Sunday 30 November 2008

Regarding Nadalene

She is the younger of my two daughters, my second child, and my awakening.

When Nadalene arrived Angelique was 23 months old and Nathan was not on the radar. Oh my God, how much we loved this little girl. A little girl who, on the day she was born, had her eyes open and could hold up her neck.

Wahid was a little disappointed because he wanted a boy. Now he would not trade her in for a million boys. She is her Dad’s girl.

Of course, eventually as all little girls tend to do, she grew up, and today she is 31 years old. I am amazed how time has sped by, because I can see her life spread out before me and it is as if the 31 years are a bolt of lightning; all of the years contained in that flash.

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

The past and present are sitting here with me right now. I haven’t forgotten much of what it felt like back then when Nadalene was a little girl. I can’t share all of our memories right here though as many are for Nadalene and me alone. As well there are 31 years of memories and they cannot be written in a bolt of lightning like they can be looked at.

When Nadalene was a baby she was so clever that she walked at eight months old (I am not exaggerating) and toilet trained herself by a year old. There would be no stinky or wet diapers for her. On the other hand I had to wipe her bum until she started kindergarten. I can hear her now “Mom, Mom, I’m done.”

Angelique and Nadalene were and are inseparable. Angelique (loving and kind) would always allow Nadalene (loving and bossy) to be Vanna White and open the cupboard doors in their game shows. Nadalene would always be the one in my heels with a spoon (cigarette) hanging out of her mouth having everyone in the room cheering her on.

When Angelique started kindergarten, Nadalene would wait patiently for her to come home so that she could play school in the playroom with Angelique and all of her friends (do you remember this Cindy) and Nadalene would be the teacher. She wanted it and so Angelique let her be it, although in the end two of our kids would be teachers, Nadalene was not one of them.

When Nadalene came home from kindergarten she would have a million invites to play and she refused them all. I even had my lines practiced ‘No I’m sorry she cannot go play today.’ (By the way she had me saying that line up to her 20s.) I had no trouble saying those lines either because I knew that all she wanted to do was remove her leotards, get ice-cream on her TV tray, lie on her stomach, and watch Sesame Street.

Nadalene combed her Dad’s hair and curled mine on a daily basis. When she was about nine I had to join her jazz-a-size group and pay her a quarter a day for the lesson.

She was the best little sister and one of the best big sisters anyone would want. When Nathan was born, Nadalene was the one who would walk in circles for hours to get him to sleep. I gladly handed over the reigns to that five year old girl because even at five years old she knew what was what when she knew what was what.

When Nadalene was 15 years old she joined Scottish Highland Dancing and won every competition she was in. Nadalene took everything she did seriously and never wavered once she started. Nadalene has the will of 12 horses, 3 black bears, 2 unicorns and 9 butterflies.

Nadalene has had many nicknames: Nadalene the Dancing Queen; Nad the Bad; Nad; Naddie; Nadia; Nada. Nadalene has always been the queen of giving nicknames too: Pudd; Nilam; Annia; Donovan; Nathaniel or said in French Nathan; Lizzard; Kirdy; Suzanne; A.J.; and her two favourite to her two favourite people Chazz and Nugget/Nuggie.

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

In the beginning of this post I said that Nadalene is my awakening and in so many ways she is. Nadalene is the conscious of our home. When we want to ignore things, she just won’t let us (more relentless than a pit-bull). FIRE she roars, we say no Nad, it is just smoldering and may go out on its own. She yells a little louder and actually pokes you with the hot stick to get your attention (I did say relentless right) until you, like her, scream Fire.

Nadalene is and always has been an absolutely beautiful looking person and I wonder if that has allowed her to become who she is in some ways. Not having to let the physical get in her way she was able to focus on other things.

When Nadalene got her Masters in City Planning I joked with her about her bossing and whipping us all into shape by thinking she was the Master of the house, while now, I told her she has the papers to back it up.

Nadalene got married last year to her high school sweetheart. She works as a City Planner and is the most thoughtful person you would have the good fortune to know.

She is the younger of my two daughters, my second child, and my awakening. Nadalene thank you for the privilege.

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

Thursday 27 November 2008

Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Heidi and Caroline, and to all the people living in the U.S. of A.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Wednesday's Women No. 7

This woman was in many ways a lost girl.

Being controlled in many ways by either her 8 or 10 year old self. So many relationships brought the child out: nobody asked me, I want to be liked the best, okay fine I won’t ask again, etc. etc.

Shelly came over yesterday and we spent many hours talking about the lost girl and came to the conclusion (or at least I did) that maybe each of us have a lost girl in us.

We discovered that in order for the lost girl to be found she has to remember the love.

