2007-12-31

Just one more post

I can't end my first year of blogging on an odd number. So, here is post #40! Yeah, an exciting number isn't it? Well, the post may not be any more exciting.

My cousin Leah of The Goat's Lunch Pail, is to blame for my becoming aware of blogging. She inspired me (all unknowingly of course) to try it myself. I very quietly started on another blog site and whined and bitched. Once I got that out of my system and wrote a post that I thought would be worthy of sharing, I told my sister (she has managed 61 in less time than I). She in turn told cousin Leah. By this time I was getting very frustrated with the other site, so thought I might like to try it over here where other people might actually find me.

Lo and behold they did! They even seem to like what I write sometimes.

So, to all of my new found blog friends I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year! I will leave you with something to laugh at.



Kai - My Standard Poodle




Sibu wondering what Kai is guarding.



Kalon, a friends Siamese with Sibu at about two years.


Shadow, braver than Sibu, getting the bone in an unguarded moment.


Good Afternoon!

2007-12-29

Time speeds up

Or at least it seems to. We have all at some point in our lives noticed the phenomenon of this. After all, wasn't it just last month we were celebrating spring, how can it be New Years already? Well, maybe not spring, but you get the picture.

Remember as children, the year seemed to stretch forever, summer especially? You could hardly remember everything you did in the past year, you were able to do so much more than you can now.

You managed to get in skating and making snow forts having snow ball fights, making snow angels, then before you were tired of that, you got to see the snow melt away. Then you were anxiously awaiting clear roads so you could get your bike out and the freedom that gave you. You explored the trees across the road, down by the reservoir where you waited for the pussy willows to show up and looked for wild crocuses in the field.

Then there came summer! Wow, you could spend hours in the cool shade of the trees by the water, finding driftwood and the odd bottle or bottle cap. You could walk over to the swimming pool, the reservoir was dangerous, you didn't swim there because a neighbourhood child drowned there. If you didn't feel like either of those, the schoolyard was a couple blocks away and they had jungle gyms and monkey bars! The real ones, not these mamby pamby things kids play on nowadays! Nothing but good hard packed dirt if you fell! And boy was it hard!

If you had a quarter, you could walk to the corner store which was on the other side of the school yards and get a pop, then take the bottle back and with the refund and the change left over from the pop, you could buy candy.

At some point over the summer, the Wally Byam Caravan would pull into town and take over the two schoolyards! I don't know if I spelled the name correctly, I think so. It was a group of campers that traveled together and they would set up for a few days each summer and then be gone! They were mostly from the U.S. but I think there were a few from Canada as well. My Sister and I (as shy as we were) would go and look at all the different trailers and license plates from all the different states. We would marvel over the Airstreams, they were so shiny and pretty and we would even meet some people.

There was so much to do in summer, you looked for garter snakes in the field, we even found one once and where one had shed it's skin. You had to look for those stink bombs too! Sing silly songs and learn to call seagulls, make squeaky noises with the long grass and try to learn to whistle with your fingers.

Then the days would get shorter and colder and mom would take us shopping for school clothes and we would start school. You would help make your costume for hallow e'en and run around getting candy, quite often in snow, certainly in the cold. Then you would start in on making snow angles and forts and having snow ball fights. Help with decorating the house for Christmas and shopping and baking and getting out of the way for Mom and Dads big party! The party was held between Christmas and New Years and involved all the musicians Mom & Dad knew. My sister covered the party in more detail in her blog over at Bag Lady's Blather.

That was what a year used to be like, now it is more like:

Winter, grumble, grumble, hate cold.
Spring finally! Damn more snow! Start seeds, plant seeds.
Water plants, deadhead flowers, wish you had a house again.
Oh, was that summer, put away the outdoor furniture.
Winter, ugg Christmas crowds! I'm not ready! It is New Years!


So, how fast does the year change for you?

Happy New Year everyone, I hope it is all you want it to be and more.

Good Morning.

2007-12-25

Yeah! Leah's at home!

That's right folks - Leah (The Goat's Lunch Pail) is back at home as of last night! I only just read the email, so my apologies for not posting sooner.

She informs me that as soon as she has caught up on the blogs, she will be posting herself. Probably within a couple of days.

Merry Holidays all!

2007-12-23

Leah update

Hello all! I just got back from the hospital. Leah looks much better, and wants to go home! They stuck the camera down her throat to do the test and the next thing she knew she was back in her room. It sounds like they did not flat line her, but gave her a jolt anyway, which got everything back into rhythm.

They are keeping her over the weekend, as I think I already mentioned, to do a MRI on Monday. One of her nurses today indicated that tomorrow will be soooo busy, trying to squeeze 3 days worth of patients in on one day, that it may not happen until Thursday! He was going to check and make sure she was on the appointment list, not the wait list and let her know. He hadn't found out by the time I left, so we are all just to will hers to be the first MRI of the day, so that the results come back early and then she can get on home!

She thinks the MRI, is so they will have a base line, if this ever happens again and to see if it will tell them anymore about why this happened.

She has had lots of visitors bringing food so that she doesn't have to eat the hospital cardboard mystery meat, overcooked veggies & weak broth etc. and is very happy to hear the well wishes from all of you great bloggers.

I know she is looking forward to telling her tale herself (and will be much better at it than I) so I will leave it at that.

Thank you all for your good wishes for Leah and here's hoping you all have a healthy Merry Holiday!

Christmas Trees Past & Present






This first tree is what we did this year at my friends house. Minimal decorations, coloured lights, of course the angel and lots of tinsel!


















This is what the trees at her house usually look like. Minimal tinsel, coloured lights, lots of decorations, garland and of course and angel (this is from a few years ago).















This was my house about '96 I think, artificial tree, I always have a Star and it looks like this year I did a white theme.














This was my favorite tree, probably '97, I changed all the bulbs to red (what a pain) and made angels out of mom's old hankies, ribbon and small styrofoam balls. Filled in with a few other white decorations and beads and then used tons of baby's breath instead of tinsel.











Sorry for the quality of photos, I have never had anything but point & shoot cameras. You should be able to click and see them better than against this background though.

Well, I am off to visit Leah, I ran out of time yesterday, so I will post again tonight on how she is doing.

Merry Holidays to all.

2007-12-21

Won't be home for Christmas


By the looks of things, cousin Leah (of the Goat's Lunch Pail), will still be hospital Christmas day. That sucks big time! The Doctors want an MRI before they let her leave but it can't be done until after the weekend for some reason. Sure, do it on Christmas instead of the weekend!

I visited today, but she had not yet had her procedure done, it had been rescheduled for 2.00 p.m., so it was a short visit. I filled her in on blog-land and all the kind thoughts and wishes coming her way. She is so happy to get them and misses blogging very much.

When I got back home later in the afternoon, her husband had called and left a message telling me that everything had gone well. He was on his way to their home to pick up a few necessities of life and will be back in the morning.

Of course my ever-so-important job is weekends, but, I will still try to stop by and she how she is doing. I will of course keep you all informed as to progress. They moved her from a private to a semi-private last night, so I have to be more careful using my phone to access the web.

Good Evening All!

