Saturday 31 October 2009

Thursday 29 October 2009

Moth Thoughts

Josephine and I played in the yard the other day and as she was going into her Dora/Diego ship that Jacquie bought her we saw a little moth fluttering at the door. I picked it up and put it in Josephine’s hands and she told it ‘Don’t be scared.’ It flew away and she was thrilled and so was I. Then her and I ran around the yard and pretended we were flying too. ‘Come on Grandma, fly!’

Flashbacks From The Month Of October

October 30, 2001

*The qualities I value in a friend are honesty, humour, spontaneity, and intelligence.

October 25, 2004

*God help me to know (really know) what a gift every single person and every single day is. God bless all of my family’s health God. God, thank you for letting me be born and have the pleasure of a wonderful family. Thank you for letting Wahid and I have our own wonderful family. Thank you for the warmth of the sun and the beauty of this earth.

October 18, 2006

*Dr. Dubroska said to stay on tamoxifen and radiation and see how it works.

October 26, 2006

*Blood transfusion.

Flash Forward

And fly I did and fly I will with Josephine supplying me with wings.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

A Lump Is Not Necessary To Have Breast Cancer No.2

Since October is Breast Cancer month, and I unfortunately know that bitch too well, I would like you to read a post I did on Inflammatory Breast Cancer in February, 2008.

Know what you know and know what you need to know. Had I only seen this I would have known what I already knew.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

500th Post Giveaway No. 2

Now who would have ever guessed that you would want every single person to win?

As we head into the biggest season of giving let us all recall that there are other children in other places that need our love and cuddles and signs of affection too. Whether that be in Swaziland or in our own backyards it doesn’t matter; it just matters that we all care.

And the people who have won (I happen to love every single one of them.):

Wahid picked Sweetmango

Angelique picked Mim

Nadalene picked Madtexter

Nathan picked A Spoonful of Sugar

Please give me your email and home address in my comment box and I will make sure not to post that information. As well, please have another peek at Tessa’s lovely prints and state which one you would like. I will then forward the information on to Tessa who will forward on to you the print you have chosen.

I want to especially thank my dear friend Tessa for joining with me in making this giveaway possible. Tessa you are one of the kindest and funniest and most full of life friends and it is my great pleasure to have you in my life.

Thank you everyone and may good fortune follow you all the days of your life.

*artwork by my fearless friend Tessa Edwards

Monday 26 October 2009

G = Angels And Goddesses

Gabriel is the most magnificent angel of them all and I actually think I am kind of an angel because Gabriel is my middle name (Gabrielle).

Gabriel is an archangel whose name has a few different meanings such as ‘hero of God or God is my strength.’ In both Mohammedan and Judaeo-Christian lore he is one of the two highest ranking angels with Michael being the other. Gabriel is the only angel besides Michael mentioned by name in the Old Testament.

Gabriel presides over Paradise and is the ruling prince of the 1st Heaven. He is said to sit on the left-hand side of God. Mohammed claimed that it was Gabriel who dictated the Koran to him. To Moslems world-wide Gabriel is the angel of truth.

According to testimony at the court trial of Joan of Arc, it was Gabriel that she claimed inspired her to fight.

Gabriel is perhaps best known for telling Mary that she was with child (Jesus). Gabriel is seen as a primary messenger of God bringing divine announcements and revelations to humankind; acting as an intermediary between heaven and earth. Gabriel is one of the most beloved of all members of the heavenly host.

Gabriel has been called the angel of the power of God, as well as the angel of judgment. In the role of judgment angel he will appear on the last day and blow the final trumpet that will call all of the living and the dead to come forth and face the final, irrevocable judgment of the Lord.

Gabriel is the angel who selects souls from heaven to be birthed into the material world and spends the nine months informing the new person of what they will need to know on earth. Gabriel silences the child before birth by pressing his finger on the child’s lips, thus producing the cleft below a person’s nose.

Gnowee is the Goddess of the Sun (Wotjabaluk) and is a Goddess of the aboriginal people of southeast Australia.

Gnowee lived on the earth at a time when the sky was dark and people used torches to see their way. One day while Gnowee was gathering yams, her baby son wandered away. Distraught, Gnowee went looking for him with a huge torch. She is still looking everyday, climbing the sky in search of her baby boy.

