Saturday 30 May 2009

Friday 29 May 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 16

*artwork B by Nicoletta Ceccoli and L by Jiri Trnka and D by Terri Windling

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Mr. Khan

Nathan’s graduation is this morning at 10 a.m. at the University of Manitoba. He will be getting his second degree at University. This one will be his Bachelors of Education. Someone would have to be amazingly proud to be any prouder than I am right now.

Nathan is my only son and my youngest child. With his graduation this year it marks a real milestone not only for Nathan but for me and his Dad. We have had at least one child in school for the last 30 years. Angelique entered school at the age of 4 and I was 23.

So while this post is all about congratulating Nathan and letting him know how proud we are it is also a post about 30 years of having children in school and how really proud we are of each of our children; Angelique, Nadalene, and Nathan.

We sent our children to French Immersion School and they all went to Ecole Howden from Kindergarten to Grade 6. When Angelique started, it was only the second year they had the immersion program and neighbours on our street were protesting that it wasn’t in English and had come to our door to have us sign a petition. I was like ‘No that is where I intend my children to go.’ I was not popular but that was not something I would give a shit about.

For Grades 7 to 10 they went to College Beliveau a French Immersion High School.

For them that was the end of the public school system. Although it was great (we have some wonderful public schools) I had always intended that they go on for further education so I wanted to send them to the University of Winnipeg which has a private high school within the University program which helps students to have an easier transition to University, as the high school is run on the same schedule as the universities and all reports and work had to be done to university standards.

When all three had graduated from the University of Winnipeg ‘Collegiate’ they went on to attend the University of Manitoba.

Angelique achieved her Bachelor of Arts, an Honors Degree in Psychology, and a Bachelors of Education Degree. She is now working as a Grade 7 Teacher.

Nadalene achieved her Bachelor in Environmental Design (Architecture) and her Masters in City Planning. Nadalene is now working as a City Planner.

Nathan achieved his Bachelor of Arts and his Bachelor of Education Degree is what he will be receiving today.

So as I am using this post to talk to Nathan this morning I am also using it to talk to Angelique and Nadalene.

You are all a source of pride to your Dad and me. While none of you speak of your achievements, they are still spoken aloud because Dad and I speak of them amongst ourselves.

Dad and I are with all of you forever even when we know that you can walk on your own.

We hope that none of the things that I say here will come as a surprise; after all you have all heard it before. Even so, this is a good time for us to tell you that when we look at you we see more than what anyone else sees. We see the little girls and the wee boy that you were and we see and appreciate all your hard work to become the caring, intellectual, and brave people you are now.

For example, we can see into your hearts. We know what you are all made of and it is so refreshing to know that while you all have shallow places you also have depth too.

What I think about in my secret heart is how the rest of the world will be able to benefit and enjoy all of you.

Don’t get demoralized and don’t think you can’t do what can be done. Don’t underestimate your potential. Take intellectual responsibility for yourselves. Make life interesting and never quit learning. You will all shape your own lives. Don’t wait to be told to start something, start it whenever you like.

Being an adult means taking responsibility for your own life, don’t care about unimportant things or what other people think of you. And by other people I mean random people. Be selective about the people you choose to have in your life. Be selective about the people you choose to have as friends. Choosing friends or partners should be done based on your respect for them and on your respect of their judgment.

To all of you, dear hearts, dear Angelique, Nadalene, and Nathan we want you to remember that if you ever get lost just look to the sky and we will be there directing you back home. The stars will find you and show you where you need to be. We hope that all your dreams take you to your highest hopes made real, to all the doors of new opportunity, and to the homes of each others hearts.

Nathan you have such amazing potential. How do I describe the range of feelings I have today? I am proud of course, immensely proud. So, what are my feelings? I am proud, I am relieved, and I feel fortunate that you are my son, I am a touch sad, and I am happy that you have the whole world ahead of you.

Mr. Khan is something you will hear a million times a day now and I believe that the children that are fortunate enough to have you as their teacher will be calling Mr. Khan with affection and respect.


*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Pages 7 - 9

‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ is a book by Greg Anderson which I used as a guide to journal what I needed to work through in the immediate aftermath of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

Stop Awfulizing (1):

Be calm! Try not to panic. Panic will only inhibit rational and positive action.

