Sunday, February 28, 2010

Elmwood School Runs for Life

Taken from Daria's Living with Cancer blog (who in turn found it on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation website):

Ottawa's Elmwood School has a proud tradition of supporting and participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure.


What I'm grateful for today: Warm oatmeal cookies

The prodigal son returns in: 70 days

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Adam is coming home for a week in May.

And he's arriving on Mother's Day!

Only 72 days to go...

What I'm grateful for today:
I think that's obvious!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gratitude and attitude

It’s 5 a.m. and, after tossing and turning for about an hour, I gave up trying to get back to sleep. I take a ½ a sleeping pill every night (I call them my ‘happy pills’ and yes, I’m probably addicted) but every once in a while I wake up really early. I guess this is just one of those times.

When I can’t sleep it’s usually because my brain is filled with ‘monkey chatter’: my to-do list, what book I want to read next, things I want to write about on my blog, etc.

Maybe this morning it’s because I’m going for a CT scan of my lungs at 8:20. I’ve had a cough for 2 months and can’t seem to shake it. I’m hoping that it’s just a nasty lingering cough from the cold I had at Christmas, or maybe the plague, but at 4 a.m., it can mess with your head.

One of the things that popped into my monkey brain in the wee hours was that I haven’t been posting my “What I’m grateful for today” footnote. So as a sort of catch-up, here’s an expanded list:

What I’m grateful for today (i.e. things I like): My new old parquet floor, the TV shows The Office and Modern Family, my bed-hog dog, fresh ‘powder’ (is it still called ‘powder’ if you only ski the bunny hills?), PC products (I have a platonic crush on Galen Weston), Jockey underwear, Toonie Tuesdays at the Rainbow cinema, $20 student massages, Value Village, Dollarama (it sounds like I’m cheap, but I just like a good bargain), frozen blueberries (although I do prefer fresh in season), my electric blanket, Indian food, my ‘sisters-of-the-heart’ (you know who you are) who make non-onion dishes just for me at our potlucks (am I spoiled or what?), my cozy TV room, the long phone chat I had with Adam yesterday about the possibility of us going on a trip together, and using brackets for related thoughts that don’t really fit in the sentence (see what I mean?).

Just for balance, here’s the flip side.

Things I’m not grateful for today (i.e. things I ‘dislike’): onions, painting stipple ceilings (and just stipple ceilings in general), clothes that are too tight, wall-to-wall carpet, beige baseboards and door trim, making small talk, carpel tunnel syndrome, people who don’t pick up after their dogs, when someone says “Hold on a minute, I have another call”, trying on bathing suits, chemo brain (what day is this again?), bad customer service, disposable vacuums (more on that at a later date), stupid movies (e.g. The Informant), low rise jeans, buying a new car, sappy chain emails, paying bank fees or interest, my messy car, and cancer (not necessarily in that order).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheryl - Thriver profile

In addition to ‘Cancer heros’ (women who have had their cancer return), I’m adding a new category called ‘Thriver profiles’. I plan to post pictures and words of inspiration from women who are living their life with meaning and purpose, after a diagnosis of cancer.

My first post in this category is from Cheryl.

Length of time since diagnosis: This June will be 10 years. Diagnosed June,2000
Type of cancer: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma tubular tumor
Treatment: Lumpectomy and 6 weeks of radiation therapy every weekday

Cheryl's advice for others:

"Appreciate every day. Life is worth living to the fullest and seize the moment to enjoy it. Give back and don't sweat the small things."

Here are a few articles I found online about Cheryl. (Isn’t Google great?)

Runners won't take breast cancer in stride
Running to cure breast cancer
Cancer on the Run
The battle goes on

You can read about other Thrivers and Cancer Heros by clicking on the labels below.

Politically Incorrect

OK, I admit it. Sometimes I am. But I don’t mean to be.

I have at times found myself hesitating when searching for words that won’t offend someone or make me sound like insensitive ‘white trash’ (surely a politically incorrect term, but one that I accept, given my humble beginnings, my sometimes crazy family, and my love of tacky Christmas ornaments).

In my 20s and 30s, I would never have referred women as 'the girls' but have to admit that I now kind of like it and think of my group of friends that way. (Maybe it makes me feel young).

I remember a few years back describing racial tension between the ‘blacks and whites’ of the Halifax of my childhood. My son pointed out that I should use the term ‘black people’, although I sincerely didn’t mean any disrespect.

I should also have known better than to describe someone of eastern Asian descent as ‘oriental’, although I felt better when I heard a friend who’s adopted son was born in Korea use the term herself.

While I do have several lesbian friends, I’m never sure if it’s OK to refer to them as ‘gay’ or does that just describe homosexual males?

I saw the author of Middlesex on Oprah and learned that ‘hermaphrodites’ are now ‘intersexed’ and ‘sex change’ is now referred to as ‘gender reassignment’.

I could go on and on. There really should be a manual for this! (And don't even get me started on 'Christmas').

So, I put it out there. If I ever use the wrong term, please understand that I mean no disrespect and forgive me for my ‘political incorrectness’ (or is there a new less offensive term for that too?).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Red wine and dark chocolate cancer killers

"Cabernet and chocolate are potent medicine for killing cancer, according to research presented Wednesday."

