Lain's Log

Kevan and everything else!

August 30/11/

My cousin, Kevan, got word today he will be sprung from Mount Sinai on Wednesday to be admitted to Bridgepoint for rehab. My husband, Sam, had something to do with this, I believe. He has worked with Bridgepoint and put in the good word with them, asking if they could somehow get Kev in. It worked. (or maybe it was just coincidence, but I think NOT!!)

At home. On my way to visit Kev.

During my many many visits to Princess Margaret, I became friends with Ezio Melagarno, manager at the Druxys restaurant there. Got to love that place. Spent many happy times there. Many. Ezio now not only knows MY story, but also Kevan's! I told him, there is just NO point in trying to buy food at the Mount Sinai take-out restaurant. It just can't hold a candle to Druxys. Ezio is thrilled. But it's no joke. Druxys rules.

Buying a bagel with schmeer (as Kev calls it), pickles, a banana, an apple and some juices, for Kev at Druxys. Once again, a security guard approached me, out of the blue, and offered to take a pic! SO accomadating at Princess Margaret!!

So funny to enter Kev's room and see him like this!! He has EVERYTHING he needs, all over the friggin' place, covering his bed, his table, every which way but loose.

Food, drinks, magazines, newspapers, salt, pepper, sugar, cream, coffee, napkins, Kleenex, phone, iPad, wheelchair, casts, on and on. As usual, (no, as ALWAYS), we had such a great chat. Among many other things, I told Kev I have trouble dealing with the past, regrets, sadness, missing youth, on and on. (and if ANYONE would miss youth, it would be Kev and the Rough Trade days), but he doesn't look at life that way. He has no regrets and likes to remain in the present and looking to the future. Yep, he had me crying before we were through. We have shared so much over our 55 years together!!

On Wednesday, he'll have his one fiberglass cast cut off, staples removed, (10 days after they were put in), and cast replaced. He'll have an x-ray and will then be transported to Bridgepoint via ambulance. He's supposed to be in the "Orthopedic Activation" area, but it's crammed, so he'll hang out where ever they have a place for him till there's a bed available in the RIGHT department. He's just hoping they have WiFi so he can get wireless Internet connection and use his computer to do work while he's there! He will likely be stuck at Bridgepoint for a few weeks.

Kev, when he found out he is going to Bridgepoint on Wednesday!!

He is anxious to learn the skills he needs to get around, regain strength and recover from these damn fractured ankles. I live so close to Bridgepoint, I'll be there to help him, whenever he needs it. Name it Kev, whatever you want and it shall be there!!

Kev told me he just needs to get his mind around the new ways to adapt, how to do things for himself and that, "Life has a way of working out."

As for me, I spent my time using Kev's wheelchair as a "visitor's seat".

After visiting Kevan, drove over to see Auntie Ray (his Mum), at her seniors condo at Christie Gardens, to bring her two presents, (a ring and some chocolate fudge - both from our recent trip to Orillia), and visit for a while during her simple chicken sandwich dinner. She was very glad to hear Kev is getting out of the hospital tomorrow!

That's it, that's all for now!!

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August 30/11

Not the most productive day I've ever had. I tried, but energy still zapped. Even Intensity Entity doesn't want to help me out. The last week of summer before back-to-school has always been my least favourite time of the year. Just feeling so sad. About everything.

Wasn't in the mood, but took care of some banking on the Danforth.

Filled up my new leased car for the first time at the gas bar. Exciting.

And attempted to get a start on the basement cleanout, which is a massive job. Sam has called a junk man to come on Friday morning, which means I have three days to finish this insane assignment. Ai carumba. The place is a disaster.

That little yellow giraffe was Kate's favourite toy when she was a baby. Never have been able to part with it. Maybe I should give it to my cousin Sacha for her new baby Sienna. How is it MY baby is now 19??

This picture makes me laugh. That's the first tape recorder I ever bought on top there. I was 11 and it cost $19.95. It led to a career of tape recorder use in the radio biz! The other machines belonged to Sam in his CKEY radio days.

In the middle of all the junk, a big picture of my late grandparents, Arthur & Mabel Burridge, brought home from Mum's old house, (the old hidey hole).

Hopefully, in a few days, I can post some pictures showing this room cleaned up! Wish me luck!

Everywhere I look, piles of stuff to sort through. Motivation at an all-time low.

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One more day

August 29/11.

On the way to Mount Sinai to visit Kevan around 6 last night, was
driving down Broadview Avenue past that gorgeous cityscape view I see
every day. It was so beautiful, I just stopped the car and took a few pictures. Stuck the camera on top of the car for this auto shot.

I think I've decided I need to stop and smell the roses a little more in my life these days. Need more of that. Don't we all?

Toronto is an amazing city.

