Sunday, September 28, 2008

Galactable Proportions

I have experienced a rather galactable week. Several of my friends have been going through unique and individual sagas. I can’t even blame the chaos on a full moon as that phenomenon occurred 2 weeks ago.

I can reasonably handle one saga at a time. Trying to support all of them at once is like being stoned to death with popcorn. Add to it the start of a home renovation, critical work deadlines and a teenager who booked herself for too many auditions; the pressure was on. Furthermore, my Paul Newman died.

I fell in love with PN when he played ‘Butch Cassidy’ in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The bicycle scene did it for me. Ever since he started selling his Newman’s Own salad dressing, I’ve kept a bottle on the middle shelf of my fridge beside the coffee cream. Why? He had the best face to welcome the start of a new day.

So, what do you do to relieve the back pressure valve? Well I have a “John Denver” day. I had one tonight. I know that only my friend Deet can appreciate those “John Denver” moments. I can remember her and I driving through the Adirondacks on our way to Martha’s Vineyard in her “baby poop yellow” Benz singing along to Denver’s Rocky Mountain High at the top of our lungs.

Tonight I tried to leave on a jet plane but missed the runway. I needed to find higher ground so I looked for the country roads to take me back home again in hopes of finding Grandma’s feather bed and some home grown tomatoes. Instead, I heard the music, saw the pictures and I wouldn’t change a thing. Welcome to my day...

Rest is Peace Paul Leonard Newman. For me, tomorrow is the start of a new focused week...have a good one.

Popcorn anyone?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

“Vision and Knowledge”

Like most weekends at the cottage, we tend to have competitive debates on various topics. Tonight’s debate was about our high schools. Which was the best? Which had the most notable alumni?

I attended Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, Ontario. I went to school with Mike Meyers. If you think for one second that his” Wayne’s World” characters were original, think again. That’s who he was, adorned in his stoner jacket and Greb Kodiak’s like all Mac’s were in the 80s. If you doubt this I’ll show you my yearbook that he personally signed.

The official school crest, colours and motto were selected to reflect the life and work Sir John. The crest contains a map of Canada and the symbols of the Macdonald clan: a white coronet, a mailed fist, and crossed crosslets. Red, Royal Purple, and White, which predominate in the tartan of Sir John's family clan, Clanranald, were selected as official school colours. The school motto, "Prudentia et Scientia" (Vision and knowledge), describe the qualities possessed by Sir John A. Macdonald. I am proud to be a “MAC”.

Unfortunately in my senior year my parents relocated our family to Crete (a.k.a. Waterloo, Ontario or “Water & Pooh” as per my brother’s reference to it) therefore I ended up graduating from Waterloo Colligate Institute (WCI). Sir John A. will always be my high school.

My husband attended Eastwood Collegiate Institute. He is a proud “Rebel”. Our daughter just started high school a few weeks ago. Her home school is WCI. But she’s gifted and was accepted into the Waterloo Region Integrated Arts Program which happens to be at what school? Eastwood Collegiate Institute. So the debate tonight was 2 against 1.

Round 1
Wikipedia search for notable alumni from WCI.
ZERO (which just proves that arrogant Beachwoodites don’t bother to post their accomplishments on Wikipedia.
I lost Round 1.

Round 2
Wikipedia search for notable alumni from ECI
Karen Redman - Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre; currently serves as Chief Official Opposition Whip
Alex Mustakas - Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment. Starred in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
David Chilton - Author of "The Wealthy Barber" and winner of Vanier Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Canadian under 40
Marisa McIntyre - Starred in Toronto production of Mamma Mia!
Tom Goertz - J'avert in Les Miserables
Fitz "The Whip" Vanderpool - Championship Boxer, 1998 Boxer of the Year, and founder of "The Whip Boxing Academy"
Dave Schneider - 105.3 KOOL FM radio personality ---Mr. Eastwood and K-W’s sexiest hunk
Art Froese - Calgary Stampeders
Harry Doering - Edmonton Eskimos
Rob Ring - Video Artist & Artistic Director of CAFKA
Glen Leach - Montreal Alouettes
Frank Jagas - Calgary Stampeders
Scott Stevens - retired NHL hockey player (Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils)
Mike Stevens - retired NHL hockey player (Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, NY Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs)
Mike Buie - Starred in 1999 Film Mystery Alaska
Markus Koch - Washington Redskins
Cindy Overland - Canadian Olympic Speed Skating Team
Charity Brown - Recording Artist
Joanna Perica - Singer/Songwriter
Sabine Schleese - One of the Top 100 women business owners in Canada (2001-present) Schleese Saddlery Service
Mike Boyko - All Canadian Women's Soccer Player of the Year
Justin Krulicki - Member of Team Canada's Paralympic Fastball Team

