Thursday 31 July 2008

Tag ABC Your It

Look inside my upstairs window, I left the curtain open just for you.

Available: I could be, make me an offer.

Best Friend (female and male): Heidi and Robbie; and the sad thing is that they are both better friends to me than I am to them.

Cake: Emillios cheesecake that Nadalene makes with cherry pie-filling on top.

Drink of choice: since chemo, I really don’t like drinking anything. I gag on almost all liquid with the exception of tea.

Essential thing used everyday: my soul. I need it to show itself to me so that I won’t be scared.

Favourite colour: yellow. It is a feel good colour and it makes me happy.

Gummy bears or worms: neither. However, I like the look of the worms in that little cake people make for kids. Heidi made Miki a chocolate cake in an ice cream cone with icing and worms sticking out of it for her birthday when she was little and that was the first time I ever saw it. Heidi, I just was rethinking this and was that for Robbie’s birthday or Micki’s?

Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada baby.

Indulgence: what ever my little heart desires. There is no denial for this girl.

January or February: Josephine, you must have seen that coming. Don’t give me a J and think I am not going to follow it with an osephine.

Kids: Angelique (32), Nadalene (30), and Nathan (25).

Life: is always worth it.

Marriage date: July 5, 1975.

Number of Siblings: 14 (12 living and 2 dead). 9 sisters = Kathy, Suzie, Mickey, Camille, Jacquie, Colette, Lori, Shelly and Pauline (dead). 5 brothers = Harry, Dwain, Gerry, Joey and Peter (dead).

Oranges or apples: neither and both.

Phobia: flying. But Shelly hooked me up to the fear of flying course on the internet and it really helps me every time I fly.

Quote: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

Reason to smile: Josephine is saying Grandma and Grandpa.

Season: Fall, although now I am starting to see the beauty in all of them. When you think you may not see the next season and it comes along, it is beautiful.

Tag three people: Camille, Jeannine, and Shirley. Of course I really want to hear from all of you.

Unknown fact about me: I am a great great aunt. Not only because I am a great aunt and love my family but because my sister Camille’s granddaughter Erin had a little girl named Ella. So thank you Erin, now I am a great great aunt.

Vegetable you don’t like: broccoli. Yes, everyone and their dog have told me to eat it because it is good at fighting cancer. It is also good at making me gag myself silly.

Worst habit: not listening to people on the phone. When I am on the phone I can’t wait to get off, so I am already summing up the end of the conversation even if I have just started talking to the person. Just as they say hello, I am already saying thanks for calling, talk to you later.

X-rays: are you joking. I have had so many that I have lost track.

Yearning: long life. I would love to live forever, bearing that I would like to live at least long enough to see Nathan married and happy.

Zodiac: Aries. The sign of me first, and if not me my children first. That’s right, I am full of myself.

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Welcome Home

My Mom called me early this morning crying. I thought my Dad had died.

My Dad did not die but my cousin Debbie Baron died on Monday from lung cancer at the age of 53. Her funeral will be held on Friday.

Debbie's parents were my Mom and Dad's best friends. They were my Auntie Gloria and Uncle Louis. Debbie and her siblings grew up with us like cousins. In some way, the only cousins we had as children.

My sister Suzie told me earlier this year that Debbie had cancer too. I reconnected with Debbie and we met a few times since then and talked on the phone several times.

Debbie was a very tough cookie and did not believe that she was going to die. She could not see that happening to her as she was the only parent to her son Luke.

The last time I talked to Debbie, she had just gotten out of the hospital. She had been in there for three weeks as they were trying to stabilize her pain. We talked about me coming over there, but at that point she was just too tired and we said we would meet another day.

I guess we will meet another day, it just won't be here.

I know how much you love your Mom and Dad and I really hope that they are there to meet and comfort you.

We love you Debbie. Rest in peace.

Tuesday 29 July 2008


Just some of my noodles with various kinds of sauce.

Flashbacks From The Month Of July

July 7, 2001

*I am so fucking miserable. Reinvention. It’s never too late to be what you might have been. My biggest mistakes or defeats have taught me nothing because I have never faced them, nor am I going to at this moment.

*Angelique is one person I know who has courage because she does what she needs to do every day. Even though she has an illness she doesn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself.

*Nothing is working in my life, not the me part of it, not the mother part of it, not the daughter part of it, nor the sister, aunt, friend, other person part of it.

July 9, 2002

*As far as savings I am a financial wreck and as far as planning for the future I am a penny pincher.

July 6, 2004

*My little girl is getting married. I should say my grown-up adult daughter, with the little girl alive and well within her is getting married. We are steadily getting ready for the wedding and are enjoying this time with all of its preparation and excitement. Everyday is filled with things to do.

*Yesterday, Angelique was fitted for her dress.

*Wahid wrote a beautiful poem for Angelique. She will love it.

July 8, 2004

*I’ve enjoyed writing in this journal. It is good to see that if you feel crappy one day, flip the page and see how happy you are.

July 23, 2004

*Tomorrow will be one week that Angelique and Don got married. They are now on their honeymoon in Portugal, Spain and Germany.

*The wedding was wonderful; the whole day from morning to night was truly one of the best days I’ve ever had. Angelique looked beautiful.

