Saturday, December 31, 2011

Turning A Page

Hard to believe, but 2011 is over in just a few hours. As I look back on the past year, I'd say that overall it was a good one but I'm looking forward to what 2012 has to offer!

This year started off with my finishing off my program at Fanshawe. Well, more accurately I was about half finished. The candle was burning at both ends, but I did survive and even won an award for my efforts! I met some really great friends during my time at Fanshawe and glad I returned to the classroom!

In February, I headed to Florida with my friend Kim for spring break. It was a welcomed reprieve from my crazy schedule. Soon after it was my birthday and then I was finishing up school! In hindsight, it flew by. Thanks to my friend Duane for encouraging me to count down the days and telling me that if he could do it, I could do it!

Probably the biggest event for me this year was buying my first home! What an exciting (and sometimes stressful) ride. Most of the spring/summer was spent packing, moving, unpacking and settling in. It has felt like home since the moment I first entered. I love it! A special thanks to my parents who have helped me every step of the way, even with cleaning the eaves :)

With September comes the Toronto Film Festival. This year was particularly star-studded including Bono & The Edge as well as Brangelina, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Keiffer Sutherland. What fun Lisa and I had. A great annual tradition.

Well, that about ends my recap of 2011. If you're reading this, you probably know about all the bumps and highlights along the way anyway! Wishing you all the best in 2012. Happy New Year.

Good News

Connie got a very encouraging phone call from her family doctor yesterday. He had just received her pathology report and wanted to call her right away. Her lymph nodes tested negative, which is terrific news. I'm still not sure what the next step is or what the future holds, but for now, this is welcomed news. (an excellent birthday present for Steve)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Laurie Lane

Today is my dear friend Laurie's birthday. Well, December 28th is her birthday. I fear it is after midnight and the date stamp will show December 29th.

Anyway, Laurie is a kindred spirit that I have shared both laughter and tears with. She is the perfect blend of hilarity and heart-to-heart confidante. We share many of the same hobbies and passions - music, CBC radio, photography, blogging, the list goes on.

So my friend, happiest of days. Much love.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Musings...

Another Christmas has come and gone, and I must say this has been my favourite in recent memory.

It was spent with family and friends and filled with delicious food and memories alike.

After spending countless weeks in hospital, my Aunt Peggy was thrilled to be home for Christmas. And I was thrilled that my cousin Esther invited me for Christmas dinner. It was so nice to share that special family time with them and awesome to see Peggy doing so well. She made homemade buns for dinner (her legendary specialty) and I could tell she was just so pleased to be "home". After dinner, Esther played the piano while Mom and I sang along.

It was also special that Grammie was able to spend the day celebrating with our family. I picked her up in the morning and taxied her home in the evening, after the presents were opened and we were all stuffed! I know she loved being a part of all the excitement. My favourite moment of the day was when she tried Josh's raccoon hat on!

After just a week following her surgery, Connie had a couple of big days - attending family celebrations. I know she was not feeling quite up to her usual self, but she looked fabulous and pulled off the day in style. Connie Style. :)

Hope your Christmas was as good as mine!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Favourite Day of the Year

Christmas Eve is here again.

I can't believe another year has passed, but alas, here we are on December 24th. It is my most favourite day of the year. Christmas Eve is all about anticipation. Once the 25th arrives, it's so busy and before you know it, it's over. The 24th is a lovely day of leisurely making your way through the day, meeting up with friends and enjoying the culmination of the weeks of preparation. At least, that's what it should be. I'm sure there are many people running around in a mad dash on Christmas Eve but I like to try and keep it low key.

This year I felt like Christmas was here before I even realized. I was behind in my shopping, cards, baking...pretty much everything that goes with the season! With a couple of loved ones in hospital, etc. in recent days it compressed my time left to complete the list. At first I was finding this stressful, but then I realized that I really just needed to abandon a few things on the list and life would go on.

Fewer cards were sent, the folks at Autobahn didn't get their Volkswagen cookies and perhaps my gift-giving is not up to "Janice" standards this year. But, I'm ok with that. What's important to me is that I was able to spend time with my Aunt Peggy while she was in hospital and I spent last weekend at my sister Connie's.

Over the next few days I'm planning on spending time with those people that mean the most to me and I hope you are able to do the same.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Boobies Bracelets

I had heard of these "I love boobies" bracelets before and really hadn't given them a second thought. Yesterday when I arrived at work, I discovered this was our top story. A local 13 year old boy was refusing to remove the bracelet which threatened expulsion and was making headlines.