Clear decision making will be most important.

Panic acts only to your detriment. Panic is the mind projecting its fears about the unknown future. Panic is caused by an assumption. It is not based on material fact.

*We are not made up of just our fears.

Instead of being in the role of victim who is hopelessly caught up in a web of panic and despair, become the observer. Do not engage the mind in battle; simply watch the emotions and let them go, by doing this your panic will subside.

Imagine yourself as an effective problem solver.
In reality I am an effective problem solver. I am a competent and confident person who will need to make some very important decisions.

Clear decision making is mine.

Cancer does not mean death.

*I am not uncontrolled panic even though I may occasionally experience panic.

Take Charge (2):

I am the most important person on my cancer recovery team. I am the one who is ill; and I am the one who must work to get well.

*Do not be intimidated by medical personnel or the process. You are the one in charge.

My cancer recovery team:

Extended Family
Oncologist – Dr. Grenier
Hematologist – Dr. Shojania
Laboratory Technologists – blood tests
Pharmacists – drugs to lessen side effects.
Psychosocial Oncology Counselor – Irene Shapira
Clinical Dietician – what foods to avoid/eat – Robin
Breast Surgeon – Dr. Gillespie
Mould Room Technicians – radiation mould
Radiation Therapist
Meditation/Yoga stretches/exercise
Radiation Oncologist – Dr. Akra

How wonderful to have such a team.

Flo says I will meet many angels along the way.

Nadalene says because of my dynamic personality (hee hee) I will be an angel to many people along the way.

*artwork by my dear Flossy-P

Monday 25 May 2009

The Writings On The Wall

Funny how the things you thought were something end up being nothing; vapor and dust and smoke and mirrors.

Flashbacks From The Month Of May

May 20, 2001

*Nathan had his Grade 12 Graduation on May 9, 2001. We had a family party for him before his convocation and everyone came, he received a lot of presents, we took lots of pictures and he was very gracious to everyone. I am very proud of him, and of how all of my children handle social situations.

*I am happy to be alive so that I can enjoy going out with my daughters.

*I don’t feel that I have missed out on anything because I was afraid of what others would think if I stepped out ahead of them, because I don’t feel I considered what other people would think of me, their opinion does not matter to me at all.

*If this was my last year, these are some of the things I would do:

-- Meet with all of the people who are important to me (separately and at different times) and let them know why I value them.

-- Go on a family holiday to a beautiful island with Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene and Nathan and stay there as long as we could afford too.

-- Have private conversations with my children, letting each of them know how wonderful, unique, and special they are to me.

-- I would organize all my papers and money so that my family wouldn’t have to deal with it.

-- I would live my life to the fullest everyday and I would go to bed each night feeling satisfied that I had left no stone unturned.

-- I would be curious.

-- And last but not least I would find out why I only had a year left to me and I would find a cure for what ailed me so I could continue to live. If I could not find a cure, I would try to be at peace as much as possible and get ready for the next step in my evolution.

-- Most importantly I would live in the moment by living my life consciously.

*I think I imagined living in our own house meant that I would be happy every day, and that the house would always look wonderful. I definitely thought I would be happier having our own house, and 20 years later I know that in fact I am happier that we have our own house.

*When we hit bumps in the road, like loss of a job, we just tried harder. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’

*I would definitely tell someone if they were important to me, even if I wasn’t important to them.

*One way I am robbing myself of joy is by focusing my attention on my weight, and therefore not going out as much as I would like to because I don’t feel confident in myself. This must change because I am robbing myself of happiness.

*I have to remind myself that in a blink of the eye, time is gone and I can’t get it back.

*Wahid is the person in my life that gives me the most contentment. I do depend more on my children to bring me satisfaction than I depend on myself to go out and get my own satisfaction. I have to learn to get some satisfaction that does not revolve around what my children are doing.

*Nadalene wrote in my journal ‘Kids + Chaos = No Romance’.

*I am so willing to live without a lot of things. There really is very little I desire.