*I am 48 and I must have faith in myself. Know that I am good. Know that I am smart. Know that I am kind. Know that I am a good wife, mother, daughter, sibling, and friend. I know my essence/spirit wants to put out a bright light into the world. I am here for a purpose, to make the world better because I was in it. Love myself and believe in me. Validate my own self.

July 14, 2005

*Thank goodness I am on the upswing. I couldn’t stand Wahid, but now I love him again.

*I believe myself to be extremely self-reliant. When I have a difficult decision to make I trust my own instincts. I may discuss it with Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, or Jacquie but ultimately I trust myself to determine the right path to follow.

*Extended family members can sometimes make a meal difficult by wanting us to eat up their presence and expecting us to want more of the same for dessert.

July 14, 2007

*Expect the unexpected. While in our marriage, Wahid and I didn’t expect to have to deal with serious illness, especially early in our life. Angelique got lupus at 21 and it is hard to worry about your own child. But, I have always and still believe that she will be okay. Now as a couple we are dealing with me having cancer at 49 years old. Unlike for Angelique; I don’t believe I will be okay.

*However, like us as a couple we deal with it separately. How our marriage has worked since the beginning of time. Separate and go to your corners! Sounds like a boxing match, but there is no hitting involved and sometimes love even comes into it. Is my rotten mood showing?

*I don’t believe trials strengthen a bond; all they do is wear down the participants.

July 23, 2007

*Nadalene and Jacquie had a baby shower for Angelique and Josephine yesterday and the shower was wonderful.

*When I was 18 (33 years ago) I imagined my life in the future would have children in it; a home; travel; financial freedom; and that I would be even happier and more confident than what I was at 18. I would grow old; have lots of grandchildren; die at an old age; and Wahid and I would know everything about each other.

*My life is close and far to the vision I had at 18. Close to the vision: I have children; a home; and I have one beautiful grandchild (my Empress Josephine). Far from the vision: travel; financial freedom; be happier and more confident; I won’t grow old; and Wahid and I don’t really know each other.

*As a young person I wish I was given this piece of advice: Communicate what you have to say; don’t shut down. Talk to your important people.

*The best money we ever spent was buying a house. A close runner-up was our children’s education.

*The biggest waste of money that haunts me to this day is the vacuum cleaner we bought from a salesman who showed us the vacuum on Des Meurons. We were so young, I actually thought, and worse than thought – cared that he might think we were poor and losers if we couldn’t buy it. I had no confidence in Wahid and I. It was so wrong and that is why it probably still drives me nuts.

*The worst surprise about married life is the lack of laughter and communication. The fact that we are always together but don’t have companionship. I love Wahid lots though.

*The best surprise about married life is Wahid’s character.

*The worst thing about being a woman is handling all the family’s emotional responsibilities. Caring too much.

*The best thing about being a woman is having my children.

*At this point I believe there are dreams I won’t fulfill because I have cancer. I know it is so bad and will kill me; but I can’t help hoping I will see Nadalene and Nathan settled with their own families.

Flash Forward

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and at this point, I am not focusing on it. All I do know is that yesterday I watched Angelique put together a kitchen for Josephine. I also know that if you had told me two years ago that I would be watching that cozy scene I would never have believed it. So perhaps I still have some noodles and sauce left in me yet.

Monday 28 July 2008

Q Is For

Quinn (nephew)
Quiana (Josephine’s best friend)
Queen (useless unless you’re a bee)
Quotes (I collect)
Quiche (Nadalene’s mushroom and red pepper)

Quince (fruit only edible when cooked)
Quail (spends most of its time on the ground)
Qi (use ten times a day)
Quill (pen made from a feather)
Queer (something strange not someone strange)

Quiet (I need lots of it)
Quarrel (try to agree to disagree)
Quasar (distant energy source)
Quicksand (dangerous situation -- cancer)
Queue (left to throw-up in Disneyland on honeymoon, thanks Angelique)

Queasy (often)
Quitter (not yet)
Quiet before the storm (now)
Question of time (outcome certain just don’t know when)
Queen conch (Michel blew into at Angelique’s wedding)

Quilt (made from old clothes)
Quintessential (pureness -- Josephine)
Quizzical (inquiring -- Wahid)
Quit (I understand why people want to)
Question (we are not sheep)

Friday 25 July 2008

No Sir

No, Sir, because I have time to think before I speak, and don't ask impertinent questions.

~~ Charles Darwin replied when asked if he found his stammering very inconvenient. ~~

Thursday 24 July 2008

Henri Joseph Fernand Ste. Marie

Henri (Harry) Joseph Fernand Ste. Marie

The very first man I ever loved.

Named for a dead brother and two fathers. My grandmother Nana (Renee) and my grandfather Pungpung (Camille) named their first son (my father) after Nana’s dead brother (Henri), Pungpung’s father (Joseph), and Nana’s father (Fernand).

I think my father is going to die soon. He sleeps all the time and has no appetite or energy. When Angelique was over there painting the outdoor furniture for my Mom, he was only up for about 10 minutes in an 8 hour period. I went in to see him a few times and he was out like a light and he looked like he was wasting away.

