Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Regarding Angelique

She is my oldest child. She is my heart walking outside of my body. She is my first experience of selfless love. I was her first home and she was my first resident. She is the oldest of my three children. She has taught me more than I could ever teach her.

When Angelique arrived I was 19 years old and Wahid was 23. Oh my God, how much we loved this little girl. I didn’t understand how no one prepared us. No one let us know that nothing in the world would ever match the love I would have for my children. No one let me know the love I would have for my first child.

Love was in the air. I had read once that if you love someone put their names in a circle, because hearts can be broken, but circles never end. Into the circle Angelique went. As a matter of fact the circle started with Angelique.

Angelique looked like Snow White when she was a baby, with her black hair and peaches and cream skin. And now I am sure Snow White wishes she looked like Angelique.

Eventually as all little girls and boys tend to do, Angelique grew up and today she is 33 years old and has a little girl of her own. Now she knows the love. I don’t have to tell her, she feels it herself. Her heart too, now walks outside of her body.

Angelique’s 33 years are like whispers of love on the wind to me. Secrets and stories told on whispers from the stars to the leaves on the trees; down through the openings of the windows and past the burgundy sectional to the second bedroom up the hall to the right. Whispering I love you, you are my first child; you are my best foot forward.

I am in awe of the memories I have of Angelique. No matter how things have evolved in my life to this point, I can truly say there is so much joy. Angelique is one of my three greatest joys.

It is the tiniest distance those 33 years. I was carrying her in my arms, caressing her and counting her little fingers and toes. Sitting beside her crib admiring her hair and her skin and brushing aside imaginary pixie dust in case a fleck got caught in her eye or settled too close to her baby finger, trying to leave some of its magic when surely she had enough of her own.

Angelique was a happy little girl with big hazel eyes that sparkled all the time. If the power ever went out and we had no candles we would remember that we could sit Angelique up in the middle of the room and her sparkling eyes would give us light. We never ever had to worry about power outages after she was born.

For Angelique’s second birthday I got her a Fisher Price alphabet desk and she played with that forever and ever. Letters and words have always fascinated Angelique and by the time she was three-years old she would copy out the names from the white pages of the phonebook.

Because Angelique’s birthday is on the 31st of December she was always the youngest child in her class at school or at dancing or at baseball, basically anything she joined. If I tell you she is a ‘brainiac’ I would not be lying.

Angelique was the most curious little girl you could ever imagine. She took things apart just to see that she could put them back together. Words, science, figuring things out (including her cousin Ben); no stone will be unturned if she decides to turn it.

When Angelique was little many people thought that she was shy and I have to tell you if you ever have thought that, you would be wrong. Angelique checks out a situation first and then decides if she wants to be involved or not.

At seven years old Angelique got a typewriter for Christmas and wrote many stories for our listening pleasure. She sang many songs for Nadalene to help her fall asleep (the vegetable song is just one example) and she let Nathan sleep with her all the time because of the crocodiles waiting for him in the hallway (even if Nadalene wanted him out).

Angelique was a little girl with the best of manners and her heart beamed like a beacon. Deep inside she knew her name was more than just a name for me; it was her essence.

It is hard for me to believe that I have been a mother for 33 years now. I can’t think of anything I did that was truly meaningful and worthwhile before I became her Mom.

Just as Angelique played school with her friends (remember Cindy) everyday after school, she now gets paid to be a teacher for real. She teaches Grade 7 and absolutely loves her kids. She is completely invested in them and I am so happy to know that these lucky children have a teacher who completely cares about their well-being.

As a woman, Angelique is an incredible individual. She has helped me so much in so many ways.

When Angelique got her Honors in Psychology she would be so sweet and tell me and her Dad that we did everything right (we of course know we didn’t but we sure did try). When Angelique got her Education Degree we could not have been prouder (I think I would have loved to be a teacher).

Angelique got married to Don and they have given me my first grandchild (my darling girl Josephine Renee). How much do you think that means to me?