Guess what I'm having for breakfast? :-)

Read the full story

What I'm most grateful for today: Cabernet and chocolate, of course! (Although, I must admit, I'm not a big wine drinker. But my arm is easily twisted, especially when in wine country in the Czech Republic!).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Books and Recipes

I'm always looking for content for my book and recipe blogs.

Books on the Edge: Have you read a good book lately? Send me a short review to share with other book lovers.

Edgy Recipes: I don't cook often but I love to have quick access to tried-and-true recipes, even when I'm travelling. Send me a few favorites and try recipes recommended by others.

You can email me your submissions at

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ongoing adventures of Adam & Tara

I was going to call Adam tomorrow but, according to his Facebook status, he "is in Italy -- doing a little road trip around Tuscany". I can't keep up with him!

Here are a few pictures from their trip at Christmas.

At the pyramids in Egypt,
in Jerusalem (Israel),and Wadi Rum (Jordan), where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.

I want their life!

Winter activity

I'm working at getting out and doing some sort of exercise every day. I spent an hour on the canal with friends Jennifer & Dianne yesterday (Lynn was there too but she was off 'speed skating' when the picture was taken).Loud knocking at my door this morning woke me up (I haven't installed my new door bell yet) and I realized it was 8:25 and Jennifer was downstairs to pick me up for our usual Saturday morning walk/run group. She talked me into throwing on some clothes & brushing my teeth (that was my idea) and we were out in the cold walking before I knew it.OK... maybe it's true that touques and parkas don't always show off our best sides. But I'm told we clean up well.

What I'm grateful for today: Dollarama. I bought file folders and boxes there and spent the past hour reorganizing my office.

Dog-blog alert:
New posting by
Katey the Wonder Dog

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ottawa Ammas making a difference

Our Ammas for Grammas leader, Peg, sent out some information about two of our members who are doing some important volunteer work over seas:

Susan left Ottawa on Jan. 2 for a three month volunteer committment in Palestine. She is with an Eccumenical International Council of Churches Organization, that send volunteers to act as observers and, if needed, mediators. She and her group go to the Check Points where Palastinians cross over to Isreal every day, to go to work, school, to shop or to work in their fields. You can keep uinformed about Susan's adventure at her blog ...

As well, Eleanor left Ottawa two days after the earthquake in Haiti and is working there with the Red Cross for three months. She is a trained nurse and has previously done this sort of Emergency Relief work, in other natural and political disasters, in other parts of the world.

Way to go, Ammas!

The edge of all the light you know

When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid for you to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.

~Patrick Overton~

Demolition Divas

It never ceases to amaze me what a group of fan-tab-u-lous and determined women can accomplish together!

My 'volunteer work crew' showed up this past Sunday to help me pull up the carpet on my main floor - no small job, but we managed to rip up that ratty germ-infested monster and have it sitting on the curb for garbage pickup in record time.

I knew there was parquet underneath but I was delightfully surprised at what great shape it's in. I still need baseboards and a solution to the gaps at the seams, but I am very happy with my 'new' floor.

What I'm grateful for today: My wonderful friends who are always willing to lend a hand, work together, and manage to turn even a tough job into a fun and positive experience. A huge THANK YOU (kiss, kiss, hug, hug) to Dianne, Patty, Vanessa, Jennifer & Peggy! Also, thank you to Cornelius for the late day muscle & technical assistance.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Women on Skis

Yesterday was a beautiful day to participate in Women on Skis. We started at the MacKenzie King estate in the Gatineau Hills and split up into various groups, according to level.

The next Women on Skis event is on Thursday, Feb 18th to Healey Cabin.

World Cancer Day

I just found out that yesterday was World Cancer Day and I missed it. If only I had known, I would have baked a cake. Hallmark missed an opportunity to make a bundle! Oh well, maybe next year.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Two birthday cakes in two days. Weight Watchers be damned!
Happy Birthday to Mathew & Mary!

What I'm grateful for today:
Chocolate and friends (not necessarily in that order ... but it's close)

Dog-blog alert:
New posting by Katey the Wonder Dog

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One Flaw in Women

Women have strengths that amaze men...
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
Author unknown

Monday, February 1, 2010

Daria at Living with Cancer always finds and posts the best videos. So, being the resourceful type, I steal her video links. :) (Thanks Daria!).

Here's a video of Kris Carr with some Crazy Sexy Cancer tips.

The Grammys

Loved ‘em:
Pink - her aerial performance was amazing
Green Day – I love their song 21 Guns

Hated ‘em:
Black Eyed Peas, Eminem & Jamie Foxx – just not my taste, although I don’t mind Fergie on her own

Neither here nor there:
Taylor Swift - She seems sweet but I didn’t think she sang well on the show
Beyonce - her performance was just OK but I still love her Single Ladies video (and I love the SNL version with Justin Timberlake even better!)
Bon Jovi – one song would have been enough

Who was missing:
My boy Adam Lambert should have been nominated for new artist.

What the F?
Maybe I’m just becoming an old fuddy-duddy (and I’m proving it by using the term ‘fuddy-duddy’) but I just don’t get the whole Lady Gaga thing. I thought Elton John (who I’ve been a fan of for years) was over his rhinestone glasses phase and I really didn’t think the soot on his face added anything to the number.

What I’m grateful for today: That the only thing I have to report on is a) the Grammys and b) that I’m going for my routine Faslodex injection this afternoon. When you have cancer, boring is a good thing!