But could death really take this man. I don’t want it too.

Even though I know it is not fair that he has had a long life, and many of my friends have not been so lucky. I still don’t want him to die.

All of us who love him need to spend more time with him now. I don’t think there will be a later. Anytime he is alone is wasted time.

My father is the man with the big laugh, the big personality, and the big spender. The man who couldn’t be prouder that he has 13 children (that he knows of), the man who never squelched on taking care of us and the man with the biggest heart.

Although I started working when I was 14 years old, my father still gave me money for material to get a dress made one year. I loved that dress and I loved that my Dad gave me the money because he was so proud that I never asked him for anything.

I don’t know who else argues/debates with Dad as much as I do, but I know I enjoy it and I think he does too. Except for the time that we were talking about the Bible and I said it was a history book. He kept getting upset and Wahid kept telling me “Dearest, stop it already.” I wouldn’t stop I don’t know why.

My Dad would always say to me ‘I don’t understand why you woman don’t want to be put on a pedestal?’ And I would reply that if we wanted to be on a pedestal we would put ourselves on it.

My Dad has always cracked me up. He always has the best stories and sometimes he has the best jokes.

A few years ago I asked my Dad about his experience in World War II and he told me that he decided to join the military because he had gone to see the movie “Captain of the Clouds” and the theme song was “We’re Off to the Big Show” and that movie made him want to join the Air Force. He joined the RCAF which stood for Royal Canadian Air Force, but of course my Dad added that it stood for Really Caught and Fucked. My Dad became a gunner in the planes and held the rank of Leading Air Craftsman.

Of course the best things that came out of the war for my Dad was the wee lass he married in Scotland and his first born son, my brother Harry.

When I was first diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, it was my Dad who gave me a piece of advice that I don’t know what I would do with out. He said ‘When the what-ifs come knocking, tell them to fuck off.’ And I did, and I do.

My Dad would drive over and bring flowers. One time it was yellow roses, another time it was an assorted bouquet of spring flowers. We would sit on the couch and talk about dying. He once said if he dies before me, that I shouldn’t be too upset. I said Dad, I won’t be you should die before me. Those were very nice days.

My Dad is a computer genius and can make his computer talk. My Dad has many friends on the computer and when I was over there visiting the other day he showed me an msn conversation between himself, his friend John, and his friend Caroline. His friends were asking how he was feeling and if he had gone to the doctors and I could tell that the tone of the conversation was a caring one among friends. I especially liked when Caroline (thank you) said to my Dad “I guess I just have to enjoy my sweet friend for as long as this moment in time lasts.”

You are so right Caroline, and you made me wonder if my Dad is getting more support from his friends than he is getting from his family. And I also realized that I just have to enjoy my sweet Dad for as long as this moment in time lasts.

When I left the house with Angelique last week, I felt like my stomach dropped and said to Angelique I think Grandpa is dying. Angelique said “I just wish that it could all stay the same that the people I love would always be here.” ‘Me too’ I said.

Better than a Timex, he keeps on ticking. He has been told he should be dead now (that first started 30 years ago). ‘You should be dead now’ they would say. ‘You won’t survive this’ they would say. But he isn’t and he has.

Last week I thought he would not last the week. Yesterday, I felt that he has many weeks and months ahead of him and that he isn’t going anywhere yet. I told him I had thought he was dying and that I was going to write that in my blog. My Dad said that would be fine but to also let everyone know that he doesn’t think he will be going for another 30 years at least.

My Dad has helped the sun to shine brighter for me and I will always love him for that.

You are wonderful Dad and wherever you go or whenever you go and best of all if you just stay here where I can see you, I want you to remember that you are well loved by me, your favourite 52-year old.

Wednesday 23 July 2008


The birthdates for Leo are between July 23rd to August 22nd. Daisy’s birthday is August 5th.

Leo’s stats are:

Colour = Yellow and Orange
Metal = Gold
Stone = Ruby
Tree = Bay or Olive
Plants = Sunflower

Leo is the sign of the lion which represents the king of the jungle which can describe this sign’s approach to life. It is often hard to imagine Leo’s as go-getters if you catch them in a languid mood. These people can sleep in, laze around, and luxuriate for long periods of time. However, when they do work, they do it with intensity and determination. Not unlike their symbol the lion.

Ruled by the Sun, the hallmark of a Leo is being warm-hearted, direct, and most comfortable being at the center of things. When their fiery temper is aroused, their “roar” can be deafening, but passes just as quickly with no lingering resentment. Leo’s are motivated by affection for people and they often have big dreams. There dreams usually include making other people happy.

A Leo has a very noble inner code that they answer to. The worst thing you can do to a Leo is accuse them of bad intentions. Displaying behaviour that makes them think you don’t appreciate them runs a close second. Leo’s become very hurt when others don’t see that even though their actions may not be pure their intentions are.

Leo’s are especially loved by their aunties especially if the aunt is an Aries. An Aries aunt understands that a Leo will hold on to situations and people for a very long time before they will give up on them.

Cheers to you Daisy, you are a loyal Leo that I wish did not have to roar so often.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Corporal James Arnal

Heaviness invades my heart.