*One thing I feel must happen in my life is that I raise three honest, dependable, happy, fun-loving, caring, kind, productive, and respectful open-minded, non-judgmental adults. If my children aren’t this way, I will be able to move forward. But I would not stop trying to make them good people.

*I think I am definitely attached to what people I care about think of me. But if I don’t care about them, then what they think of me is not important to me. I believe I can let go of the need for approval of what other people think of me, as a matter of fact, I have already let go of it.

May 13, 2002

*I believe that in my closest relationships we are a partnership of equals.

*I don’t think freedom means doing anything you want at the expense of others. If I feel like slapping someone, it would not be a freedom to just go ahead and do it.

May 25, 2002

*I think restraint is important in all relationships whether it be with husband, children, family or friends. Not everything you feel at a time needs to be said.

*I think being open-minded is a strength. I am willing to modify my position on an issue after learning more about something. ‘It’s okay to make a first impression, but you don’t have to marry it.’

May 30, 2003

*Angelique won an award from the Government of France for ‘French in Education.’

*I would never want to be in an unbalanced relationship where one person has power over another, nor would I want to be the person yielding the power. To have balance you need respect from all parties.

*Perspective – overall, I am satisfied with my life. I don’t have any burning desires. I don’t have any amends to make. I do have some regrets; some what-ifs?

*I definitely deal with frustration by withdrawal. I keep them to myself. I am a minimizer. I believe Wahid is also a minimizer. Because we are the same we have very little conflict.

May 24, 2004

*Time spent with family is a necessity for me. Time spent with friends is a luxury.

May 31, 2004

*I am trying to think when I felt really happy about the day ahead of me. I can’t really remember what it was like not to have worries, but I’d sure like to be carefree again.

*In six months from now I picture my life to be the same and it makes me feel overwhelmed, but at the same time I hope to God that there is nothing worse on my plate.

May 23, 2005

*My relationship with Wahid is going well because we respect each other. We have a shared history. When I forget, he can speak my memories (his words). My relationship with my children is going well because we respect each other. I enjoy my children. Their dreams are my dreams. They want for me what I want for them.

*It is definitely not a matter of time for me. It is a matter of will. When it comes to changes in my life, I am my biggest obstacle.

*The five ugliest things I say to myself are: loser; fat; basically I probably only use those two things to say to myself, but even then, very rarely. I sometimes feel sorry for myself by thinking I should have more money, have more things done around the house. I’m grateful and ungrateful.

May 29, 2005

*I live in the comfortable and familiar rather than challenge myself in the exotic and exciting.

*I am afraid of losing face. A dish of pride anyone?

*I won’t sacrifice my life for anyone. I am independent and don’t like anyone to be dependant on me. They can depend on me; they just can’t be dependant on me.

May 9, 2006

*Had blood transfusions yesterday. No boost of energy!

*Mom is a great older woman role model in many ways. Even on oxygen she is always game to go out and do something. Mom is alive until she is not.

May 15, 2006

*I really don’t have disagreements with people because I am quite comfortable with their opinion being different from mine. I agree to agree to disagree. I am not threatened by other’s opinions.

May 20, 2006

*Today was a pleasure to hold Hafeez’s baby. Pleasure must be a state of mind; a state of awareness in the moment.

*I don’t relish anything. I need to change my attitude and perspective on things.

May 24, 2006

*Dr. Dubroska felt chemo is working on the bone marrow as platelets are going up. She told me not to go for massage as it can spread cancer in blood stream as it is close to the surface. They made appointment for bone scan. Cancer is estrogen/progesterone driven.

May 4, 2007

*FEC first cycle. I am afraid, but so far so good as far as feeling sick.

Flash Forward

Everything is an illusion after all. It is vapor and dust and smoke and mirrors. However, the love one feels is always true.

Friday 22 May 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 15

*artwork B by Matthew Bone, L by David M. Bowers, and D by David Stoupakis

Thursday 21 May 2009

May = 05

What is your favourite flower? Now that is tough as I love so many. Favourite may have to be the tulip.

How do you finish the phrase April showers? April showers bring May flowers and now how does your garden grow….