When she is in bed looking at the pictures on her wall and they start to turn into posters of Disney characters, and she starts to imagine or hang on to every slight, she needs to remember the love for it will let her sleep more peacefully. It will help her to be who she is meant to be.

p.s. Thanks for the mental workout Shelly because today I am a little less of the lost girl I was yesterday.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Round And Round

It seems so human to me that when I put a particular month’s journal entries together that nothing really changes from one year to another. They all really consist of the same themes.

Flashbacks From The Month Of November

November 9, 2001

*Some achievements to celebrate are a fantastic Halloween Dinner, being optimistic no matter what, raising confident children, hanging-in regardless, passing on what I know, paying off debts, and being happily married after 26+ years.

*I believe that the things that stop me from achieving my goals are internal and not external.

November 11, 2001

*My definition of success is not about money or career; it is definitely about personal, mental, family success. It is success in the sense that you bring something good to the relationships you have with other people, especially to the people who know you best, i.e., your family.

*I am living my own ideas about success, and in a way maybe that is why I feel successful, because I am basing my success on my measuring stick and not on someone else’s.

*Models of success to me are: My Dad is a model of success for his optimism and humour. My Mom is a model of success for her love of her children as well as her fairness. Jacquie is a model of success for her thoughtfulness of others and her warm and loving ways and for her ability to love my children as if they were her own. Angelique is a model of success for her courage in facing a terrible disease, but mostly for her compassion and non-judgmental attitude towards others. Nadalene is a model of success for her excellent and non-ending work habits, as well as the ability to set goals and achieve them, along with her ability to stay on course and not get distracted. Nathan is a model of success for his self-confidence, athleticism, and his ability to make me laugh. Wahid is a model of success for overcoming a childhood where you weren’t taught to have confidence in yourself, but mostly for being the most wonderful husband and father anyone could be. He is honest, loyal, hardworking, dependable, and intelligent.

November 15, 2001

*I am comfortable with physical expressions of intimacy. I support myself, but not quite whole-heartedly because the capacity for intimacy is based on self-acceptance and I don’t accept my physical body completely. I am overweight.

November 17, 2001

*If I ever experience envy (rarely) it would not be to a person, but that person’s money and what freedom it gives to them and their family.

November 21, 2001

*Family to me means family by blood; emotional family; and how these are the people that can make you the most miserable but on the upside, they are the same people who can pull your strings for good or bad. They are the people we have certain rights to expect, obligations to fulfill, joys to share, privileges to give and take, as well as burdens that are too heavy to bear; they can try to give us what we need in support. Some do this not at all, some half-way, and some do and fulfill this with all of the best intentions. Jacquie of course comes to mind when I think of the best intentions and so does Colette.

*It is not that I wish the ties were tighter or looser because when you are a member of a large family it seems as though the ties are always shifting. Sometimes you are closer to some and then it can change and you will be closer to others.

*In the movie of my family I am the 8th child, with another five children after me. Relatively close knit family with some of my favourite memories revolving around Christmas. Even with a full house we were able to do what we wanted. It was as though even if the house was crowded to the rafters we were welcome to join in with everyone or if we desired be left alone to do our own thing.

*I think in a lot of ways I was the child who was designated ‘smart.’ My children are also considered to be ‘smart.’

*I can be the peacemaker, but I can also be manipulating.

November 3, 2002

*The routines that make my life worthwhile are dinner with the kids and Wahid, sleeping in bed with Wahid, talking with Nadalene, hugging and making that sound on Nathan’s neck.

*What I’m most proud of in my life are my children. Nathan just wrote I LOVE MOM.

*Things I don’t know for sure are how to get along with all my siblings on a real level; where my real talents can be best used; and where I’m going to be in 20 years.

November 10, 2002

*Christmas stress. Remind myself that the holidays may have been so wonderful in my childhood because I had no responsibility for making the magic. Have grown-up expectations and I won’t be disappointed.

November 4, 2003

*I told Wahid about what I wrote in the journal about David S. and him, and we both had a good laugh over it. I can’t believe that when I wrote that I actually believed it.

November 17, 2003

*To me, excellence means achieving goals you have set with amazing attitude and perseverance, but even more it means the quality of a person’s spirit, the kindness, the goodness, and the empathy one feels for other people around them. Three areas of my life I would rate myself as excellent are in parenting, making our house a home, and listening.

November 27, 2004

*I am completely rambling in my head this morning. Kind of a blah blah day. Colette and her friends came shopping yesterday and I went with them. I totally wish I hadn’t. Big waste of time. They are all very nice. I’m just bored with everything unless I have my head in a book.

*I had cataract surgery on November 17th and everything is great. Amazing difference in vision.

*Looking at the words ‘heartfelt joy’ and don’t know what they mean at all. I (right now) feel neither of those.