2007-12-20

Update on Cousin Leah


I just spent the afternoon today with Leah (The Goat's Lunch Pail). She is in good spirits and can't wait for her reboot. The Doctors still don't know why this happened, but she is breathing more normally now and so feels better. The top two areas of her heart are in arrhythmia and not pumping as they should be, but the bottom two are doing just fine. She has a test in the morning and if it is good they will try to reboot her, by flat lining her, then shocking her hopefully resetting her heart to have all four areas in a normal rhythm.

If all goes well, she should be back home by Saturday and will take great pleasure in posting all about the procedures and showing photos. I will be dropping by the hospital again tomorrow, so any more good wishes will be passed along then.

I read all of the good wishes posted on the various sites and she was very glad to receive them and can't wait to get back to blogging. She was going into withdrawal, so it is a good thing I got that new phone. And it has a camera!

Good evening all.

2007-12-19

Decorating - the post I meant to write

Decorating at our house has never occurred before the 15th of December. That is my Sister's birthday and being so close to Christmas it wasn't right to be decorated for the holidays while celebrating her birthday.

My urban family also doesn't decorate early, the Sunday before Christmas, or as in this year, the Sunday before that. EJ, would have a decorating party, inviting Aunts, friends and family to come and decorate and have supper and it was a lot of fun. Over the years, however, the parties have shrunk, through deaths and disagreements. These things happen.

This year so much has changed in everyones lives and the tree we picked out was not what we usually get, we decided to change things up a bit as far as decorating too.

This was the first year that we had picked up a tree that was wrapped, very nervous we were, as sometimes the trees don't look very good once they are unwrapped. (Sorry stuck a little Yoda in there!) The University of Alberta Forestry Programme has a tree lot, which is where we got the tree, the Forestry student told us it was a Douglas Fir. Douglas Firs have short needles and widely spaced branches for good ornament placement. When the tree arrived at EJ's house and the wrapping was cut off, they discovered it was in fact a Balsam Fir (the tag said so), it has short needles, but it is so full of branches that they are not really good for ornaments. And they are very pitchy trees - I don't think that is a word, but, I have never been so covered in pitch from putting up tree lights. (new LED lights this year)

So, this beautiful tree, is much fuller than normal meaning we need to find a new placement for it. Much discussion later, we rearrange furniture and place the tree, have supper, get the lights on and the Angel and by this time it is time for me to go home. I went back on Monday and we put on a few decorations and started the tinsel/icicle stuff and I will be going back today to finish the tinsel/icicle stuff.

This will be a very different tree from what normally gets done at her house, in fact it will be down right minimalistic. I will post a photo later if I am able and maybe some from years past for comparison.

So, do you decorate in the same manner year after year, adding new ornaments as you get them, but never changing the basic placement? Or do you mix it up every year? Do you have a theme tree that you change every few years? Real or artificial trees?

2007-12-17

Decorating


We have all discussed how awful it is that the retailers start decorating for the holidays the day after Halloween these days. So I won't go there. I find it equally silly that people decorate their houses in November as well. In the frozen north, yes, put up the lights when it is warm, but for heavens sake, you don't need to put out your lawn decorations yet! You certainly don't need to turn the lights ON until December at least. Well, it is your power bill I realize that, but it also pulls on the power grid. Making power for you to turn your lights on earlier, puts more pollutants into the air here in Alberta, in other provinces, it means using more water through the dams or putting more uranium into the nuclear plant. This goes for the whole world actually.

Alberta's Premier this year decided to not turn on the lights at the Legislature until 7.00 p.m. in an effort to reduce power usage. Last year, they changed all the lights over to LED to also save on electricity. I think this is a good effort to
show the population that you can still enjoy the season, but also show a little restraint. Of course, I am not sure how much of a dent it will really make in the power grid at this time of year, but someone has to lead the way.

In Edmonton, the power company, years ago, started something called Bright Lights. They set up lighted Christmas displays in one of the city parks, and charge a fee that goes (mostly) to the food bank and I think the Christmas Bureau (gifts to the less fortunate). They have big companies sponsor the various displays and it is truly amazing.




There is an area in the city where the residents got carried away trying to out-decorate each other, which has morphed into "Candy Cane Lane". Once again, the power company comes out and helps them get enough power to light all the displays (without setting off the breakers in the houses or blacking out part of the city). The residents now all cooperate in this - they pay their own power bills, (one home owner on the news one year indicated that it cost about $2000.00) but they also collect food for the food bank. It is an older neighbourhood, so the streets are quite narrow (especially with snow clogging them), so when traffic got so backed up that the city had to send out traffic cops, they decided to send buses instead. Your fee - donation to the food bank. You can also park nearby and walk through, again, bring food.

Now both of these serve the greater good, but at what expense? The ideas are probably practiced elsewhere as well, but when is someone going to realize that year round rolling brown outs are not what we are aiming for?




















The pictures are from a few years ago at the Bright Lights, the top one, moves, the elves throw gifts into the stocking, there is another balloon, they alternate lighting, Santa waves, the bear pulls a fish from the water, the moose doesn't do anything and I can't remember what Aladdin does, but he moves too. There are so many more displays, that even if I had good pictures of them I wouldn't have space to display them. It is really fascinating to walk through and see them all.

This is so not what I was
going to post today, but, oh well! No I am not a grinch, I love the displays.






2007-12-15

For my Sister on her 1/2 century

Happy Birthday!
Awesome Graphics at pYzam.com

I love you and wish we were closer.

Have a good day!

2007-12-14

'Tis the Season

To be baking! Alright, I know those aren't the words, but it is true nonetheless.

Mom made the best pie crusts in the world! She often bemoaned that fact that they were too flakey and wouldn't hold together. A bit of history is required here. Mom was the seventh daughter, I am thinking, by the time she came along, there were already too many cooks in the kitchen, so she never learned to cook at her mothers knee. Before she married our Dad, she says she made sandwiches and that was about it. Our Dad, was the seventh son (is there a pattern going on here? Yes, but that is another post, or maybe one my Sister will tackle) and he did learn to cook, I am not sure it was at his mothers knee, but he taught our mom some basics and the rest she learned by trial and error.

She got a lot of her recipes directly from the back of boxes, Tenderflake pie crusts, Shortbread from the Cornstarch box, you get the idea. Over the years Mom's talent grew as did her recipe collection, not many people can follow a recipe and have it turn out so well. I know this because everyone raved about Mom's pie crusts and cookies and cakes and squares and so on. They would then take the recipe and follow it and then next time they saw Mom would ask for her secret.

The first time I lived away from home, I thought it would be nice if I could make Shortbread cookies to bring home for Christmas, so phoned and got the recipe & secrets from Mom. So, here I am merrily mixing ingredients in my barely ever used bowl, with my hardly ever used wooden spoon, when SNAP! The damned handle on my wooden spoon broke! I called Mom. What else do you do when your spoon breaks in the batter? She told me not to worry, just pick out the wood pieces and use another spoon! So, I get all the tiny splinters out and grab another spoon (I am sure that Mom started making a batch at home to serve guests, but if she did, she never told me) and proceed to mix in the second last cup of flour. SNAP! Oh shit! So, I pick out the splinters yet again and decide it it time to use my bare hands. This was in the '80's folks, artificial nails a mile long!

