Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Love West Coast Sunsets!

August is one of the best months on the West Coast for sunsets. The colors are so vibrant. There is something about watching a sunset on a warm late summer evening that is so peaceful and calming.

 Scenes like this make you want the summer to go on and on!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Impact of a Word - A Few Mountains to Climb

 This summer, despite my spinal surgery and intense physiotherapy  has been wonderful. Fred and I have spent days at the lake with Miss Lucy playing ball and eating picnic lunches. We have gone to the baseball game where our favorite team The Vancouver Canadians are in first place and should make it to the playoffs. 
I have taken hundreds of pictures with my new camera. It is such fun to learn new setting and see what happens when you work with them.  As everyone knows I love to take photos and wish that I had more time to learn how to do it all better. 
Then of course the really great fun has been planning and dreaming of my trip to New York in October.  Every spare minute I could I researched things to see and do. I have bored my friends and partner to death with facts about New York not to mention regaling them with all the food that I want to eat while I am there.

Yes, I have been having a great time this summer! I also have been getting my business back up and running now that I can turn my head better to drive. Life seemed to be getting back to normal for me. However, as you all know, life has its own schedule and idea of what is to come next in our life. 
I decided that I needed to get a check up including a mammogram. Here in BC we use a clinic that requires no referral from your doctor. You just make an appointment and pop in and get the screening done. I did just that a week ago and recieved a call telling me that I needed to go to the diagnostic center as my films needed clarification. This is not unusual. I had this a few years ago and went through the diagnostics and everything was actually cleared so I was not concerned. I figured that they had been unable to obtain my previous test results because I have moved and they sometimes need that to compare.   Shortly after arriving I realized that this may not be as routine as I thought. This time they had found spots in both breasts. They had me do the ultrasound and sent me off with the assurance that these films would be delivered to my doctors today and to make sure that I follow up with him in the next week.  
Can't be that bad I told myself as I went off to White Rock for lunch with a friend. We spent a couple of hours sharing. Catching up on each others lives and eating Greek food. I hugged her goodbye and was driving down the road planning out what I needed to do for the next few hours when my cell phone rang and it was my doctors office.   He said " I am watching the reports come in from your tests this morning. It is not looking good. It looks like it may be cancer. We need to get a biopsy as soon as possible. I am putting in the referral today." His words sent a chill down my spine and my heart fell to my feet.  When I think about it I must seem like a fool to him. I didn't ask any questions. I didn't say much of anything. I merely drove home in shock.
I have heard the word cancer a hundred times in my life, but never did I realize the emotional impact that word when used to describe part of my body would have on me and those around me. From moment to moment I go through so many different emotions. I was able to hold it together and plant a happy face till after my daughters birthday party this past Sunday and then late that night I sobbed and asked the universe  - why me? Why not me - I am no more special than any other person. Life happens.
I have come to the conclusion that for the better part of the time to come I will be spending my life waiting. We are in an agonizing waiting for a biopsy date right now.  Then we will be in more agony waiting for the results of the biopsy.

I usually don't write this type of personal blog post, but if it can wake up one fellow woman to consistently get a mammogram and do a breast exam then maybe my agony of the last few days will not be in vain. Even if you think there is a hint of something wrong bug your family doctor till they thoroughly investigate it.
I asked myself a hundred times how this could have happened? How could I have missed this?  Busy life for the last year or so and I was lulled into a false sense of security because I had been cleared of anything a few years ago and there is no history of breast cancer in my family. 
 I am getting on with life while I wait. I realized that I am still very happy. Despite all of this my life with my partner is wonderful. Filled with love and family and friends. What more can I ask for? I just have a few mountains to climb. Thats all. Who doesn't?

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dog Days At the Park

It has been such a hot August. Some days have been unbearable here in the city and while Fred and I suffer, poor Miss Lucy with her heavy black coat is positively dying in the heat.

So we have been taking her to various places where she can swim and on a hot day this past week we visited a very busy Buntzen Lake dog park where not only the dogs were swimming, but their owners as well. 

This little guy had his fill of swimming and was just sunning himself on a rock!

However this is the one that fascinated me. He never went in the water and did not appear to have any interest. He just slept on his rock or sat and watched the others quite content to do nothing!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Minutes Away - Worlds Apart!

Today it has been scorching hot here in the lower mainland. Usually my choice on a day like this would be to head to a nice cool lake and take Lucy fishing, but my guy had other plans today. He wanted to go an event in Vancouver.  It is the Pivot Rock for Justice and it happens every year. There is all kinds of music and many of the city activists are present. 
So leaving lucky Lucy behind to sleep in front of the fan all day we hopped the sky train and went to the big city. We rarely take the car to the city. It is difficult parking and usually expensive not to mention Fred drives all week for a living so it is not much fun to get behind the wheel of a car on the weekend in Vancouver and fight the crazy drivers yet again.