Meet a local man. James Arnal was a boy who went to elementary school with Nathan at Howden and then on to high school at College Beliveau.

James was killed on Friday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. James was the 88th Canadian soldier to die in the ‘Afghan mission.’

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Thus spoke Hermann Göring, second-in-command of the Third Reich and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force). Brought before the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging, he cowardly committed suicide the night before the execution.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Thus spoke Dr. Joseph Göbbels, Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, German National Socialist (Nazi) regime from 1933 to 1945.

Does this all sound a little too familiar? I felt when I first read these statements that they could have easily have said thus spoke George Bush, Dick Cheney or Steven Harper.

Rest in peace James. At 25, you were way too young to die.

Sunday 20 July 2008

P Is For

Pudd (me)
Peter (brother, nephew, brother-in-laws)
Pauline (sister)
Paul (nephew by marriage)
Police (Ben, Hakim)

Peach (canned)
Polar Bear (white hair/black skin, now we know how they got on the island)
Psychologist (Jule)
Pearl (Nadalene's engagement ring)
Platinum (Nadalene and Charlton's wedding rings)

PICC (infusion site in my left arm)
Pacific Ocean (largest)
Pluto (no longer a planet)
Planetarium (pizza at Santa Lucia)
Porthole (cruise ship in Greece)

Pray (hope in words)
Pathology (determined cancer)
Pain (varying levels)
Peace (needed now)
Pamidronite (monthly two hour infusion of calcium for my bones)

Precious (my family)
Pretty (icing)
Palliative (treatment)
Poignant (sharp sadness)
Proof is in the pudding (action not words)

Friday 18 July 2008


Make sure that you have put down your cups and that you are not eating right now. I do not want you to spit out your food or have your drink fly out of your nose like I did.

I cannot help but share the best laugh I’ve had in ages.

Bush’s laughable tit-terrified Abstinence Education Program (after spending over a billion doll hairs) is now encouraging all states to tell their single young residents that they should avoid sex entirely until they turn 30. ha ha ha

What? No you heard me right. He wants everyone to abstain from sex (unless they are married and it cannot be a gay marriage as he does not accept THOSE people as even people never mind married people) until they are 30.

Do you think I am making this up? No, even I don’t have that good of an imagination.

But what can we expect from people who want to destroy anything that is beautiful.

Okay everyone, one, two, three: ha ha ha.

Wednesday 16 July 2008


Surprise surprise Bush’s lapdog (Harper) will not do anything for the only person from a western country that is still being held in Guantanamo Bay.

Omar Khadr is a young Canadian who fought with the Taliban. He was only 15 when captured in a firefight in 2002. He is being accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American medic.

However you want to look at it, whether you consider him guilty or not he needs to be brought home to Canada to stand trial. I believe that if he is held in a Canadian prison, he at the very least will not be tortured. Under this government he may not get a fair trial but at least he will be out of the hand of the Americans.

In the last few days it has come to light that Harper and his government have known all along that Omar Khadr has been tortured. He has been at the very least, sleep-deprived for weeks on end and has for a time not been permitted to remain in any one location for more than three hours.

Harper being the arrogant dipshit that he is has ignored all calls from human rights groups, the government opposition, and the people of Canada to have Omar Khadr repatriated to Canada to face justice.

If you believe that a Canadian person whether innocent or guilty needs to have the backing of the Canadian government to be brought home and tried here than call your local Member of Parliament.

In my mind I am assuming that he probably is guilty of being in a situation over his head, of believing in something that he was taught while still in diapers, of throwing a grenade.

On the other hand I can never forget the images of another little war (Iraq) and the prisoners that were held in another little prison (Abu Ghraib) by a bunch of sadistic bastards.

I want him back in Canada, but even more than that I want all of the Canadian soldiers returned to Canada and taken away from a war that they will never win. From a war zone that the Russians couldn’t win in when they were at their military best.

War is never ever the answer; it makes boys killers and boys dead.

I believe that if you keep the politicians out of it, Canada is still a country of the 90% truth. Therefore I believe that Omar Khadr will be fairly tried in Canada.

“A hundred rabbits will never make a horse; a hundred suspicions will never make a proof.” ~~ Fyodor Dostoevsky ~~

100th Post

Colette slept over and in the morning I said “Do you know how to do a blog Colette?” No, she answered, but thought it should be easy enough.

We sat together and went through the steps and before you knew it we had put together my blog site.

Things you may not know about me and my blog:

I do promote my blog within a very small group.

I refuse to put up a counter on how many people look at it.

I probably look at least ten times a day to see if anyone left me a comment and then I read it with bated breath. (What can I say; I am either an egomaniac or need reassurance [probably a bit of both].) Who am I kidding, make that fifteen.

I do not stick to one topic.

I would like to do way more political posts, but I know everyone would be bored and I would have to stand on my soapbox while typing it.

Mostly my family and support group know that I have a blog.

I read six other blogs on a regular basis.

I do customize my blog. I make sure I have a picture for every post. I do not use personal pictures. I do previous months/years journal entries once a month. I do a quote once a week. I do my version of the alphabet once a week. I do something interactive every couple of weeks. Unfortunately not many people want to interact with me (woe is me).