I love so many things about you Angelique and I love that you were the first person to make me feel like a million bucks. You would run into my arms and yell ‘Mommy, Mommy.’ I know that having your own little girl now you get exactly what I mean. You are truly one of the three most spectacular things to happen to me and I will love you forever and ever and ever.

She is the oldest of my children, my heart walking outside of my body, my first lesson that I could love someone better than myself. Angelique thank you for the privilege.

Happy Birthday Angelique. Love Mom, Dad, Nadalene, Nathan and Josephine.

On The 7th Day

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying,
five golden rings,
four calling birds,
three French hens,
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree…

The seven swans a-swimming refer to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

B L D 31

L is from Julie-Anne at Heavenleigh Art

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'

~~ M. Louise Haskins 1875-1957 ~~

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

On The 6th Day

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
six geese a-laying,
five golden rings,
four calling birds,
three French hens,
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree…

The six geese a-laying refers to the six days of creation in the Book of Genesis.

B L D No. 30


Monday, 29 December 2008

On The 5th Day

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
five golden rings,
four calling birds,
three French hens,
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree…

The five golden rings refer to the first five books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch) which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.

B L D No. 29

I have been sick for the last two days and it has been scaring me because I feel like I did on chemo. Throwing up for hours all day long and diarrhea. It makes me think of when I will have to have chemo again and if I will be able to do it.

Wahid did the morning shift of changing pails and getting new water and getting fresh face-cloths. Nadalene came over and slept here and continued to help me. Nathan is on his shift today and is making me a mashed potato right now. I need to get something in my stomach even if I don't want to.

I am praying like a mad-man that Angelique's family did not get this flu. They are in Cuba and I sure hope they never got it from me before they left.

Please everyone, pray for all the people who are not feeling well this Christmas.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

On The 4th Day

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
four calling birds,
three French hens,
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree…

The four calling birds represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

B L D No. 28

D painting was created by Azul Valentina.

The first time I was left behind and left alone was when I was five years old.

It was on Christmas Day and Mass had just ended. I think the church is called either St Peter or St. Paul and is located on Portage Avenue. It is near by that airplane statue and every time I drive by there I tell the kids that I was left there on Christmas Day.

I saw Camille running ahead of me to the car parked on the street. I was running down a little slope when I saw her get in the car (for some reason I was going to describe her in a brown or blue dress but that couldn’t be right because she would have a coat on). Then I saw the car door shut and worse than that, I saw the car pull away.

It is amazing that I had the wherewithal to keep myself together and after a while I trudged back up the little slope to the church. I went to the priest and told him who I was and that I was left behind. I remember him getting a man to drive me home (I also remember the priest giving me a chocolate bar.)

On that ride home I think that was the first time I ever got to sit in the front seat of a car. I must have been scared but I don’t remember that at all. What I do remember is feeling excited because I was in the front seat of the car and I had a whole chocolate bar.

The man walked me up to the house and rang the doorbell. When I stepped into the house I saw all of the kids opening Christmas presents (I remember seeing Camille’s back again and there was the brown/blue dress). Mom came to the door and the man told her what happened. My God, she (*the cat’s mother) went white and went crazy on my father.

All in all I was one lucky little girl. There were only good people in the world that day (thank you God).

*The cat’s mother is a term that was said a lot in my home. If we ever spoke about my Mom we were never allowed to say ‘she’. We would say ‘Mom said, Mom did, Mom went, etc.’ If we ever (which we never) said ‘She said, She did, She went, etc.,’ my Mom would say ‘Who are you talking about, the cat’s mother?’

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Soundless Saturday No. 19

On The 3rd Day

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
three French hens,
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree…

The three French hens represent the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity.

B L D No. 27

Peace on earth, goodwill to men.

This is a cartoon that was made in 1939 and honestly, it could have been made last night as it is so relevant for today.

Let us spread peace wherever we go and remember to not allow hate to spread within.