Well, I got the cookies made. Mom had told me that the recipe made about 4 dozen cookies. I managed to make 90 cookies - that is 7 and a half dozen. The funny thing is to me they looked the same size as the ones Mom made. The following year I snapped another spoon and made 120 cookies. The year after that for my birthday, I was given a set of nylon/plastic spoons - I don't really know what they are made from, but they don't break and I still have them. I still manage between 80 and 100 cookies from this recipe too, I can't seem to make them any bigger.

I will tell you in my next post why this year I won't be baking.

Good afternoon all.

2007-12-12

When you eat your Smarties,

Do you eat the red ones Last?
Do you suck them very slowly ,
or crunch them very fast?

I can't remember the rest of the words, but I don't really need to now do I?

For our American friends, Smarties, in Canada (and the rest of the world actually) are a candy coated milk chocolate confection similar to m&m's made by Nestle's.

I am reminding everyone of the old jingle, simply because it was posted on (yes, you guessed it) Facebook. The discussion led to some interesting results.

Several people admitted to eating the red ones last, eating the colours in the order they are found in the rainbow, having to have even numbers within the colours, counting all of them and eating those colours with the most down to where they are all even then eating them in rainbow order or some other arbitrary order. I admit that I eat the red ones first, just to be contrary.

This package, by the way, seems to have been a little colour saturated, they look more burgundy than red. No, it is not just my crappy camera.

It was quite amusing to read the responses to what is essentially just a jingle. Did the obsession come from the jingle? Or did some advertising guru observe his kids saving the red ones for last?

They all taste exactly the same. Unless apparently you are in the UK, where the orange ones use orange flavoured chocolate. Of course I am referring to the original product not the revolting Sundae Flavoured type they came out with a few years ago.

The discussion also went on to describe some interesting methods of eating the candy. Most seem to suck it slowly, some to crunch, but a fair number indicated that they let them melt enough to soften the shell, then crack it in order to let the chocolate melt too.

So, did the jingle make you into a borderline OCD personality? Do you have to eat the colours in a certain order? Do you crunch?

Good evening all.

2007-12-11

Jigsaw Puzzles

We have a tradition in our family of doing Jigsaws over the Christmas Holidays. I don't know how or when this started being the youngest, but we have done it as long as I can remember.

We have over the years tried to top each other with who can find the hardest puzzle to do as well! This has resulted in sharpening of skills and some very wicked puzzles. Some of which, due to us children living in other cities, resulted in mom being the one left to finish the harder ones alone. Dad wasn't much for doing puzzles, but he kept us fed with turkey sandwiches and desserts and would come in occasionally, usually when we were stuck and just pick up a piece and put it where it belonged. Drove us nuts most of the time.

We have done puzzles that were insane: one was solid green and round; one was called Spilled Milk, came in a milk carton, had a wavy edge and eleven extra pieces - of course, was all white. We did a puzzle that was all holographic gold - no picture. We did Hay in a Needlestack, Zebras, polar bears in snow. So many, I will stop now, you get the idea.

One Christmas, a friend of Mom & Dad's (who is not a very good sport) thought he had found a puzzle that would keep us going for days. He was rather disappointed when a couple of hours later, we came out to the living room where they were visiting, with the puzzle finished to show it off. It was one of the Hallmark ones that hold together so well, so we were able to carry it out and show them - the one with the pretty marbles.

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I have posted a puzzle here (courtesy of Jig Zone) on the bottom of my blog. Average time was just over 12 minutes, I did it in under 9 - have fun! (I couldn't get it positioned elsewhere without covering my posts.)

2007-12-05

How do you...?

...all find the hours in a day to blog and read other peoples blogs and still work?

And then exercise on top of that? Do you all have Laptops? Or do you use your cell phones to access the blogs? Can you use your cell phones that way? (Mine is very old but still works, so maybe it is time to upgrade?)

I have been covering while the boss is away, so am working full time hours. Now, this job, is really not a busy job and would be even less so if it were actually computerized properly. The boss has just talked the owner into a computer and internet, but, not into any sort of property management program that would keep track of everything. I am in the process of trying to write a database (just a mickey mouse affair) to do some of the stuff we do by hand. Yes, you read that correctly - by hand!

So, I am getting paid minimum wage to do a job that any programmer would charge $30 - $40.00/hour for. I figure it serves two purposes, I brush up my skills (which are sadly out of shape) and it looks good on a resume. Not to mention, I am doing it at my own pace, if she wants me to rush, she can pay me appropriately!

That being said, I don't have time at work to surf and read blogs and post blogs, nor do I think that is an appropriate use of my time. If I were at a job far away from where I live and stayed over the lunch hour, then I would do those things on my breaks - maybe.

So, have I totally lost my time management skills, or is there some trick I am missing that you can let me in on? Any advice would be welcome.

Good evening all.

2007-11-27

Radiation Tan - Not the look I was going for!

Following my chemo, I was sent for radiation. They really wanted to make sure I was done with the cancer and make sure I wasn't going to get it again. So,here is how it goes.

Just before my 5th chemo treatment
(out of 6), I was sent for a consult with the radiation specialist. This is where he outlined what was going to happen and the possible dangers attached to radiation. A few that stand out: it will make my bones fragile and I could break a rib just by coughing; it could also give me lung cancer; heart problems, but those are more common when breast cancer is on the left; and of course I could wind up with the ever popular frozen shoulder. Having been through the frozen shoulder twice (once for each shoulder) I was really determined to not have that happen again - particularly as my right shoulder still didn't have full mobility!

Alright, so now he has scared me enough that I am beginning to have second thoughts about this whole treatment course. Of course, I managed to wise up and use my little brain and realized that he was giving me the worst case scenario. Then I went through the whole, yes, well, the last several years of my life have been worst case scenarios - if it weren't for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all! Then I figured, well, what's the worst that could happen? I could die? I am not afraid of dying, I have no kids, I have done a lot, I could do more, but, if it is my time, so be it. Besides I felt that somehow, my luck was due to change.

The next step, was to tattoo marks on my torso so that they could position me exactly the same every time. Three little dots, very boring for a first tattoo! They ran me through the machine to make sure I wouldn't get stuck or panic or something. No, really it was to figure out the positioning needed and trajectories and other technical stuff, so that they put the radiation where it was needed.


I was then (finally) sent off to Physio Therapy. (I say finally, because I had started to have signs of Lymphoedema which will be another post.) Then I had my last chemo treatment and a wait of 5 weeks before they would start the radiation.

The wait is so that your blood has had a chance to recover from the chemo before they start bombarding you with radiation. Treatments for the radiation were every day Monday through Friday for 5 weeks, 25 in total. During this
time, I was also being wrapped for the lymphoedema every day as well.

The treatments themselves are easy, you take longer to change out of your street clothes into a gown and getting settled in the exact position than the actual treatment. Then of course, getting dressed again.

For breast cancer, you lay on your back with your arms over your head, holding on to little handles. Then the techs shift you around until they think you are in the right spot (and boy, did they get a workout shifting me). They then leave the room and the machine whirs and clicks, then it moves to the second position and whirs and clicks some more and you are done. The staff comes in to move the bed and help you get your fat body upright and you leave. Only once did they have to add a couple of seconds to the treatment and that is really all it was, they moved the machine back to the first position and dosed me again. It had been too short the first time.

