshield wipers to be on triple speed then the next moment hardly anything and a 1/2 mile later it was back to sheets of rain.

Left in its wake was a sky that seemed to be on fire.  It held a smoldering red hue to it.  Man, it was so beautiful!

This had been a good week.  My energy levels are increasing and I am sleeping much better.  I have made it to the gym all week.  The routine is starting to settle back into place.  We’ve been experimenting with new recipes at home and are coming up with some keepers. Last night was a quinoa, vegetable (red cabbage, carrot, kale, onion stir-fried) and baked salmon mix with a little peanut sauce tossed in to spice it up.   Exceptionally tasty.

I am scheduled for my second round of chemo on Tuesday.  These past few weeks have been surprisingly good.  Other than the bottom of my feet still feeling slightly numb I’ve had no other ill effects so I hope my body will continue to respond in this manner.

My hair has begun to come out.  The last few days quite a bit has come out.  It is a strange thing. I began to style it the other day.  I have fine hair but I have a lot of it.  So picked up the back portion and started to tease it gently as I always do to give my hair a little volume.  A moment later most of the hair was now detached and embedded in my brush and I was holding just a few strands.

As I finished up this morning it looked as though I have had my hair cut a little shorter.  It looks fine but I am now carrying the wig with me.  You never know…I may walk out and wind my come up and just blow my remain locks away.  It doesn’t hurt at all though my scalp has had a mild ache to it the past few days…a subtle headache?

Last night on the drive home I had a moment of very strong emotion sweep over me.  Just for a second the tears pushed at the back of my eyes then retreated.  None fell.  A few nights ago I stopped by The Right Shoe where my running clinic operates from  I just wanted to say ‘hi’ to a few people and let Lara know that it would be a few more months before I could get back to running again.

When I left the store, I did cry. I miss it.  I miss it a lot. It is amazing how much running has become such a vital part of my life.  I am caring for my feet though.  Keeping them warm and putting lotion on and rubbing them daily.

Next week I will likely shave my head.  The thing is when it starts to come out it just gets messy.  It is all over the floor, the sink, on my sofa, my pillow.  You get the idea.  I don’t look like a zombie just yet and plan on taking the razor to it before I get to that point.

I may go get my passport photo done this weekend though.  We can now renew for 10 years and I don’t know that I want a picture where I have the wig on.

This weekend I am participating in a 5 KM walk for the BC SPCA which is raising funds for animals in need.  Gotta take care of our furry friends.

Have a fabulous day everyone and thanks again for stopping by.


Bad Experiences…A Funny Story

The drive into the gym this morning was nothing short of spectacular!  A ribbon of fog played down at the bottom of the hill on Canada Way and as I descended into it, I felt like I was entering a magical realm.  Just very briefly I was in this space that was so confined.  Even the tops of the trees were no longer shrouded in the fog’s tendrils.  I wondered if I was perhaps moving through to another dimension.  (Queue the music)

And having this magnificent blue sky with brush strokes of white tossed carelessly across it, I watched as the crows made their way along the cut into the downtown core.  My workout felt good and I even had a steam as well.  I am not going to feel weighted down for long.  I got to thinking how my spirit feels so light and breezy yet the physical self,  particularly in my mid-section, has the sensation of extreme heaviness.  Soon this will be gone.

The mind then wandered into a bit of a void.  I got to work and made my breakfast and opened the office.  Wanna build a building?  Come see me.  Have I got a deal for you!

I read my emails and one of the blogs posts I follow talked of bad teeth.  But then she had the audacity to gloat about her beautiful hair.  Well, my bliss ended then.  A swift reminder that my hair is sadly lacking.  Sonya…how could you?  (Sniff!  Sniff!)

Of course I jest, but if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you might well have heard me moan and complain about my mop (aka hair).

I then got to thinking about food. I don’t know why.  Perhaps because I was eating my fruit salad.  I was turned off of regular oranges for a while (except for Japanese mandarins at Christmas time).  There had been a stretch several years ago where the oranges were almost as dry as the Sahara inside and sour.  Oye!  Felt like I was sucking on lemons, which would likely have been preferable.

I then thought about Feta cheese.  For a very long time I would not eat it. If it was in a heated meal I didn’t mind it so much but never on a salad.  I had a bad experience with Feta.  My taste buds were new to the world and they happened upon ‘a cheap batch’ of the stuff.  That was that.  I was turned off of it.  Recently though I have given it another chance and I like it.

I could sit here all day telling you of the bad experiences I have had with food.  Now it is all about second chances and trying things again.  Of course, if we have a bad experience with anything we tend to shy away from it.  Somethings warrant staying away from.  Take  skunks for example.

Back when I was taking my accounting program, I delivered newspapers at night for a little extra cash for my daughter and I to get by on.  One evening I ran up to a house that was set back from the curb.  I saw the flash of white and had no time to get out of the way.  I got skunked!  Now their spray can shoot out as much as 25 feet.  I was about 8 feet from the little darling so he got me good.

