Monday 29 June 2009

Recollections Of Other Corners

How our thoughts would be so different if we knew what was waiting for us around the corner, if we knew then what we know now.

Flashbacks From The Month Of June

June 4, 2001

*It is very easy for me to let go of my desires, harder for me to let go of resentment, anger, and easy to let go of my frustrations. I think I probably hold on to pride somewhat to make myself feel good about anything I can be proud of.

*I am spontaneous, but not creative. I definitely deny things about situations that are serious, such as illness, if it was a slight against me or nothing that would mean anything, I would not be in denial, I just wouldn’t care less.

*I use words to encourage people. I use words to complement people. I use words to get a message across. I believe that people around me are positively affected by me.

June 11, 2001

*It is unhealthy to keep giving up on myself – almost as if I wasn’t worth the effort.

*I show Wahid that I trust and support him by touching him every day – our hands will touch, we will touch, I believe this comforts both of us. It is a steady, consistent love that I know is and will always be there.

*I depend on myself to fix my life. I have great instincts and I believe myself to be very intuitive. I trust myself.

June 16, 2001

*Five things I would not change about my life are being married to Wahid; having children; coming from a big family; being a reader; and being compassionate.

*Five memories I am most grateful for are:

Angelique and I going alone on a trip to Trinidad and she was so excited – I can actually see her face right now.

Nadalene playing hairdresser and exercise teacher with me and Wahid – the cutest thing is she took it so seriously. Nadalene has always actually envisioned what she does so well, that we almost believed we were in a hairdresser’s shop.

Nathan and I going every Saturday morning to rent a Nintendo game and to get hockey cards – he always said we were going on our date and he would hold the car door open for me and say ‘after you Madam.’

Being a little girl watching Mom, Dad, Nana, Uncle Matt, and the older kids playing poker every Sunday night.

Whenever the new Sears catalogue would come before Christmas, Mom would call me to her bedroom and let me sit on the bed with the blankets over me and I would get to take the catalogue out of the paper and look at it for hours. I was always the first to open it and Mom would give me her ‘medicine’ which was a Black Magic chocolate.

June 21, 2001

*The good things I’m overlooking in my life are I’m alive; my family; nature; and every day.

June 16, 2002

*Words and pictures that appeal to me are: fairies; happy; dreamy; gardens; black and white; kilts; lovers; water; sky; elephants; giraffes; teenagers; hope; joy; peace; God; Christmas; Sweet Prince; Snow White; planets; and kisses and hugs; and Good Night God Bless You.

June 9, 2003

*I prefer that Wahid really love me the way he loves me, rather than the way I would love me if I were him. I’m not wanting and expecting the wrong thing, but I am failing to recognize what he gives me. Sometimes I think I want something from him that he just doesn’t have.

June 3, 2004

*My body is a victim of wishful thinking.

*I think I treat my body like a pack mule. Just put up with whatever and take it.

June 17, 2004

*The question I wanted answered at the beginning of these personal reflections was to see if I have grown as a person. The answer of course is not as simple as one may think. I have grown and I have not grown. I am strong and weak. Secure and insecure. Happy and not so happy. Satisfied and dissatisfied. Maybe this is what it is to be human, to be a mixture of all of these things and more at the same time. Feeling one way and then the other way seconds apart. Anyway overall I do not feel I have grown as a person.

*I need dreams, desires, goals. I need to stop being disappointed in myself and to look at myself when I am disappointed in my family and see if I’m not just disappointed in myself by proxy.

*I need to stop being afraid to fail. So what, you fall – get back up.

*Learn to take risks. Do more things I enjoy and enjoy the things I do. Remember that comfort is not always a good thing. Status quo has nothing going for it. Be curious.

*Choose life over apathy.

June 5, 2006

*Blood transfusion.

June 7, 2006

*Surprised mostly to see the cancer has spread to my lungs and there is a tumor on my kidney. Bone scan showed problems in my shoulders, knees, and ribs. Palliative chemotherapy is how they describe my treatment. I know I have cancer. I know I’ll die.

