It’s Been a Week…


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I wrote a post on March 17, 2015, St. Patrick’s Day.  It is still in draft and will likely be disposed of as it sounded a little too much like a whine-fest!

Now like everyone on this planet…I confess that I bitch and complain about any number of things.  But at this moment I’m feeling determined.

A week ago the hot water kicked out in twelve units in our building, mine being among them.

The plumber was in my suite today and you guessed it, still no hot water.

I am fortunate that there are shower facilities at my workplace.  I can and usually do come up with a back-up plan when it’s necessary.  Hell, my hair actually looked half ways decent today considering I’ve been drying it without benefit of a mirror.

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All kidding aside, tonight as I stepped into my apartment and turned on the taps expectantly, my hopes were quickly dashed.  Still no hot water.

I spoke with Kathy the strata council president then called a plumbing company that had been recommended.

Next I drafted a letter to our property manager.

I want this corrected once and for all as I’m certain that everyone in the building does.  Re-piping a building will cost money and a lot of it.

Still, buying a condo is an investment like any other.  We knew this was an issue having had a depreciation report completed a few years back.  The purpose of the report was to begin to set up an adequate contingency fund to oversee the maintenance and repair of the major projects that should be done over the next few years.

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Last Saturday we ran out of time on the one most expensive project being the re-piping of the building.

I’m feeling rather agitated as the powers that be are dragging their heels.

Politics!

Our annual AGM is scheduled for April 27, 2015.  It was suggested that this problem of twelve suites without hot water could wait until such time as it could be discussed by everyone.

Seriously?!

Over a month?

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There are 47 units in my building so 35 are still blessed with hot water. I don’t understand the why’s or wherefores of such things. What I do know is that we need to remedy this, and we need to do this now.

Patch jobs end up being far more costly at the end of the day.

I’m not on council, though I’ve been invited.  I’ve so many other things on the go that committing time to this is just not feasible.  Still, when something requires my attention and assistance then yes, I’m in 100%.

Once the letter is sent, I wonder, will I be ignored?  This property management company hasn’t exactly been very responsive as of late.

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The pit bull in me is coming out. We need to have the building re-piped.  Let’s get on with it.  Let’s get quotes and references and of course do due diligence and check out those references.  Ask pertinent questions and make no apology.  Then go to the bank and with our finances in order and tell them this is what we need. .

At this point we go the rest of the  tenants and tell them. This is what we need to do and this is what it will cost us.

My suite is one of the biggest in the complex.  I’m having to pony up more than most. In my mind it is the cost of owning.  Sometimes shit happens.

We knew this was an issue, hence the special assessment.  We need to do the same $96,000 commitment that we did last year.  The bank will be encouraged by this.

It’s been a week though.

I’m a little numb.  Much to do and I am but one person.   I’m trying to focus on a several things. And I’ll get them all done.

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But tonight as I finished up my conversations and completed the rough draft of the letter I’m going send to the property manager, tears stung the back of my eyes.

I’m not someone who will bitch about falling out of bed at 5:45 AM to go to work to shower and prepare for the day,

In fact, I feel blessed that I have this option.

I switched phone services for my sister and myself last Sunday and it’s been a week of discovering what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve been hell bent at work to prepare an adequate budget.  This gets a check mark.

I finally got the all the journal entries put in to close the year.  Now I just have to close it.

I am looking forward to a year of bank reconciliations.

I’ve got an office to set up and a filing system to implement.

It’s in my head.

I know it will work.

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I finished up and headed over to by worked over by Physio John.

I’ve improved incredibly.

Then why I wondered did I just feel like a piece of shit?

I’ve written a book and all those that I know that have been kind enough to purchase a copy have said nothing.

Have they read it?  What was their opinion?

I’m interested.   And I know, more than anyone how tough it will be for those who do know me to read this.

Yet I’m feeling so incredibly emotional currently and it might well be attributed any number of events that have occurred as of late.

I’m not superhuman.  While my mind is buzzing along at light speed yet my physical self is crashing and screaming.  Then the optimist kicks in.