I post anonymously in the sense that I do not use my last name, oops, just realized that I placed it in a previous alphabet post.

I do not censor myself. I’m sure people wish I would, but if it can’t be real then there is no point. I want people to know that this is my truth on any given day. It does not mean the people mentioned in my blog feel the same way. I understand that although it is my truth it does not mean it is theirs. I try only to let it get personal with me. I will not tell you about family squabbles but I will also not pretend that everything is coming up roses for me because that would be a big fat lie.

For me my blog is an on-line journal. Many of you who have read my posts know that every month I do a post about previous month’s journal entries. So keeping a journal is not something new to me, however, an online journal was something new.

My blog is a diary that does not have a key. It is not locked and is open for everybody to read. I have nothing to hide. My posts are about my life and what concerns me. It is a call to the world “Hey, before I go, look at me. Remind me that I still exist.”

I have faced many new challenges and learnt many new things over the past 2 ½ years since I was diagnosed with IBC. Unfortunately every one of these challenges are not pleasant, nor have the things I have learnt been pleasant. My blog was originally a venue for me to reflect on what has happened to me and my family. A way to work out my emotions, my very own personal-pan psychologist.

To the people who have been reading my blog I want to thank you for your interest. I especially want those people who comment on my blog to know how much their sincere comments are appreciated.

For me the best thing about blogging is that when I die my children can look back at my stories and by seeing them and reading them they will hear whisperings of me in the wind. They will know that above all I love them. And above all they mean everything to me.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

I Will

I will state, unequivocally, that there is no such thing as false hope. It’s an oxymoron. It can’t exist. Hope has no connotations of certainty. Hope carries no assurance of success. Hope is the one thing in this world that can never, ever, be false. Hope is just exactly what it says. A longing. A desire. Is there such a thing as a false, aching desire?

~~ Evan Handler from his book Time on Fire ~~

For those of you who may not know, Evan Handler is an actor as well as a writer and he has played the role of Harry, Charlotte’s husband on Sex and the City. Of course my TV show of choice is Lost and he plays the character Dave who is Hurley’s imaginary friend. He had acute myeloid leukemia in his mid 20s. His baldness is not a fashion statement; his hair never grew back after chemotherapy.

Monday 14 July 2008

O Is For

Opal (Jacquie)
Oldest (Angelique)
Owen (Elizabeth again)
Oncologist (Dr. Grenier)
Outrage (Bush)

Orange (yard in Trinidad)
Owl (Hedwig)
Old Dutch (onion and garlic)
Oncology (study of cancer)
Organs (donate)

Ovary (cancer)
OPEC (thieves)
Oxygen (Mom needs to live)
Ocean (Atlantic and Pacific)
Ouch (arms, fingers, neck, shoulders, feet, knees)

October (Don's Birthday)
Once in a blue moon (Josephine)
Oatmeal (every morning)
Obituary (too many)
Orgasm (mental/physical eruption)

Oil (reason America is in Iraq)
Open book (in many ways)
Off your rocker (almost)
Oh oh spaghettio (Josephine falls)
Opinion (don’t need to marry it)

Friday 11 July 2008


Mom this one is for you. I know you haven't been feeling well lately so I thought I would send you a quote from your least favourite idiot. I know if nothing else, it will make you go crazy. ha ha ha

A quote from Bush while in London, England on June 16, 2008.

"There is some who say that perhaps freedom is not universal. Maybe it's only Western people that can self-govern. Maybe it's only, you know, white-guy Methodists who are capable of self-government. I reject that notion."

Yeah, we bet you reject that notion.

Thursday 10 July 2008


One year after I was diagnosed with cancer, these were my thoughts on God.

My God that I truly believe in is incredible.

When I was a child God was what I saw in my Catholic upbringing: God was definitely a man and he looked like the pictures or statues we saw. God had brown hair and a beard and he wore a long robe with sandals, he walked or rode on a donkey.

I thought the priests and nuns were holy and I would try to touch a nuns robe so that some of her goodness would transfer to me.

When I was older, but not as old as I am now, God was less physical and more spiritual. I have always loved God and see him as pure goodness. I mostly saw God as Jesus. I love Jesus’ philosophy so much. Now I see God as separate but connected to Jesus.

I believe that God is here for all mankind and that there are many paths to God, religious or non-religious. Now for me, it is not a person’s religion that matters, but a person’s spirituality.

Now that I am sick and with cancer, I believe in God more as solace for my soul. I see the randomness of the universe and the chaos around me so much more. God did not cause me to have cancer and he can’t make me better. But the great thing is I have him with me always and he helps share my burdens.

I love God so much and I don’t know how I can ever survive what I am going through without him. God is pure compassion and I feel the compassion and God makes me feel at home. I look to God always.

I do not believe in fate. I am here now and one day I will be gone. I will always be with God. I want a life hereafter. I want my family again.

Evil is in the world, randomness and chaos, inhumanity to man; the opposite of God and compassion and light. God does not control evil, but evil is much less than God. When you have God in you, you have conquered evil.

Prayer helps me and I still say my childhood prayers. Our Father, Hail Mary, I believe in one God, Angel of God, the 23rd psalm. These are all useful to me when I am having tests and treatments; they numb me and comfort me at the same time.

