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Monday, December 22, 2014

Solstice



" Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, over middle-yard to men sent, and true radiance of the Sun bright above the stars, every season thou of thyself ever illumunest."

I'm not a hippy or a hipster (and my hips are curvy as hell) but there is one ancient holiday that always brings peace and hope to my heart. Winter Solstice is a time to reflect on the old and spend a time to take in the darkness of the shortest day of the year, embrace it and say goodbye to the sadness of the past year. From here on forward the days get longer and brighter, and a new year of exciting things begins. I know everyone makes new year's resolutions but for me the time to take stock and look forward is the 21st. This was one hum dinger of a year for me in so many respects, and despite the horrors and pain I am grateful for it for everything it's taught me about myself, and how it's shown me the kindness and love of the people I am so grateful to have in my life.

As the holiday season begins and we all take the time to be with family and friends please take a moment to sit quietly and reflect on the last year. What did you love about it? What can you leave behind? And most importantly - what can you bring into it to expand and refresh your life?

In our next trip around the sun we have so many new things to do and try. And so much to appreciate and recognize as worthy of being in our lives again for another year. As for me, I'm making a short list of things I'd like to learn/try/do this year and am putting them in a book and in a tin. When I have some spare time I'm going to pull a note out of the tin and try something new: learn the ukelele, get a tattoo, paper mache sculpt some armour, paint some ceramics, and make some new fruit wines, just for starters...and for my soul? More quiet time. And more focus on listening to others...with my memory being faded after chemo I often focus too much on what I need to do so I don't forget and fail...but I miss out on so many things while I do so and treat others at times as though what they need is less important than what I am trying to do. A simple pen and paper will let me be more present and not just take in what I need, but be open to the needs of those I care for as well.

The new year begins now. Further up and further in my friends :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Metro - Eleven Days From Christmas





This obscure Canadian prairie christmas album was always on at christmas eve at my grandpa's. This song and Here comes Santa Claus still crack me up and get me in the mood for a small town christmas.

I mean...how often do you get a kazoo in your holiday music?

I know - not often enough :)



Seven 4 by 2 shlabs...to build a chicken coop to keep the ducks in...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Now kiddies, remember to put on your 3D glasses

We last bought a TV just after we married about 13 years ago. It was 30" and worked just fine...the thing was still kicking, but when J stopped working for Evil Conglomerate Who Shall Not Be Named we cut our cable and have been resorting to DVDs. The idea was to get an AppleTV and buy the few shows we want to watch (like Doctor Who) and hook up Netflix for the cold winter nights when you need something to entertain you...but our TV was too old. And our non-bluray DVD player was dying too....and, yup - no HDMI on either of them. So we sat and waited...mostly for J to decide on a TV. We'd been putting money aside and after 3 months (grrr...honestly I'd given up asking about it) we finally found a good Sony one on sale with all the inputs and outputs we need to hook it up to our old amp and such and to all the new stuff... and finally got it back to our place for this weekend. It was 3D as a bonus...and there was a 3D bluray player on sale as well, so now that we've replaced all the necessary technogubbins we're all kitted out.


And damn...it's cool. Not only is the screen so much bigger (50") and clearer (blueray is rather swanky I will admit), but it's net-ready so we have all that set up now too. Instant Netflix. We still need an AppleTV for eventual complete technological update of the house so we can stream our music from the computer out the stereo by wifi, but it'll do pig, it'll do damn well. It's like we leaped ahead about 20 years in a few days. We can even plug a memory stick into the DVD player to play files off of that. Most of all tho- the 3D is a damn cool bonus. I'm glad it worked out to have it - we weren't looking for it, but man - we bought the Hobbit on 3D and watched it over the weekend...and it was brilliant. I keep hearing Count Floyd in my head reminding me to put on my 3D glasses...he heh

Add to that that the Season 8 of Doctor Who that we totally missed out on is now out on DVD?
Well, I know where I'll be for the next few weeks. Gotta catch up on the new doctor-from the few we've watched I like him already. And the new opening credits? Wow.