I always see TV camera crews stopping here to shoot standups because the view is so spectacular. Whenever I see them, it makes me miss the news biz. Working with creative cameramen & editors. Loved it. Those were the days. (I'm happy some of them are still my friends even all these years after leaving Global).

Decided to bring Kevan a movie mag, a couple of bottles of juice, a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee.

When I got to the hospital, found Kev in his usual upbeat manner. We talked about everything under the sun. No dead air or dull moments with Kev!

My cousin is even more special to me now than he ever was before (and that was already insanely special!) - because he is such an inspirational man. Despite two fractured ankles, the heavy duty casts, not being able to walk and do what he wants to do, he just rolls with it all, takes it in stride and has figured out how to whip around the hospital and even outside on the sidewalks of University Avenue in his wheelchair. He doesn't ask for help, just does it himself. I love Kevan. Always have. Always will.

It was also fun to find out that he now has an iPad with him in his room.

Had to laugh when we sat and read "Lain's Log" together! Now Kev can catch updates about his own progress on my blog! LOL.

Got home about 8:30, just in time to sit down for some barbecued salmon. Loblaws had a great sale, $5.99 a pound. Sam cooked up three large pieces. Just delish. And then, the MTV Video Music Awards at 9. Oh my gosh, did Lady Gaga ever surprise me! I had NO idea that was her doing her Jo Calderone alter ego thing at the opening of the show!

I thought she was absolutely brilliant.

Others disagreed. The dirty white T-shirt, black pants, boots, wild pompadour and cigarette turned her into a different person. I'm not even sure the audience in the theatre knew it was her!! (Justin Bieber seemed right out of it when they cut to him in the crowd).

Got lured away in the middle of the awards by a Skype call from my friend John Axelson in B.C. Wanted to see the rest of the show, but wanted to talk to John more. Can always catch an awards repeat some other time! John was now.

Always worth the interruption! We seem to be able find endless things to talk about, sometimes reminiscing about the long lost past, (usually about our late friend and phenomenal Seneca College teacher, Mike Monty, whom we both adored), and more often, speaking of the present, our current situations in life and about the future.

I am still reading his manuscript - Stalking The Average Man, and will no doubt have more questions for him soon! Thanks for the time John! Talk soon.

So, that was my yesterday. What about today? Didn't start off too good. Maybe I can fix it. Will let you know. Tight hugs!

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Everything off the charts!

August 28/11.

Looking forward to seeing the MTV Music Video Awards, LIVE, tonight at 9 on MUCH.

Eminem is nominated for best male video for Love the Way You Lie with Rihanna

Performances coming up from Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Lil Wayne, Adele, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z & Kayne West, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and even a tribute to Amy Winehouse by Tony Bennett! WTF? At any rate, will be a great show to see!

After yesterday's sadness over Mum's birthday - my emotions flying every which way from my heart, ricocheting through the house and all over the city, have been watching some music videos. Got hooked on Justin Timberlake for a while. Only my opinion, but I think he is so freakin' multi-talented he's just off the map - singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, comedian, best SNL host ever - the man can do it all. Just watching him in action in the 'N Sync number Gone (also written by Justin) has always been a favourite of mine. Ya, I know, it's 10 years old. Still love it. The song itself is brilliant, Justin plays Charlie Chaplin so beautifully and the way he portrays loss, missing someone, leaning against walls, then the fridge, sliding down in pain, seems very real to me.

And speaking of Gone, I also think Eminem's song, When I'm Gone. is incredible. Old too, I know (written in 2003, released in 2005), it's a hard hitting video. Love Eminem's work. I find it hard to take my eyes off the guy when he performs. Again, HIS portrayal of pain, mixed with anger, - just mesmerizing.

Ever since Slim Shady - and especially after seeing him perform Stan with Elton John a decade ago. What a stunning performance that was. I was still working at Global when I saw it, and covering the Grammys that night. Knew the moment I watched the two of them together, this would be unforgettable.
Eminem's intensity gives me the chills. Phenomenal.

Eminem and Elton John team up

I've put this one on the blog before, but always worth a repeat. I also covered the Grammys the night Smooth was performed by Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas. Again, knew it was magic and have loved it for a decade. Heard it while shopping in a store yesterday and was practically dancing. (almost impossible NOT to!!) Customers likely thought I was off my rocker. And they are probably right.

And with the Jerry Lewis MD telethon coming up in a week (without Jerry), I couldn't help but think of Smile, written by Charlie Chaplin and used by Jerry every year as the telethon theme. This Michael Jackson version features such fabulous footage of Chaplin himself. Killer song too. One of my faves.

So, that's my trip down musical memory lane for now. As for yesterday, while trying to think happy thoughts about Mum on her birthday, I was in & out of tears all day.