Legend states that when Gnowee finds her son, her torch will be extinguished and the world will be thrown back into darkness once again.

artwork of Gnowee by my dear friend Michelle Pyke . Michelle's website is

Saturday 24 October 2009

Soundless Saturday No. 53

Please sign up for my giveaway on my October 20th post.

Friday 23 October 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 31

Please sign up for my giveaway on my October 20th post.

Thursday 22 October 2009

October = 10

What was your last Halloween costume? I don’t even recall. I probably haven’t dressed up in a million years. I don’t know how to cut loose and have fun.

What is your favourite Halloween candy? I love caramels. I also like candy corn and of course am sick of it within minutes.

What is your favourite thing about this month? My favourite thing about October is Thanksgiving Dinner. When my parents stopped having Thanksgiving Dinner because they moved out of their home into an apartment; Jacquie and I started taking turns having the dinner at our houses. The torch has been passed and now Ben is hosting Thanksgiving and Angelique and Nadalene will host Easter. Three other favourite things about October are that my son-in-law Don, my brother Dwain, and my nephew Ben are all born in October.

Please sign up for my giveaway on my October 20th post.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Wednesday's Women No. 36

I lay down and thought of what I was teaching my daughter and I knew that no matter what; I had to get out.

I thought of my past and what brought me to this point in my life. I thought of the childhood home I grew up in and how I knew then that mine would not be like that. I knew that I would never ever live like that. Or at least that is what I thought I knew.

As the unsaid thoughts pummeled my chest I knew that I should never have believed him. I knew deep inside that I was brave enough and that, it in fact did hurt me more than it hurt him.

It is a terrible day, actually it is a terrible life when you know that because of how you were raised and because of what you believed about yourself you became less than who you would have been because of fear. And worse your children have now got that enemy in their heads too.

I have made mistakes but I will not make anymore. I should have done it alone and now I will. I was not strong enough then, but I am strong enough now.

My dear friend Sophia reminded me that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month and so I wrote the above piece for Wednesday’s Women hoping that maybe it will touch a cord somewhere for someone.

The following signs of abuse have been taken from Sophia’s blog at :

Signs of abuse:

Criticize or put down.

Ignore or put down your opinions and/or accomplishments.


Blames you and everyone else for their abusive behaviour.

Accepts no fault.

Has unrealistic expectations.

Physically harms you and/or your children (hit, punch, kick, slap, etc.)

Calls you names and/or curses your and/or your children.

Extremely moody – Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde.

Please sign up for my giveaway on my October 20th post.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

500th Post Giveaway

I have been thinking for a little while about what I could give back to all of you who give so much to me.

What could I give? What could I do? How could any of it have more meaning than just the here and now?

I know a young Australian doctor named Maithri (My3) Goonetilleke and he has a dream. He has a dream that I believe in. His dream is for the people of Swaziland to have running water and food to eat; a dream where children can actually survive childhood.

Maithri is instrumental in the group ‘Possible Dreams International’ and their website is . Maithri’s blog is ‘The Soaring Impulse’ and his website is . If you have not visited him yet, you really are missing out on an important young man.

My dear friend Tessa has been selling her prints and donating 100% of the proceeds to help save the lives of children in Swaziland. Tessa’s blog, where you can see her prints is at . The paintings are beautiful and the prints are wonderful, I know, as I am lucky enough to own two of them myself.

Maithri wrote once “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 have talked to Tessa about purchasing three of her prints for my giveaway and Tessa has generously offered to throw in a fourth so that we can have not one, not two, not three, but four lucky winners.

So on to the giveaway and how it works. Simple really….

Think positive thoughts and send them out to the world and then leave a comment with the name of the print that you would love to have from Tessa’s site and by next Tuesday, the 27th of October I will post the winners.

Good luck to all of you and please sit and watch this video and be as thrilled as I am about the good work that some good people are doing in our world today. People, hopefully like you and I that don’t suffer from compassion fatigue.

Love Renee xoxoxo

*artwork by my very dear friend Tessa Edwards

Monday 19 October 2009

F = Angels And Goddesses

Fallen angels are the collective name given to those angels who chose to rebel against God and so ‘fell’ from the ranks of the heavenly host.