Were your thoughts of your mother on Mother’s Day positive? Yes my thoughts of my mother were very positive. My thoughts of my Mother on Mother’s day were thankful thoughts. Grateful thoughts of how my Mother is always loving and fair and kind and good. Thoughts of how people always say I am such a good mother and I think ‘But I had a wonderful mother so it isn’t a far stretch that I would be a good one too.’

Do you celebrate May Day? I don’t celebrate May Day at all. Not even a little bit. If I am lucky to be here next year maybe I will make myself a little posy.

‘Princess of May’ anyone? Uh huh. Shit yeah. I went to a Catholic School and when I was in Grade 2, I was picked to be Princess of May because I was the best at religion. I got to wear a white dress (like a communion dress) and went in a procession. There was a girl picked to represent her grade and it was a big deal. My father came to watch; my mother couldn’t because she suffered with agoraphobia. My father was to take pictures with the video camera and to this day it totally fucking irritates me because you see a procession of young girls coming out just like fairies and then up the camera goes to follow a small plane. When the camera comes back down after however many minutes, the procession is done and so is the tape. Fuck Dad (miss you and love you).

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Wednesday's Women No. 28

You think I look ridiculous? I know I am ridiculous. A caricature you say? Yeah, I guess I can see that.

But the times were different back then. This was what a woman strived to be. This is what the army promised my husband that he could expect. This is what I was led to believe was my job.

Sometimes I was even happy. Not necessarily here. Here I am just pretending to be happy. I wore yellow because I knew even then that the colour yellow was supposed to lift a person’s spirits.

I am glad I have this picture of myself because it brings the day right back to me. This is the day that I was pictured in our local paper as the epitome of what a man should come home to at the end of a hard day of work. A day that he never would have thought of sharing with me; as he believed I could never understand.

So because we didn’t really speak I learned to read the signs.

For example I knew he didn’t like noise when he walked in the house. So I learnt how to minimize it. Yes, it is true you can minimize noise, even the noise that children make can be minimized when their father gets home, especially if they too know how to read the signs.

What I especially remember about this day is how you can be made to feel like you matter to people and feel quite happy about it all, even when you know that it is only a temporary illusion. That the face you are putting on for the camera isn’t necessarily the real face of your soul.

And then to feel on that same day not more then three hours after feeling like you were something that it could turn around and you could be left feeling that you are nothing.

My husband came home from work but I was a little too happy with myself and I had forgotten to read the signs. I had forgotten to listen to the secret language. I was happy to see him of course. I greeted him with a warm smile and showed him my desire to please him but I talked a little bit too much about my day and I forgot to keep the kids quiet.

I forgot that he likes silence when he comes home and while I was going on about my day I reached for his hand and he held mine; a little too tightly. I heard the unspoken language in his grip.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Pages 3 To 6

When I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in February, 2006, I chose to use the book ‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ by Greg Anderson as a prompt to journal what thoughts the book triggered into a workbook. It helped me to focus on what was happening and took me out of my head and onto some paper hardcore.

When I would write things out in the workbook, Angelique would pick it up as fast as I put it down to see into my head. I think it helped her to see where I was at.

Quotes from the book will be in italics. Angelique’s words will be in bold.

Medical Treatment – meet with oncologists at St. Boniface Hospital. Put treatment plan in place and go forward. Chemotherapy; surgery; radiation. What is hormonal therapy? Immunotherapy? Herceptin?

Take charge of my management of my medical treatment. I need to be informed and understand my treatment.

*Do not be intimidated by medical personnel or the process. You are the one in charge.

Creative Thinking – mobilize the mind to heal. Daily affirmations. Meditation. Yoga. Imagery. White light.

Recognize negative feelings, but choose more empowering emotions. Live in the present moment.

Elizabeth’s relaxation techniques; get her to do them before/after chemo? Reflexology? Massage? Music therapy.

Diet and Nutrition – eat with awareness. Raise my nutritional IQ. Deliver premium nutrients to the body; not eating for emotional or psychological reasons.

Fresh food, whole grain. No red meat or refined sugar. Vitamins? Supplements?

Exercise – regular physical activity. Swimming! Walking! Dance!

Take charge of your body. Command your body to move. *Exercise is a key recovery strategy, more powerful than can be imagined.