“You’ll be just fine.”

Who am I trying to convince?”

The physical inabilities are weighing heavy.  Now there’s a pun if I ever heard one.

I’ll manage.  I always do. Whatever these inconsistencies are, I get through.

Right now I’m pushing into warrior mode.  I’m tired of the politics.  They show up on every level.  It is this procrastination that has in fact cost us big time.

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For example, Translink wants more money.  In my mind they need to prove they can manage these funds.  To date, not so much.  The whole Compass program is a fiasco that still sits idle and the cost to taxpayers, well lets not go there as I’ll go for the juggler in a heart beat.

I guess what perturbs me more than anything is that residents will come to the meeting regarding the issues and insist that they shouldn’t have to pay that kind of money.

A friend of mine needs a new roof on her home.  She has been quoted that the cost will be in the $17,000 range.  Ouch!

If I have to pay $7,500 in costs for major projects over the next three years, then I can adjust my budget and do this.

And life goes on.

There are no guarantee’s, no promises.

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I can recall pulling into an Esso Gas Station some 15 odd years ago at Hastings St. & Cassiar.

A woman was standing beside her Maserati crying.

I was just finishing up my newspaper route all those years ago.

I asked her what was wrong.

She was going through a nasty divorce.  All her charge cards had been cancelled and she had no idea now how to put fuel in her car.

I smiled at her and showed her how to do this task.  At the end I told her “It will get better.  You’ll get stronger.”

Then I gave her a hug and left.

I don’t know what happened in her case but I do understand human frailty.

I’ve  been feeling this a bit too much as of late.

And I do know that life will continue on inevitably.

So I’ll wipe the tears the from eyes and get on with it.

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Anatomy of a Race


The awardI had just awarded his medal to him and offered congratulations and he gave me a hug.

I’ve seen running in a whole new light.

I had volunteered to assist in awarding the medals to the incoming runners this year. There were two shifts.  I was on the second shift and had all the marathoners that came through.

I was delighted that I was able to place Lara’s medal on her person.  She is our run leader at The Right Shoe, where I train and a huge inspiration for me personally.  Her time was 3:16:11.

Fabulous!

What surprised me was how emotional the day was.  Perhaps because I ran the BMO Vancouver 1/2 Marathon last year at this time.  Perhaps it’s because I am a runner that I connected so deeply with so many of the runners.

I had a woman approach me crying.  I put the medal over her head and congratulated her.  “Could I get a hug?” she sobbed.

I folded her in my arms and just held her while she sobbed for a good minute.  I had tears in my eyes when I released her.  She smiled and said ‘Thank you.’

And I get it.

I understand intimately the emotional connection to running.  I totally get the emotions that run through you upon completion.

This was her moment and I was fortunate enough to share in it, however briefly.

I slipped the medal over this tall fella.  He just swept me up and gave me a giant bear hug.  I laughed, congratulating him then said “Go on and take care of those muscles.  Have a nice long soak.”

“Can I take you home with me?” he grinned back.

“You really are delirious, aren’t you?” I chuckled.

“Hell yeah!” Then he slipped away.

I saw people staggering over the finish line.  Saw the pain on the runners’ faces as their muscles began to seize up.  Saw the joy and the elation.  Saw some of them collapse. Medics moved swiftly to get them into a wheelchair and care for them.  I saw people swagger on rubber legs with spent expressions on their faces.

And this triggered so many emotions in me.

A year ago I was crossing the finish line oblivious to almost everything around me.  That moment of completion and the absolute joy that ran through me as I moved along on legs that were reminiscent of Gumby.

And how many did I see today that were reduced to tears?  It was a humbling and profound to be at this end of the spectrum.

I left my wig in the car.  It was raining, a drizzly kind of day.  I got good and wet but just fed off the energy.  My face was exhausted from smiling so much.

And each time someone fell into my arms or swooped me up, I was overcome with emotion.

I know the psychological battle that ensues during the course of a long run.  Your legs will feel as if cement blocks are forming on the feet.  Every muscle will begin to scream at you in serious protest.