God is love. I aspire to love. I have experienced the veil between heaven and earth worn thin when I saw my children for the first time, in the clouds, in a snow blizzard with Nadalene. I have not seen enough of these thin places because I was not aware enough, nor was I living in the moment. I am going to do this now, and tell the kids to look too. How amazing it is to be aware.

Religious words for me are sorry, forgiveness, love one another, do unto others, judge not, bless, God bless you, Amen.

I wrote this in my journal over a year ago when I was in the hospital getting a blood transfusion. Nadalene had taken me to the hospital because my blood was at 57. I’m surprised now that I had the energy to write anything.

You all know that my friend Andrea died on Saturday leaving her young family of six children and her husband. Andrea’s youngest child is one month older than Josephine and her oldest child just graduated high school. When Andrea said that she just wished to die because the pain was too great (and how great the pain must have been to even consider leaving her children) I sent her a small note.

Dear Andrea:

Sometimes I pray to God knowing that I won’t be healed. I just want company and to be comforted by him.

If you can’t have the healing Andrea, I want you to have the comfort.

Love Renee xoxoxoxox

When things like this happen, I want to do two things simultaneously. I want to toss God out a window and hang on to him as tight as I can. I hate him and I love him. God gives me no comfort while at the same time comforting me.

Maybe these feelings come in to play because I hang on to the childish fantasy that God will make every booboo better. While rationally I know that is not God’s role.

God and spirituality are a common theme throughout my journal entries and I am sure I will write more. I don’t have any definite answers about God I just know that we (him and I) are in constant dialogue.

The other day Wahid asked me if I had any faith. Absolutely I said. My faith is the strongest part of me and it helps hold me together. Without faith, without my version of God I would not be able to get through my life.

Well today is a love day for God. Tomorrow may be a hate day. But altogether, the dialogue will continue.

Wednesday 9 July 2008


What are you eating these days?

Appetizer (Name something you would categorize as weird.)

Having your stomach stapled. Your stomach ends up the size of a babies and you are an adult.

Soup (What colour was the last piece of food you ate?)

Fake gray-cream colour because I ate organic package oatmeal with brown sugar.

Salad (On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?)

10, I love it until I don’t and then it is a 6.

Main Course (Fill in the blank: I will ______ vote for _______ in ______.

I will definitely vote for anyone who will take our Canadian soldiers out of the war in Afghanistan.

Dessert (Describe your sleeping habits.)

I go to bed around 10 p.m. I put the fan on beside my bed. I make sure I have juice beside my bed which I get up during the night about three times to drink and to go to the bathroom because of drinking juice before and during the time I am in bed. Half the time I am crawling into an unmade bed because my arms hurt too much to lift the blankets and I can’t be bothered to yell downstairs for Wahid to help me. Once I am in bed I read a book for awhile then turn off my lamp (all the time saying ouch ouch ouch because it hurts my arm to reach the lamp). I say my prayers and then I proceed to toss and turn like a walrus, my arms and shoulders are like weak flippers so I just flop around using my fat. Besides waking to go to the bathroom and drink juice I also wake to flip my pillow over to the cooler side and I look at the alarm clock. I keep the covers on and then I take them off. I put a leg on Wahid and then I take it off. I then turn over again to go to the bathroom and look at the clock and see that it is 6:50 a.m. so I just get up.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Time For

Time for the evening prayer….

The other man puts his hand over his eyes. Recites the alphabet.

You call that praying you ignorant fool.

The other man says “I can’t pray, so I give God the letters and he makes a prayer out of them.”

~~ Marcel Moring from his book In Babylon ~~

Monday 7 July 2008

N Is For

Nizam (husband)
Nadalene (daughter)
Nathan (son)
Natalie (niece)
Natasha (niece and goddaughter)

Nectarine (peach’s cousin)
Narwhal (first saw in an alphabet book)
Nana (only grandma I knew)
Name (Renee Gabrielle Khan nee Ste. Marie)
New sheriff in town (Josephine)

Nest (Cusson)
Native Americans (treated badly in Manitoba)
North Pole (no land just a layer of ice)
Nieces (12)
Nephews (21)

November (Wahid and Nadalene birthdays)
Now (the power of)
Night (relaxed)
Never (famous last words)
Nuns (Catholic school Grade 2 and 3)

Needles (typical 5 pokes to get it in – ouch)
Nail in my coffin (cancer)
Naked (exposed)
Nintendo (Nathan played Bens’ for hours)
Nip it in the bud (that is how I roll)

Sunday 6 July 2008

Welcome Home

Rest in peace Andrea.

Saturday 5 July 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 33rd wedding anniversary and we could be happier. I could have no cancer and we could still dream of having a bunch of grandchildren around us and having thoughts of living happy-ever-after.

But with all of that aside, we couldn’t be happier.

I am not going to talk about our marriage, I am choosing to talk about our wedding day and the preparation for said event. Of course I can only give you my side of the story because Wahid likes to keep his side of the story out of the blog. (I will go and try to pull some of his version [because it is always different from mine] out of him, but I don’t know whether I will get any info for us. Wish me luck.)