I mentioned earlier that my right shoulder was still not completely mobile. Well, this position is the least comfortable position for an arm that has restricted nerves and blood flow. I had to use my left hand to pull my right arm from over
my head.


My skin is very, very fair - pasty you might say. So, I now have a perm-a-tan over my breast. Yes, just the one and under my arm too. In fact it is darker under my arm. As that area so rarely ever sees the light of day, it tanned first and of course went to burn first and peeled first. Of course, being winter, it looked like the negative of a picture of someone that had been in a bikini for the summer.


The staff told me to shower everyday, but avoid soaping the area that was being toasted and of course don't wash off the marks around my tattoos. I was to then put cornstarch on the felt marker so that it would not rub away. They renewed the felt marks everyday, so I put cornstarch into an empty spice jar and would shake some out onto the marks before I got dressed. However, I hadn't rinsed the bottle well enough, so I spent the 5 weeks of radiation smelling like
rosemary. Better than onion I suppose.


Once I started to peel (at about three weeks) they told me what kind of lotion to buy and I started to apply that daily as well. I was very lucky again, as I didn't get the oozing blisters that can happen with radiation. It was just a burn that then peeled and became a tan once all was over with. I was a bit tired during the treatment phase, but it wasn't until after I was done that the exhaustion caught up with me.


Fortunately for me, the Cross Cancer Institute has a volunteer driver program, as last year was the first time in forever that we had snow before Halloween and lots of it. This year, our snow has only just begun a couple of days ago. As an asthmatic, winter and walking do not mix, throw cancer treatments on top of that and well, lets just say, it was a wretched winter for me. Not to mention that I was cold, I couldn't seem to get enough hats and scarves to keep my head warm. Normally during winter, I can get by most days with just earmuffs, but this winter too I can't seem to keep my head warm in spite of having my hair back. Oh well, I guess I will just have hat hair all winter long!

Those are the only photos I have that show the tan and peeling without showing too much else.


Good evening.




2007-11-18

Oh, how shy I was!

It was summer. One of those days so bright the sun hurts the eyes and you can smell the dust on the streets. It might have been a Sunday as I don't remember a lot of traffic, but then again, that road was not a busy one at that time anyway.


My dad, myself and Dr. Q, the dentist that shared a waiting room with my dad, were walking down the street heading east. I think we were coming from having just looked at the new offices of another dentist in town, at least that is the only thing I can think of that would put us in that location.


What I don't remember, is why I was the only one with them. Dr. Q had five children, the oldest being about my age and I have three siblings. I very rarely went anywhere with just my dad, usually my sister would be there too. Maybe she was, memory is a funny thing.


My dad and Dr. Q were about the same height, around 6 feet even. This put their hands at eye level to me as I was walking between them, so I would have been what, less than 8 years old, probably around 6. Maybe it was because I didn't have any siblings with me, maybe it was just the extent of my shyness at the time, but, I wanted to hold dad's hand.


I couldn't look up to see which one was my dad, just in case Dr. Q saw me looking at him! I looked left, I looked right, well, the hands looked the same! I looked left, then right again. The jackets were very similar tweedy jackets! I looked again and again! At that age, I didn't pay attention to what colour or type of clothes people were wearing, I didn't notice jewellery (I made up for that later), so I was in a dither. I mustered up my courage and slipped my little hand into the big hand on my right, I was sure that one was dad's.


Imagine my horror and terror when two or three steps later, I mustered the courage to look up! It was Dr. Q! Oh no! I can't just yank my hand back, I know that that is rude and it would give me away. I am a big girl, I can behave better than that! What to do?


I slipped my left hand into dad's and made them swing me!


I didn't tell anyone about this mistake until years after the fact and we all had a good laugh. I am nowhere near that shy any more.


Good afternoon all.

2007-11-13

Fun stuff





From some of the comments, I need to put instructions on here!

W is up, S is down,
A is left, D is right.

now draw some pictures!
Sheesh!

2007-11-08

My food bank experience

My cousin Leah over at The Goats Lunch Pail has been writing about food banks. In my reply yesterday, I realized that I had enough material to make a post of my own.

A couple of years ago, I was going through a hard time and was broke enough that I had to call on the services of the food bank here in Edmonton. I called the food bank and was told where and when I could pick up my food and was told that if I refused anything they gave me, I would not be allowed to access the food bank again for three months. Okay, I get that beggars can't be choosers.

I informed the person on the phone that I had food allergies and what they were and could they not include things I was allergic to. She said they would do their best, but, they were very busy and she couldn't guarantee anything. Fine, I get that. Will there be flour? Well, sometimes we get flour, but, we don't know.

Now, as long as I have flour, powdered milk & oil, I can make bread (well yeast & baking powder & sugar, but you get the idea). I can live on pasta and peanut butter sandwiches - I have done it. All I needed was the flour, to make bread, I had everything else still. It is amazing how much you can do on a bread and water diet, but, that is not the point of this post.

So, I make my way to the pick up point and it's a good thing I had a friend drive me, because they gave me so much food, I would never have been able to carry it on the bus. In fact, it took the two of us to carry it all and he was not a weak man. there was enough food there that it would have lasted me a good three months! I was astounded.

Of course, when we were bagging the food, I did notice that there was a lot there I could not eat. I didn't realize the extent of it until I got home. They had managed to give me everything on my food allergies list! There were four or five huge green peppers, even if I were not allergic to them, they would not have lasted long enough for one person to eat. What a waste. There were cans of foods preserved with MSG, mushroom soup, pasta & sauce packages with MSG - none of which I can eat. Now, remember I said I couldn't give any of this back, or I would not be able to use the food bank. I hate to see food go to waste, so, I gave all the things I was allergic to to the friend that drove me and in turn, they gave me stuff I could eat that were staples and would last longer than a few days.

Included in the stuff from the food bank were boxes of cookies, yeah, great nutritional value there and gum, not just one package, but a whole sleeve, five packages of Juicy Fruit! They had bagged salad that was to expire the next day and a whole head of cauliflower that looked like it was ready to expire as well. The cereal box was damaged outside, but, the bag inside kept it dry. They did have tins of tuna and a jar of no-name peanut butter, but that was the only protein that wasn't loaded with MSG. I think there was some fruit, like grapes, but it was awhile ago, so I don't exactly remember everything they gave me. They did manage to give me two cups each of flour, powdered milk and minute rice. These had all been bagged by their staff from larger bags. It kind of creeps me out, I know in my head that they would have followed proper procedures and been gloved and whatnot, but still, these are volunteers.

Needless to say, I was rather disappointed over all. One would think for a food bank that has been around as long as this one has, that they would have been able to avoid at least one of my allergies. My allergies are thankfully mild, others could have fatal reactions.

The fact that there were no staples is in part due I suppose to not having any donated, but as Leah points out in her post, do people even know what to do with these things anymore. The bean/lentil/chickpea mix I was given was canned (with MSG), but, even so, would most people even consider this to be a meal? I wonder if the bulk staples (like dried beans) that are donated wind up at the many soup kitchens, I certainly hope so, because there maybe someone knows what to do with them.

Good Afternoon all.

2007-11-06

My sister

My sister has at various times in my life, driven my crazy, been my shoulder to cry on, fed me worms, tried to mother me, led me astray, gotten me into trouble, gotten me out of trouble, exposed my secrets, kept my secrets. In short she has been my sister.