*I am more resilient than I think. I have cancer and plan to survive it. I never realized how hard and how okay it is to face your mortality. There is such a ‘don’t want to leave my family’ and also a ‘peace’ or maybe a better word is ‘acceptance.’ And even then; acceptance as a last resort.

*Acceptance so that I can have peace.

*I have the best family and with their love and support I am able to still be true to myself (so far) in this battle.

*How funny that no matter what, you have to put one foot in front of the other.

June 11, 2006

*I love Colette.

June 18, 2006

*Now that I have cancer I know I’m surprised that I would have thought I had any real problems.

*I need to learn that health of the spiritual and mental is even more important. I can be ill and at the same time be well.

June 21, 2006

*Dr. Dubroska increased my Taxotere (chemo).

Flash Forward

I’m around the corner now with more corners to go and you know what, my thoughts are relatively the same in the area of small concerns. They are different in the way that now I see how many of them are such a waste of time.

*artwork by Johanna Wright

Friday 26 June 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 20

*artwork B by Nicoletta Ceccoli, L by Kathleen Lolley, D by Mark Ryden

Thursday 25 June 2009

June = 06

What year did you graduate from high school? I graduated from Windsor Park Collegiate at 18 years old in June, 1974. My siblings all chipped in and bought me a gold initial ring with RSM (Renee Ste. Marie) on it (Mickey has the same ring). My parents bought me a white Rambler Ambassador convertible. I went to my dinner and dance with David (my boyfriend at the time) and my darling friend Shirley and her husband Leo. Remember what fun we had Shirl?

Did you do anything fun during this month? Totally, I have had a lot of good times this month. Josephine’s birthday is on June 1st and her, Angelique, Don, and I sat around their kitchen table eating birthday cake and we all wore princess crowns that Flo bought for Josephine. On Sunday that just passed; Josephine, Wahid and I went to Jacquie’s pool because Jennifer was in with the kids and we had the best time ever. I could watch Josephine laugh all day long. And boy can she laugh.

Do you have a favourite baseball team? No, although I did play baseball as a kid and loved it. When I was little we played at recess and I was the pitcher. One time the ball hit me in the nose hard and my Dad had to pick me up from school because it would not stop bleeding. He took me to Children’s Hospital where they packed it and then took me to ‘The Beachcomber’ where I got to sit on a barstool and he had a coffee and I had a milkshake. I think he owned a television repair shop at the time.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

A Warning To All Of You

On February 4, 2008, I entered my second blog post; it was entitled ‘A Lump Is Not Necessary To Have Breast Cancer.’

My link to it is as follows and I really hope that you will take the time to read it:

This information may help you or your mothers; aunts; sisters; daughters; wives; or granddaughters from ever falling into the trap of thinking that they have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

Seriously I am sorry about the gross picture but all the other pictures I could find on inflammatory breast cancer were pretty and inflamatory breast cancer is not pretty.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Pages 23 - 26

‘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 in February, 2006. By actively writing here I was able to distance myself from what was really going on. Almost like after someone you love dies; you are busy preparing the funeral so you don’t have to feel.

Eliminate Active and Passive Smoking (20):

The question is not whether you can quit.
The question is whether you will quit.

This is good for any bad habits in your life that do not promote wellness.

Willpower alone can’t do the job. A change in thinking can. Bad habits are behaviours.

Adopt This Dietary Strategy During Treatment (21):

Eat well!

There is overwhelming scientific evidence of diet’s link with cancer recovery.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Emphasize protein.

Increase food quality -- foods that are minimally processed, as close to their natural state as possible.

I will eat better than I have in my entire life.

Follow These Eat Smart Guidelines (22):

Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are my foods of choice.

Whole grain breads and pasta.

Beans, nuts, legumes for protein.

No red meat.

Avoid high fat and sugary foods.

*I vow to eat three fruit and vegetables a day.

Replace Fluids (23):

Drink lots of fluid – at least eight glasses a day the day before, the day of, and the day after chemotherapy.

*It is an almost universal truth; people with cancer are dehydrated. Water is the most potent defense you have against cancer. The environment your cells live in is not blood, it is fluid.

Drink eight cups of water a day.

Know Why You’re Eating (24):

Linking diet to emotional fulfillment is dangerous territory.