Check out Boni-Vital. Angelique checking out yoga stretches/meditation combo to come to my home. Dance therapy?

Beliefs and Attitudes – choose beliefs and attitudes that empower. Stay away from attitudes and beliefs that defeat you.

*The most fundamental and empowering belief is that cancer does not equate with death.

Be a tough-minded realist using a ‘just think positive approach to find solutions’. Look for why I can do things; not why I can’t.

I choose to conceive of my medical treatment as highly effective, believing that I will have minimal and manageable side effects.

*My personal involvement is essential in my recovery process. It is my personal responsibility to make getting well the number one priority in my life.

Cancer does not equate with death.
Treatment is effective.
I have a significant role to play.

Purpose/Play – I am needed by my husband and my children. My life has special and unique meaning.

It is important to be able to separate being needed from being unduly depended upon.

I need to learn to have fun for fun’s sake.

Spiritual – I love God and I am spiritual.

*I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Not a human being having a spiritual experience.

Discovering the divinity within; experiencing inner peace.

Social Support – I have more social support than is really fair for one person to have. However, I am truly grateful. My social support builds me up.

There is a strong relationship between positive social support and health.

*Authoritative research shows survival rates doubled for support group participants when compared with non-joiners.

I am aligning myself with my body’s immense natural power to heal itself. I recognize that health and healing spring from within.

Monday 18 May 2009

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter V

Valentine: If you are sending the valentine then you need to express more love and affection to the world around you. If you are receiving the valentine then it represents your likeability, compassion, and good nature. *artwork by my dear friend Julie-Ann Bowden

Valley: If you are in the valley it symbolizes your need to be sheltered and protected. If you are entering or walking through the valley it symbolizes your issues and concerns about death or dying. Either way it represents life’s struggles and hardships that need to be overcome before you can achieve spiritual enlightenment.

Vampire: (Not to be confused with Ces the Vampyre.) Ultimately it symbolizes seduction and sensuality as well as a fear of death. Vampire dreams are tricky because they can mean many different things. Example 1 – it may depict someone in your waking life whose charm may ultimately harm you. Example 2 – it may depict issues about sex and losing your innocence. Example 3 – it may depict that you are feeling physically and emotionally drained. Example 4 – if you are the vampire then it may depict that you are sucking the life out of people by using their energy to benefit yourself.

Vase: Symbolizes the womb and all things feminine.

Ventriloquist: Symbolizes deception, fraud, dishonourable conduct, and deception toward people who trust you. There is a part of yourself that you are not revealing. Be careful that you are not manipulating or trying to control people. (Demand that those two bastards be charged with war crimes.)

Venus: A beautiful dream full of love, desire, fertility, beauty, and feminity.

Virgin: Symbolizes purity and potential. Note that the dream does not mean actual physical virginity but emotional innocence. If you dream that another person is a virgin, than that will indicate their integrity and honesty. Go with your feelings toward that individual.

Virgin Mary: Signifies selfless love, compassion, spiritual harmony and ideal motherhood.

Voodoo: If you are practicing voodoo in your dream it suggests that you are unconsciously trying to ward off negative energy. If you see a voodoo doll in your dream it represents a primitive and shadowy aspect of yourself.

Vultures: Suggests that your past experiences will provide you with invaluable insight into a current situation or problem. Be wary as well because if you are not the vulture and someone else is then it may be a warning that someone is watching you and waiting for you to make a mistake. Someone may not have your best interest at heart.

Friday 15 May 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 14

*artwork B by Robert Bissell and D by Thomas Cooper Gotch

Thursday 14 May 2009


I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three

and God came

~~ A Great Pilgrimage by Kabir (c.1440-1518)

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Wednesday's Woman No. 27

I am on my sixth lover and even though I am more than satisfied with the sixth, I can’t but feel that seven may be even better. Seven may be the trick. Seven might be the answer; after all isn’t seven the luckiest of lucky numbers?

I feel that as far as love goes I am in a constant state of rehearsal.

I bat my eyelashes, he nods his head. I smile; he asks me what’s up. And before you know it, I wonder if I should leave the lover I’m with and attach to a new one.

