Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

1.Go into the garage on a cold winter night.
2.Invite a few strangers into the room.
3.Disrobe to the waist.
4.Have someone back the car over your right breast to the chest wall. No, maybe one more inch for good measure.
5.Repeat on the left breast.
6.Thank the driver for doing this.
7.Roll your breasts up into your bra.
8.Schedule a date to do it again next year.
9.If you’re American, you also get to pay for this privilege.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Finally Over!

So the strike by Toronto's civic employees has ended this week. That means that my husband, who is in Management with Water Supply, can finally come home. He's been locked in at work for 36 days, with only a few days off during that time. Thirteen people were doing the work of sixty. They lived and worked together, occasionally having personality conflicts, as managers who were accustomed to giving orders, had to take them instead. A case of 'too many chiefs, and not enough Indians'.
He said it felt like jail, with occasional day passes, and all they thought about was 'what's for dinner today?' and 'what movie is on tonight?' They were getting quite discouraged as they saw their summer slipping away from them. All vacation was cancelled and many important events were missed.
Our daughters only saw him a few times, and our household projects and social activities were all put on hold. When he'd come home for just a few hours, he only had time to do laundry and run a few errands, and then he'd have to return, reluctantly, to the air mattress in his office.
I don't think people in Toronto understand or appreciate the sacrifice made by these men and women, and their families, in order for them to continue to be supplied with water.
Water supply has long wanted to disassociate themselves from the Garbage collectors, who always seem ready and willing to go on strike. The reason the garbage collectors don't mind a strike is that even though they have to live on $200/week strike pay, afterwards, they make it all back in overtime when they clean up the accumulated garbage. Water Supply is different. There's no extra water being pumped after a strike. It's been there all along.
There are some benefits to this enforced separation, though. My husband and I definitely appreciate each other more. He missed two weeks of vacation with me and our anniversary trip to Kingston. I went anyway, and a friend and my Mom came with me. I also learned to be more independent with driving to Kingston, and to a provincial park to take my daughter on a youth camping trip. I also bought my first cell phone, which I used in Kingston. It's like a new toy, and I've been texting more than talking because it has a full keyboard.
Another benefit was that, while at work, my husband worked out with weights 3X/day and walked about 4-5 km/day. The result has met with my approval.
Also, I was able to get well underway with my diet without having to worry about cooking for everyone. This has resulted in the loss of 10 pounds, and 10 inches, which has met with my husband's approval.
Lastly, even though he doesn't usually get overtime pay since he's in Management, they did pay portions of the day and stand-by at a higher rate, so we are expecting a large cheque soon, which is just in time for our daughter's university tuition costs.
So, even though I wouldn't ever want to go through this again, it hasn't been all bad. There are blessings to be found, if you look.

Strike Widow--Day Thirty-Six

July 27, 2009

Outside my window...partly cloudy day. It hasn't been much of a summer, in more ways than one.
I am thinking...Mark my words. Polygamy will be the next thing to be legalized in Canada. Same-sex marriage was just the tip of the iceberg. You heard it here, first. My neighbour has two wives. Yep, really. On the news this week, a Muslim man in Kingston, Ontario, along with Wife B and his son, killed Wife A and three daughters. These were not consecutive wives, but concurrent. The media mentioned it without any comment at all. Not surprising.
I am thankful for...23 years of marriage, yesterday. He's definitely a keeper, and better than I deserve. We went out for dinner to Big Daddy's Crab Shack on Thursday when he was off.
From the kitchen...chicken and okra, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries.
I am wearing...jean capri pants and a burgundy top.
I am reading...A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist. I love her books.
I am hoping... that this strike would soon by settled. Windsor's strike lasted 101 days and just ended. The City of Toronto is trying to outlast the union. Both sides have dug in.
I am hearing...I Saw You First, by John Mellencamp. I laugh because it's so juvenile.
Around the house...My eldest was sent home from camp on Wednesday because she had fever and body aches. No cough though, so no swine flu. It's been going around at many summer camps. She's better now. My youngest is enjoying her job at the Day Camp, although she comes home exhausted every day. She liked her first pay cheque though. I'm finishing 17 days off. Back to work tonight. My husband had only 3 days off for his two weeks' vacation. Now they've changed it so even though he has to work 90 hours a week, he at least gets to come home every day. I'm thankful for that. I think we definitely appreciate each other more. Even the mundane, every day things are better when we're together.
One of my favourite things...hearing my daughters laughing together. I'm glad they get along so well. My sister and I used to fight all the time.
Some plans for the my daughter back up to work at camp, work four nights. Don't know about the weekend yet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Finnish Emotions