*Don’t look at changing your diet as something you have to do. Look at changing your diet as something you get to do!

Distinguish between a food craving, which is a psychological need, and hunger, which is the body’s need for nourishment.

*Honour your hunger, not your craving. Eat with awareness.

Determine Your Vitamin, Mineral and Herbal Supplements (25):

During radiation it is important to have garlic.

Wahid said you can not be in denial about your own health.

Ginger tea is good for nausea.

Make Exercise Part of Your Recovery Program (26):

No matter how long it has been since you have exercised, no matter how incapacitated or confined you are, there are exercises you can do. Exercise will help you get well again.

No more excuses! Take charge. Your body will respond to your get well signals.

Get More Sleep (27):

Fatigue is part of nearly every cancer patient’s experience.

Your body is getting repaired with chemotherapy, surgery, more chemotherapy, and radiation.

Repairs demand rest.

The fact is survivors rest.

*artwork by Pamela Zagarenski

Monday 22 June 2009

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter Y

Y: To see the letter Y in your dream indicates a need to ask yourself questions and to make some hard decisions.

Yard Sale: Indicates that you are recycling past experiences and finding use for old ideas and skills. You are learning from your past.

Yarn: It may mean that you are stuck in a rut and are going about your life in the same old pattern you always have. If the yarn is tangled then it signifies emotional distress or confusion.

Yasmin: Symbolizes exotic flowers. Yasmin is the sweetest flower in the garden; a reminder to stop and turn our heads in wonder. (Angelique’s middle name is Yasmin.)

Yellow: If you dream of yellow be prepared for a bright sunny day whether the sun is shining or not. Yellow brings clarity and awareness. Yellow will clear the mind making it active and alert. (Yellow is my favourite colour.)

Yew Tree: Symbolizes death and mourning. (Taxotere is made from the yew tree; a chemo treatment I was on.)

Yin Yang: There is a need to balance the opposites. It represents the feminine and masculine, the spiritual and the physical, and the emotional and the rational.

Yoga: Symbolizes unity, harmony, calmness and control of the body and spirit. You have great self-discipline.

Young: To see young people in your dream symbolizes a fresh outlook on life. There may be a need to be more playful and carefree.

Yoyo: Represents the ups and downs of life. (My father was the yoyo champion and no one could ‘walk the dog’ like he could.)

Sunday 21 June 2009

Happy Father's Day No. 2

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

I especially want to whisper on the wind a Happy Father’s Day to my own father. I got to breath with you last year Dad and I sure wish I could this year; but that is not to be.

I also want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to my husband Wahid, the father of my three children.

A few quotes in honour of fathers:

Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. ~~ Ruth E. Renkel ~~

There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~~ John Gregory Brown ~~

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~~ Anonymous ~~

Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later…that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life. ~~ Tom Wolfe from The Bonfire of the Vanities ~~

*artwork by Polly Dunbar

Saturday 20 June 2009

Friday 19 June 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 19

*artwork L by Lizbeth Zwerger

Thursday 18 June 2009

Pages 18 - 22

‘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 in February, 2006. I was trying to figure out a way to encourage myself while at the same time find strength to get through the treatments.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

Believe in Your Treatment Program (13):

It is my personal responsibility to believe in my treatment program.

*I saw those chemicals as a great healing agent, something coming into my body to make me well. I welcomed my chemotherapy with open arms.

Develop a confidence and an excited belief in my treatment program.

*Nadalene made me feel so much better about the blood transfusion by saying “Think of each drop of blood as the donor’s prayers that the person receiving their blood is getting healthy.” Too true.

*Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.

Overcome Nausea (14):

Make sure you eat something before chemo.
Smaller Meals.
Fresh fruit.
Limit liquids with meals. But lots of liquids at other times.
Clear broth.
Toast (dry); popcorn; crackers.
Salty foods.
Avoid sweet foods; greasy foods; spicy foods.
Do not lie down for two hours after eating.
Fresh air.
Take slow deep breaths through your mouth.
Place a cool washcloth over your eyes.
Get distracted; do imagery, relaxation.

Make the Most of Your Appointments (15):

When you want information; ask for it. Don’t wait for it to be volunteered; because it won’t be. You need to stay informed.