She is 21 months older than I am. I was mom's largest baby (9 lbs - 22" long or something), so, by the time I was walking, I was pretty much the same size as Sis. Mom made a lot of our clothes and to be cost effective, they were made from the same bolt of cloth and the same pattern, or sometimes we would get different colours of the same material. We were both blonde, with ringlets that mom would have painstakingly formed into our freshly washed hair. In short, people sometimes thought we were twins.

An aside about the ringlets: We used to sit on the floor in front of mom and she would comb the hair around her fingers to form them. I remember one time mom was putting them into my hair and they weren't working. She was getting frustrated so she turned my head around to see my face and said "well that explains it" turned my head back and re-did the curls with no problem. It turns out that my hair curls one way and sisters the other. Sis is a Southpaw, but I don't know if there is any correlation between the two things.

Well, I started to go dark long before she did and that put an end to the twin theory - mostly.

We did a lot of things together, we were both very shy kids and while sis was eager (well, it seemed that way to me) to go to dance and belong to Jobies etc, I had to be coaxed/dragged into these things. I am still not a joiner in spite of all that. We were in choirs and Scottish dance and ballet together to name a few.

She taught me how to tie my shoes! Mom & dad had tried and it wouldn't take, after sis taught me, mom said that now I tie them like a southpaw! She also taught me how to smoke - too bad she can't teach me how to quit now.

We've had fights, but, they never last longer than a few hours, we are not the type of people that can stay mad, or can not talk to someone for days. Well, that part, now that we no longer live in the same city, but as we can't stay mad, it doesn't matter that we are not talking because we are not talking because it is expensive to call long distance. Clear as mud eh?

I can honestly say that if it weren't for my sister, I would not be here to post a blog about anything let alone about her. Throughout my cancer, she helped financially as well as physically & emotionally and for that I will ever be grateful.

That doesn't mean that we won't still fight and piss each other off and yell and call names and all those things sisters do, but hey, what are sisters for if not for those things?

Damn, I can't find the picture I wanted to use, oh well probably for the best, she would have killed me.

Good Afternoon all!

p.s. she is the Bag Lady, for those that don't know



2007-11-02

Yuck, ew, gag - Frelling idiot!

I work in the office of my apartment complex part-time to make ends come a bit closer together. Sometimes the manager will have me clean suites. There have been some pretty disgusting tenants, but, for the most part, cleaning is just doing the few areas that were missed by the vacating tenant. Sometimes, it will be cleaning up after the suite has been renovated!

The fellow that does our maintenance, is very nice, but, being from England, he doesn't have a lot of experience with stuff here and sort of fell into the job anyway. He will sometimes ask me how to do some things (I have owned houses and have done my own fixing before) or will ask for a hand.

For example the last suite I cleaned was after the trades had been in, he was there changing a light fixture and I was tidying up the stove. I realized the previous tenant hadn't cleaned it properly, so took the oven door off to get to the back. My fingers weren't strong enough to undo the hooks after I put the door back on, so I asked him to give me a hand.

Well, I should never have let him know that I knew how to get oven doors off & on! One of the tenants is an IDIOT and decided (after having been told by the manager to clean) that he needed to take the door off the oven. Firstly no-one should need to be told to clean! Secondly why would you not just use the self-clean feature?

Well, he managed somehow to pull the left side of the oven door off, then couldn't get the right side out and couldn't get the left back in. He had failed to engage the clips (or his brain) on the hinges and once the left side was out, the door was no longer square, so it wasn't going anywhere! He called for maintenance.

Now, I have no idea how long he worked at it before calling for help, nor do I know how long our maintenance guy & manager were there before I was brought in. I do know that it took about 40 minutes for the two of us to get the door off completely, check to make sure the frelling idiot hadn't damaged or twisted the hinges and put it back on. He then wanted to take it off to clean - that is when I left. I figured our maintenance fellow could try to explain - in small words of less than two syllables - that he shouldn't do that.

The reason I had to leave was I don't deal well with the incompetent! He stood there and watched us struggle with the door and oven, didn't even try to help (not a really bad thing). When I asked him to hold the oven so it would stop sliding as I pulled on it, I had to explain, that I was pulling hard, the idea was to stop the oven from moving! Still didn't help. We wound up contorting ourselves to brace against the oven while pulling on the door.

So, I can watch gross movies without batting an eye, I can sit through a loop-de-loop in a small airplane, if they let me I could have been awake during my surgery and been fine, actually fascinated. The one and only thing that turns my stomach and will make me want to vomit is smell!

I almost lost it when I entered this guys apartment! It took all of my willpower to keep my stomach where it belonged. Then of course, actually having to touch anything in the suite - well, I think I will go have another shower. I almost want the kind of scrub down that Meryl Streep had in Silkwood!

2007-10-31

All Hallows Eve

Everyone is posting today about Hallowe'en - makes sense. For the last several years, since I have been living in apartments, I have gone to a friends house to help in doling out candy and to celebrate her husbands birthday. He passed away in July of 2006 so it has made for a harder time the last two years. He died of cancer, last year while doling out candy, I was bald. This year, I am working from 17.00 - 19.00, prime candy time, but, the apartment complex no longer gives out candy. We just don't get enough kids - haven't for years.

Enough being morose. In previous years, we have had a ball, dressing up and making our own costumes, carving pumpkins. I only have one costume to show off though - mobsters was the theme at work.

2007-10-30

Wow...really, just WOW!

I just got this in an email. It is very powerful - had to share.

Okay, so I don't have a clue how to add a video from youtube, so follow the link.

This would be for those of us that don't watch Oprah, by the way.

No Mummy for Hallowe'en

WooHoo! It's here! My new sleeve & glove just came! This is to control my Lymphoedema - a swelling of the arm, because they took out the lymph nodes after the breast cancer. I will be posting in more detail later, I am just so glad I will not have to be wrapped any more! The picture below, is not true for colour sorry. It is pretty close though.




The colours are closer to the those in the Swedish Flag, which only makes sense, being of Swedish decent and all.

Actually that was not the only reason for choosing these colours. I figured that the yellow would not be as noticeable under a white blouse as the blue would be, but, a yellow glove would show the dirt terribly. Blue would be noticeable under a white blouse, but would not show the dirt quite as much!

Now, I would have just gone with purple again, but, when looking for a job, I read years ago that wearing purple is almost guaranteed to NOT get you the job. Blue is good for job hunting. As I can't stand the thought of the neutral/tan/beige toned sleeves, I figured that blue would be good. I figure it is just as noticeable no matter the colour, so, why not be a colour I like. I am so happy it is here!

Good morning All!

2007-10-27

More Paranoia!

I really have to stop using Facebook! Today a woman posted saying that she had started a website and would like the support of her home city - well, here I'll let you read it:

Hello Fellow Edmontonians!

A project I started last year to help people cope with the emotional aspects of cancer has just won an award from Avon Canada through its Hello Tomorrow Fund for helping to empower women with breast cancer. There were only six winners out of over one thousand applications and I was the only one from Alberta. I am posting this because from November 7th to 30th there will be a vote on the Avon website where the public can vote for their favorite winner and I am hoping to have my hometown behind me on this one. If my project wins, it will help to raise more awareness for the project and mean another win for our City of Champions, not to mention benefit a good cause.