But the mind will insist that you carry on.  You’ll dig down deeper and deeper.  You’ll become transcendent to some degree as the world around you fades at times.  Everything hurts but you’ll maintain your posture having had this drilled into you.  In fact you may very well give the appearance that what you are doing is effortless.

It is one of the most challenging thing you’ll ever do.

And you will learn more about yourself in these moments than in any other circumstance in your life.

I truly believe this.

For three and a half hours I offered up the medals and plastic sheets for the runners to wrap themselves in.  The rain could easily rob an exhausted runner and cause even more pain for a too rapid cool down.

My admiration and respect for the runners increased as the day progressed.  For everyone who ran this day, there was a story behind it.  There was a motive, passion, a need and desire to do this thing.

And when the finish line is breached, most surrendered to the euphoria and ache that greeted them.

Some gazed at pace watches wanting to have bested a previous run.  Some uttered expletives as disappointment was etched on their face realizing they had not succeeded.

Ah yes!  The forbidding clock!

For the time we subject our bodies to the agony and ecstasy of the race the clock pushes us forward.

I needed to take a break and headed into the hotel.  More than five hours had now passed since the start of the race.  We had been incredibly busy awarding the medals but now the stream of runners had thinned out.

I only had 20 minutes left on my shift but called it a day.  I had begun my shift an hour early.

All the volunteers were getting so caught up in the moment and this just made me smile.

I was tired, cold and quite hungry.

My daughter was heading over to meet me for lunch then we were going to head back and checkout her new place.

I had a great time yesterday.

Again I have been blessed as I experienced the fragility and strength of being human and the drive to succeed.

Why do we do this?

Our reasons abound as well.

To all the runners out there, congratulations!

 

At the Finish Line Through My Eyes


Sun Run 2014

 

This is what approximately 45,000 people looks like.

Yesterday I completed my 5th Sun Run.  I didn’t go into this looking for a fantastic time.  In the next few years I will set a few goals.  I would like to come in under an hour at least once in this lifetime and this is doable.  My best time in this run was 1:03 two years back.

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Eye Candy & a Potassium rich fruit

I have been recovering and the process has been slow.  I am rebuilding.

My daughter and I had a great discussion about the psychology of running yesterday afternoon.  My girl finished the race in 58 minutes.

She’s never done a 1/2 marathon but is considering it so she asked me about my experience last year as I trained and then ran it.

I told her that if you want to find out about yourself, train for a 1/2 marathon and keep a journal.  Your goals for wanting to do it will certainly be a different when you finish the race.  I told her about the race itself, how many emotions I experienced.

At times I would have a steady pace going and I’d just be in a trance like state.  I love it when I am in the ‘zone’.  I had a knot in my calf muscle that made the run a bit more of a challenge.

There were points in the race where I seriously questioned why I was doing this thing.  At times in my delirium I was chastising and condemning all that I was doing only to follow the line of though with positive re-inforcement.

As each kilometer slipped behind me it came down to dogged determination.

The single thought ‘I can do this.  I am doing this.  I will finish this.’

Okay, maybe that’s more than one thought but that became the focus as the legs began to feel like rubber and the body emptied itself of all the fluids it ever held yet still I was ringing out ever pour and the body was parched and wanting.

The final leg of the 1/2 Marathon is along Pender Street.  The last kilometer you can see the finish line.  And man, at times it seemed elusive.  I dug down a little deeper as people called out my name ‘Go Nancy!’

And I wondered how they knew my name forgetting that it was printed on my bib.

A weird smile that may have appeared as more of grimace graced my lips.  I dug down a little deeper.

‘You’re almost there.’ I assured myself.

The last 50 metres I felt as if I was running through quick sand.  And you know the funny thing is that as soon as I crossed the finish line last year, a rush of energy infused me and I felt a rebirth.

It is a remarkable thing to experience.

This year as I approached the finish line of the Sun Run I thought of how far I’ve come in the last 5 years since I began running again.  It has changed my life, literally.  It has saved my life, literally.