Strike Widow--Day Twenty-Three

July 13, 2009

Outside my window...a cloud bank is moving in. Not sure how long I'll be able to sit out here on the deck today, but at least I went for a walk earlier.
I am thinking...that although it's nice to have another 17 days off (I have the best job in the world!),it's a bummer that my husband is still locked in at work because of this strike. My daughters are working, so I'm on my own.
I am thankful for...this new weight loss program I'm on. It's the only one that has ever worked for me. It's called SUREslim and it works to control your metabolism naturally, by controlling what food you eat and when. You have to wait five hours between meal, and no snacking. It took a few days to get used to it, because it's such a habit to reach for food, but I was ready to lose the weight and feel good about myself, so I'm determined to stick with it. I'm even tolerating the required seeds. I'm so encouraged by the success. In two weeks I've lost 6 pounds and 9 inches! It's the inches that matter more to me than the weight. I can see a difference. I've even lost my double chin!
From the kitchen...Atlantic salmon (I've been on a salmon kick lately, since I found frozen salmon that's as good as fresh), and I don't have my husband to cook for. They eat very well at work. I'm also making cauliflower, broccoli and beans, with raspberries for dessert.
I am wearing...jean Capri pants and a blue, black and white print top.
I am reading...Spring Rains, by Gayle Roper, although I wish I was reading one of the other twelve books (Yes, twelve) I bought this week. But I'll be good and finish what I've started.
I am hoping...that the strike end this week. We usually go away for a few days for our anniversary, and we already have a hotel booked in Kingston. If he can't come, I'm going anyway. My friend, Kathy has come to my rescue and will go sightseeing with me, at least for two of the three nights. It's nice to have friends.
I am hearing...the breeze blowing through the trees and the sounds of the neighbourhood.
Around the eldest is up working at summer camp. She had a bunch of campers this past week with lots of attitude. She was in tears several times, but she said she prayed for them, and by the end of the week, they apologized to her for their bad attitude. She said they were also very moved and convicted during the messages. My youngest is finished her training and now has the day campers. Last week there were 26 and this week 40, partly because the public daycares are closed due to the strike. She is enjoying it far more than she expected, because she didn't think she'd like working with kids. Like teaching, there is alot of work to do at home to prepare for the activities, games, and lessons. My husband came home for his first 24 hour "shore leave". The ministry of labour told them they had to let them leave for 24 hours at a time. Before this he'd come home for just 6-12 hours. This was the first time he slept in his own bed in three weeks. He chose to come from Saturday night to Sunday night, because he missed coming to church. He'd only been away a few weeks, but people cheered him when he walked in at church, like he was a celebrity. Funny. For myself, I have set some goals and a to-do list for these days off; much of the list includes fun things, like the trip to Kingston, a TFC soccer game on Saturday with my husband, a family dinner at my mother-in-law's house, and a few beach days. But I'd really like to get some serious work done on my stories.
One of my favourite things...fresh raspberries.
A few plans for the week...other than what I just listed above, a beach day tomorrow. I'm going by myself to the Provincial Park an hour north of here, just to read and write. It's supposed to be 24C and sunny tomorrow. I hope so. I find it so relaxing to be next to the water.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Life Lessons from Bill Gates

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault , so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

If you agree, pass it on..