Details about the Hello Tomorrow Fund can be found here:
http://www.hellotomorrow.avon.com
/ca/web/en/index.html

A press release with more information can be found here:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/200
7/10/prweb564221.htm

Please put a reminder on your calenders to visit the Avon web site sometime between November 7th and 30th to vote for your favorite winner which I hope will be the April winner (ME!!!) I hope to make Edmonton and also Alberta proud.

Feel free to reply to this post with any questions you have for me or to talk about your experience with cancer.

Thank-You Everyone,
Katherine Brown

(I added the http:// so you could actually link if you wanted to)

I had a brief look at her site and will be going back to take a longer look, as it seems interesting.

However, the "Paranoid Princess" had to throw in her two cents. "I'm sorry, I support the one that helps make aware of prevention..." & She included a link to a website that goes on and on about what a scam the Breast Cancer Industry is. That is her phrasing and amazingly she didn't have any spelling errors.

From the website:



18 things that CAUSE cancer: (in no particular order)
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Mammography radiation - see articles on mammograms
  • Chemotherapy and radiation
  • Perfumes and fragrance products
  • Cosmetics and personal care products - see articles on personal care products
  • Home cleaning products, including laundry detergent, dryer sheets, etc.
  • Drinking non-organic milk or eating non-organic dairy products
  • Hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids - See Poison In the Food or articles on hydrogenated oils
  • Plastic food containers - includes plastic lining inside food cans
  • Sodium nitrite - found in most processed meats, see articles on sodium nitrite
  • Pesticides, PCBs, chlorine and other chemicals
  • Acrylamides (formed during high-heat food processing such as frying)
  • Watching television / lack of exercise
  • Severe emotional distress or relationship stress
  • Refined sugars / refined grains
  • Dry cleaning chemicals
  • Hair color chemicals
  • Nail polish remover

Which of those are a surprise to any of us? (Sorry, I am not sure any of the links will work outside the original site) (Oh, they do!)

I do agree that prevention should be taught and encouraged more, however, I don't want to go back to living in the dark ages... Yes, golly gee - take out the plastic from our tins, so that we can worry about lock jaw and botulism and infanamminamity again!

One of the preventions listed is Medicinal Mushrooms - yeah, like that would help me! I am allergic to any kind of fungus, fortunately not as allergic as some people are, but, I do tend to avoid things I am allergic too.

A lot of the information on this website, I am sure has some merit, but the manner in which it is presented sounds like the National Exposer or something.

Unfortunately there are far too many people out there that read these things and take them as gospel handed down by Elvis and then you wind up with people dying because "I am not having Chemo (or mammograms) because I was told prevention will save me!"

The PP on another thread today was extolling the virtues of NOT getting vaccines too. The link on that one takes you to the personal horror stories page first!

She would be funny if she weren't so serious about these things.

Good Evening.

2007-10-25

Paranoid about RFID?

One of today's topics on the Edmonton network of Facebook is about the "Mark of the Beast" and how Big Brother is going to Microchip all the people in the world. The chip will be placed in the right hand or on the forehead, hence the moniker "Mark of the Beast".

The topic originator is convinced that this will happen in the near future - "just Google it, you'll see!" He is also convinced that we will have no choice in the matter.

So, I did. The one that sounded like it might be a real article can be found here, and it was on the third page of Google. The rest were paranoid, tabloid type hysteria. "This will be published in the AP next week" The original date of that comment was Sep 9th! I haven't heard or read anything in legitimate press about it, nor was there anything in Google.

I Googled RFID (radio frequency identification) as well and there I found several articles that were not from the paranoid. It seems that yes, people are being tagged in certain instances, but with their knowledge and consent. Passports are using RFID, as are books, grocers, pet owners and pretty much any company that has a large inventory they need to keep track of for example the US Defense Department. In fact RFID has been around since WWII when they used it to keep track of planes.

One of the potential uses it can be put to in humans, is to keep medical history. If a patient arrives in the ER unconscious, they can be scanned to find out if they are allergic to medications before having them administered and possibly killing them. Another is to keep track of children, especially those that would be at high risk of kidnapping. Keeping track of parolees and sex offenders, pedophiles and the like. That is where the line starts to blur and where the paranoids get their fuel from. Once a child has become an adult, does the chip die? Does it have to be surgically removed? Will governments remove them? Again, more fuel for the paranoids. I can just hear the paranoids saying "Oh, but my medical chip can be altered to provide them with everything I do, everywhere I go, what I think". With the population as large as it is and the number of other things out there that are tagged, tracking individuals to see what they are up to (are you really so important?) based on a tag that was not intended for that purpose, it just isn't likely to happen.

I can see potential for abuse and yes, it infringes upon my rights - if it becomes a requirement. I am not going to get all up in arms about the government trying to tag me without my knowing it though. Just like I am not going to worry that they can track where I am by the gps locator in my cell phone (well, if I ever get a new cell phone that is).

2007-10-22

Pumpkin

I was just over reading Half of Me and she was despairing of ever finding canned pumpkin in the grocers. It gave me today's topic.

I have always hated pumpkin pie. Now my mother made the best pie crusts in the world, but I never liked the taste of pumpkin pie. A friend of mine makes hers from scratch. No tins for this lady. What? how do you do that? you may say. Well, I'm here to tell her secrets!

First off, pumpkins are not only for carving at Hallowe'en, you can scape out the meat inside and boil it just as you would turnips or potatoes, 'til soft. The seeds of course can be roasted and salted and make a great snack. After boiling (you can do this while still hot) puree the pumpkin in a food processor, divide into freezer bags and freeze, or make pie:

28 oz pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp Allspice - optional
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk
6 eggs

Add all ingredients & blend thoroughly. Pour into unbaked pastry shells and bake @ 450 for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 300 until filling is set - about 50 mins longer.

Of course you have to buy whipping cream & make your own, none of this spray canned stuff this year.

Granted her crusts don't hold a candle to mom's, but they are getting better. I found a website here that has even more things to do with pumpkins, mostly recipes, some of which look pretty good.

So, when you carve your pumpkins do you just throw out the meat and seeds?

2007-10-21

Chemotherapy and the Cross

So, my first post on my Breast Cancer left off with me saying I would tell you about chemo in another post...here it is - finally.

The Cross Cancer Institute (CCI) is Northern Alberta's cancer hospital. You can get your chemo locally, but if you have to have radiation therapy you have to come to Edmonton. Needless to say, it is a busy place. When it first opened it was referred to as the W.W.Cross, after the man who started it. I am not sure when they started to refer to it as CCI & dropped the WW, but my first experience (many years ago for a friends son), it was the WW Cross and in my tiny mind, it still is. Especially as the college I went to was CCI. Change when you are this old, is hard!

Yes, I'm getting there.

To recap a bit though.
  • May 15 Mammogram
  • June 5 Lumpectomy & Sentinal Node Biopsy
  • July 5 Axial node surgery (lymph nodes under right arm)
On July 24th, I went to the Cross for a New Patient Information session. This is where they tell you a bit about the place, show you around the various treatment areas and tell you about the other services available. The tour is run by volunteers. There are volunteers everywhere in the Cross, they come around offering drinks and cookies. They are there to escort patients when they don't know where they are going, they run the gift store and the bookstore and information centre.