Sexual experimentation is a big part of what is going on with me right now.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Pages 1 and 2

When I was first hit by a truck I was too stunned to fall down.

Angelique quickly went to Chapters to buy me some books on cancer and one book in particular was excellent. It is ‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ by Greg Anderson. I used it like a workbook and had a journal to write out the things that either ‘hit me’ or ‘helped me work through something.’

This book was a total God-send to me. I don’t know now whether it was because the book was that great or if it was because it totally engaged my mind and made me think about what the fuck was going on.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

I start my workbook on February 12, 2006, six days after I am officially diagnosed. I entitled it ‘My Wellness and Recovery Journal!’ When I read that title this morning, I smirked. How na├»ve and trite.

Do not be intimidated by medical personnel or the process. You are the one in charge.

A fighting spirit does make a difference.

Integrate body, mind, and spirit.

Lifestyle Therapy:

The most fundamental and empowering belief is that cancer does not equate with death.

A spiritually toxic outlook after a cancer diagnosis can make a difficult situation a living hell.

Cancer does not equate with death.
Treatment is effective.
I have a significant role to play.

Survivors eat with awareness. Raise your nutritional IQ.

My mother repeated this to me every day and still does actually telling me that it is to be my mantra ‘Every day, in every way, I am feeling better.’

Discovering the divinity within; experiencing inner peace.

A road map to recovery – the eight strategies: Currently I rate medical treatment as having the highest priority for me. Next I rate creative thinking. Then diet and nutrition. The exercise. Then beliefs and attitudes. Then purpose/play. Spiritual. And social support.

For my road map to wellness and recovery I need to focus on the eight strategies and figure out how to go about them. In order of importance at the present time are:

Medical Treatment
Creative Thinking
Diet and Nutrition
Beliefs and Attitudes
Social Support

*artwork by Rolando Cyril

Monday 11 May 2009

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter U

U-turn: If you do a u-turn it indicates that you are altering the course of your life. You are changing directions and starting on a different path. It does not always mean it has been the right decision.

UFO: Signifies your desire to find your spiritual purpose in life. You also may be feeling alienated from those around you and need to be more grounded and come back to reality.

Umbilical Cord: Represents your lack of individuality. You may have anxieties about being on your own or supporting yourself. If you are cutting the umbilical cord that would indicate that you need to be self-sufficient and stand on your own two feet.

Umbrella: Suggests that you are putting up a shield against your emotions; you are trying to avoid dealing with them. Umbrellas are also a symbol of emotional security. If the umbrella is leaking then it indicates that you are unprepared to face the problems you have. If you cannot open your umbrella and it is raining then that suggests that you are open to confronting your own feelings and are willing to let your emotions come to the surface. If the umbrella becomes inside out then it is time to forget the illusion that you had any control.

Underwater: Suggests that you are feeling overcome with emotions and are in need of greater control of your life. You may be submerged in your emotions and don’t know how to resurface. It is a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. *artwork by Jane Ray

Unicorn: Symbolizes power, gentleness and purity. You have high ideals that walk hand in hand with amazing insight in your current situation.

Unicycle: Signifies that you have total control of a situation and are exercising authority in both personal and business matters.

Up: To dream of rising up suggests that you are emerging from some depressing or negative situation. You may be feeling high or euphoric. The dream may also compensate for your waking feelings of sadness.

Upside Down: Suggests that there is some situation or problem in your waking life that you need to straighten out. It may also indicate that your initial assumptions were completely opposite of what you originally thought.

Uranus: Represents originality, unconventional thinking, independence, freedom, and individualism. Indicative that something unexpected is about to happen.

Sunday 10 May 2009

Happy Mother's Day No. 2

I love this special day that celebrates the person who was our first home.

To all of us that were lucky enough to have a wonderful mother (I know that many weren’t) I hope that you get to spend some of your day with her; whether touching her physically or only with your mind.

I especially want to wish a Happy Mother’s day to my own mother and to my daughter Angelique who will be celebrating her second mother’s day with my sweet Josephine.