You have the right to bring a list of questions to every medical appointment. Don’t feel rushed. Get answers.

Remember that your health care team are not mind readers.

*Your ability to ask questions is one of your most significant points of power.

*Get in the habit of expressing your sincere gratitude to your medical team. Remember, they are people who respond to you just as you respond to them.

Acts of appreciation to health care team as individuals: doctors, nurses, volunteers. Cards, flowers, coffee.

Monitor Your Progress (16):

It is uplifting to know you are making progress. But even a report that is less encouraging can have a positive side. It should lead you and your doctor to consider other forms of treatment. Many exist.

Ask the doctor how and when she will check the progress of my treatment?

Live Well (17):

*Lifestyle is critical in the survival journey. Lifestyle issues are a matter of intentional choice.

Wellness recognizes and acts on the fact that everything one thinks, says, does, feels, and believes has an impact on one’s well-being.

Your mental, emotional, and spiritual health has a powerful effect on your well-being.

*Although wellness may be obscured by illness, it is a matter of personal choice whether wellness will be destroyed by illness. It is possible to discover high-level wellness in the very midst of life-threatening illness.

On my way to wellness I will eat three vegetables and fruit every day.

I will live life at a new and higher level of wellness no matter what.

Operate Under New Assumptions (18):

The medical team are my healing partners.

Pain and illness are messages to value and act upon.

Mind and emotions are a major factor in health.

Body, mind, and spirit form one unit and always affect each other.

Schedule Your Wellness (19):

*All important tasks demand a schedule. And there is no more important work in my life right now than the work of getting well again.

Getting well is my new top priority.

I need a major lifestyle shift.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Tuesday 16 June 2009

I Sang To The Stars

My dear friend Bella lost her husband on Saturday. My thoughts are with you Bella.

Last night as I sang to the stars,
I realized they may be the souls of
former friends or of future children.

So, I sang louder and louder
and I thanked them for listening.

I heard their applause
and they thanked me for coming.
At the same time we both said
our ‘Your Welcomes,’

And as I watched them twinkle,
They watched me Shine…

~~ A Ship of Broken Hearts by Laura Duksta ~~

Monday 15 June 2009

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter X

X: Indicates that your goals are in sight and you will be greatly rewarded.

X: Someone is trying to take advantage of you and you are buying into it because you think they know more than you do.

Xanadu: Reflects that better fortune has arrived and your heart has finally come home.

Xenocide: A need to remind yourself that you are part of the whole picture and you need to care more than you do. (Xenocide is the act of one member of a species purposely causing the extinction of another species.)

Xi: Symbolizes a need to feel a gap in the conversation when you are at a loss for words (extra points are given when you are able to do this).

Xi Wang-Mu: A reminder that the wheel of life is continuous (she is the Goddess of Immortality).

Xmas: Symbolizes family gatherings, reunions, celebrations, and peace and goodwill to all. You need to show a little more of the milk of human kindness.

XOXO: Share the love baby. You need something more in your life and to dream of xoxo is to remind yourself to put out what you want back.

X-Ray: You may be deceived by a person or situation and need to take a closer look beneath the surface of either the person or the situation. What the heck is really going on?

X-Treme Sports: Symbolizes a need for balance and caution. Throwing yourself off a cliff is never the answer.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Regarding Suzie

I was born when my sister Suzie was 5 years and 10 months old. Suzie had two older brothers and one older sister; she was the 2nd girl born and the 4th child in a family that would be comprised of 13 children.

Many of my earliest memories of Suzie are of her generosity and love and affection for all of us. Suzie was probably the original member of the family who thought of others first (she would be followed by others with that trait, but I was not one of them).

I have so many memories of Suzie from my childhood. I remember Suzie passing out in church one day and how we all had to back up and give her air.

Suzie and I had the most fun ever when we traveled. We always drove together. From the ages of 13 to 17 (my ages) my parents would pack us up in two cars and a camper and we traveled across Canada and the United States for two months. I have been in every province except Newfoundland and every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Just imagine the fun Suzie and I had driving one of the cars (this is in the early 70s), listening to music full blast and taking two of the younger kids with us. Usually if I had my way it would be Shelly.