OR should I say Dayum...
Looking this over I see that this post has 200% more damns than usual.
Uh oh...to make sure Santa comes by I shall go wash my mouth out with soap forthwith.
And by soap I mean scotch...
What? It's antiseptic...

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Eureka!

Experimental muffin extreme success:

Oatmeal muffins were made last night and I put a slice of banana and 1 teaspoon of almond butter or nutella in the middle of them before baking. I made 6 of each last night and yes...that awesome flavour you're imagining in your head right now? Well, it's better than that :)

So. Good.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Don't Speak

My husband has a terribly sore throat and can't talk. It hurts him to swallow. Normally I'd joke about the no talking thing but the poor man really is in a lot of pain. After 4 days of it he actually went to the Mediclinic about it yesterday, which means it's really bad - he hates doctors. Poor guy had to wait 3 hours for a throat swab and someone to tell him to rest and that he has laryngitis. No Sh1t Sherlock.
They think it's probably viral which means there's nothing to do for it other than rest and not talk...I was hoping it was strep throat just so they could help him, but they said they'd call him back today with the results of the throat swab. The irony of calling someone who can't talk to give them results on why they can't talk was apparently lost on the desk clerk. I hope he feels better soon. He's very hermity when he's sick, and I feel guilty when he feels bad and I can't help. It could be a very long and boring weekend.
In the cat world, things are slowly coming along. Gavin and Widget have made their peace with each other. They will be around each other and not hiss or growl. They don't go out of their way to meet up, but they are getting along. Widget is a play fiend and will let us pick her up and purrs like a little motor. Dax is still hissy and growly with the other 2 cats, but she is coming out into the main house now and not hiding as much and played with us yesterday. She's let J and I pet her and ate within 2 feet of Widget this morning without growling, so I'm hoping it'll just take some time. They don't all need to be friends...I just don't want them fighting. Especially with Gavin being the oldster he is...his last days are going to be the comfiest and most well fed I can make them. He will still eat wet food, but isn't eating as much as I wish he would, but I'm trying my best to get him to eat as much as he can so he doesn't get too skinny. Love that chudly little guy.

It's the weekend. I have no idea what will be happening. I plan to put up a small christmas tree on the weekend. What with 2 new cats I figure I'm inviting doom if we put up the big tree, so I'll put the small 3 foot one up from my apartment on top of the bar and see how it goes...


November is almost over. Yes.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Meow

The new critters are here. They're settling in well. Gavin is being pretty good about it all, all things considered. So glad we decided to take Dax's kitten as well. It's nice to have playing cats again. Dax is still a bit skittish, but I think with a little time and some love they'll be comfy here. Once they get used to Gavin I think they'll be fine. Right now they're just avoiding each other, which is fine...no squabbles. Just a bit of hissing.
Just in time for me to try and put up the christmas decorations....what was I thinking?? He heh...
It's hard to take photos of black cats, but here's what I could get so far...
:)

Widget the kitten

Dax the momma cat

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm going to lose all my hair again I know it

I'm sure you all know how un-enamoured I am with Microsoft Software and their endless random upgrades.

My current rant course? Sharepoint.
Before I went on sick leave I was just learning Sharepoint 2010 so we could create a few sites for the Lab groups and customise them. Now that I'm back we're building a website for one of my research groups and I'm looking after the Sharepoint stuff (work flows and calendars for fee for service analysis). SHarepoint can do amazing things...if you know how to use it properly. It's not in any way intuitive and they just changed a bunch of the functionalities so even what I used to be able to do is hard to do now.
I need some training and a good reference book before I pull all my new hair out. We have a specialist coming but he'll be serving the whole University...I doubt I'll be first in the queue when I need help so I need to figure this stuff out on my own without too much (har har) calamity.

Microsoft can bite my arse...
(doo dahhh, doo daaahhh)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ranty ranty

After a rather warm fall it's finally winter. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have snow than cold icy rain, but I must admit it's only -14 C out and I'm already whining. There is snow now. I have a little hair this year, so it's a bit warmer (and I actually got it cut a few days ago so it has a funky style) but I could still do without the winter extremes.