November 28, 2004

*I am totally in a funk and have been for over a month. I just don’t feel any connection right now. Christmas is approaching and I also feel people are getting older and can die soon.

*Hurry up and connect and I still don’t. Even though I have a feeling that NOW is the time and I will regret this wasted time later.

*I wish I had made better choices in life. If wishes were horses beggars would ride.

*I suffer from connection overload so I never crave it. Mind you, it is never a deep connection and I’m sure I must crave that. I so never have that, that if I ever even did I don’t know what it would be like. I am my own worst enemy. On the other hand I know I want my children to have it with a partner and each other.

*My main squeeze would be Wahid, although not at the moment.

Flash Forward

Change is a conscious choice and if we want it than we need to make that decision and act. Otherwise we go in circles year after year repeating the things we wanted to be different.

It is also comforting to have the same themes in your life such as family and love.

Monday 24 November 2008

200th Blog Post

I know I can’t believe it either.

Dad thought that I should post where I got my blog name. So in honour of my Dad (may he rest in peace) I am going to give you the low down on where I got the name and what it means to me.

Andrea, a young woman with inflammatory breast cancer who died earlier this year, wrote a blog entitled Punk Rock Mommy. On one of her posts she put a Chinese proverb which went like this:

“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from circling your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.”

This resonated with me like nothing else did at the time. I could see how the birds, if they even had a chance to nest may never leave.

Colette was the first person to know what I was going to call my blog; as she helped me set it up one cold morning in February.

This having cancer is not an easy thing. As a matter of fact it is one of the worst things. I had just gone through almost two full years of chemotherapy and I needed to figure out what the hell just happened to me. I wanted to try to write to clear my head, to make me happier, to give me something to do. I wanted more than anything for people to know that I was here.

I wanted people to know that once upon a time in a small city in a big country there was a woman who loved her children so much she felt that if they could read her stories when she was gone they would feel that she was with them and they wouldn’t forget her.

When I first started writing this blog the birds were indeed circling. They still circle but their wings are not so loud, they make me less dizzy, they no longer drop little sticks and feathers on to my hair. They try of course, especially when I am tired, and then I remind myself of how much I love my husband and children and how I would be stealing their wife and mother away earlier than necessary just to become a nest for squawking birds.

These birds who try to nest represent more than one thing to me. One bird represents my grief at not being able to retire with my dear husband, not being able to grow old together, and more than anything; not being able to share our grandchildren with each other; talking long into the evening about how happy they made us that day. One bird represents my physical pain and squawks that if I think I have felt pain; well hold on baby because you ain’t seen nothing yet. One bird reminds me of my friends that have left before me and are no longer here, no longer physical, no longer touchable. One bird squawked very loudly for me to look at how beautiful its feathers are and to remind me that I was no longer physically beautiful.

But the King of the Birds of Sorrow is Despair, and him I have to deal with every day. He has the strongest hold on me and is the one that I have the fiercest battles with. And that is because Despair is the bird that wants to nest in my hair and squawk over and over that I will not finish what I set out to do. I will not see all my children married with their children at their knees. That one day I will have to leave them and because of that I will break their hearts.

You see the power of that sneaky fuck. I feel him now along with the rest just at the back corner of my right ear taunting ‘you’re screwed, nobody escapes, it will never be better, yes you are dragging your family down.’

So I go back to my blog and I post and I post and I post. I get feedback from people who I never knew but I know now and I know that they care. I don’t get feedback from others that I know because their feelings have been hurt along the way. Somehow the blog has become about them and not about me; and now I don’t want to hear any longer what they have to say.

But to keep the birds of sorrow at bay I make connections with people. They along with my husband and children remind me that I am not defenseless. By writing I am shooing the birds away. I have reached people who can relate and get it. They know and they can help keep the birds of sorrow out of my hair. These empathetic people have reached through the darkness and they give me messages of hope.

They tell me to take heart. ‘Take heart.’ They remind me of what my dear Jill said when she stated ‘we are still here.’ ‘You are still here.’

So while my blog is a venue to clear the air of the birds of sorrow, it will never take the place of my family who support me each and every day. The people that I love the most in this world telling me ‘take heart; you are still here.’

And so I do. I take heart because I believe that the birds are made of the darkest matter and while they squawk the truth, they only tell half the story.

And so I do. I take heart because I believe that my children are made of the brightest matter and while they whisper words of encouragement and love, they tell the best part of the story.

And so I do. I take heart because I believe that even though my children’s hearts may break, their hearts will also heal, if not for themselves, than at the very least for me and that tells the most hopeful part of the story.

So Dad, now you know. Now you know the story.

Sunday 23 November 2008


The birthdates for Sagittarius are between November 23rd and December 21st. Wahid’s birthday is on the 23rd, Nadalene’s is on the 30th, and my Mom’s is on the 7th.