One time we were in California and ran out of gas so we parked in a little parking lot. My Dad went on to get gas somewhere and was going to bring it back. He was gone for over four hours. Let me set the scene.

I’m reading a book on the Hell’s Angels. In the car are Suzie, Gerry, our cousin Mo, and me. I’m telling them all about what the Hell’s Angels do to people. Rev, rev, rev, we see (no shit) about 30 bikers and they are blocking the road behind us and stopping cars. They are jumping on the cars and pulling people out. Now we are shitting ourselves. Especially after the stories I told on rape and drugs and murder.

Gerry and Mo in the back are terrified. Suzie’s teeth are chattering. I’m laughing and scared shitless at the same time.

It is getting darker and we now realize that the place we were parked at is a strip joint. People keep going in and out. Now the bikers pull up and go in and out. We are slunk down in the car and all I can hear are Suzie’s teeth clicking together. I start telling her another story and she yells at me to ‘Shut the fuck up; you are scaring Gerry and Mo.’ Har har har.

I look at her to say something and I jump a mile. One of the bikers has his face pressed against her window. I just stare; she says ‘What?’ I keep staring, she turns around and sees him and becomes absolutely paralyzed. (I am laughing so hard right now.) He looks at us and then looks in the back where he sees our little brother and cousin and then walks away. I am kept on the lookout and keep telling them that I think they might be coming back. They are all in the strip joint at this time, but I thought they might come back to kill us.

Hours later our Dad comes and proceeds to tell us about the wonderful family they met that gave them gas and I think they actually stayed there and ate dinner and visited while we were in the car being scared shitless. I love it. It was so scary and fun.

Suzie was a beautiful child with white blond hair and blue eyes. I don’t think Suzie had any freckles which was practically a family trademark.

Here is more of the memory I have of when my parents went away to British Columbia. Suzie was left in charge of the house and all of us kids. There were probably still nine of us at home.

Colette was a total little bugger and would just take off and so on this particular night (like most nights) I was on her side and said she could go out. Suzie was having none of it. So it ends up being me and Colette against Suzie, Camille, and Jacquie. At one point Jacquie and Camille are trying to corner Colette and I have Suzie who is five years older then me up against a wall and I won’t let her go (Suzie is a cupcake and we all know it, she is nonviolent and won’t hurt a fly). Finally Colette escapes the house and I escape with her. Then we see Suzie and Camille driving like maniacs trying to corner us and we run into where there is construction in the back lane.

I just thought of another story of Suzie and I on our travels in that green little car. When we were in the States in some godforsaken hellholes and it was probably 120 degrees. I would take my top off in the car and we would drive and Suzie was always mortified 'Renee, put your top on.' "No." 'Renee, put your fucking top on.' "No." Now she is laughing her head off 'For Christ sake Renee, put your top on.' "Suzie you are not supposed to use God's name in vain, I'm telling Mom and Dad." har har har.

Good times. Great times really. Hardy har har. I seriously don’t know why this is so funny, but it was to me, and seriously still makes me laugh. I loved the fun and chaos we had in that house.

Suzie is giving and loving and the only person, now that my Dad is dead, that still calls me by my nickname ‘Lover’. I melt when she calls me that.

I think that Suzie slept in the bedroom downstairs with Kathy, but I’m not sure. I don’t remember her being in our room.

I should be Suzie’s favourite and she says that I am, but I doubt her sincerity. Suzie makes me laugh because she says I am an angel, when she of all people knows that I am not.

Describing Suzie I would say that she is an attractive woman and when she truly smiles her eyes sparkle. So I can always tell when she is faking it. Suzie has beautiful blue eyes and is generous, compassionate, naïve, sincere, and selfless. I wish that Suzie would care more about herself than she does for others. But I guess that is her nature. As my Mom would say, Suzie would give anyone the shirt off her back. I am happy that Suzie is my sister.

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. ~~ Clara Ortega ~~

I love my sister and she means the world to me. Suzie thank you for the privilege.