Friday, 26 December 2008

On The 2nd Day

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree…

The two turtle doves represent the Old and the New Testament.

B L D No. 26

Make wise use of your days and embrace the Christmas spirit this season, not because of some external, commercial pressure to do so but because the time is now and it would be a shame to waste these days by not treasuring the greatest gifts in our lives, the people around us.

Wherever you may be, whatever you are doing, whoever you are doing it with, have fun, make it count, and be merry.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

On The 1st Day

The 12 days of Christmas song represent the 12 days between the birth of Jesus (Christmas, December 25th) and the coming of the Magi (Epiphany, January 6th).

In England during the period of 1558 to 1829 it was prohibited to practice the Catholic faith in England. It was a crime during that time to be a Roman Catholic. Many believe that the 12 days of Christmas song was one of the ‘Catechism songs’ which was used to help (secret) young Roman Catholics learn the tenets of their faith.

The song was used as a memory aid for Catholics in a time where to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could get you imprisoned, beheaded or hanged.

The song’s 12 gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of Catholicism. The ‘true love’ mentioned in the song refers to God.

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
a partridge in a pear tree….

The partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus Christ.

B L D No. 25

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was living in the manger. When they had seen him they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Wednesday's Women No. 11

My name is Mary and I gave birth to a little boy named Jesus, he is my firstborn son. How much I love my son.

There was no room at the inn, so his birth took place in a stable in the back. I have wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger. I am pleased that the heat from the animals will keep him warm.

I was forewarned that my son was created to change the world. I was told by angels, no less, that he wasn’t to be just mine.

I don’t want to think of that. I just want him to be mine. He is my little boy, with his ten little fingers and ten little toes.

He has brought me such happiness and has changed my life forever. I am to understand that he will do the same for millions of people around the world. But those concepts are too big and too broad. If I could, I would have him just be mine.

They will write of me in future years ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel which means God is with us.’

There will be prayers directed at me for the sake of my son. Many people will recite ‘Hail, Mary! Full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.’

Again, I cannot think of the future, because I know what must happen to my baby boy and I can’t bear it.

I gaze into his eyes and I see God. I gaze into his eyes and I am just where I want to be.

B L D No. 24

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap, his hair was like a light (O weary, weary was the world, but here is all aright).

The Christ-child stood at Mary’s knee, his hair was like a crown and all the flowers looked up at him and all the stars looked down.

~~ G.K. Chesterton ~~

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

What's In A Face

Besides your eyes, nose and mouth, what’s in a face? Usually besides your weight, it is one of the first things that you are judged on. People look at our faces and they see us and we see them. They become real and we become real. We connect. What do you think happens when they stop looking? Are we no longer here?

In other words, if you have a face in a forest but no one connects to that face, does that face exist.

Well if you have cancer, others’ reactions to you may make you feel unsure if you exist or if you do exist, why you are out of your house putting a damper on other peoples groove.

I have been thinking of my sweet friend Jill so much in the last few weeks and remembering the time that Nadalene drove us to see a movie and how we were pointed at because of our appearance.

I want to tell you what it feels like to be gawked at. How it makes you feel and how eventually you start gawking at yourself. Here are my feelings and a few little stories to help you understand.

When Kirsten first shaved my head, and I was on chemo every Friday I not only looked greenish but I also looked like my brother Gerry. I basically had a quarter of an inch of hair. I looked foreign and I also looked androgynous (I’m surprised to see that I’m tearing up). I knew it was going to happen but I was in awe of how sick I suddenly looked. It doesn’t look like me and it doesn’t feel like me. This is what a person with cancer looks like. There is no denying it now. I introduce my children (who are pretending it looks great) to their new father.

Jill had not been feeling well from radiation and I was not feeling well because I had chemo the day before (normally I would never go because I felt like shit – I can’t even say the name of the movie because it reminds me of how sick I felt and makes me want to throw-up) but Jill wanted to go see it and I didn’t want to say no, because I knew we might not have another chance.