Colour = Turquoise, Lilac, Purple, Indigo
Metal = Tin
Stone = Topaz, Sapphire, Amethyst
Tree = Mulberry, Vine, Chestnut
Plants = Sage

Sagittarius is the sign of the archer which is symbolized by the centaur (half-man/half-horse). Sagittarian’s strive for the development of the human soul. They are not satisfied as many others are with their animal natures; Sagittarian’s strongest desires are for spiritual aspirations, not only for themselves but for all humanity. Sagittarian’s are well known for their need for personal freedom and space. Wahid’s motto is ‘let freedom reign.’ Sagittarian’s are happy and easygoing people as long as they don’t feel caged or cooped up.

Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarian’s make for charming and agreeable companions, they are energetic and naturally outgoing, achieving each goal through positive thinking. The belief in the zodiac is that Sagittarian’s have the gift of providence and that luck will always protect them. Although Sagittarians are quite open minded they can come across as moralistic. They will be the first to spot bias or prejudice in others, but they can be blind to their own. They have a bluntness of speech which is a trademark of a Sagittarian and they can be baffled when people are not direct or beat around the bush.

A Sagittarian will have friends from all walks of life. They love to laugh and tease and they get along well with both sexes. Due to their blind faith in people, their optimism is infectious. No word can quite describe a Sagittarian quite so well as ‘idealistic’. These people have vision. Sagittarians have a restless intellect and they learn best when they are given the freedom to think for themselves; all Sagittarians have a love for philosophy where they tend to lose many people of less intellect.

Sagittarians are especially loved by their Aries wife, Aries mother, and Aries daughter. No sign in the zodiac will defend justice and freedom of thought quite like a Sagittarius; and this Aries couldn’t be prouder. This Aries wife can definitely attest that the Aries/Sagittarius marriage is the best match in the zodiac; and loves her Sagittarian’s free loving spirit. This Aries mother could not be prouder of her Sagittarian daughter’s intellect and idealistic nature, as well as her ability to make things happen. This Aries daughter is so proud to emulate the qualities of thinking of others and doing the right thing that she learned at her Sagittarian mother’s knee.

Happy Birthday Wahid!

Saturday 22 November 2008

It Is Nice To Be Liked

I was given this award from Julie-Ann at

Thank you so much Julie-Ann.

The Marie Antoinette blogging award is given to bloggers who inspire others through their stories or their art, or both.

I have to nominate seven other people who blog, but since I like to break rules, I am only going to nominate four.

I have loved following your blogs and you are without a doubt inspiring. I also want some people to know that their blogs inspire me very much but because they are people that I know do not want to share their stories with others, that is the only reason they are not included here.

Rules of Play:

Please put the Marie Antoinette picture on your blog.
Place the link to the person from whom you received the award.
Nominate at least seven blogs.
Put the links of those blogs on your blog.
Leave a message on their blogs to tell them.

Soundless Saturday No. 15

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Wednesday's Women No. 6

I really should be paying more attention to this recipe. But my mind keeps wandering and I really don’t know why. I mean really what is to wonder about, I have everything I need, my life is wonderful, and I really couldn’t be more interested in this recipe or in my life (whose life, do I mean my husband and my children).

Ouch! Those are dangerous thoughts.

What could be better than to wake up at 5:00 every morning, and then ever so slowly remove the covers so that the Mr. doesn’t get disturbed? It almost makes me giggle when I think how happy I must make him and the children when they wake up and I am already all made up for their viewing pleasure.

While in the kitchen, that most heavenly place this earth has to offer, I get their breakfast ready. I was saying to the Mr. just the other evening, that if I didn’t have his pancakes, bacon and eggs, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee ready for him first thing in the morning, I don’t know if I could live with myself.

Ouch! I had to pinch myself there because I had an original thought that asked ‘Are there other things I could do with myself?’ I am so ashamed.

I think of my day and how after the children go to school and the Mr. goes off to work I rush up the stairs to change into an old work dress so that I can get this clean home even cleaner. I repeat over and over to myself while cleaning that I only have six hours to do it, in case I get carried away while on my hands and knees over at the middle-bottom stair near the basement polishing that dull spot to a glimmer like I did last week. Gee darn.

Ouch! Where in heaven’s name did that come from? I have to be more careful with my language.

Had my shower, did my makeup and really only had to do a touchup on my hair, those hairnets are magic. Nothing is as satisfying as being right on schedule.

By the time the Mr. comes home I will have his supper ready and waiting. I really don’t know what I would do without canned peas and Campbell’s soup.