Several times yesterday I moments where tears pushed forward.

When I was running across the Burrard St. bridge I was reminded of the first run with my running clinic back in February 2010.  That I continued on with the program really is remarkable to me and what I’ve learned about self is that when I make up my mind to do something….when I make that committment…you’ll be hardpressed to try and persuade me otherwise.

And five years ago I had excessive weight still on my person and yesterday I knew that I would be able to shed the pounds accumulated during treatment.

It’s time to refocus.  Time to rebuild.  Time to carry on and live.

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Comics!

Picture This…Part Two Autumn 2013


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Robson Street in early Autumn colours

Like the trees last autumn I lost all my ‘foliage’ as well.  I love this time of year.  The colours are just so vibrant.  That last call of life before the leaves descend to the ground.

We were blessed with a spectacular summer and as Autumn approached we continued to enjoy Vancouver at her finest.

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Colourful pumpkins and gourds now lined the shelves at local grocery stores.

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View of English Bay from Davie and Denman Street.  Finding funny in the bushes of the West End and one of my favorite coffee shops.  All are decked out in fall attire.

My feet were numb at this point due to the chemotherapy.  I couldn’t run.  I could walk though and made it a point to get out at lunch and take in my surroundings.  I was still trying to get into the gym periodically, but admittedly it was becoming a challenge.Deer Lake Morning Fog Oct 19 128

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Terry Fox memorial at BC Place

The courage of Terry Fox is forever remembered and held close in the hearts of many.  During this period every time I passed by his statue, and I made it a point to go by it often, I was reminded of his fight.  And somewhere in me I accepted the torch to continue the fight against cancer.

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Deer Lake Park on a misty Saturday morning

As Autumn began to fade to winter we were waking to some spectacular sunrises.  My photography group decided to head down to Deer Lake Park and catch the sunrise.  We all arrived at 6:30 AM on this Saturday morning.  There was a great deal of ice on the lake now and we never did see the sun come up though we were assured that it was somewhere beyond the mists that we found ourselves shrouded in.

We had a great time none the less.  Something about fog that holds a certain mystery to it.  I felt as though I were in another realm.

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As October came to a close I had finished up with chemo and now awaited the radiation treatment.  My photography group went to All Soul’s Night at a local cemetery.  It was a beautiful night and an absolutely spectacular event.

I was able to witness a variety of cultures coming together to honour those who have passed before us.  There was song and music played on instruments I’ve never seen before.  I gave pause many times that night considering the importance in these events.

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And I soldiered on trying to accept what was being done to my physical self.  Kept the smile firmly in place along with the wig.  I fought on, never giving the fear that crept up an audience.

Any anger that simmered beneath the surface was extinguished.  I refused to go there.

In mid-November I began radiation treatment. This was by far the most brutal experience to my person.  And as I fought through, at times I began to feel that I was slipping up a bit.  Did I need to do this?  Was it to my benefit or to my detriment?

Oddly, I don’t know the answer to this yet.

But I need to restore my energy body.  I need to surrender to a forgiving and loving heart.  There can be no room for ill will.

I made the choices that I did based on the information that was provided to me.

I hope you are enjoying the images that I shot last year.  As stated, these are some of my favorites.  I likely took about 2,000 pictures last year.  In all of them I am trying to capture just a little of the beauty and magic of this everyday life I’ve been given.

Enjoy your day. Namaste.

Reactive…Spring is Springin’ after all..


An interesting passage of time and the emotions that have accompanied it.

Realizations and reactions.

My three month cancer check-in occurred this week.

My reaction was a surprise.

Even more profound was the discovery that I really had not honoured or accepted many of the emotions that tried to surface.

“You’ve got cancer.”

For me, those were fighting words.

“Fuck you!” I screamed inside my head, “Just try to take this life from me!”

For the last nine months I’ve been in warrior mode. Don’t mess with my equilibrium as I am redefining the concept…you bastard!