I like to go for walks. It's kinda my daily thing...and walking in the stupid cold with asthma isn't that much fun. I can't walk to work anymore or go for a stroll after supper and altho I still hope to get out and walk when I can, being stuck inside gives you cabin fever. I am currently looking for some winter things to make, knit and do to keep occupied. We still have no cable or TV and only a few movies and haven't hooked up netflix yet because J is a videographer who makes sour faces at the thought of watching a movie on the laptop or ipad, so I am feeling squirrely from the cold and it's only november. I'm trying to do some christmas crafting with a friend, but she's only off work every other week and some evenings once I'm done work I don't feel like doing anything. Ah well, I suppose it means we should try and get out more...but being slightly broke now that J is freelancing means we have to pick and choose what we do...and when I stay out late now I pay for it for a few days. Slowly figuring out the new normal...
At least soon I can entertain myself with putting up christmas decorations...I love that. And there's my new ukelele that I still can't play much yet. Truth be told I need to learn how to amuse myself again without a computer or the internet. TIme to do more knitting I think.
At least soon we'll have a new kitteh to play with tho.
That makes me smile.
:)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Break

Well with Remembrance Day being tuesday I took off monday to give me a nice long weekend. On a spur of the moment I decided I'm heading up to visit my dad for the weekend with my brother. J is stuck here at home with obligations but I plan to knit, read and sip wine and tea all weekend.
I find I still get so tired a lot, even with my 8 hours of sleep a night. Last night I accidentally fell asleep on the couch at 8 and then when I woke up went to bed and still slept through all night...guess I DO need a break!
Hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, November 03, 2014

hippo birdy


Had a great birthday and halloween - Wine, nice supper at my favourite restaurant and a movie (The Crow was in the theatre - yes!) ...then over the weekend there was lots of candy and wine and a bonfire with friends...and more family meals: supper with J's family and a brunch out with my best bud on sunday. Rice pudding too. I guess you could say I have successfully eaten my way through another birthday.
Burp.
And, yes, this one definitely kicked ass in comparison to last years. Hard to believe that last year at this time I met my oncology team on my birthday to decide my treatment options...and a year ago today I'd had my first batch of FEC chemotherapy. Now a year later I'm feeling great and have my hair back about an inch long. 
What a difference a year makes :)

And (yay) I received enough in birthday $$ to apply to adopt a new cat friend which makes me very happy. I  will be sending in my Streetcat Rescue adoption form this week...I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pinktober

"Once again, and I've said this hundreds of times, we do not see tags sewn into boxers reminding men to check for testicular or penile cancer. I suppose that it's because we imagine they are grown ups and will notice if anything is wrong, without having to be told what to do by their clothing.


This is just another example of a terrible disease that women suffer and die from being treated like a Junior High masturbation game, with themoney going towards nothing that will help a single woman."
~Ann Silberman, But Docter I hate Pink

To know me is to know I really don't like pink. I grew up a tomboy with my mom trying desperately to girl me up from time to time and force pink on me. It didn't work. I'm not as adamantly against it as I used to be, but it still drives me particularly crazy to have gotten the pink cancer. Every october the pink of "awareness" comes to the world, (never mind that it's also ovarian cancer month and they have a purple ribbon...but I guess breasts are hotter than internal eggy organs...) and it drives me nuts. So much wasted work and money for "awareness". So much corporate greed to make money off of cancer. So much sexualization and tackiness. "Save the tatas" and "I like boobies" are two slogans that pop into my head and make me cringe.

Me? I did not want to save my tatas. I wanted to save my life. I am missing a tata now, and they can take the other one too if it means I can have a long and happy life. Many women do not get the mastectomy they need and try for a lumpectomy, or on the other extreme have both of their breasts removed preventatively, only for their cancer to come back...all this pink tata saving reduces women, breast cancer and every horrible emotion, treatment and struggle patients have to endure to try and survive to an insulting pink washing that deludes people into thinking they're helping.