I was telling my daughters (of course I wouldn’t talk like this to my son) that my goal in life is to hear their father (my Mr.) tell me that my cooking is heavenly. Oh the day that happens, I will have achieved one of my few dreams.

Ouch! My domestic feelings (I have no others) are so hurt as my daughters both told me that I live in a cage. Look Mom, they said, you can’t even swing the bottom of the door open unless you remove your flowers that took you all day to arrange.

I will talk to the Mr. when he comes home from work; of course after I get his slippers, his paper, and his pipe, and of course after he has his dinner and his evening drink. Actually I will talk to him just after I turn on his light and hand him his book to read for the evening.

Ouch! Actually I think I will just swallow that bit of disappointment, after all he works hard all day.

Oh well, back to the dinner. I am just thinking that maybe I could make that jellied salad, the one with the corn, carrots, and beets.

When I look at this cookbook, I know what makes me happy. Not only is my cooking heavenly, so is my life; and the best thing of all is that I will do exactly what I did today for the next six days and then they will be repeated over a 52 week period. Like the Mr. says, he sure wishes he had it as easy as me. Well then…..

Ouch! I don’t know what is wrong with me today, I think these thoughts that pop into my head are trying to sabotage my wonderful life.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Either You

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily.

To maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely.

But much will blind you
much will evade you.
At what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises
it is only a door.

~ Adrienne Rich ~

Monday 17 November 2008

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter E

Early: Sequence of events that will test your state of preparedness. A need to be ready without delay, as things will happen whether you are ready or not.

Earrings: Suggests a need to listen more carefully and pay attention. If the earrings in your dreams are broken that suggests that someone you trust is talking about you.

Earth: You are grounded in reality and can take comfort from the great mother.

Elderly: Represents wisdom and spiritual power. Pay attention because there is always a message or some advise that is being conveyed to you. Dreams of the elderly always try to guide you toward the right direction or a wise thought. Listen carefully to what is being said.

Elephant In The Room: A need to see what is right under your nose. Denying the elephant does not make it go away, as a matter of fact that is the one sure way to make it increase in size. The result will be no room left to breath.

Elf: Refers to imbalance and disharmony in your life. An elf often serves as a guide to the soul. It can suggest the need to be more carefree, worry-free, and light-hearted.

Elizabeth: Loyalty and truth as represented by the Mother of John the Baptist. Faith and patience that true things will come to pass. Just as the name Elizabeth suggests an oath of God.

Enchantment: Indicates that you are being manipulated or influenced to your demise.

Excalibar: A reminder that even amongst the bad there is good. Every generation has people who believe in the golden age of magic.

Eye: Always represents the self (also known as the I). Enlightenment and clear thought is needed and can be found in listening to your own inner voice. Your own vision is what is needed in a difficult situation.

Friday 14 November 2008

Cheers To Magic

The Sears catalogue came in the mail the other day. Boy oh boy the magic that book gave me. Or was it magic that my mother gave me by setting the scene.

Maybe my Mom was really the good witch of the memory by calling a wee girl to the door to see what a mere mortal man had hidden in the box attached to the house.

Maybe my Mom was really the good witch of the memory by handing me the book and whisking me off to her bedroom where I was placed in the center of the bed, leaving me feel that I was picked (by who, I never knew) to turn that first page that would allow me to get to the magic kingdom of toys. Handed a box of medicine (chocolates) and told that today, of all days, I too would get some medicine.

Maybe my Mom was really the good witch of the memory by placing a magic kiss on my head and then slowly shutting the door of that extraordinary room that for some reason I felt was attached to Santa’s workshop.

I don’t know if I ever held a bible with such reverence as I did that Sears catalogue.

I believe that was the beginning of when I felt that other worlds existed.

I have always believed and still believe that other worlds exist. After all, what is on the other side of the moon, lying in the crack of a mirror, between the walls that separate a room, hiding in the tiniest corner between the slats on a bookcase, glimmering in the icicles hanging off the house, and hidden in the moss at the base of the tree?

I have often tried to reach these places, wherever they are. I tried hard to get through the cracks in the walls between the bedrooms and I turned the pages of many a book and found glimpses of the other worlds all over the place. I would often look for split trunks on the trees with the most moss just so that I could climb to another dimension that I knew with a certainty was there.

Even now I see little signs that point to another place, like the light shining on the snow, the glass of ice that now separates the road in front of my house from the air above it, the moon shifting position allowing us in until it closes right up once a month and then we wait again.

But more than anything I see someplace else in the sparkle of Josephine’s eyes. I hear the tinkling of far off bells in the clap of her hands that surely lead to the sprites and angels that are making her laugh. Even when I see in front of me that those sprites and angels look like her Mom and Dad, Auntie Nadalene and Uncle Charlton, Uncle Nathan or her Grandpa.