While Vancouver is only about twenty minutes from Burnaby,where I live, it sometimes seems worlds apart. Vancouver is much less conservative  and can be seen immediately by the way people dress and style their hair. 

Women with hats with feathers on them seems to be quite the rage as well as vintage clothing and yes you are not seeing things the guys are getting into skirts! You can see them all over the city especially on the weekends. 
 As well, more and more women are showing up with tattoos all over their bodies. In times past and in the more conservative areas of the city women would have a little tiny tattoo on their shoulder or ankle, but now it is not unusual to see women with tattoos all over their arms and backs. Ouch! I really don' think I am brave enough to get a tattoo let alone one like this girl. 
 Now I am not sure what was up with this guy. I can't say that I have seen many with this style, buy I can say that dread locks are showing up all over the city yet again. I can remember when I was young and saw these hairstyles and I would marvel at them. I could not figure out how they can stand that matted hair. If I am not able to brush my hair a few times a day or wash it and feel the shampoo foam up and get that squeaky clean feeling at least every second day I would go mad. Yet here the style is back again! 
 There was even a dog with dread locks.
 Even though he has no choice as his  grows that way naturally. (I think) 
 When ever I am in Vancouver I love to people watch. It always amazes me that I can live so close yet People in Burnaby seem to be so very different in style and even in attitude. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How Fine Has The Day Been...

How fine has the day been! how bright was the sun, How lovely and joyful the course that he run! Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun, And there followed some droppings of rain: But now the fair travelers come to the west, his rays are all gold and his beauties are best; he paints the skies gay as he sinks to his rest, And foretells a bright rising again.----- Isaac Watts

Last Days of Summer (sigh)

Summer is fading fast here on the lower mainland. We have had some rainy days, but this is the time of the year that I begin to like best. The nights are cool, but the days are warm and the sunsets are unbelievable.
Deer Lake is fabulous in the evenings right now. The lake takes on a golden hue.
Even the ducks and geese seem to mellow out.
I hope where ever you are you enjoy these last days of summer.
Spend a little time in your favorite park. Walk on the beach. Play ball with the grandkids.What ever brings you peace and contentment.
All too soon we will be back to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Shannon Falls, Squamish BC

Fred, Lucy and I have been heading out on his day off for some fun and for Lucy that always means water. Usually we go to or end up at Kilby as that is her favorite place to swim, but this weekend it was a holiday and we felt that the traffic and lake there would just be too busy to have much fun.  We opted to go to Shannon Falls as I enjoyed Bridal Veil Falls so much. As well, we had not been on the Sea to Sky highway since it was finished and I wanted to have a look.

Shannon Falls is the third highest falls in British Columbia and the day we were there it was very busy. There are several view points that you can climb to and you can even climb to the base of the falls, but I really was not that brave. However, many people could be seen up at the base including little children. The power of the water is quite awe inspiring. From where I was taking pictures I could feel the spray and I was a fair distance down.
The creek at the bottom had incredibly clear water and was so cool and relaxing. Many people like this little girl were sitting on rocks out in the middle of it.
The Sea to Sky highway was upgraded for the Olympics and it is a really nice drive. With the sea on one side of it and the mountains on the other it is quite breath taking.

There are more pictures of the day on my Flickr badge.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Pride Week In Vancouver

Sunday was the annual Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver. About four years ago someone took me to this parade and I have been attending or walking in it every since.
The Pride parade seems to bring out the crazy in the city. People get dressed up in wild costumes and like the person in this picture dress in as little as possible.
They have water fights in the streets, wave pride flags and dance.
Litterally thousands of people come out to this event. The young, the elderly, families and even dogs get into the act.
There is of course a purpose to all the mayhem even though at first glance it might just seem like a city gone crazy. It is done to help all of accept the differences between us and the diversity of our city.  

I remember when this parade was consider a freak show and few went out to see it. Protesters went out with signs and pamphlets encouraging people to halt the madness and declaring that our city would go to hell ( quite literally) if we allowed this kind of behavior. Now no one in this city wants this event to end and it really is the most joyous event Fred and I attend every year.

The fun and gaiety (no pun intended there) go on all week with Pride cruises and dinners and brunches and night clubbing events.
 One of the people who caught my eye this year was Grand Marshall Nikolai Alekseev. Alekseev, a gay activist,  is considered an international hero for among other things, organizing Moscow Pride which is banned every year.

Another person who caught my eye is Candis Cayne, a true role model for the LGBT rights movement. Amongst her many achievements is her co-choreographic work for the comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. She was also cast in the prime time television series Dirty Sexy Money and was the first transgendered actress to play in a recurring role on a network TV show.  She was quite a knock out! So much so that  the friend I was with did not believe me when I told him that Candis was not what she appeared to be.

I think this parade is the best event in Vancouver. It is so much fun and it seems to bring out the kid in everyone! 

This year my pictures are mainly of the crowd . I find the people watching the parade as interesting as the people in the parade.

There are more pictures of Pride day here.