July 26th, I had my first consult with my Dr. This is where I learned about the type of cancer I had and the treatment plan. I had hormone positive breast cancer, a 1.5 cm tumor was removed from the top of my right breast, they gave me a 2/3 grade rating on the severity. The sentinal node was 1+, 2.5mm, which is what determined they would take out the lymph nodes, but of the 6 nodes they took, none had any trace of cancer.

So, the plan was to be as aggressive as possible to try to make sure it doesn't come back. I was to get chemo, radiation and then have my estrogen killed. Six to nine months of treatments.

I had a muga the next day (some kind of imaging of the heart) to make sure I was fit enough to have all this abuse piled on me. Then I had appointments for classes on what to expect from chemo and what to expect after it started. I was given pamphlets and information sheets on dry mouth, eating right, soft foods, how to manage my energy and anything else they could think up. They do a very good job of making you feel comfortable there and making sure you have all the information you could possibly want.

The actual treatments didn't start until August 8th (mom's birthday), when I had my first blood test. The 9th was the first of six chemo treatments. My sister came with me for my treatments, the first one, the nurse told us all about what she was doing, that I could walk around if I felt like it, but that I couldn't leave the room. I couldn't leave the room, because if for any reason the toxic chemicals they were pumping into my veins spilled outside of the room, it would result in having to shut down the floor and evacuate and emergency services would have to come and its hazardous waste and the world as we know it would come to an end. Or something like that.

So, of course, both of us being a bit nervous (well, me anyway) and leery of the whole process, got a bit carried away and we are a sarcastic, witty pair at the best of times. But the nurse played right along with us. Talking about steel gates crashing down around us and lights & bells and action movie heroes. Well, anyway, we had a laugh. Then it got boring. It takes about four hours to pump all that crap into a body. We had each brought books and sis brought along a crossword puzzle book, which we managed to involve the woman in the bed next to mine. Four hours later, we were let go, so we went shopping. It was a bright sunny day. I now tan really easily in my face! Oops!

Well, the next day, I was okay, a bit tired, not a lot of nausea, but, didn't really eat a lot. I had to inject myself for seven days and take certain drugs at various times and durations around the chemo dates. It was about the third day after chemo, sis had gone home already, when the pain struck. Every muscle and joint in my body ached, I felt like I was 900 years old and it was an effort just to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, I had plenty of ready to eat food on hand. I love living alone, but, this is one time when it would have been nice to have had a husband. By day 5 I was in agony, then it got better, in total the body aches only lasted about 5 days. I was very lucky, I was not vomiting, I was able to eat, I didn't have much appetite, but, it could have been so much worse. I got fungal infections in my throat, so wound up with a very disgusting mouthwash. Other than that it was not a horrible experience.


before shave

I lost my hair after the first treatment, just a week or so before the second treatment. I went in to the Cross as they have volunteers in a hair salon and they shaved it off for me and lent me a wig. I had my (very bad) shave Aug 30th. Sis, eventually gave me a clean shave, but, I seem to no longer have the photo on my 'puter. Oh well, it felt much better, as the stubble that was left from the first shave, would poke through head scarves.


bad shave


Having had the lymph nodes removed, limited the chemo to one arm, so by the last appointment, the nurses were having a bit of trouble finding places to put the needle. One time, I bruised as soon as she put it in, so she had to move it, then I bruised from the rubber tourniquet!


Just one of many bruises

Sis managed to come down for three more treatments, then I took the bus until I could get on to the volunteer driver schedule. Usually she just dropped me off then went and did something else, it is really very boring to sit and watch someone with an IV in their arm. It is really very boring to be that someone. I am very glad that I am such an avid reader, I can't imagine what non readers do in situations like this. So, she did my wash and cleaned my apartment and did things for me that I just had no energy to do. After the treatment, we would go and shop or one time we went for a drive out to our grandparents homestead with some cousins. I'll post on that later too.

I will post later on the radiation treatments. As for the chemo, it was pretty much the same, six times, fine for a couple of days , achy for 5 or 6 days, then fine again. As I said, I was lucky.

Good Afternoon.

P.S. there is no proper website fro the Cross, but for those that are interested and like links, here is one for the Alberta Cancer Board, they have a link to the Cross's Patient Guide and how to get there & contact info etc. (all in pdf )

2007-10-18

Walking - something the vast majority of us do.

I come from a fairly tall family. My brothers are about 6'2" and both have ground eating strides. Mom and my sister both about 5'7", I used to be about 5"8 1/2" (I've shrunk), Dad was an even 6'.

I learned at an early age that my brothers would not adjust their stride to match my shorter legs, so, learned to stretch my legs to keep up. This is something that has stuck! Over the years, I have shortened my stride a bit (my brothers are in different cities now), but, over all I still manage to cover a lot of ground while not a
ppearing to be in a great hurry.

I found, when keeping up with my brothers that 3 or 4 inch heels helped considerably. Of course, now that my arches are fallen, I am wearing sneakers (runners/walkers/cross trainers, if you prefer), something I would never have considered as daily foot wear when I was in my twenties (in fact I don't think I owned any from the time I was about 18 'til I was about thirty something).

Of course, the last few of years has changed that! The weight I am now carrying is not conducive to long strides, so I arrive out of breath and huffing like a steam engine. I can't seem to slow down without thinking about it ever
y step I take. Last year (and right now) have been the worst, because of the lymphoedema. While I am wrapped up like a mummy to reduce the swelling, the lymph fluid in my arm is being forced through my lungs. Not a good thing when you already have bad lungs (and can't seem to quit smoking). This is when I have to force myself to slow down, if I start to think about anything other than keeping a slow pace, I speed up - at least until I start to cough. Then I have to stop completely until I get my breath back! It is really hard going to my appointments, as where I go is located near the University of Alberta, so I get off the bus and am in a crowd of Uni students, all walking as fast as I normally do!

Mummy Wrap


I was walking from the bus to the store the other week (obviously before my wrapping) and as I was approaching the intersection from one direction, a power walker was approaching from another. The light changed when we were both a few feet away, so, I lengthened my stride in order to catch the light. We would have arrived at the same time had I not done this, as it was, I beat her to the light and across the four lane intersection, just by doing that. I found it funny, here she was, her legs moving as fast as they could and her arms pumping away, there's me, just striding along ahead of her. I wonder what it looked like to the people in the cars?

So, has your stride changed over the years? Do you stretch to your maximum stride, or do you take smaller steps?

2007-10-14

Girlie Things!

I was pointing out something that needed to be filled in by a prospective new tenant on the paperwork and she noticed that I had done my nails and commented on them. She said that she never got into doing the girlie things like that. This girl is 21 or so years old - I felt like telling her she had lots of time to get into it.

As for my nails, all I had done was put clear polish and flower stickies on them. That to me is nothing compared to what I have been known to do in the past. I did this because my nails have been breaking a lot lately and I am tired of it.

She said that her mom wasn't that type either so she didn't learn. Huh? Mine wasn't either. She wore makeup, consisting of powder, lipstick and mascara & eyeshadow ONLY when she was going out to a fancy function. She always wore lipstick going out of the house, she was always well dressed and her hair was neat. Or at least that is how I remember it. My sister was more girlie than I was in high school, she wore makeup and did her hair. I kept my hair short and didn't wear makeup. Besides, that is just a further step in grooming, not girlie!