Happy 59th Birthday Suzie. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, and Josephine.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Friday 12 June 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 18

*artwork B by Lisa Falzon and D by Linda Olafsdottir

Thursday 11 June 2009

Pages 14 - 17

‘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 in February, 2006. In my head was the constant thought ‘you have Stage 4 cancer’ that thought knocked out every other thought that was in my head.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

Make an Important Inquiry (5):

Most important information is the state-of-the-art treatment options on my type and stage of cancer.

Look for information on a body, mind, and spirit approach to overcoming cancer.

*Hold yourself accountable for having an intelligent working knowledge of the type and stage of your cancer diagnosis. Become knowledgeable on the preferred choices in conventional, complementary, and alternative treatments.

Angelique told me of a quote from Churchill ‘Remember, if you’re going through hell, keep going’.

Rethink the Statistics (6):

When you come across statistics that detail cancer incidence, mortality, and five-year survival rates – DO NOT let these statistics paralyze you.

*Statistics measure populations. They do not determine any individual case, including mine.

*No matter how difficult your situation, you must realize that there is no type of cancer that does not have some rate of survival.

Hope is my greatest ally.

Understand Your Conventional Treatment Options (7):


Research shows that surgery performed in the latter half of the menstrual cycle results in the fewest recurrences of breast cancer. (I never had surgery as I was now discovered to be Stage 4 and surgery is no longer an option as there is no cure only treatment.)

*The three outcomes which you must measure all treatments are: cures; extends life; or improves quality of life. (I am currently at the extend life stage.)

Gauge Your Confidence in Your Medical Team (8):

Intuition is important on how you feel about your team. I feel good about my team.

Conviction Versus Wishful Thinking (9):

I have a conviction that conventional treatment will help me beat cancer.

Reflect on the Treatment Decision (10):

I definitely feel comfortable with the place, St. Boniface Hospital, where I will receive my treatment. I am comfortable with the people who will give me treatment.

Conviction implies a sense of certainty.

Mobilize body, mind, and spirit.

Decide (11):

There is power in decision. The cancer journey is made up of both little and big decisions.

Decision is the spark that ignites actions.

There is power in facing the fact that you have cancer.

*Decision frees us from many of the uncertainties caused by fear, doubt, and anxiety.

Decision awakens the spirit.

*Today is the day. Now is the hour. This is the moment!

Give Only Informed Consent (12):

You need to understand clearly and completely all to which you are consenting.

*Don’t be intimidated by medical lingo. Make sure you get information in a language you understand.

*artwork by Anno Mitsumasa

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Wednesday's Women No. 29

When I talk nobody listens.

When I sing nobody dances.

When I am most my true self nobody knows me.

So I don’t speak;
nor do I sing;
and I certainly know better than to be my true self.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Regarding Camille

I was born when my sister Camille was 2 years and 10 months old. You may think this age would make her the nearest sister to me but there was a sister between us; Jacquie. Camille had two older brothers and three older sisters; she was the 4th girl born and the 6th child in a family that would be comprised of 13 children.

Many of my early memories of Camille are always combined with her and Jacquie as they were inseparable as children. Many of my earliest memories of Camille are more stories that I have heard from other family members.

Camille was named after my paternal grandfather who my mother loved. My Mom says that Camille was always like her namesake. She would listen to all that was being said. Always gave the person talking her full attention and then would add on what she wanted to say, but never interrupting and always patient to get her turn to speak.

There are two memories of Camille that really stand out in my mind from childhood and they are once being left at church on Christmas Day and seeing Camille get into the car and shut the door not knowing that I was running to get in behind her.

The other was of Camille and I walking to Windsor Park Inn and her telling me that she was pregnant. I was 12 and she was 14.

I remember my Nana reading my tea leaves and telling me that I had just found out that someone was going to have a baby. I was so stunned as I was sworn to secrecy. But there it was in the cup for the entire world to see, a little teddy bear.

Camille was a beautiful child with dark brown hair and blue eyes. She didn’t have as many freckles as the rest of us. One time Camille pulled Jacquie into a closet and cut off her hair, she let Jacquie cut her hair too. In the end, they both got their heads shaved.