A few quotes in honour of mothers:

A young boy said to his mother ‘How old were you when I was born?’ His mother replied ‘27.’ ‘Wow, that’s a lot of time we missed spending together.’ ~~ Unknown ~~

Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly. ~~ Sarah Malin ~~

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~~ Unknown ~~

If I had a flower for each time I thought of my mother, I could walk in my garden forever. ~~ Unknown ~~

Saturday 9 May 2009

Soundless Saturday No. 35

*artwork by married to the sea

Friday 8 May 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 13

*artwork B by Bill Carman and D by Resplendent Chaos

Thursday 7 May 2009

Christmas Opera

I had always wanted to see an opera and last year for my birthday Nadalene took me to see my first one. La Traviata.

Angelique and Nadalene bought me tickets for the opera for a Christmas gift and the opera was to take place on April 25, 2009 (it was a week ago Saturday). The opera we saw was Madam Butterfly.

Angelique and Nadalene looked stunning. Angelique wore a black skirt and a teal and black top. Nadalene wore a green/blue sweater dress with a black shawl. I wore a black pant outfit. And really we all looked beautiful.

The evening started with dinner and drinks at Resto Gare which is a train dining car that looks like the Orient Express. The room was lovely. Angelique had some kind of seafood crepe. I had a very fancy meatloaf with wild mushrooms and sauce. Nadalene had a spinach and cheese quiche. Everything was scrumptious.

At this point I made a mistake. I had a rum and coke after just taking some strong pain killers. I thought the rum would help.

Dinner was so delightful and the conversation was even better than the food (which was delicious). We were running late.

Our seats were wonderful. We were in the 16th row on the main floor.

Madam Butterfly is about an arranged marriage of a 15 year old (Butterfly) to an American naval officer. Butterfly considers this a real marriage and so renounces her ancestral religion and takes on her husband’s faith. By doing this Butterfly’s family disowns her. Butterfly’s husband returns to the United States and stays away for three years. During that time, Butterfly has his son and while he is away he marries an American woman. He returns and Butterfly learning the truth kills herself; and the husband and his American wife take the child.

It was a sad opera (I guess they all are) and I hated the arrogance of the American naval officer who right from the start thought this was just a young girl that he could dispose of when he wanted to (in the beginning of the opera he mentions that ‘she will do’ until he gets a real American wife. Prick.).

The set stays the same throughout the opera and there were some really beautiful scenes when the family comes for the wedding and when Butterfly hears that her husband has come back and the cherry blossoms float all over the stage.

Before Butterfly learns the truth she waits for her husband all night. As she was standing on the stage waiting, my eyes were totally drooping. My head even snapped back once (combo of rum and pills). Angelique whispers over to me ‘Is she going to stand there all night?’ About five minutes later when she is still standing, even though it was sad, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then the tragedy of Butterfly killing herself and seeing her little son stand by her side was terribly sad.

Favourite quotes from the opera were:

The day of the wedding “Night of rapture, stars unnumbered.”

Butterfly is going to kill herself with the same sword that her father had killed himself “To die with honour when one can no longer live with honour.”

At the end of the evening when we waltzed ourselves back to our car we carried on to get some cakes and cheesecakes and have them with tea.

Thanks for the Christmas opera Angelique and Nadalene.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Wednesday's Women No. 26

Esme Echo was the most beautiful girl in her town. She was also the most feared.

The fact that Esme’s eyes were two different colours was not the reason she was feared. The two different coloured eyes just added to Esme’s beauty. The reason she was feared had nothing to do with her eyes.

Esme was feared because of her ears. You see Esme was able to hear when a lie was spoken. She heard the words and could not help but call out the lie. She didn’t want to do this; it was her genetic makeup.

An example of Esme’s behaviour and why she was feared could go like this.

A woman speaking to her husband might say ‘I will never leave you.’ And Esme overhearing would yell ‘LIE.’ So of course right away the husband would know the truth as Esme was never wrong.

*artwork by Kathy Hare

Tuesday 5 May 2009

What God Has Made

I know a young Australian doctor and his name is Maithri (My3) Goonetilleke. He has a blog and it is entitled The Soaring Impulse. It is a dream blog with many lovely stories, songs, poems, inspiration that walks off the page, and where a real 28-year old man writes and tells us his truth. He says of himself that he is ‘Just another young poet walking the broken road to freedom.’ Maithri is a man that is making a difference in the world. Maithri is a man among men.