The fallen angels are known as devils, demons, and unclean spirits and are known to reside in hell or the bottomless pit.

The fallen are unredeemable enemies of God and all of his Creation, especially humanity. The fallen angels struggle daily against all that is holy, sacred, and good. They seek to corrupt and destroy the innocent. They want to plunge the universe into chaos and one of their main goals is to snuff out the perfect light of God’s love.

The most common story of how they fell is that God informed the angels that he intended to create humanity and that the angels should bow down before this new species. Some of the angels refused to obey God, one in particular ‘Satan.’ His pride would not permit him to submit to God. Satan along with one-third of the entire heavenly army launched war against God.

Losing this war the fallen angels were driven from heaven by Michael and the angels of light.

Flower Woman is the Yaqui Goddess of prophecy.

Yaqui myth tells of the time just before the Spaniards came to North America when a tribe called the Surem lived in the Sonoran desert. One day a tree began to shake and make strange noises and no one could understand what message the tree was trying to tell them.

A young woman came forward and told the people that the tree told her that the world was about to change, that a new people would come and bring new beliefs and new ways. Many of the people did not like Flower Woman’s message and chose to leave the tribe to live underground rather than have new ways imposed upon them. The rest of the people stayed and merged with the newcomers (the Spaniards) and became the Yaqui people.

Saturday 17 October 2009

Soundless Saturday No. 52

*artwork by Married to the Sea

Thursday 15 October 2009

A To Z = Me

A = Age (53 years old)
B = Bed size (Queen)
C = Chore you hate (cleaning a turkey pan)
D = Dog (unfortunately do not have one)
E = Essential to start your day (cancer medications)
F = Favourite colour (butter yellow)
G = Gold (wedding rings)
H = Height (5 feet)
I = I’ve come to learn (love)
J = Judge (there but for the grace of God go I)
K = Kids (Angelique, Nadalene, and Nathan)
L = Living (the best way I can)
M = Mood (angry)
N = Nicknames (Lover and Pudd)
O = Owl (family totem)
P = Peeve (ingratitude)
Q = Quote (There are many paths to the same God.)
R = Reckless (never)
S = Siblings (eight sisters and four brothers)
T = Time you wake up (7:20)
U = Unhappy (less often than happy)
V = Vegetable you ate last (green beans and tomato)
W = Want (Jacquie to regain motion)
X = Xenophobic (no way)
Y = Yearn (to have a conversation with Sheldon)
Z = Zealous (over my family)

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Times Three No. 12

Jacquie sometimes wishes she was dead. Really why wouldn’t she?

Jacquie came home the Wednesday after Sheldon died, two days before his funeral. She needed to grieve with her family and not in a hospital setting.

Camille has moved in with Jacquie to walk through the fire on a full-time basis with her. Camille has severe arthritis and will have to go back to her own home in the country in a short while.

Just about three weeks after being home, homecare is finally being set up.

Jacquie has lost her range of motion on the left side of her body and though she has regained some movement of her hand and can move the bottom of her leg, she is unable to stand are do the things that we all take for granted.

Angelique and Nadalene make dinners for them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I made dinner the other day and was going to bring it over; we had a good laugh because everyone knows I cannot cook, so Jacquie told me it was alright, they didn’t plan on having dinner that particular night (Gilbert had already cooked). Jacquie told me she was nauseated enough as is.

They have knocked out walls, doors, and put tracking on the ceiling. The tracking is where the hoist is attached to move Jacquie from her bed to the wheelchair.

Mickey decorated Jacquie’s bedroom beautifully and it looks like a wonderful lounge area.

The night before Nathan taught his first class he gathered up a bunch of papers and on the very top of the pile was a graduation card. He opened it up ‘Congrats Nate!! All that time & work definitely paid off! Good luck molding all those punk kid’s minds! Proud of you cuz! Sheldon’ The name of the first student on his roster had the same last name as Sheldon. The first letter of that child’s name was S. So the initials were exactly like Sheldon’s; S.B. The card was written on May 27, 2009 and it was the only graduation card in the pile.

You are here Sheldon; we all know it and love to be reminded.

I tell Jacquie that there were many times I wished I was dead too, but I am glad now that I am not. I know what she is saying though and how her situation is way worse. She also knows what I am saying.