Every time fear and anger reared their ugly heads, I shot them down with my ‘positive’ reinforcement.

During chemotherapy, with a needle in my arm I sat with my Rose Quartz and Jade Stone in meditation relinquistioning and reconciling the shit that was being put into my body as necessary.

And I begged for acceptance from my physical sense, my spiritual sense…

The last few months have been a big ‘Fuck you.  What were you thinking?”

Each word, feeling, condemnation being recorded for what?

I’ve a vision of where I want to go in this life.  Why do allow these foolish images to invade and distract?

I am past the cancer shit. I’ll survive. LIve a long life.

It’s not a competition.  It really isn’t.

I’ve been in this odd mindset.  I have to rectify why I feel the way I do.

Notable issues have arisen in how I respond and react.

What I’ve realized is that I might well have an awareness of my inabilities, it does not translate into the generalalities of global perception.

I am not a statistic.

I am a woman. I feel.  I hurt..  I  want.  I plead.  I beg.

This animated thing I am pouring my soul out to… I can’t say.

But we are human…we feel..we share….

I love you all.

Time for sleep.

The Surreal Mind


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Fertile.  Abstract.  Immense. Changing…always.

We are bound by constants.  Everything that we seemingly are or appear to be can be explained in some fashion or another.  Our DNA dictates our physicality but what else does it dictate?  Our soul?

We are each so similar and yet world’s apart at times.

The magic lies in the egg itself.  Each one containing a different set of variables for each and every one of us.  Ever wonder why we don’t all look the same such as our primate cousins, the erstwhile chimpanzee?

We’ve been chasing the answer to these questions from the womb.

Then we come to the mind.  It is surreal to me.  What thought is born when the neurons are ignited exciting the senses is never repeated in another individual.  Furthermore, seldom do we ever experience the same thought in a precise manner.

Even as I write this, words fight for dominance.  Ideas push forward wanting recognition as I’m  hoping the scrap of paper beholden to this task is big enough.

I think of the surreal mind as thought without borders.  Regardless of how dark, twisted or light and breezy the content, it is given credence.

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I am a fan of Surreal Art forms.  I have found myself many times at the Vancouver Art Gallery getting lost in fucked up images that send my imagination into overdrive.  I want to expel the build up that explodes in my head.  Images are stirred to counter the ones I am viewing.

Stories erupt with the images and quickly fade.  All of it is organic and based solely on the visual smorgasbord that I am feasting on.

At times the experience can border on orgasm…it is that rich for me.

I am jealous that there are those who are gifted enough to give their thought visual articulation.  I am equally in awe and appreciation to them for letting us see what’s in their mind’s eye.

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I am reduced to using words to paint with.  It will have to suffice.

Always we look for an explanation as to why we are the way we are.  While generalities exist for most conditions to stimuli, no two people will ever react exactly the same.

Be it a horrific experience or a very pleasant one inevitably there will be subtle differences in how each of us responds.

Why does someone who lives a healthy lifestyle end up dying of cancer at the age of 50 when another who has smoked and drank their entire life, lives to be 90 years of age?

The variables are astronomical.

And here I am on a magnificent day in Vancouver feeling the energy that envelopes me and God, I feel so high right now.  Why then don’t I feel this always?  Today it’s have if every molecule of my being is being re-born.

What is passing through this head of mine, well, I can’t keep up with the thoughts and images that are racing through me.

I am feeling more alive at this moment than I have in months.  Trying to absorb all that surrounds, trying to feel all that is, wanting, wanting wanting.  But what, I cannot say.

Awakening the passions, the desire, the lust, the brevity of emotions that feel so full to bursting right now.

The mind cascading with so many abstract and random ideas.  I’m trying to hang on to them but they are quickly replaced by another.

I close my eyes and feel the sun play against the lids.  There is so much beauty surrounding me in this moment.  I am overwhelmed.  All I can do is remain open to this energy that is flooding me.

The surreal mind.  I just want to let everything that I am feeling at this moment run amok.  Spellbound, star struck, memorized, bedazzled….