Started off OK, but as the day progressed, tears, here, there and everywhere.

At the grocery store - (the camera must have been crying too, lens all blurred up with tears I guess)

At the flower store.

Trying to pretend I'm happy while buying flowers for myself, which should have been for Mum.

Then bringing the flowers home, putting them on the diningroom table along with the Celebration of Life card (created by our friend, Mary Spence-Thomas), and beside the beautiful bowl made for me by my friend Joanne and given to me as a gift when she visited from L.A. this month. Had a toast to Mum and then did what Carrie asked me to do. She was singing at the Rexall Centre last night in the BlackCreek Festival chorus for the production of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy).

In an email, Carrie said to me:
Here's a link to Lorin Maazel conducting the 9th Symphony. There are many orchestral movements BEFORE the choral part. The choral part ONLY is what I've sent you here. So, visualize having heard a lot of orchestra work FIRST.

Suggestion: at 8:00 tonight, listen to this WHOLE clip.
Or, pick and choose bits and pieces, but then listen from the 8th minute of this - on to the end. You will hear the surprise entrance, and the finale. That's where I know I will tear up. Be sure to have your speakers up LOUD, especially after the 8th minute.

Happy Birthday to Mum!!!!!!!!!!! I toast her influence, celebrate her life, and sing her praises!

Then, Carrie added this as a P.S.

Dang, just realized the clip I sent to you does NOT go to the end of the piece, so you will have to switch to another version for the ending.

Finish with this clip. (Pieced together, sort of!!)

I did it Carrie! I'm sure YOUR version last night was even BETTER than
this one! Either way, Ode to Joy - a fitting tribute to our Mum! I'll bet YOU were choking your way through it, in German no less!! Bravo!!
Love you for doing it (Mum would have too), and for sending me the links so I could be a part of it!!

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Mum's birthday

August 27/11.

Mum would have been 84 today. Sigh.

I'll be missing her more than ever.

Yesterday, for the first time in three months, my get-up-and-go, got-up-and-went.

Due to circumstances way beyond my control, the ever-present Intensity Entity, perpetually-charged force that lives within me, took a hike or went on strike or deserted me. After raging out of control all morning, I.E. suddenly decided to vacate the premises, leaving me stranded, energyless, without battery power, without warning. I even fell asleep on the bedroom couch halfway between doing my hair and makeup. This has never happened in my life. By the time I woke up, an hour later, I didn't even have the strength to go grocery shopping, visit Kevan, or run around like a mad fiend, the way I usually do.

I like to think I'm super woman, with an unlimited supply of electricity, but every once in a while, I.E. likes to remind me I'm human without him/it?, pushes me over the edge, leaves me lying in a crumpled heap, unable to move, ready to crash & burn.

It was even tough to take a stroll down to Withrow Park with Max, (where he snapped a couple of park bench pics),

just to prove I went outside!

As for what happened to the energy flow, I think it got blocked or zapped for a day because I've been overextending myself, revving a bit too hard, coupled with hormones and extreme emotion. There are people I want to see, but it's impossible, and I miss them more than words can say. That makes me sad and sometimes exhausts my body, brain and soul. As Uncle Ev would tell me, (if he was here), "What can you DO about it? Nothing." If there WAS something I could do about it, I would! But there's not.

So, took a few deep breaths and headed off to Shoppers for some much-needed items. You know, important stuff, like hair colour.

Also spoke to Carrie on the phone who made me feel better about Mum's birthday.

Carrie will spend tonight performing in the BlackCreek Festival chorus at the Rexall Centre, doing Beethoven's Ninth symphony (Ode to Joy) in German! Carrie says the final movement is "a glorious, dynamic and surprising choral blast-fest," and she feels lucky to be able to do it in celebration of Mum on her special day.

The 80-voice chorus will be accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, (in its first classical concert in Toronto in 30 years), conducted by the famed Lorin Maazel.

Conductor Lorin Maazel

Showtime - 8 p.m.
Nice tribute to Mum!!

Happy birthday. We're thinking of you today, remembering all the good times - (even when we went to Shoppers Drug Mart TOGETHER!!) Will love you always.

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The Big C - Change

August 26/11.

Two and a half months ago, during the fired-up frenzy of all my cancer treatments AND trying to clear out and sell Mum's house, (days when I was pretty much a complete mess), I unexpectedly had an encounter with an old high school friend from Northern Secondary days. Les Molnar. (only the most incredible musical theatre performer ever)! - He starred in The Boyfriend and every other school show, knocking everyone out with his stage presence, singing, dancing, acting and pizzazz. He was a couple of years ahead of me when I was a geeky, awkward 15-year-old with glasses and braces. He slayed me with his confidence and continually left me in awe of his true talent. He barely knew me, but apparently remembered me as one of the shaky chorus kids in the cast.

