Friday, December 31, 2010

A Bitter Sweet Year!

2010 is almost over and I for one cannot be happier. This has been a year of ups and downs. Very downs.
Most of you know that in April of this year I had spinal surgery which I blogged about  here  Blue Herons. It was a long go for me at the time. I could not drive for months and when I could it was apparent that my neck would not allow me to drive safely so many hours of physiotherapy ensued and months later I was almost my old self again. I was feeling good and despite my surgery Fred  and I had a good spring and summer. In early May while he had holidays we traveled to Nelson BC to check on his house.  For the rest of the summer we went to as many Canadians ball games as we could and every day off e could manage we played tourist in our own town visiting many parks and water falls. In July Fred and my daughters created a wonderful birthday dinner for me and Fred gave me a trip to New York to photograph with the new camera he also gave. I was ecstatic and could not have been happier.
 Unfortunately in September I went for a routine mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer which I blogged about The Impact of A Word - A Few Mountains to Climb. 
I took that trip to New York and enjoyed it immensely. Probably even more than I would normally have. It was a great escape! For a week I could live in denial.  I made the most of it!  Despite the fact that I was told that New Yorkers were not helpful or polite I found just the opposite.  Most people went out of their way to show me how to get to various places or tell my about something I might find interesting, but no one was kinder than a lovely lady I met on the PATH train to Jersey one evening.  She kindly picked me up the next morning from my hotel, took me to her home, that over looked Ellis Island and Liberty State Park,  fed me breakfast and then we went on an adventure to Ellis Island. We had a great time and we talked nonstop for hours. Finally she took me home sat me out on her balcony with a glass of wine  to watch the sun go down and made me a lovely dinner. It was a day in my life  that I will never forget. I took hundreds of photos which can be viewed on my flickr page New York City! All too soon my trip was over.

I came home and ten days later had a lumpectomy and all of my lymph nodes removed on my right side. The reality of cancer was beginning to sink in.  Appointments with oncologists and radiologist and bone density tests and a great deal of overwhelming information to digest. By the end of November I was exhausted, but again my partner and my rock decided that it was time for a holiday and packed Lucy and I up and drove us down the Oregon Coast! It was lovely. I have always enjoyed the beach, but this beach the beaches on the Oregon Coast were wonderful.   We spent many hours walking on the beach with Lucy and just watching the waves crash on the sand. I took lots of photos which can be seen  on flickr at Oregon Coast. 
Back home the pace of medical appointments increased.  Being poked and prodded and listening to specialist after specialist has left me depressed at times and struggling to sort through all the information to make good decisions.    However there were several pieces of good news.  I will not have to have chemotherapy and the news that Canada and in particular British Columbia has one of the highest rates of  cure for breast cancer patients anywhere in the world is heartening. Unfortunately I have found out that the path to the cure can be long and unpleasant.
All in all ... at the end of this year despite the rough edges of it this year has not been so terrible for me. I have learned a lot and I have begun to view my life and the world through very different eyes. I have been blessed with a very supportive partner. He never complains despite working till late at night and driving me to early morning appointments. He really is a saint and I ask myself how I could have gotten so lucky. I have  a wonderful dog. She puts a smile on my face on days when I think that I will never smile again. Every one should view the world the way Miss Lucy does.  I have two wonderful daughters who try their best to see that I am happy and well looked after.  I also have some really great supportive friends and colleagues.  What more could I ask for?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

That Must Be Some Powerful MSG!!

Ancient soup found in China

A Chinese Archeological group has discovered a pot of bone soup near the site of China's terracotta army in Xian.

The soup was judged to be at least 2,400 years old.

It was still liquid, but not edible.

Hmmm.... makes one wonder about the digestibility of that Chinese smorgasbord!

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Mayonnaise Jar

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem too much to handle,
When 24 hours in a day is not enough;
Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and has some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordless, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and started to fill with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full and they agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar, of course the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous “yes”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

“Now” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things Family, children, health, friends, and favourite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house  and car.
The sand is everything else – The small stuff.
“If you put sand into the jar first, “ he continued, “there is not room for the pebbles or the golf balls. .

The same goes for life.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups
Take your partner to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.
Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The Professor smiled.
I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.