I am all those.  And I will hang onto this moment with my typical tenacity.  Eventually I’ll have to let it go.  Not just yet.

It’s never too late.  Never give up.  Fight for it. Live it. Breathe it.

And if you feel that you’re living in a cardboard world just find the spark, the flame, the passion.  Run with it.  If this is your truth, your love, your path…you’ll know it.

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Mine is there before me.  Time to turn what’s in my head into life.

Namaste.

Liberated


I had a good weekend.  A busy one…a socially inclined one.  Dinner with a friend on Friday night.  Yoga class on Saturday; then my daughter and I hopped on the sky train and headed downtown for dinner.  Later we wandered the streets of downtown Vancouver and checked out a few new stores.  The new Victoria’s Secret store is really over the top.  Bras and underwear for as far as the eye can see along with sports wear, casual wear, sleep wear and fragrances, cosmetics, etc., etc., etc.

Sunday I joined a friend of mine with her daughter and several of her friends for the BC SPCA Paws for a Cause.  It is a 5 KM walk to raise funds for our furry friends.  I enjoyed the day immensely.

Tomorrow will be round two of chemotherapy.

I met with the doctor today to review the first three weeks.  My blood work today was in great shape.  The doctor is going to drop the dosage by 10% due to the numbness in my feet.  We discussed chemo and weight gain and it is apparently another common ‘side-effect’ due to the fact that steroids are in there somewhere.  I don’t know.

I will have to be very diligent with food choices over the next six weeks.

Last week my hair started to come out.  A casualty that I knew was coming. Saturday found my bathtub littered with hair as I showered.   I thought it would take longer but once it begins to come out, it simply escalates.  My daughter’s boyfriend came by yesterday and dropped off his electric razor.

Tonight we retired to the bathroom, draped it in sheets and did the deed.  Thinking about shaving my head today I experienced several emotions in anticipation of this event.  I thought of the rather ambiguous relationship that I’ve had with my hair.

I would try for a nanosecond to style my hair.  Truth be told, I really never knew what to do with it.  So I complained, pouted and boo-hooed about my locks.  If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll have read posts where I ranted shamelessly about the inability of my hair to look fabulous and my inability to make so.

Kristen moved the razor gently over my head and we laughed as I received my very first fade.  I had thought I would be far more shocked by my appearance.  I wasn’t.  In fact, it feels strangely liberating.

I have been working on letting go of ego for a while now.  Tonight I feel humbled by it. Despite the oddity of it, I am still very much woman.  It is interesting to me how much emphasis I have put on my appearance over the years to feel feminine.  Believing for so long that I had to look a certain way in order to be acceptable and never feeling that I measured up anyway.

I always felt lacking.  And as I have discovered, it really had nothing to do with my appearance and everything to do with my confidence and belief in self. I will do a photo shoot on the weekend and yes, I will post one of them.

I am fortunate.  I know this.  The life force is so strong in me.  My hair will grow back.  I’ll take the weight that has crept back off again.  I’ll run again.  These passions that run through me will continue.

But I will take this time to appreciate how remarkable the body is.  How resilient.  And I will care for this vessel of mine with a great deal more attention.  And I have been blessed in so many ways.  That I can look in the mirror at this funny woman with a bald head and big ears with eyes that see only the beauty of the spirit that smiles back.  I say the words ‘I love you’ to the reflection and know it to be true.

Fifteen years ago or so, when first I uttered those words to the mirror, they were not sincere.  I’d been told by a psychologist to do this everyday.  I thought it quite a stupid exercise.  Yet I did it.  Everyday, month after month, year after year.

Somewhere around eight years ago, an odd thing happened.  I made the statement to the mirror as I was brushing my teeth.  I finished up and looking back at my reflection.  Something in my eyes…something vulnerable…something sincere….something beautiful…

And I burst into tears.  I glimpsed a bit of my true self that day and I have never looked back.

I will head off to bed now.  Rest up for the task at hand on the morrow.

Sweet dreams.

Thanks again for stopping by.