I personally see other much softer, kinder worlds when I am with Josephine. I completely feel my body being lifted up. I gaze into her eyes and whoosh; I am moved to a happier, more forgiving place. I become better than what I was. Magic so exists.

I credit my Mom for my love of the fantastical. After all, I never ever heard of my friends mothers seeing shadow people. But my Mom has always seen them. As a matter of fact she saw a couple walking down the hall the other day. I myself had never seen them, except for a week after my Dad died when a shadow person was in my room and when I turned around it scooted away.

Cheers to magic and may we all find some.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Wednesday's Women No. 6

You keep saying that. You keep saying so many things. I was convinced; I even told my parents that there was no way Proposition 8 would pass. I told them we would be vindicated, that there was nothing wrong with how I am. That our dream of getting married was a good dream and that we as a couple would be accepted. We were so convinced.

I just don’t understand, what is the problem, what is it to them how we live our life? Our marriage would never change their marriage. Nothing we do would affect them.

You whisper that it will all be alright and that things will change again. If the evangelical poison that helped create Proposition 8 is allowed to continue, it will not change and it may even get worse. That frightens me.

You ask why I look so frightened. I’m frightened because we were convinced we lived in a better society where everyone was equal and that we all had rights under the law. But when Proposition 8, that brutally regressive measure that removes the rights of people who love each other to marry got passed; well it just scares me.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Interview With A Veteran

All days he is with me, and here today on Remembrance Day, I can state that I will never forget.

The picture is of my Dad when he was 17 years old. I can’t help but well up with tears because I love when I see a family face. I see all of my brothers in tiny little pieces, Harry, Dwain, Gerry and Joey. I love how in the family face I am getting glimpses big time of my nephews Jamie and Zac. Nathan and I laughed the other day when looking at this picture because he and I both always have our fists clenched just like that. Nadalene always screams ‘you guys are going to get arthritis.’ How the family face goes on and what a wonderful thing that is.

How many of you guys are with me when I think that Nana probably placed Dad's little cap on his head so jauntily just before they took the picture?

Probably about 10 years ago, I asked my Dad some questions about his time in the military. I had one of those question books about your life and your parents’ lives.

What made you decide to join the military? Were you drafted or was it a personal choice?

I joined the military for two reasons, the first was patriotism and the second was for adventure. It was a personal choice as I joined when I was 17 years old. As an appendix to why I decided to join the military was because I went to see the movie ‘Captains of the Clouds’ and the theme song was ‘We’re off to the big show.’ That movie made me want to join the Air Force.

Were you concerned about the world situation at that time?

Yes, I had grown up during the depression, so I was concerned more about people having jobs. At 17 years old the war seemed far away, while men being able to support their families were more of an immediate concern.

Were there other family members also in the military when you joined?

Yes, I had cousins in the military.

Where were you living when you joined the service?

My parents lived in Winnipeg, but I was working and living in Calgary, Alberta when I joined the service.

What branch did you join?

I joined the RCAF which stood for Royal Canadian Air Force. I said it stood for Really Caught and Fucked.

Where did you undergo your basic training? Was it tough?

I underwent my basic training in Manning Pool RCAF No. 2 in the old Brandon arena in Brandon, Manitoba. The training was strenuous. My training officer was Corporal Turecki and he was a tough miserable bastard.

Did you have any further training? If so, what?

I went to No. 3 RCAF Wireless School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I was trained to be a gunner.

What was your area of expertise in the military?

I was a gunner in the planes.

What rank did you hold?

I held the rank of Leading Air Craftsman.

There are many things I know about my Dad’s time in the military, here are a few.

*He turned 18 the day he landed in England.

*He met the love of his life at a dancehall in Aberdeen, Scotland.

*He married the wee lass from Aberdeen within a month and after seeing her only three times.

*His first child (Harry) was born in Scotland.

If anyone can shed light on this one, go for it.

*I am not sure about this one, but I always thought he was shot in the leg during the war. Then I talked to him and I think he said shrapnel hit him. I talked to Shelly about this awhile ago and I can’t remember if she had a different version of it.

I always laugh at this story and honestly, I think it is true. When my Dad went for his physical and had to get checked there was a doctor and a few older soldiers along with other new soldiers getting checked out. He said the doctor looked at his penis and called the other soldiers to come take a look. They then said “Well here he is lads, God’s gift to women.”

Friday 7 November 2008

Conversations Among The Dying

The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is not true. My good friend Darlene died one year ago today. You never forget and you never completely heal. Time heals nothing. Time passes and that is it.

With the anniversary of Darlene’s death come the memories of my other dear friends who died: Jill, Helen, and Angie. It isn’t easy to lose people that you grow to love, just as it isn’t easy to know that they died of what you will die of and that in the end it comes very quickly and sometimes without having the loving relationships you would like because egos (either yours or theirs) get in the way.