When I moved to Edmonton to go to college is when I started to pay more attention to my grooming. My brother lived down the street from where I lived & he was apprenticing for his hair dressing license at the time. I was usually his guinea pig. I had my hair coloured, cut & permed regularly & I rarely looked the same from one month to the next. He attached long finger nails, plucked my brows, added false lashes. He taught me how to walk in four inch heels (oh, how I miss heels), apply makeup & would make dresses for me. In other words, I was his living Barbie doll. I also learned how to apply nail tips on myself, by myself.

During all of this, he also taught me to be proud of myself and boosted my self image. He gave me the confidence to come out of my shy shell.

Some people will say I turned into a bitch about then, not really, it was always there, I just was too shy to express myself.

Over the years, I have given up the artificial lashes and nails, but I still change my colour and hair styles often. I have fallen into the habit, like mom & sis, of only wearing full face armour when I need to impress. We are blessed with good skin in our family (and hair and nails).

Besides, there is nothing wrong with taking care of your appearance. In fact, a whole lot of people could stand to put more thought into their appearance before they step out of their houses.

So, is it girlie or not?

Good evening.


2007-10-12

So, I went to my Doctor today

WARNING, I TALK ABOUT MY BODY


After having to wait, for my Dr. to get back from holidays, I then called too late and had to call the next month. I have finally been to see my G.P. for my 6 month (more like 8 now) post-cancer check up! I booked an appointment for a physical, now to me, especially as I had indicated it was for my post-cancer check-up, this includes that ever so charming Pap smear/exam. So, here I am, all psyched up and ready for this intrusion into my most private of privates (after breast cancer, I'll flash them at anyone who asks... almost) only to have my Dr. ask me if I was booked in to see Dr. Bates?

Huh???

Who is Dr. Bates? Well, it turns out my Dr. doesn't do Gyny exams (he didn't do a rectal either, so, I will have her do it) which the staff that I booked the app't with failed to mention! Now, is this just a way for the clinic to bill more hours, or is he restricted because he didn't get his license in Canada (Germany I would think, maybe South Africa). Either way, it sounds fishy! If it weren't so damned hard to get a doctor these days, I would start shopping for a new one.

So, he has given me orders to have the usual battery of tests done: the tit squish, bone density and labs. We both forgot to get the order for a colonoscopy, so I will have to phone on Monday and have him order that too.

Oh, I have shrunk too! I used to be about 5'81/2" now I am 5'7"! I know my hips were acting up, so that would be part of it, but also my posture has been bad the last little while, have to get back to Yoga, get my stomach muscles toned up so I can stand up straight.

So, I will post when I have test results back, well, actually before then, but, I will let you know what gives with the results.

Good evening.


2007-10-10

I had an idea....

about a blog topic. It completely escapes me right now! I guess I am going to have to keep a notebook with me to write down these ideas. That is what happens I guess when you get old.

So, I will tell you about the name of my blog site instead.

My cat is a Himalayan Lynx Seal Point. His name is Sibu, which is an East Indian name I picked off of a web site. I can't remember what it means (this was 7 or so years ago), but, I just liked the sound of it. Cats respond well to sibilants so we didn't even look at any other letters. The other "S" names were just too long, too complicated, too common or plain boring. Unfortunately I can't post a really good picture of him as all I have is a really old web cam. My scanner bit the dust a few years back, so I can't even upload any of the other photos I have of him. Oh woe is me. Oh well, you will have to trust me when I say that his eyes are in fact blue - just paler than normal I think. By the way, for those that may be in living in warmer climes, points on cats like Siamese and Himy's go darker when exposed to the cold. (not that he is ever out for long)




Pegasus is my favorite fantasy creature. I have several statues and pictures, but, I will refuse any that have a Unicorns horn stuck on them! There is no such thing as a Uni-Peg! My sister once pointed out that there was also no such thing as a Pegasus or a Unicorn! I don't know where she got that idea! Of course I still believe in Santa too! He has never let me down.



Power, I just threw that on the title. I would have gone crazy long ago were it not for my cat, although sometimes I am not sure that he isn't the one behind the wheel. So I suppose you could say I get my power from my cat and my belief in Pegasus. And the belief that I have beaten the cancer - it will not come back!


(Just for Leah)


That's it, that is how I came up with the name for my blog. I didn't put anywhere near this amount of thought into it. Maybe if I had put more thought into it I would have come up with something much more pithy - oh well, I like it.

By the way my favorite real animal is the Polar Bear, I have lots of those too.

Good evening.

2007-10-07

Humour Me

Today I have a guest blog for you straight from The Bag Lady (my talented sister)! Enjoy!

HUMOUR ME

Isn’t it funny how there can be so many different kinds of funny? I’m no expert on anything, but I know what makes me laugh. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, that has changed a little. Moving out to the country has twisted my perceptions a little. I’ll give you a few examples.

My significant other was involved in a serious car accident many years ago. After a month in the hospital, he was released with strict instructions not to remove the neck brace he was wearing. It was of the very stiff variety that severely limited his range of vision. Bored to tears after several days of forced inactivity, alone in the house, he decided to clean his gun. He lifted it high above his head and peered into the barrel, shut it and slammed it down onto the floor beside him. Naturally, it went off.

He almost had a heart attack, sitting there, slapping himself all over, thinking “I’m shot, I’m shot!!” Finding no blood and feeling no pain, he finally calmed down enough to start looking around for the bullet hole. He spent the rest of the afternoon searching everything in his line of sight for the evidence. Nothing. Several days later, his spouse went into the freezer for something for supper and came back to the kitchen with a quizzical look on her face, holding a bag of bread that had been totally destroyed. The interior of the freezer was covered with blasted strawberries, bread, etc. Turns out the bullet had gone through the door into the porch, then through the front of the freezer right below the handle, and lodged in the hinge at the back, destroying everything in its path!

He still had that freezer when we met, and we used it for another 12 years before it died. Wonder if it’s still considered murder?

He had a little dog at that time named Bear. Bear was a Poodle-Pomeranian-cross, and had a habit of walking on his back legs when he couldn’t see over the tall grass, hence the name. During his recuperation, he took Bear for a walk in the pasture. Of course, the cowboy could only see things that were either far away or fairly tall.

Suddenly, Bear started barking frantically and then took off running for the house. Not knowing what the problem was, the cowboy started looking around, finally bending from the waist and coming eye to eye with an actual bear! Didn’t take him long to make his way back to the house, either!

Another time, long after the neck-brace was history, the cowboy was alone on the ranch during calving season. It was early spring, muddy and wet. He discovered a newborn calf lying in a huge puddle of water. He grasped it firmly by the back legs and had started dragging it out of the puddle when he was hit from behind with enough force to knock him right out of his rubber boots! Turns out the mother cow had taken exception to his handling her calf and she proceeded to chase him all the way to the fence! It took him three days to get his boots back. Every time he went to the pasture, the cow chased him out. He finally had to saddle up his horse and chase the cow far enough across the pasture to allow him time to get the boots.

What about you? What makes you howl with laughter? Is humour divided by the city limit sign?