First Person, First Class

As our enjoyable BOLO evening ended, last week, my friend Laurie and I sprang to our feet, hoping to dash to the exit before throngs of bloggers clogged our path.

But the packed room was gridlocked.

I shrugged. This would take a while.

But Laurie was dauntless. She raised her eyebrows, smirked and assured me that her “pointy elbows” would whisk us across that floor.

And they did. In a flash we were strolling down Preston — me admiring her finesse. “You’re amazing,” I said, “I stand invisible for ages trying to squeeze through crowds.”

“Oh, me too,” Laurie chirped, “I can only do that for someone else.”

Far. Too. Familiar.

In the wise words of my friend Janice, “Good God woman … Be even kinder to yourself, as you have to live with you.”

Two tier service just disgusts me yet I foist it daily on myself.
So, I’m trying to stop.

Thanks to both women for the reminders.
I must be worth first class self-service — judging by the company I keep.

Please. Spare Me the Cancer-Spam

It is inching towards midnight, one million degrees and humid. We are without air conditioning. Our girls are squirrely and none of us are able to sleep.

So, a cranky post in response to some all-too-frequent insensitive cancer-spam.

Hi Andrea,

I stumbled upon your blog and I was happy to see that you also support breast cancer and I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to share this infographic [linked] with you and your followers, so that we can help to educate and spread the word about the easy preventive steps to combat breast cancer.

Breast Cancer: Get the Facts, ties the importance society has given to how breast look with the lack of importance women have given to their own health. The bra industry itself is a multimillion dollar business and over 400,000 women a year choose to enhance their breasts through cosmetic surgery. And it’s depressing to know that only 65% of women over 40 get a mammogram regularly. We know we all want them to look great, but let’s make sure that they feel that way too.

Will you post this on your blog or Twitter to help women realize how important and easy it really is to prevent breast cancer? Please let me know what you think via, Stephania@flankmarketing.com. I look forward to your response!

Thanks,
Stephania Andrade

Yikes.

For starters…

  1. You did not “stumble across” my blog, you went searching for breast cancer blogs
  2. I do not support breast cancer
  3. It is not easy to prevent breast cancer
  4. Isn’t 400,000 women a lot less than 65% of women over 40?
  5. It isn’t about wanting our breasts to feel great
  6. I don’t call living 5 years “surviving” [this in response to text on the actual graphic]
  7. Who is paying you? Mammogram-makers?

P.S. My breasts are tiny yet my mammogram showed no sign of that found-it-myself 2cm tumor.

As if anyone reading this blog isn’t already doing the obvious in terms of breast cancer.

Sheesh.

And now for those last few cobwebs…

“The first thing to remember is this: as long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it. As long as part of your sense of self is invested in your emotional pain, you will unconsciously resist or sabotage every attempt that you make to heal that pain. …because you want to keep yourself intact, and the pain has become an essential part of you… [The pain] is the living past in you, and if you identify with it, you identify with the past.

A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, which is the opposite of the of the truth. ..The truth is that the only power there is, is contained within this moment.”

— Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now“.

More forgiveness musings here.

Familiar Rings

Our wedding ring revamp began with a visit to Zeal Metal in May, 2009. We’d chop up and combine our three wedding rings into a fresh, funky set of two.

Disorganization delayed the decision until October 2009.

The weekend before my diagnosis, we decided: If the news was good, we’d go ahead with the revamp. Otherwise, we’d shelve it.

Following my diagnosis, October 2009, we came up with a third option. If treatment went well, we’d revamp our three rings into a set of four. For Lucy, Bayla, Mark and myself. To commemorate. To celebrate.

More than two years later, the project is still in progress. Here are some visuals from along the way…

June 17, 2009

Initial Design.

The diamond is part of the plan.

March 19, 2011

Ready for remake.

Sans diamond (my teeny diamond disappeared on December 8, 2010).

March 31, 2011

Spinner ring stamping options.

Lucy chose North-South-East-West. Mark chose tilted. Bayla and I chose spiralling.

May 16, 2011

In progress.


June 10, 2011

All four rings are done!

And beautiful!

July 2, 2011

Back where they belong.

Huge thanks to Nicole Horlor of Zeal Metal.

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Material Girl

My dreams are typically downers: Dreaded relapses into severed relationships. Transportation tragedies. Elevator quirks.

But the past two nights have been lovely.

Wednesday brought me racks full of luxurious, dressy new clothing. Last night, a freshly built, spacious new home.

In both, I was resistant. Then accepting. Then thrilled.