Darlene’s best friend Sally and I were discussing Darlene and how much we miss her and how much we love Marcie and Travis and how we can’t even describe how sad we are for them. Sally said about cancer and Darlene dying that ‘It is all torture, just different forms of it.’

Today, one year later, I remember opening my Facebook and reading the only message Darlene had ever sent me on Facebook and it was posted on November 2, 2007:

*Hi Renee. I love you and think of you all the time. I’m starting chemo on Monday, Docitaxel and Gymsidabean? They’re giving me Kytril so I guess I’ll be sick, not looking forward to that. Got a PICC line today and they drained my stomach and got 6.6 liters off my stomach. They put a steroid after the drain hoping that will keep it down longer than two days. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you earlier. Don’t know if I’ll see you Tuesday, hope so. Lots of luv Dar XO

I replied with the following:

*6.6 liters are you kidding me. Oh my God.

*Can I come and see you, just let me know. I can come and spend some of the day. I love you. I just reminded Marcie about our lunch next week. You might be having chemo then though. Darlene, Taxotere really did wonders for me. I want the same for you. Hurry and let this be a terrible memory.

*Sally told me yesterday in group that you fell and are black and blue. Darlene, what next?

The phone rings, it is Irene and she proceeds to tell me that she has bad news ‘Darlene just died.’ I said ‘Darlene who?’ She says ‘well Darlene.’ I say ‘My Darlene?’ She says ‘yes.’

I can’t believe it; I just talked to her yesterday. I believe it, and at the same time, I don’t. I feel like somebody just ripped my heart out of my forehead.

Marcie calls me and tells me her Mom is dead and could I come over. There are no words to say to a daughter who just lost the most important person in her life. I go over and see Marcie and Travis and I have no words.

Today, I think of all the things that Darlene, Jill, Helen, and Angie have done to stay alive so that they could spend more time with their children. I think of all the things that I do and Sally, Donna, Carol, Bernice, etc. do to get another day. And with all of the things that we do and go through there is still no reassurance that we can keep the devil at bay.

It is inevitable for us, for all of us really, that no matter how we plan, dose, medicate, radiate, recuperate, and then get more chemo that we can keep death at bay and our bodies bouncing back.

We have been marked and so sometimes all we can take from a day is the support and love that we give to each other. We of the mark, we who will miss out on our children’s lives before we should have too, we who understand the same language, we who miss the ones who have gone before.

I am going to give you a peek at some of Darlene’s emails to me, just so that you can get an essence of what a wonderful, caring, selfless person she was.

These emails are from February/06 to October/07.

*Just wanted to see how you’re doing and to let you know that I’m thinking about you lots (this was repeated on every email, I am not going to repeat it here). Did you go for the bone scan today, if so hope that all went well.

*I’ve got 4 more days of work practicum and than that’s it, I’m officially done school. I applied for a Clerk Typist II at CancerCare, it is a permanent part time position (she did get the job but was unable to take it as her cancer came back).

*Well time for bed. Renee please know that if there is something I can do or you want to get out for coffee just give me a ring. Write when you feel up to it okay. Take care; you’re always on my mind and in my prayers. Lots of luv Dar.

*I know you’re probably already gone for your treatments but I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be thinking of you my dear friend. Hope that all goes well for you and that you’re not sick after the treatment.

*I wish there was something that I could do for you. I remember I cried in the shower every night when I was first diagnosed. And I think I’m always thinking of the time that will be lost. It’s very hard times that we’re going through.

*Do you think that you’d feel like going out for breakfast sometime on the weekend? If you do I could be ready in an hours’ notice. Call if you feel up to it. Take care Renee and I’ll be thinking of you on Friday as I always do. If you ever need me to take you on a Friday please just call. I’ve got my parking pass so it won’t cost us a dime heehee. Thinking of you always my dear friend.

*I hope that you all had a nice Christmas, you’ve been on my mind lots. Renee, you are not going to believe this, my sweet children bought me a laptop computer for Christmas. I cried and cried. Dave has set it up for me and I love it so now when I’m too sore to sit at the desk I can have it on my lap. I’m going to call you today but if you don’t feel up to talking I totally understand.

*I saw Dr. Daenick yesterday and he is recommending surgery to take out the rib and nerves if they are damaged. He is referring me to Dr. Tan, I am so happy about this even though it means surgery.

*Everyone is excited for you GRANDMA!! Phone if you feel up to it, I’ll be home all day doing laundry.

*Hope that you are doing okay and are keeping warm; it is unreal out there isn’t it.