Jacquie knows that during the two years I was getting chemo on a weekly basis that everyday I would fantasize that a person would come into my house when I was having a nap and blow my brains out. I didn’t want to see the person because I didn’t want to be frightened, I just wanted them to come in the house, float up the stairs, and when I had my face turned to the wall pull the trigger. It was extremely important that they didn’t scare me.

Jacquie, Camille and I talk about these strong feelings and Jacquie said I was just thinking how Sheldon would say to me right now “Mom you can’t be like this, you have to live you life.” We talk about acceptance and how amazing Sheldon was and how he knew that he had to accept his fate or the time he had left would be a living hell.

Nathan goes to sit by Sheldon’s gravesite and it makes me think of a quote I had read long ago. “They’ll come back to sit when they’re suffering.” Most of us know these places along the path where pain and suffering reside, where the heart aches beyond measure. These places where we need to sit because we are bowed by grief.

Jacquie is looking through a different lens now. Not only does she have to face the loss of her beloved son Sheldon on a daily basis but she also has to face everyday her illness, weakness, and loss of independence. These concerns do not let us see any of the good that is in front of us at this very moment. When they say to live in the now, it is hard when the now is very difficult.

Ups and downs are hard enough to handle at the best of times, never mind when the downs outnumber the ups ten to one.

Life is desperately fragile. Jacquie and I have lived and loved and grown attached to each other for over 53 years. We are such an intimate part of each others lives that having learned how to love each other we do not know what to do without each other. I love Jacquie desperately now and I know that is not how people are meant to love; desperately.

We get Jacquie home, but we can’t get her well. Life is left to be lived and Jacquie will live it as well as she is able because that is Jacquie’s way. Yes she wishes she was dead sometimes, but that is not all the time.

Cancer and what it does to you takes some getting use to.

Together strong.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Monday 12 October 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Originally Canadians gave thanks for a successful harvest and since Canada is further north then the U.S. our harvest season is earlier.

‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ ~~ John F. Kennedy ~~

Friday 9 October 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 29

*artwork B by Konstantin Kalynovych and L by Jim Porter

Thursday 8 October 2009


‘Some of the get-out-of-jail-free crowd thinks that the reason Polanski should go free is because he’s a gifted artist. Maybe you’re right. Instead of an Oscar we should let the Best Director fuck your kids.’

~~ Screenwriter Michael Seitzman in an article from the Huffington Post ~~

They should all be held accountable. The whole shit and caboodle of them.

*artwork by Daryl Cagle

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Wednesday's Woman No. 35

I come from the prairie sky. Be thankful that I have been here.

Look around you and see what there is to see. Things are buried but they are not dead.

Hold your head high. Be proud of who you are.

We are not the first people they wanted to destroy and we won’t be the last.

Look, look up to the prairie sky; look out, look out on the prairie landscape; remind yourself of who you are and be proud.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Taking Care Of Business No. 2

Nathan is watching me climb out of a town car limousine at 1:00 on a Friday afternoon. He says ‘Who the heck dropped you off Mom?’ I tell him Lynette from Desjardins (the funeral home). He laughs and says ‘Oh God.’

Anyway, Friday afternoon I spent at Desjardins Funeral Home. I am always fine-tuning my funeral arrangements so that it will be less work for my family when the time comes.

This is my third time going as I went in May last year. I plan on making this an annual event just to fine-tune and also to get use to the place. The first year I went I felt choked, the second year it felt more like business and this year it felt like I was just renegotiating what I want in my living room with an interior decorator.

Although it is Nadalene who originally wanted me to set up my funeral, I really feel now that everyone should do it and honestly it is just something that needs to be done.

The funny thing is that the more I go and the more I know, the more I realize I can more or less do what I want. I also feel that at the time of my death Lynette will see me as a person not just a body.

I will share with you what went down this year.

Lynette and I go over all the details of what I want and switch up a few little things here and there. I tell her that I have bought a cemetery plot at St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery on Archibald and give her all the details. Tell her that I have also prepaid for the opening and closing of the plot.

We talk a little more about the urns and I tell her I want to check out the new ones they have this year as I am looking more for a box type.