Nadalene dropped us off at the front door and I’m telling you it took us probably 20 minutes to get to the ticket counter, we were so pooped out and Jill was having a hard time breathing.

But what I’m really trying to get to here is how everyone stared at us. Neither of us had any hair to speak of and we walked like we just got out of a concentration camp. I understand too well the term ‘walking dead.’ There were two young girls (maybe 10) that couldn’t take their eyes off us. That I could understand.

Somedays I remind the woman in the mirror that the pursuit of happiness lays within. Who I am is determined by me, not somebody else (or in many cases with contact in the outside world many somebody else’s). I know that the physical is just that: physical. But it is my physical.

Yet up pops my ego (also known as my inner critic) with her self-centered narrative always finding flaws and never seeing the beauty in the image in the mirror. Always jumping on the negative and never getting near the positive.

I am unable to wear a bra because of the metastasis to the skin and my right breast is about six inches higher than my left and is also much firmer because of the radiation. I have burn marks on my upper collarbone from the radiation as well. My left arm is half the size of the right. My left arm also has my PICC line in it so it looks very robotic.

When Josephine was born I decided to wear the wig so that no one could see my life by my hair. I wanted it to be about Angelique and Don and the baby and not any doctors thinking oh ‘the mother has cancer.’

I felt so phony and I had to hold my sweet girl with that thing on my head. Her first sight of her grandma was not real. My ego was beside me taking away my feelings of pleasure by telling me that I looked ridiculous and phony. I kept the charade of the wig all the time Angelique and Josephine were in the hospital.

I knew for sure that my shaved head would elicit a few stares. But mostly people avoided looking at me. It is like I became invisible overnight. I look so different from my former self that people I know do not even recognize me. I went from someone with no wrinkles to someone with lots of wrinkles.

People avert their eyes when I walk by. Is it because they know that I am sick and they don’t want to take a chance at looking in case the evil eye gets them and they too end up with cancer. Or is it because they know I’m sick and they don’t want to stare? Have I become so hideous that people don’t want to look at me anymore?

I’m beginning to feel that no one can see me but children. Adults pretend they can’t see me or they avert their eyes, while small kids eyes widen in horror.

When I was having chemo at the hospital I was looking at some pictures of me, my mother, Angelique and Josephine. A couple of ladies who were also getting chemo asked to look at the pictures. They then asked me if my mother was my sister.

Another time I went to the doctor’s office with my sister Shelly (five years younger) and the doctor asked me if she was my daughter.

Kermit the frog says it is not easy being green and I have to agree with him. It is also not easy to be exposed to possible ridicule, to naked viewing, to seeing and feeling things that I’d rather avoid, to not seeing myself as other people see me. I have become visually unpleasant to people. They wish I would stay in my home.

I forced myself to wear my wig to Nadalene’s wedding because I did not want her wedding pictures to have me in it with a bald head and to have her looking at her pictures and being reminded of my cancer. After all for 29 years of her life I did have hair.

I wore the wig and although it was okay, it also wasn’t. On the other hand when I look at pictures I am glad I wore it.

Everyday we get stuff wrong. We forget the dignity and respect that others deserve. We communicate badly and worse than that we ignore (instead of respectfully lay aside) other people’s concerns.

The funny thing that you would never gather from this post is that I didn’t ever care that I lost my hair. It didn’t and still doesn’t matter to me. All of the physical appearance stuff really doesn’t matter in a generic sense. I tend to shuffle instead of walk. I am hunched and totally baby my shoulders so that they don’t hurt.

But with the help of people’s reactions to me I look less rosy. My eyes don’t light up the way they used to. I still smile. I still try.

In Moose Jaw, Jacquie, Nadalene and I were at a mineral spa for three days and not once did anyone initiate a conversation with me. They talked to Nadalene or Jacquie and looked straight over my head, unless of course I turned fast and then they were looking at my PICC with the plastic sleeve over it. As a matter of fact, one day about ten people were laughing and talking and then I came out with Jacquie and as they all tried to pretend I was not there, the silence became deafening.