I covered my car seat with a newspaper and rolled down the windows.  The only way to neutralize the fragrance is with tomato juice.  I walked into the 7-Eleven that morning like Pepe Le Pew.  The poor store clerk wrinkled her nose in disgust as I got a coffee and a big ass can of tomato juice.  When I got home I filled the tub with lukewarm water then poured the contents of the can into the tub.  Ah!  This was followed by a shower.

The point of this is to stay away from skunks.  They don’t want to be bothered so I won’t trouble them.  We have a lot of skunks in the city and I could likely tell you a tale or two more but then I would be straying so far off topic.

I am discussing bad experiences and their effect on us.  Important stuff, yes?  Think about it.  Is it any wonder so many of us have hangups about sex?  Typically we enter into this without having a clue what we’re doing and with no real knowledge of our own body, let alone someone else’s.  When I went to school,  sex ed consisted of a diagram of the penis in the vagina.  We were then informed that’s where babies came from.  They used more of a formal manner in explaining this.  Something like, “Intercourse can be defined when the male inserts his penis into the vaginal opening of the female. When copulation is complete the female may become pregnant.  The gestation period is nine months.”  Romantic, huh?

I know, I know.  Somehow we muddle through, battle scars and all.

I pondered the idea of having kemo, which would leave me bald…and well, I’ll take the mop over that prospect any day. But if I did have to be bald for a while, I would like to be a cone head.  That would be too much fun to walk around like some out-of-this-world being.

Have a fun day people.



Emotional Fortitude

Keeping my emotions in check has been interesting.  While I have valid reasons for suddenly feeling completely freaked out and begin see the panic rise, I fight it down and contain it.  Case in point.  A miniscule mole on the side of my thigh seems to be getting darker.  Now up until the weekend I was not even aware that I had a mole there…it’s that small.  As of late, however, I’ve been paying extremely close attention to this vessel of mine.  I will call the BC Cancer Agency to inquire if this is a major concern.  And the thing of it is it looks much darker here at work than it does at home.  Go figure.  Perhaps its the lighting.  I don’t know.

Does it mean something sinister?  Is this thing spreading?

The emotional component to all of this is taxing.  I have mini-wars with myself on a daily basis.  I want answers.  But then don’t we all?  More than anything I want to be part of the solution to solving the riddle around cancer.

We all have the genetic potential to have cancer.  So what causes it to mutate in some and not others?

I have known of people who smoked and drank and lived an altogether unhealthy lifestyle who have lived to a ripe old age.

I also know of people living extremely healthy lifestyles who end up developing cancer.  Doesn’t make sense, does it?   This thing doesn’t pick and choose.  Whatever the trigger is once it’s pulled, it then becomes a dance of sorts.

I have just over two weeks before my surgery and I am feeling so incredibly anxious. I want this thing in me gone.  These moments of panic, of fear, of reckoning…

I want to feel healthy and fit, happy and alive.

Always, regardless of my weight, I have been a strong woman.  Now I feel as though that is challenged as well.  It’s not letting the emotions run away on me.  Of keeping them contained.  Reassurance that all will be well is at times followed by what if it’s not.

I commented to a friend on the weekend that this year seemingly has just flown by yet these weeks have suddenly begun to drag out…painful so.  I ask myself if what I am currently experiencing was evident prior to diagnosis and I honestly cannot say.

Once those words were spoken I shifted so dramatically.  Now it is simply a matter of maintaining the emotional fortitude to get through to the surgery date.  I just feel as if something should be done other than waiting.  I have no doubt that everyone in my position feels like this.

I don’t like feeling anxious.  In fact it is something I’ve worked and focused on the past few years.

I close my eyes and breathe.  Feel the oxygen move through my body and tamper down the swell of emotions that threaten to engulf me.  The storm continues around me.  The trick is to stay in the eye of it as this too will pass.  A prayer, a whisper and hope infuse the desperate heart that beats rapidly during these moments.

I will be fine.

Visual Effects….Taken at Deer Lake Park, Burnaby

???????? I was out on a Photowalk today.  I haven’t been spending much time with my camera these days.  My fellow shutterbugs decided to meet-up at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, which is about 15 minutes from Vancouver proper.  We could not have asked for better weather.  This first shot shows a duck in the reeds but I liked that I caught the distant buildings in the water’s reflection.

 ?????????????? This old stump reminded me of an ancient warrior of old.  The helmet and body armour now weathered and decayed.

??????????????????We came upon several heron nests.  There was probably about 30 nests in about five or six trees.  They are a very community oriented bird.  These two sleuths were sitting up there spying on all of us.  The focus isn’t great but I love the picture.

????????????????????????This one is just so cool with the lighting.  My exposure was a little wonky.  It typically is, but I really liked the effect.

?????????????????? How can you not love a face like this?  Too cute.

?????????This erstwhile goose seemed to be having a spiritual moment.  He was gazing up into the sky so thoughtfully as though making a wish.

?????????Spring has arrived.  Home renos anyone?