We go down to the casket room again and I honestly don’t know why they have the caskets so crowded in that room. They are jam-packed with their quilted lining that gives me the creeps. I ask her if they have samples of the cardboard box that I want for cremation and she says no, just the wooden one for $740. The one I want is $15 and she tells me that it just is really a long cardboard box that looks similar to what a fridge would come in. I ask her if it has Kenmore stamped on the side and we both laugh.

The first year I thought I would want a niche in the wall and was told I couldn’t have a wooden urn because they dissolve and the cemetery doesn’t allow that. Last year I thought I would want a bio-degradable urn, but this year I decided against the bio-degradable as it looks like a white cotton cardboard box that you would take leftovers in from a restaurant and I don’t want that sitting in the church. It looks cheap when really it is more expensive than the wooden urns. I did like one wooden urn but am thinking I want to talk to the cemetery place and see if I just can’t have a nice wooden box that isn’t $500. I prefer what Karin made for her companion Zach.

I really like the idea of dust to dust; ashes to ashes.

I am only there for about an hour.

Costs of a funeral:

Arrangements: $840 (2007); $940 (2008 and 2009)

Transfer of body from hospital: $215 (2007); $265 (2008 and 2009)

Staff (four people): $495 (2007, 2008, and 2009)

Preparation for identification: $220 (2007 and 2008); $395 (2009). I ask why such a big hike and the answer was so lame that I don’t even remember it.

Basic facility: $295 (2007); $195 (2008 and 2009)

Cremation fee: $460 (2007); $485 (2008); $495 (2009)

Lead car (for priest, flowers, urn, etc): $125 (2007, 2008, 2009)

Limousine for family: $225 (2007, 2008, 2009)

Casket for cremation: $760 pressed board (2007); $15 for cardboard (2008 and 2009)

Urn: $760 for pewter (2007); $435 for bio-degradable (2008); $415 for wooden urn (2009)

*Memorial cards: $1.75 per card (2007 and 2008); $2.00 per card (2009) $600

Guest book, 50 thank you cards, and crucifix: $195 now no longer want from Desjardins and will buy on our own.

Luncheon sandwiches: $10 per person ($3,000) now no longer want from Desjardins, Mickey will get from that place in Steinbach.

Luncheon tea and coffee: $1.50 per person then $1.75 per person ($425) now no longer want from Desjardins, Mickey will get from that place in Steinbach.

Two hostesses: $250 now no longer want from Desjardins, Mickey will get from that place in Steinbach.

*Based on 300 people.

The funeral based on around 300 people attending would be about $4,165. Not including taxes, church costs, priest, death certificates, food and catering, other papers needed or cemetery costs.

After the meeting I ask Lynette to use the phone and she asks me if I am phoning to be picked up. When I tell her yes, she tells me she is going right by my place and can drop me off.

Just before exiting she tells me how great it is to see me again and how she is happy when she sees me. I tell her that I like to see her too, but hopefully if I see her before next year it will be socially and not business.

Some things I still know for sure:

Do not want to die at home.
Cremation cardboard box of $15 (do not upgrade this).
No public viewing.
Full Catholic Mass at Holy Family Church (incense and holy water).

I wrote this a week before Sheldon died; little did I know that I would be seeing Lynette again nine days later with Ben and Jennifer.

Monday 5 October 2009

E = Angels And Goddesses

Eloa is a female angel that was born from a tear that Jesus shed.

At the grave of Lazarus, moved by pity for the grief of Mary and Martha, Jesus shed a divine tear. Of this tear of Jesus’ love was born the angel Eloa.

Eloa is the celestial maiden of pure love.

Epona is one of the ancient Celtic Goddesses of Abundance. She cared for all horses. Epona was the daughter of a mare and a man and was able to assume human or equine form.

Epona whose power extended beyond death escorted souls on their final journey. Because Epona has the power to travel through death she is also known as the Goddess of dreams as many times in a dream people can cross over from life to death unawares.

Epona was the only Celtic Goddess to have her own temple built in the ancient capital city of Rome.

Friday 2 October 2009

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 28

*artwork B by Jaroslaw Kukowski; L by Selena Werbelow; D by Robert Steven Connett

Thursday 1 October 2009

No Reason

A student, filled with emotion and crying, implored, ‘Why is there so much suffering?’

Suzuki Roshi replied “No reason.”