I want you to know that if you are going through chemo for cancer or are taking medications for other serious illnesses and you don’t look like you use too, that you don’t frighten all people. There are always the people who love you and there are always people who care.

When I first met Jill she was sitting cross-legged in a chair in a group meeting room. My first impression was ‘Wow is she ever beautiful.’ Jill had curly hair and the friendliest smile and the best personality. When I last saw Jill in a hospital room my impression of her was ‘Wow is she ever beautiful.’ Jill had no hair and the friendliest smile and the best personality.

Even when you feel really alone there is always someone out there wishing hard for you. Wishing they were able to share your pain with you. Maybe there is even somebody watching you and thinking how beautiful you are, but you just can’t see them or maybe you turned away just at the wrong moment.

B L D No. 23

The Christmas Spirit

I enter the home of poverty
causing pale-faced children to open their
eyes wide in pleased wonder.

I cause the miser’s clutched hand to relax
and thus paint a bright spot on his soul.

I cause the aged to renew their youth
and to laugh in the glad old way.

I keep romance alive in the heart of childhood
and brighten sleep with dreams woven of magic.

I cause eager feet to climb dark stairways
with filled baskets, leaving behind hearts
amazed at the goodness of the world.

I cause the prodigal to pause a moment on his wild
wasteful way and send to anxious love some little token
that releases glad tears;
tears which wash away the hard lines of sorrow.

I enter dark prison cells
reminding scarred manhood of what might have been
and pointing forward to good days yet to come.

I come softly into the still white home of pain
and lips that are too weak to speak
just tremble in silent eloquent gratitude.

In a thousand ways
I cause the weary world to look up into the face of God
and for a little moment
forget the things that are small and wretched.

I am the Christmas Spirit!

~~ Unknown ~~

Monday, 22 December 2008


The birthdates for Capricorn are between December 22nd and January 19th. Angelique’s birthday is on the 31st.

Colour = purple; brown
Metal = lead; iron
Stone = amber; onyx
Tree = holy; thorn
Plants = thistle; wild rose

Capricorn is the sign of the half goat/half fish which derives from ancient Babylonian mythology in which Ea, the Sea-Goat and Lord of Wisdom emerges from the sea to bring civilization and knowledge to mankind. Capricorns are the highest achievers in the zodiac and they are the best able to get things done. Capricorns have a strong sense of society and they feel most secure when they are doing their part within that framework.

Ruled by Saturn, Capricorns are the most resourceful people in the zodiac. Many people agree that the way to best describe a Capricorn is calm, cool, and collected. Being ruled by Saturn generally means a kind of backward way of living which Capricorns all seem to share. As children they are serious and bear a lot of responsibility and as they grow up, they age beautifully, learning how to relax and loosen up.

A Capricorn is goal-oriented and not afraid of hard work. If success seems to come easy to Capricorns it hasn’t. Capricorns just make it look that way with their patient, hardworking, driven personality. Capricorns do not like too much information being thrown at them at once (this is one of the reasons they find excitable people difficult). They have crystal clear judgment and break down ideas into manageable parts. A Capricorn’s self-control is strong when it comes to expressing anger, drive, or energy. They are unflappable and very cool level-headed people.

Capricorns are especially loved by their Aries mother. No other sign in the zodiac can seem so standoffish or reserved to the general public; but with family they are warm and witty. This Aries mother holds her Capricorn daughter in very high esteem and could not be any happier than how her Capricorn daughter mothers her Gemini daughter.

B L D No. 22

It was our custom to open gifts after the older kids got home from Midnight Mass. We opened presents usually around 2 a.m. The older kids would wake us up by saying Santa Claus had come. We always had presents when we were kids and we thought Santa brought them.

It wasn’t until I was around 13 that I found out that my parents couldn’t always afford presents. One time the priest from our church brought a bunch of toys and he was dressed up as Santa Claus.