Wahid and I got engaged in February, 1975 (no it was not on Valentines). Our wedding was to be in October, 1975. We got material for the bridesmaids dresses and we also got floppy hats. The dresses were orange because I thought it would look great in the Fall.

Luckily for us, Angelique came knocking at our door and so we moved the wedding up to July.

The wedding party consisted of Mickey and Zello (Maid of Honor and Best Man) Charlotte and Denis, and Shelly and Gerry. The flower girl and ring boy were Tammy and Michel.

Now you need to remember that I was only 19 and so I still thought other people knew better than I did (I unfortunately suffered from that disease for many many years).

This is where my father steps in and tells us we should have a double wedding with my sister Colette (she has been a partner-in-crime of mine for my whole life). His rationale (and I still remember him saying this whenever he could) was to kill two birds with one stone.

God, even when I write that I can’t believe I went along with it. After all we paid for our own weddings for Christ’ sake. My Dad did pay for Holy Family church hall basement though. Colette and Rick, Wahid and I just all went along with it. I don’t even really know if any of them liked the idea.

Of course you all probably think that we were a foursome planning our wedding. Oh contraire. Wahid was in Trinidad breaking the news to his parents that we were getting married and they were trying to set him up with some girls down there at the same time.

So Colette and Rick, and the third wheel (me) went together (why, I don’t know) and got all the things we needed to get this show on the road.

Honestly, I am shaking my head. No wonder I have no fond memories of my wedding day. This is not a doom and gloom tale though. It is a reality tale of a girl too young, too naïve, and most of all not knowing that she knows what she knows.

Another crazy thing that used to happen in 1975 was that because I am Catholic and was going to get married in the Catholic Church, my husband did not have to convert (he is Muslim) but he did have to agree that any children we had would be raised as Catholics. He even had to sign a contract stating such. To me it is outrageous now, but at the time it was okay because I was the one that was a practicing Catholic, and he did not practice his religion.

The one thing that Wahid and I did together to prepare for our marriage before the wedding was to take marriage preparation classes. They were mandatory then and I believe they are still mandatory now (Nadalene and Charlton took them).

Wahid and I both enjoyed the classes, when I think of it now, we had lots of fun. Almost every single thing we worked on or every questionnaire we did, our answers were completely different. I still remember him looking at me very seriously after my responses as if to say ‘Are you for real?’ Ha ha ha.

I remember the one about ‘What do you look for in a wife/husband?’ He wanted a cook, cleaner, someone to be very domestic (in other words he wanted a mother). I wanted romance, to be taken out for dinners and movies, to go dancing, to have fun (in other words I wanted a fictional character.)

I had my wedding dress and going-away outfit made for me by Mickey’s friends’ mother. I should have known that there were problems when the week before the wedding, the dress still wasn’t made. The going-away outfit hadn’t even been touched.

A couple of days before the wedding I try on the dress and the top was so big she had to add in an extra piece and even though no one else probably noticed or thought it went with the dress, it didn’t and I hated it. (Years later I let a couple of people borrow it. Wahid couldn’t believe it he thought it was like a holy shrine. I on the other hand was pissed off that the people didn’t ruin it. I still have it but have plans to cut it up and use it for something for the kids.)

Day of the Wedding, or should I say, day of the weddings. As in two, as in double. Imagine the commotion as there are two brides getting ready. (So fucking funny now that I think of it.) It just came to me why on my wedding day I slept in till 10:30 and no one even noticed. They must have been getting Colette ready. Ha ha ha.

I get up around 10:30. I have to run to K-mart for pantyhose so I hop in the car and go get a couple of pair. Come home, have a shower, and my sister Kathy who was a hairdresser starts to do my hair. The seamstress drops off my going-away outfit. Don’t forget that the wedding is at 3:00 and I still have to get pictures done at home, again, I believe after Colette. My Dad is the photographer.

Drive to the church (Colette will have to confirm) in the same car with Colette. Mickey the Maid of Honor takes over in the picture department when Dad is doing his thing, like helping us out of the car or walking us down the aisle.

I am caught between a cringe and a laugh when I picture my Dad walking us down the aisle. One bird on each arm. Don’t forget the ‘killing two birds with one stone.’ Honest to God.

I remember not being nervous at all. I do remember, however, when I was walking down the aisle and thinking “What the hell are you doing?”

I remember the priest (Father Raimbault) asking who gives this bride away. I remember thinking no one should be giving me away. I am not an old blouse. How archaic.

Wahid and I sat on the left hand side of the church and Colette and Rick on the right (Colette is that right?)

“You are now Man and Wife. You may kiss the bride.” “You are now Man and Wife. You may kiss the bride.” Wahid and I kissed first as I am the older bride after all.

We go off to the park across from St. Boniface Hospital and get our pictures taken. I remember it being so windy that the bridesmaids had to hold on to their floppy hats. After that we drive back to the hall at the church.

Because Wahid had no family here except for his brother Zello and his family we had less people at the wedding. So my wedding was a wedding with a bunch of people I had never seen in my life (all of Rick’s relatives).

We do all the typical suspects: pretend to cut the cake, eat dinner, have a presentation line, and of course have our first dance. This is so weird because I know that we danced to the song ‘We’ve only just begun’ by the Carpenters. Then our wedding party joined in. We must have stood to the side, as Colette and her wedding party would have danced too. How funny.