Round 3
Wikipedia search for notable alumni from Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute
Mike Johnson (ice hockey), NHL Hockey player, Montreal Canadiens, formerly of the Toronto Maple Leafs
David Furnish, civil partner of Elton John
Eric McCormack, actor, Will and Grace
Mike Myers (actor), Comedian Actor, (attended Macdonald graduated at a different school)
Duff Gibson, 2006 Winter Olympic gold medalist in singles skeleton
William Blair, Toronto Chief of Police
Shaun Chen, Toronto District School Board Trustee (Ward 21)
Grace T., Mary Z., Tony X., Coolest People EVER

Winner for most notable alumni: Eastwood Collegiate Institute

Winner for best high school: We called a truce as we both succeeded and know that Hilary will make it to the notable alumni list at Eastwood Collegiate Institute in the future.

I wonder why Kiefer, Rockford and Sutherland never made the notable ECI alumni list? On a final note, I received "Prudentia et Scientia" at Sir John A. Go Mac Go!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sir Winston

We had to put our cat down today. He was 21 years old and had used up more than his given 9 lives.

While we waited for the Vet, the technician paged someone to escort the couple with the “elderly” cat to the quiet room. Like T.S. Eliot, I’d rather refer to him as Old Deuteronomy, for he was a wise cat who had "lived many lives in succession" and was respected by all in his environment.

Pictures tell a thousand words. Thank you Sir Winston for the 2 decades of paw prints you left on our lives. Even Sir Rupert is moping tonight. You will be sorely missed my friend.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kiefer, Rockford and Sutherland

"God gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:29-31

Kiefer, Rockford and Sutherland have been best friends since kindergarten. They went through grade school and high school together. They stayed in town for university. Kiefer and Rockford majored in business at WLU and Sutherland majored in Math at U of W. After WLU, Rockford went on for his MBA and accounting designation. They've been together for over 40 years to be exact. I met Kiefer, Rockford and Sutherland almost 20 years ago and I married Rockford 17 years ago. Post-grad adulthood landed Sutherland in the GTA, Rockford in the Golden Triangle and Kiefer in the Niagara Region until he moved out west in 2006. They’re all great guys. They are all the same yet uniquely different.

Something magical and contagious happens when the three are together. Kiefer and Sutherland spin the best yarns ever. They become so animated in their storytelling that watching them is pure entertainment. I’m not sure which one speaks the fastest; it’s a close tie as they’re both breathless after each sentence they spew. I’m exhausted when they come up for air.

Together they’ve braved wilderness excursions, white water rafting, mountain climbing and portages, but it’s the stock market and golf that obsess them. They have golfed together since grade 9. Golf is their only competition. It’s a serious competition, not the fun friendly type. Their camaraderie returns at the 19th hole. Kiefer and Rockford will tell you that Sutherland is the most competitive of the three and has injured himself playing golf Wii games just to beat them in the next round.

In December of 2006 Kiefer was diagnosed with a “primary brain tumour” (glioblastoma). Those words strike fear in the heart of anyone threatened by one. That fear extends to all who love them. As a health care professional I know that true tumour margins do not exist. Total removal by local therapy (surgery, radiation) is not possible. Treatment of brain tumours is extremely difficult because of polyclonicity, the Blood:Brain barrier, the diffuse infiltrative nature of these tumours, and the perilous location of some tumours. My role this time was not to be the “nurse” but to help Kiefer, Rockford and Sutherland hope for the best, while preparing them for the worst. On Christmas day 2006 Kiefer underwent neuro surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Christmas 2007 brought a reoccurrence and more surgery. Kiefer is tough.

This past spring they decided to realize their childhood dream and together they golfed at Glen Abby. Kiefer came home to Ontario again in August and again the three stooges golfed all they could while they were together.

Last week Kiefer went for his biannual MRI. Friday the news came. The glioblastoma is back and has invaded further. They don’t have anything more to offer Kiefer. It’s time to put his house in order. I’m amazed by Rockford and Sutherland as they struggle through this. They support each other while they try to hold Kiefer up.

Kief is coming home to Ontario next week and the three of them have their golf courses mapped out. While they hit the greens they’ll be mountain climbing again, climbing the biggest and scariest mountain of their lives. Without a doubt I know that Rockford and Sutherland will help Kiefer reach the summit. After all they are the Ya-Ya Brotherhood.

Hold tight Kief, God’s not finished with you yet!
Kiefer you know that I have never appreciated your love of Burton Cummings, but this one’s for you.

Love Ya!

P.S. The picture of Kiefer was taken last week before the news. It’s hauntingly beautiful.