*I went to the surgeon last week and he told me that they could do the surgery but they couldn’t promise that would end the problem and that I could end up in more pain (it did help, but the pain was still incredible). I was upset with that and felt like I was back at the beginning. They suggest that I get a nerve block first (she did and it didn’t really help). What have you been up to, keeping warm I hope. How is Angelique feeling? Are you going to group on Tuesday, do you want to go with me? Talk soon, always thinking of you Renee.

*I have been thinking of you all week, how did the wedding go? Fantastic I hope. I know Nadalene would have looked beautiful. Can you please send some pictures when you can? I’m so sorry that I didn’t make it but I’m still not getting around too easily. I thought I’d be having cabin fever by now but I don’t really have any desire to go out at all.

*I hope that you had a nice Thanksgiving and are feeling okay. We had our dinner yesterday at Karen’s but my stomach is so big I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to. Just wanted to let you know that I won’t be going to group tomorrow and Sally isn’t sure if she’s going or not. I went to emergency on Saturday I couldn’t take it anymore. They are supposed to drain my stomach tomorrow if the liver is okay. One of the counts was out on Saturday so they gave me some vitamin K and have stopped my needles to help so I sure hope it does. I think I’ll lose it if they can’t do it. I’ll miss you all tomorrow but I’ll be thinking of you all.

The following last email is from me to Darlene’s message above:

*Poor poor you. And I am complaining. I’m so sorry Darlene. I know my stomach hurts and is uncomfortable, but I know it isn’t like yours. I love you and am so sorry that you are going through this.

Who Darlene cared about more than anyone in this world were Marcie and Travis. All she wanted was for them to have people to support them and love them just as if she was here to do it herself. Unfortunately no one can love our children like their mothers do. We can all try but it isn’t good enough. Darlene had a quiet manner and was one of the bravest and selfless people I know. This quote describes Darlene to me at so many levels.

~~ The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next. Mignon McLaughlin ~~

When I get discouraged I go on mostly for my children, but sometimes because of friends like Darlene, Jill, Helen, and Angie. I go on because they would have given anything to be able to do so and that choice was taken from them. I choose to go on and honour them by living and loving, and at my best times being joyful and appreciating every single second that I have on this planet, because Darlene, Jill, Helen and Angie no longer can.

I am one of the marked, the unlucky, the one who has lost a very dear friend. And even that wouldn’t be so bad if Marcie and Travis did not have to lose a very dear mother. Darlene not being here is a big deal and it should be a big deal. Love and cherish the people in your life today because they may not be here tomorrow.

Thursday 6 November 2008

High Priestess

I took the test where I found out what tarot card I am. If you want to join in the fun, click on the link at the bottom of the page.

I am the High Priestess. Science, wisdom, knowledge and education are the areas that most interest me.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. The High Priestess holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head and the well as the crescent by her foot indicate her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change of fluxuation, particularly when it comes to her moods.

Click on the link below.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

We're Not Strangers To Love

I just wanted to turn you on to this great video.

Wednesday's Women No. 5

Another woman supporting her husband's dreams.

It is totally brilliant to see a loving man supporting his supportive wife. His dreams are her dreams and vise versa.

Beautiful, intelligent, the new First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Woot Woot

44th President of the United States


You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us and the world will live as one.

Do the world a favour. Vote Obama.

Monday 3 November 2008

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter D

Daisy: Represents good luck and prosperity, but more than that it symbolizes that you will be offered a helping hand and guidance for your problems.

Dance: Freedom from constraints and harmony/balance within. Being able to go on no matter what life has to offer you.

Death: Like the Tarot, when you dream of death it is a new beginning. A new start, a fresh beginning if you are willing to remove the shackles of old thought. Letting go of what binds you.

Delight: A favourable and positive turn of events is ahead of you.

Devil: Negative aspects of oneself inclusive of guilt or bad feelings that you are harboring towards others.

Don: Indicates a need to think outside of the box. See situations in a new light and do not allow yourself to give up just because it hasn’t been done before.

Doorbell: Indicating new opportunities and experiences that you are open to but unaware of. You need to open your mind.

Dragonfly: Symbolizes change and camouflage.

Dreams: To dream that you are dreaming is representative of your emotional state. Excessive worry and fear about a situation that you are going through.

Dynamite: Signifies a fast and aggressive change in your life which makes you feel like you are about to blow up.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Shout Out No. 2

Come on California we’re counting on you. Be progressive like you always are, when you go to the polls to vote for Obama don’t forget to vote No on Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 is an attempt to ban gay marriage and crush a type of love ‘they’ cannot understand. And, because ‘they’ cannot understand it, ‘they’ fear it and have a need to crush it.

Canada has allowed same sex marriage since July, 2005, and we are still standing. So join us and declare nice and loud that two adults who love each other have every right to marry no matter their gender.