I actually had a debate with Mom, Suzie, Mickey, and Jacquie the other day about Camille and aliens. I believe that Camille truly felt that she was abducted by aliens and that they did experiments on her. The rest of them all argued with me saying that Camille had made the whole thing up. So what is it Camille, is it true or did you make it up?

Every time I think of this memory I laugh my head off as it is so funny and brings my teen years right back.

Mom and Dad had gone on their first trip away to British Columbia. Colette and I were fighting with Jacquie and Suzie, Camille was married at this point and was over at the house too. Colette and I were about 13 and 14 and Camille must have been 16. She hoped in the car with Suzie and chased us down the back lane of Elizabeth Road. There was a barrier up so Suzie and Camille had to get out of the car to reach us. I remember Camille shaking like a leaf (she was so mad) and grabbing Colette and throwing her in the backseat of the car. Har har har, it is so fucking funny to me right now. I can see it all. You will hear more of this day in the near future.

Camille is calm and kind. She has severe arthritis and has since her 30s. She is very brave and never complains. I complain her under the table over and over and over.

I’m not sure but I think that Camille, Jacquie, Colette and Lori slept together. I remember Camille scaring the shit out of Colette by crawling under the bed to the wall and sticking her hand over Colette’s face in the dark. We all shared a room and Mickey, Shelly and I would have been in the other bed laughing our heads off while poor Colette would have been screaming and Camille would have been high-tailing it to get the hell out of their before our Mom (Hell-on-wheels) would get in the room.

Camille married young and left home so our lives were so different and while she was raising her children I was out living my life. And so though we always loved each other, we really didn’t spend much time alone together.

But now, well now is what matters. Camille and I are very close and I adore her. Camille is ‘The Keeper of my History’. Camille is who showed me how to steal all the lovely pictures I share with all of you. Camille is the mastermind.

Even though I am many of my sisters’ favourite, I am not Camille’s. Since I have been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer Camille has totally been there for me. Camille knows how to listen to my heart and I know how to listen to hers.

Describing Camille I would say that she is an attractive woman and she has a very warm smile. Camille has beautiful blue eyes and is sincere, empathetic, private, gentle, soft-spoken and caring. Camille is like Mom described her to me a few days ago; Camille was a loving child and is a loving adult. I am happy that Camille is my sister.

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~~ Louisa May Alcott ~~

I love my sister and she means the world to me. Camille thank you for the privilege.

Happy 56th Birthday Camille. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, and Josephine.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Monday 8 June 2009

Dreams Sponsored By The Letter W

Wagon: A wagon is symbolic of difficulties. If the wagon is empty or abandoned it signifies loss and dissatisfaction.

Wahid: Symbolic of loyalty, searching, stubbornness and deep waters. There may be confusion and a need for you to slow down until you understand as this is a symbol of many sides of a story. Watch for the lessons. *artwork by Stefano Vitale

Waiter: If you are the waiter than you are catering to the demands of others instead of yourself. You feel underappreciated and there is a need for you to be more assertive and to stand up for yourself.

Waiting Room: Reflects your patience and ability to remain calm especially during a crisis. *artwork by Carol Roque

Wallpaper: If you are putting up the wallpaper then it signifies that you are putting up a barrier or some sort of shield between yourself and others. It may also suggest that you are covering something up (a secret). If you are stripping or peeling off the wallpaper that would signify that you are beginning to let your guard down. You finally may be freeing yourself of aspects of your life that have been well hidden.

Walrus: Represents your thick-skin and how you do not let comments or criticisms from others affect you. The walrus is also a symbol of supernatural ability and supernatural powers.

Waltz: Foretells that you will have pleasant relations with a cheerful and exciting person.

Wand: Represents your power and influence over others. You are limited only by your imagination. If someone else is holding the wand then it would signify that they have the power and you are under their spell.

War: To dream of a war signifies disorder and chaos in your waking life. You may be experiencing some internal conflict or emotional struggle which is tearing you up inside. It may also be a dream that is trying to tell you that you are being overly aggressive or even that you may not be assertive enough (what position are you in the war). Ask yourself if you are always fighting or always cowering. Neither is a position you want to be in.

Warrior: Represents life’s challenges and your ability to confront them.