If you don't agree stick your head in the sand and take a deep breath!

If you can read this -Thank a teacher!

If you can read this in English - Thank a soldier!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pride and Shame

"Pride and shame. You'd never know they were sisters. They appear so different. Pride puffs out her chest. Shame hangs her head. Pride boasts. Shame hides. Pride seeks to be seen. Shame seeks to be avoided.
But don't be fooled, the emotions have the same parentage. And the emotions have the same impact. They keep you from your Father.
Pride says, 'You're too good for Him.'
Shame says, 'You're too bad for Him.'
Pride drives you away. Shame keeps you away.
If pride is what goes before a fall, then shame is what keeps you from getting up after one."

--Max Lucado--
He Chose the Nails

Friday, July 3, 2009


“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's So Great About Canada?

So, it's Canada Day, eh? Time to pull out the flag, and reflect on some of the positives of the Great White North. The Dominion of Canada, as it was formerly called, stretches from sea to sea to sea. That's right, we're practically an island, except for that large unprotected border to our south. Although we may seem to be much like our neighbours to the south, a Canadian is more than just "not an American".

Here are some reasons to be thankful to God for our country:

1. We experience all four distinct seasons (although I personally could live without winter quite happily).
2. Non-violent elections and (usually) a smooth transition of power. The recent attempted coup by the Liberals/Socialists notwithstanding.
3. Affordable post-secondary education. Both my husband and I were able to attend college/university even though we were from single parent homes.
4. You can live anywhere you want. Our neighbourhoods aren't segregated by race or religion. Our one little street has Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Catholics, Protestants and atheists. Our neighbours are Lebanese, Pakistani, Indian, Saudi Arabian, Ethiopian, Irish, Italian, Greek, Jamaican, Finnish and plain old Canadian, too. We all co-exist quite well.
5. We open our borders to new immigrants. Both my husband's family (Jamaica) and my family (Finland) have made a new life in our adopted homeland.
6. Freedom of religion, (so far), and freedom of speech (so far). You don't realize what a freedom it is to be able to criticize your government or vote for who you want until you see how many don't have it (Iran).
7. Free healthcare. When my husband had cancer 11 years ago, we didn't have any financial concerns. No out of pocket expenses! All of the hospital costs; surgery, chemo, homecare nurses, $4,000 injections--all covered. He also had full pay while he was off work for a year. The one expense we thought we'd have to pay; parking at the hospital, was also graciously covered by my wonderful co-workers who took up a collection for us every three months (Aren't oncology nurses great?). I can't imagine having to worry about finances on top of all the other issues, but, I digress.
8. You think you need a break from your country, only to find that when you're on vacation, you're happy to tell people where you're from (because everyone loves Canadians, right? or should I say, eh?), and you're always glad to come home again.
9. You boast about the differences we have with Americans, all the while being thrilled when we're mentioned by them. It's the little brother syndrome.
10. Our country has beautiful mountains out west, unforgiving Arctic terrain in the territories, prairies in the middle of the country, lakes and forests in Ontario and Quebec, and ocean front in the Maritime provinces. Whatever suits you, we have it, even beautiful beaches.

There are also many things that aren't so great about Canada, but that's for another day. Today is Canada Day, so we'll wave our flag on this ONE day, and then go back to our complacency again, sadly.