Another time Mom and Dad bought used toys from a Salvation Army outlet. Apparently some of the dolls were broken so Mom told us that Santa had fallen down the chimney with them. And being small, we loved the dolls even more. My doll was missing a nose and she had scratches on her face (Santa you have to be more careful). All of us whole little girls took such good care of our broken dolls. I remember telling my sisters “sshhhh” because they needed to get rest, thinking that if my doll had enough rest her nose would grow back.

I always feel that we had enough presents and I cannot remember ever doing without.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

B L D No. 21

The ‘Medical Observer Weekly’ states that friendly Christmas deeds could actually reduce your risk of dying in the next five years by up to 60%.

A U.S. study found that older people who do not help others are more than twice as likely to die as people who give some help. This reinforces the notion that it really is better to give than to receive.

University of Michigan psychologist ‘Stephanie Brown’ noted that making a contribution to the lives of other people may help extend our own lives.

In other words it isn’t what we get from relationships that make contact with others so beneficial; it is what we give.

What I found interesting was that while researchers found an association between reduced risk of dying and giving help; there was no association between receiving help and reduced death risk.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Soundless Saturday No. 18

B L D No. 20

In the mood for some Christmas quotes? I am.

I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time; a kind, forgiving charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely. ~~ Charles Dickens ~~

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~~ Burton Hillis ~~

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~~ Roy L. Smith ~~

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you….to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old…Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world…stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death…Then you can keep Christmas! But you can never keep it alone. ~~ Henry van Dyke ~~

There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. ~~ Erma Bombeck ~~

Friday, 19 December 2008

B L D No. 19

Do you prefer getting or giving? I do love both, but that wasn’t the question. It has to be giving. I love to give especially if the gift is unexpected. It isn’t that I expect people to fall all over me if I give them something and I do give it with a free and loving heart, but if they are not appreciative I don’t give them anything again.

Snow, love it or hate it? I love to watch it fall, I love the look of it, and nothing can be better than being as snug as a bug in the rug when it is falling. I especially love a snow blizzard. Nadalene and I drove home in one once when we were coming from Selkirk and it is still one of the most beautiful visual moments in my life. Remember Nadalene, it was like we were in the middle of space. Walking in it, however, is a whole other story entirely. I am so afraid to fall that I almost paralyze myself when I walk. I totally always tuck my arm into someone else’s and hobble along using the person for support.

Real or artificial tree? Why real of course. We have always put up a real tree and we see no need to stop now. Real trees have movement and you cannot beat the smell. Artificial trees are really beautiful now too and sometimes for a short space in a second I am even fooled that they might be real.

We are getting our tree today; which will consist of Wahid and Nathan going to a tree lot in Southdale and picking one up. They cost around $60 and we always get a scotch pine. Because we always have a real tree we usually put it up the weekend before Christmas and take it down on January 3rd. I am really looking forward to Josephine looking at the lights sparkling. She is coming to help her grandma (me) put decorations on tomorrow.

Do you have a nativity scene? Do I ever. My Mom made me a nativity scene back when she ran a ceramics class. We had so much fun doing her classes. I also have a crèche which Charlton’s Dad, his brother Jon, and Charlton made me, they also made me some little trees and it is perfect for my nativity scene. When the kids were small I would let them put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve. Now we just have Jesus in when we put the nativity scene up. We always give Joseph a piece of spaghetti to use as a staff.

Christmas cards – email or snail-mail? Why regular mail. I love Christmas cards; they are one of my favourite things about Christmas. I have mailed out Christmas cards ever since I have been married (33 years).

For the last two years I have mailed out cards only to people who have mailed some to me. I was wondering why I was sending cards to people who couldn’t be bothered to send any back. I was going through chemo and just felt that if they can’t bother than why should I. Screw them (nice spirit). This year I found my spirit right behind Josephine’s left ear so I decided to send cards to everyone all over again. So if you received a card from me and you didn’t send me one – you can thank Josephine.