He is doing work right now in Swaziland; a country with the highest prevalence of HIV in the world at 42% of the population, a country where orphaned children make up 10% of the population. The little mountain kingdom of Swaziland has over 70,000 orphans and over 15,000 child-headed families.

The intention of my post is to bring awareness to the children of Swaziland and to, if at all possible for some of us in these hard times, raise some money for the humanitarian work that is being done there. And if not in Swaziland than maybe in your own backyard where you see that there is a need.

My very dear friend Tessa has been selling some prints of her artwork where 100% of the proceeds are going to Maithri’s friend and colleague Dr. Joyce Mareverwa who works hard to save the lives of HIV/AIDS orphans.

You can find Tessa’s artwork and the story she wrote on her decision to take a stand on this very important issue in Swaziland and the people who live there here:

Please watch the video on Tessa's post, it is heartbreaking. I have watched this video a few times because that is all I can stand.

On April 25, 2009 I was visiting Maithri’s blog and was poked through the eyeballs by the truth.

In that day’s post entitled ‘Maybe its the third world’ Maithri writes:

“And yet, somewhere in our collective imagination, we have created worlds within worlds. Third worlds and first worlds. Worlds where it is not ok for even one child to die and other worlds where a child dies every 3 seconds and no one blinks an eyelid. I hear of words like ‘compassion fatigue’…And I have to tell you that the concept nauseates me. That we who have so much can even contemplate tiring of reaching out to those of our human family who have absolutely nothing, is absolutely incomprehensible to my little brain.”

“I know that if we were face to face with these people. If we could only see their humility, their dignity, the immensity of their love and kindness in the midst of the deepest sorrow imaginable…”

Maithri writes about a little girl named Khosiyendzile which means ‘what God has made’ on April 15th and I invite you to treat yourself to pure joy by reading this post:

~~ Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. ~~ by Mother Theresa.

If you are able and your circumstances allow, please either go to Tessa’s site or Maithri’s site and donate to help the children in Swaziland.

Love Renee xoxoxo

*artwork by Tessa Edwards

Monday 4 May 2009

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter T

Table: Represents social unity and the potential for a gathering. A table always refers to your social and family connections. If the table is broken then there is dysfunction in the home or insecurity over your standing in your social group.

Tarot Cards: You are open to exploring your unconscious thoughts. Consider the general meanings of the tarot suits when seen in a dream. The wands represent fire, inspiration, spirituality, action, initiative and the psyche. The swords signify air, determination, intelligence, strength, faith, and being able to conquer your fear. The cups symbolize water, emotions, purity, and your outlook toward life. The pentacles represent finances, social influence, knowledge, and your connection to the earth.

Tea: Represents satisfaction and contentment in your life. Leaving you with a sense of community and shared ideas. For me it means sisters, daughters, and a son who makes me a cup of tea every night.

Temple: Represents inspiration, spiritual thoughts, meditation, and growth. You are looking for a place of refuge and a place to keep things that are dear to you at hand.

Thistle: You need to be protected. You may be putting up an emotional barrier around yourself.

Tightrope: Indicates that you are in a very precarious situation. You need to proceed carefully and weigh all the pros and cons before you make any decisions.

Tomb: Represents aspects of yourself that you have kept buried away. This indicates that you are about to venture into parts of your personality which have been forgotten or have died.

Topless: I used to dream of being topless all of the time and even though I would always try to cover myself with my arms, the meaning in a dream is actually something positive. It signifies your way of showing and exhibiting love. It is a way to invite love to come towards you.

Trees: Symbolizes new hopes, growth, desires, knowledge, and life. It implies strength, protection, and stability. Family is usually represented by the image of a tree as well. If the tree in your dream is falling then that would indicate that you are off balance and out of sync; be careful you may be headed in the wrong direction. *artwork by my dear friend Ces

Tulips: Indicate new beginnings. You are loving life and generally feel happy. Tulips are symbolic of faith, hope, and charity. It is also a symbol of love in a dream; consider ‘two lips’. Maybe more kissing might be in the cards. *artwork by nature from BT’s garden