Strike Widow--Day Ten

July 1, 2009

Outside my window…a dark, clear night.
I am thinking…that I do not enjoy life as a strike widow. I don’t know how military wives do it. My husband has been locked in at work for nine nights so far, with no end to the strike in sight. He sleeps in his office, eats with his co-workers (about a dozen people), and has only been out to attend a party with me last Friday. I had to have him back by midnight, like Cinderella. But he hasn’t been home yet and he said “the adventure” wasn’t fun anymore. He really didn’t expect the union would actually go on strike, since they have our Mayor in their back pocket, but they did, and now they’re holding out. I don’t think they’ll get much public support or sympathy because of the recession. They should be happy to keep their jobs. Hopefully, the Premiere will introduce legislation to send them back to work soon and end my husband’s ‘deployment’. They are locked in, doing the work of 60 people, because even if people don’t get their garbage picked up, they seem to expect clean water to come out of their taps. I also learned through this experience that I’m quite dependent on my husband, and I didn’t even know how to turn on the a.c. or remove the seats out of the van. Those are just things he always did.
I am thankful for…my husband’s job. It’s secure, it pays well, and it allows us to live comfortably middle-class.
From the kitchen…Atlantic salmon, asparagus and salad. I started a weight loss program today called SUREslim that is supposed to correct your metabolism, mostly by the timing of your meals (at least 5 hours between) and no snacking. It’s a whole new way of thinking. I hope it works; nothing else has, and I’m 25-30 pounds overweight and quite discouraged. The hardest part is eating the extra seeds and flax. I also have to weigh out and plan my meals, which is time consuming. I really want to stick with it and give it a chance.
I am wearing…navy scrub pants, white top, short white lab coat.
I am reading…Lone Survivor by Mark Luttrell and Patrick Robinson, about Operation Redwing in Afghanistan that resulted in the largest loss of life among NAVY SEALs. I remember hearing about it on the news when it happened in 2005 and feeling very sad. It’s an amazing story; first about the training they undergo, and then the operation itself, where four SEALs were outnumbered at least 35:1 in a firefight. This book has made grown men cry.
I am hoping…that my daughters enjoy their summer jobs and learn a lot. Our eldest is at a summer camp for inner city kids, working as a counselor and lifeguard. Our youngest is at a Church Day Camp. She’s excited to be getting paid $9.50 an hour. I was earning that much 25 years ago as a nurse’s aide when I was still in nursing school! But that’s minimum wage these days, I guess, and it’s more than she has now.
I am hearing…the sound of silence. This week, because of Canada Day, the O.R. is closed so we have only chemo patients. Tonight there are nine patients and three nurses, which are pretty good odds, and the reason I have time to blog.
Around the house…our daughters are off to work, although my youngest has today off for Canada Day. My mom had her second angiogram yesterday. At first they thought she had more blockage, but then when they went in for the angioplasty, it was gone. They said it can spasm and look like blockage. So she’s home, but still without an explanation as to her chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue. My husband will be coming home for a 12-hour “shore leave” on Thursday. I’ll pick him up on my way home from my night shift and bring him back when I return. Too bad most of my day will be spent sleeping. I miss him. I also made him a “Honey-Do” list. Isn’t that kind of me?
One of my favourite things…Twitter. It’s my new favourite thing. I have people I know on face book, and I keep it that way. But on Twitter, I follow my favourite authors and preachers, find out when their books are coming out, and see what people around the continent are thinking about. It’s private though, because, like my blog, I don’t use our names. My daughter set up my Twitter account, but she didn’t want me to ‘follow’ her because she uses that venue to vent her feelings, which is fine with me. Hey, maybe I should set up another, more anonymous Twitter site to say the things I can’t say anywhere else. Kind of therapeutic, I think. Naaah! Everything I think doesn't need to be written down.
Some plans for the week…finish four nights. Enjoy my brief rendezvous with my husband. Cook, pack, and then drive like a maniac to the Pinery Provincial park with my daughter for a weekend camping trip with the youth group from a sister church. My husband was supposed to be the speaker for it, but well, he’s indisposed so they had to come up with Plan B. I didn’t have the heart not to go. My daughter had a heart-breaking disappointment this week already, and wants to see her friend. The things we do for our kids! I hope we get there in time to set up our tents before dark, and that it doesn’t rain. The couple who are leading are good friends of ours and it would have been so much better if I wasn’t half-a-couple. (Sigh). But we’ll have fun.