My real-life interests are different. My home is small, ancient and cluttered. My favourite clothes reconstructed or just plain old.

But I loved the expansiveness. The excitement. The fresh new starts.

That’s four good dreams, now.
I think I’m on a roll.

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Intersecting Rings

I made my very first hoop yesterday and headed, shyly, to the park to test it out.

I had hoped the park would be empty.
But no such luck.

As I stood building up my nerve, a stranger inquired about dog tricks. I answered politely, found some space and gave the hoop a timid spin.

My embarrassment subsided and I soon had the park to myself.

Then I spotted a woman and a gaggle of children. All clearly watching me from down the street.

I turned away, embarrassed, and continued spinning-and-dropping with my back to the eyes.

When I turned back, minutes later, the woman was spinning-and-dropping a hoop of her own. In her driveway. With the gaggle of children.

How cool is that?

p.s. Turns out my home-made hoop is slightly small, slightly light and slightly pointed. But absolutely dandy, for the whopping $5 it cost me.

More hooping here.

Happiness Is…

Hanging. Twisting. Stretching. Trusting.
Letting go…

I just experienced my first ever wall yoga.

Four students. Two instructors.
Loads of gentle adjustments and narrative.

Pure Bliss.

And to think I only joined as a personal dare.

Thank you Basia. Thank you Natalie.

For the heavenly new addiction.

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Practicing Safe Wrecks

Fear of failure and regret have tortured me my whole life.

The first strangulates me, lest I do something stupid.
The second beats me ruthlessly each time I do stupid things.

Lately, I’ve been lowering my standards. Practicing accidental failure.

Turns out sloppily slipping into failure is the easy part.

The real trick is skipping the resulting regret, disappointment, embarrassment and frustration.
The not beating myself up.

Luckily, I’m giving myself loads and loads of opportunities to practice.

Our Big Little Girls

When this journey began, our girls were barely 8 and 10. In the two years since then, they’ve been through a lot.

They’ve endured peaks of fear, responsibility and uncertainty. Their own and ours.
They’ve been misunderstood and alienated by their peers.
They’ve pushed the limits of already maxed-out and readjusting parents. And endured the resulting wrath.
They’ve even hidden big worries and needs.

Last summer they refused to be separated from us. Even day camp was out of the question.

Yesterday, they bolted from the car to 5 days of sleepover camp. Without a hug, goodbye or backward glance.

They are happy and healthy and they’ve become confident that we are too.

We love you and miss you, Lucy and Bayla. Have a safe, healthy, happy, fabulous week at camp!!

Looking forward to reuniting with you on Friday.

Less is More: Anthony Marco PAB2010

One of the many highlights of the fab PAB2011 experience was the wit, wisdom and warmth of Anthony Marco.

While we await publication of the PAB2011 sessions, please enjoy his thought-provoking and experiential jolt from PAB2010, A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures (a PAB2010 JOLT! by Anthony Marco).

YouTube Preview Image
More words, wisdom and wide, wide smiles thanks to Anthony, here.

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An Accidental Time Capsule

In fall 2009, during the stressful 6-week wait for diagnosis of that lump, I turned my back on our beloved podcast, Just One More Book.

Weeks later, Bob Goyetche and I discussed that decision, for the Canadian Podcast Buffet.
It was hours after my biopsy. Mark was out of town.

With all the PAB2011 captured-story excitement this week, that interview bobbed to my mind’s surface. And I took the time to listen to that 15 minute chat.

Wondering how we endured the 6 week wait. How I did that interview. And how we possibly got from there to here.

I’m glad those moments were captured. I’m glad I thought to listen.

Life’s odd. In a good way.

If you’d like to listen too, the interview is at the 18 minute mark of episode 147 of CPB.

Photo AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Bruce Murray (The Zedcast)

Oh BOLO Me-o ♫

I had no idea this event existed.

Thanks to my friend, Laurie, I’ll be there.

I hope you will too.

BLOG OUT LOUD 2011
WHERE: The Prescott, 379 Preston Street, at Preston and Beech
WHEN: Thursday, July 7, 2011 from 7pm to 10pm
WHO: 20+ bloggers reading their favourite post from the past year; plus several photo bloggers displaying their art
WHO’S INVITED: Anyone who likes to hear good writing.

Bold. By Default.

One million times I backed out of this jolt.

But having publicly announced and collected input for a 5 minute spiel about standing up to fear, it seemed the embarrassment of backing out might actually dwarf the embarrassment of flopping.

So I did the jolt.

And I’m glad I did.

Because life is better when we take bold steps.

Thanks to Alexa Clark for the jolt photo.

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