He yelled out my name one afternoon in front of Luke's, the local convenience store, where I stopped in a daze between hospital and hidey hole visits. It was such an out-of-context connection, I didn't even realize who it was, till I looked into his eyes, and was suddenly 15 again, thinking, "Oh my God, - LES MOLNAR!" Turns out, he's really a very nice man, engaging, personable, kind, and ya, still gorgeous. At any rate, he was sad to hear of my cancer situation as well as the death of my Mum and gave me some information and advice to try and help and encourage me, then, took off into the sunset on his motorcycle.

Flash forward to mid-August, a day before leaving for vacation to Fern Resort. Les called me on the phone to check up on things. We ended up talking for a long time. Again, he gave me help and advice. Turns out, he's lost many friends and relatives to cancer and has made a study of the human body to keep himself fit and healthy. He told me about The China Study and said I should read the book. From what I understand, the study (among many things), indicates that people who consume a whole plant food/vegan diet, avoiding animal proteins, can minimize or reverse the development of chronic diseases. Les told me, in his opinion, I should give up meat and alcohol. (and also said I shouldn't use a cell phone or earpiece).

He said everyone thinks of "The Big C" as cancer, when we SHOULD be looking at The Big C as CHANGE. He encouraged me to make changes in my life, - diet, exercise, and psychological ones too, perhaps in an attempt to counteract the outta control, raging Intensity Entity and try to get back on some kind of even keel, since everything in my life has felt out of whack for so many months.

During the Fern trip, (and since being home as well), I haven't had any red meat at all. Just lots of fish, veggies and fruit. Did have two desserts at Fern though - (on the night they served their specialty, peanut butter pie!) But tried to keep the sugar to a minimum too.

(Oh, and as for the wine, that's going to take a little more work).

Yesterday, I briefly stopped in at the old stompin' grounds at Princess Margaret Hospital to see my favourite atrium and go to Druxy's to pick up a bagel with schmeer (Kev's fave) and a coffee (to counteract the hospital sludge for him!)

Then into Indigo at Mount Sinai Hospital. (yep, another hospital!) to buy Kev some new reading material at the magazine rack.

As I was walking out, noticed The China Study! Decided to buy it for myself. Les asked me to call him when I got back from holiday to tell him how things went. I just may do that, and let him know I bought the book too. My Mum always said, "God speaks through people," so maybe somebody is trying to tell me something about the changes I need to make. Who knows?

Upon arriving at Kevan's hospital room, I got a big surprise! There were no other patients in the massive room for four - just Kev, having his dinner and some other special visitors - his beautiful family - daughter Sacha and his new granddaughter Sienna (just over two months old), plus his wife, Marilyn, who took this pic!

Sacha, Kev, granddaughter Sienna and me! - If Sacha and Sienna can't cheer him up, nothing ever will!

Sienna is such a litte doll!

Kevio's big room has lots of space and a nice view of the city below.

Not long after these pics were taken, several more patients were brought in, but for a while, he had the room all to himself!

Another surprise - Kev's cousin Susan dropped by to visit and bring him some new pants! Here's a great shot of the gang.
(left to right) - Sacha, baby Sienna, Kev's fabulous wife, Marilyn and cuz Susan, Kev in front. He is a lucky man!

I was thrilled to get the chance to walk outside the hospital with Kevan and to see him doing so well in the wheelchair.

He's escaped! (at least, temporarily).
Kevan is looking forward to getting out of the hospital soon and into a rehab place so he can get some therapy and learn to put this behind him and move forward. March forth! (as my family likes to say!)

On the way out of Mt. Sinai, I ran into Tamara. She is a homeless woman who sits next to the pay parking kiosk, hoping for spare change. Here I am seeing her again, with all the visits to Kevan.

During my 16 daily radiation treatments, I brought her something every day - sometimes drinks because she likes apple juice and cranberry juice. We always had a talk and every time, she told me I'm looking good and she's praying for me. Can you believe that? Of course, she always brought a tear to my eye. Yesterday, I asked her where she sleeps. She said, "On top of the roof of the garage down the street." I gave her a few dollars, wished her luck and said I'd see her again the next day. Tamara was excited that she would be featured in my blog, even though she can't see it. I will print this section out to show her later today.

On the way home, driving along Broadview Avenue, I stopped the car in front of Jack Layton's constituency office to look at the massive piles of flowers, gifts and messages and to take a few pictures.

The city obviously misses Jack very much, and appreciates all he did for Toronto.

People like Kevan, Les Molnar and Jack Layton are inspiring to me. I am trying to make changes. For now though, I'm stepping back and just thinking about this emotional day.

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