Back in the day, July 5th, 1975 to be exact the couple left the wedding around 10:00 so that the bride could change into her going away outfit. All four of us go back to my parents’ house to change while everyone at the wedding is still dancing and waiting for us to come back.

Colette is changed and is waiting for me to go with her. I tell her to go ahead and tell them we will not be coming back.

The outfit of course did not fit. You actually could have fit me in it at my size now with two other people. I pulled the pants up, they fell down. I put the top on; the neck was at my hips. This is making me laugh now, but believe me at the time it was not funny.

I put my wedding dress back on, tell Wahid we are not going back to the wedding, he doesn’t understand why I can’t put something else on. To be honest, I can’t understand now why I wouldn’t have put something else on. There really is something to be said for going with the flow.

We get in our car and drive off to the International Inn by the airport and we have the honeymoon suite.

My wedding was certainly not what I wanted it to be. When people ask if I had fun at my wedding, I say no.

But the most amazing thing is that even though I didn’t enjoy the wedding. I have absolutely without a doubt enjoyed the marriage. I love the man. I love my husband. I love the boy I married that became the man I am married to.

Happy Anniversary Wahid, you are a dream person. In the end you are my fictional character but in a different genre than I had expected. Who could have known that in the end, that is exactly what I wanted.

P.S. I put the screws to Wahid and all he would say is “Dearest, 33 years is a long time.” ‘I say yes, but it was a good time.’ He laughs and says “It has its ups and downs.”

Thursday 3 July 2008

My Tuesday Peeps

I took this picture of us at an earlier meeting when it was really warm in the room. Do you ladies remember?

Anyway, I think you all look great. Hope to see you all Tuesday.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Pain Relief

It is a well established fact that you cannot be human and escape tragedy. I know that. We all know that. I don’t know if it is an established fact though that many people who live in pain from cancer would prefer to die just to get relief from their pain. I certainly am not at this point, but I know that Andrea is.

I am sitting here spiritually crushed because Andrea is in so much pain right now that she wants to die. In her own words “ASAP.”

I usually do not look deep into things. I take them as I see them. But, I am so heartbroken for Andrea and her family that I wonder if I am also not crying for myself.

This morning I have been so sore and have taken all my pills and then some. Have a neck roll around my neck to help push my shoulders down and hold my head up. Feeling nauseated because of too many pills. Crying because I feel sorry for my body and the pain I am in. It is mostly my shoulders and upper arms, but then again it is also my back, my neck, my feet, my fingers.

This brings me back to Andrea, and her pain. I know that compares to her my pain is nothing at this point. I would be lying, however, if I didn’t say that the level of her pain scares me. It scares me for what my future will look like. I know the power of now and I know I need to be here, but right now I am anticipating the future.

Andrea wants to go now and states that she wants God to forgive her for anything she has done. I on the other hand think she needs to forgive God for what she is being put through.

I always want what my friend wants. I know that she wants to die now, so that is what I want too, but I just can’t help wishing she could live a little longer pain free and be with her children.

I have always been a sucker for fairytales. Just now am I discovering that they are rarely true.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Canada Day

Sending you out a great Canada Day from my neck of the woods in Manitoba where you really can touch the sky.

I hope you have fun doing this Canada Day quiz. No need to put your answers here. I am shocked because I only got five right. The answers are at the bottom of the page.

Canada’s two national sports?

Hockey, Basketball
Baseball, Tennis
Basketball, Lacrosse
Lacrosse, Ice Hockey

How many lakes are there in Canada?

1 million
5 million

Who was the first Prime Minister of Canada?

Alexander Mackenzie
John A. MacDonald
Louis Riel
Wilfred Laurier

Canada has two national symbols, what are they?

Beaver and Maple Leaf
Moose and Maple Leaf
Beaver and Grizzly Bear
Moose and Salmon

Canada has the longest covered bridge in the world (1,282 feet long). Where is it located?

West Montrose, ON
La Sarre, QE
Gold River, BC
Hartland, NB

What university developed the world’s first anti-gravity suit?

University of Toronto
Simon Fraser University
University of British Columbia
Queen’s University

Andrew Bonar Law was the only Canadian ever to do what?

Win the Indianapolis 500
Serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain
Board the MIR space station
Win the Tour De France

How many National Parks are there in Canada?


In which year did Canada adopt the metric system?


How many time zones are there in Canada?


What is the highest mountain in Canada?

Mount Forbe
Mount Logan
Mount Kitchener
Mount Lefroy

What is the longest river in Canada?

Fraser River
St. Laurence River
Mackenzie River
Red River

What is Canada’s most northern island?

Queen Charlotte

Which of the following authors is not Canadian?

W.O. Mitchell
Margaret Atwood
A.A. Milne
Michael Ondaatje

Which province has the largest concentration of moose in North America?

British Columbia

When was “Oh Canada” proclaimed as Canada’s national anthem?


Lacrosse and Hockey
John A. MacDonald
Beaver and Maple Leaf
Hartland, NB
University of Toronto
Serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain
Mount Logan
Mackenzie River
A.A. Milne