We don't show pictures of men's junk everywhere and remind them to check themselves for testicular cancer, or talk about saving weiners or some other ridiculously inane slogan - I can only imagine: "Dude! Flick your Dick! It saves lives!"... yeah. Sure. Yes my cancer was in my breast...but thankfully only there. What about the metastatic patients? What if, god forbid, it's spread further or comes back? What if there's no cure? Only 5% of cancer research goes into areas of study that will help metastatic patients. They're just trying to live as long as they can...and this whole month of pink is a slap in the face for them. Yes, in the US we need more funding for testing and mammograms (in Canada cancer tests and treatments are covered by health care thank goodness) but we really need more research. The treatments that have been created in the last 10 years saved my life. We need more of that.

Some awareness things that have come up this year are absolutely inane...like the pink coated drill bits an american fracking company is doing to "raise awareness". Things like that make me throw up a little in my mouth. The sad fact is, after over a decade of pinktobers, we as a whole are by and large aware of breast cancer. We've deluded many people to think that early detection means you'll survive. It's a bit of a crap shoot really...you cross your fingers and dive into treatment and hope it works. I have all fingers, toes and related appendages crossed in the hopes that I am healthy again. It doesn't mean I was any braver or stronger than any of the other ladies...so far I'm just lucky. Thank god.

Where am I going with this? I dunno. I could rant for hours, but I ask of you - if you want to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer, donate to charities that help breast cancer patients and directly fund research. I have supported the Run for the Cure here in Canada for many years because they support quality research and patient initiatives. I know that my money and the money I raise is going to help people and fund research...maybe even me. This year I ran the race and through the generous donations of friends and coworkers I raised almost $1600. This will do more than buying a kleenex box with a pink ribbon on it.
My cancer is not for sale.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Zeke (1993-2014)

Yesterday I took the day off to remember my fluffy little Geek. He's been my buddy for over 20 years and I owe him that much. This weekend he left us. J and I wandered outside the city in the woods by the river in the golden leafy sunlight and found a nice spot in the forest at the foot of a big poplar tree to lay him to rest. He's curled up in the roots of that tree now with his favourite ball...and it is exactly right. He is at peace. And mostly so am I.
I admit...miss the little guy so much already. The last month he seemed to be more frail and tired and wasn't hopping as high as he used to. I was keeping an eye on him - if he started to be in pain or suffer I wanted to do the right thing, but he still seemed to be OK. It was unexpected and so very sad to find him curled up on the couch in his last nap. I spent a lot of time last week just sitting with him in my lap and enjoying the time with him. When we left for the weekend to visit Dad I came back again to say goodbye again...not sure why but I'm glad I did.

This morning there was no little furry ball in my lap trying to steal my yogurt. No fuzzy head to pet goodbye at the door.
It's gonna be hard to get used to this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Turkey time

It's Thanksgiving!


Time for a few days at my Dad's eating turkey and going for hikes in the woods and spending sunday cooking up a big turkey supper for all our friends up there. Should be about 20 people this year. I've got the bird, potatoes and pies and everyone else is bringing salads, veg and buns. Should be tasty!
I can't wait to relax with some wine, some laughs and some fresh northern air. Might even try for a run up there, who knows? I can't wait to finish work and get outta here. :)
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Hello? Is this thing on?

Hiya.


Just realized it's been almost a year since I posted over here...and I think I'll start migrating back here again. I've been posting over at my health blog throughout my treatment and recovery...yup, that's right, recovery!

Yup, as of mid-July I'm done all my treatments (8 rounds of chemo, 25 days of radiation and a mastectomy. Whew!) and I'm jumping back into my life again. I've had a complete pathological response to my treatments and healed up well from everything. I've had time to rest and get my strength back and even took the time to go down and experience the insanity of Burning Man with my J before heading back to my life again. As of mid-September I've started back to work now and I am settling into life. I'm hoping to work on my fitness and start to regain all the muscles I lost. But all in good time.
It's great to be back.  I'm so grateful for each and every day and all the goodness to come. I'm so grateful for having my hair and tastebuds back again! Oh yes. Looking forward to my upcoming birthday and the winter to come.
I'll be posting here more again now, so hope you'll all be coming by here again.
:)