I went about my business, making graphics and preparing for the news. However, when our producer asked me if I was offended by the bracelet, what came out of my mouth surprised me.

In fact, I was offended. The word "boobies" does not offend me at all. Whatever. What does offend me, however, is the fact that breast cancer is being trivialized and merchandised. It is bad enough that the colour pink has been hijacked by companies of all varieties. (how much of the "proceeds" really go to breast cancer research? Or more importantly, to breast cancer fighters/survivors?) But capitalizing on the word "boobies" with the guise of supporting breast cancer really lit a fire under me.

The kid in our story, as I said, is a 13 year old boy. Why do you think he's wearing a bracelet that says "I love boobies"? His parents claim that he is mature and wearing it to support a friend that had breast cancer. I am really doubtful of this. In addition, no one really seems to know who benefits from the sale of these bracelets. They "assume" money is donated to a charity. Our reporter checked the variety store that sells them and the owner really didn't know either. So, let's admit the bracelets are doing nothing to support either research or breast cancer patients.

Cancer is evil. But, breast cancer hits its victims with a one-two punch. Not only are they dealing with the disease but a very personal and visual part of their body. Let's not insult them by wearing bracelets (or anything else) that say "I love boobies"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pink Powderpuff

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to update things with my sister Connie. Last week she had her surgery and she seems to be doing well. She has a strong and determined spirit and does not let much get her down. Impressive, really.

I spent Friday at the hospital in the waiting room, her room, the atrium, Tim Horton's... I was there for a while :) It's always amazing to see how much people care in times of crisis. Thanks so much for the support network that showed up.

I spent the rest of the weekend at Connie's house, helping her with stuff around the house as she was (supposed to be) resting. I'm rather impressed that she is keeping up with posting on her Caring Bridge blog. You can follow it here.

Keep up the great work Connie. You're doing amazing.

POSTSCRIPT: re: the title. When we were little, we had a CB in our motorhome. We never actually used it, but Connie and I liked to pretend sometimes. She decided her call name would be Pink Powderpuff. Being the little sister that thought everything her older sister did was super-cool, I decided on Purple Powderpuff.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Tunes

Nothing says nostalgia like Christmas music. There is just one time of the year when those old favourites are pulled out and many carry with them cherished memories from years gone by.

It seems that anyone with a recording career has put out a holiday album with countless collections also available at your fingertips. But when it comes down to you prefer tried and true? Or new pop sensation?

I was contemplating this today while listening to my "Christmas" playlist on my ipod. I have a collection of new and old in that list including James Taylor, Tony Bennett and Dave Matthews Band. But I must say that my favourite Christmas album is The Carpenters Christmas Portrait. It is heavy on the traditional but I just love Karen Carpenter's voice.

I anticipate picking up Michael Bublé's Christmas album this year and maybe Justin Bieber's Under The Mistletoe. LOL...just kidding.

So...what's your favourite Christmas album?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Worth Writing About

I know I have posted before about my Aunt Peggy, but after a visit with her today, I felt she was worth writing about once again.

This nearly 87 year old woman has been through so much in the past year and yet she continues to have a smile on her face and the best outlook on life. She recovered from a broken hip, but then broke seven ribs. After a lengthy recovery from that, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Always a fighter, she decided to have the surgery because in her words she was "not finished yet".

Peggy's recovery from that surgery has been slow and plagued with set backs. Yes, there have been times where she feels discouraged (who wouldn't?) but I think we could all learn a thing or two from this tiny frail woman that has unending determination.

She is currently in a London hospital, which has made it easier for me to visit regularly. I have treasured these moments and have discovered that the visits are as much for me as they are for her. It is so encouraging to walk in and see her sitting on the bed or in the chair embroidering and talking about how "it's a beautiful day".

I wonder how many of us would have this outlook after more than 3 months in hospital, hooked up to various machines and monitors, poked and prodded regularly and most of this time she has not been able to eat any food.

I truly hope that she gets her Christmas wish and is able to go home soon. Much love Peggy XOXO

Thursday, December 08, 2011

From London, Ontario... this is Q

We did it! The determination and creativity of a group of Londoners paid off this morning when Jian Ghomeshi announced he would bring his CBC Radio show Q to London in February.

What started off as a single tweet by a Londoner grew into a full-fledged campaign across Ontario! What fun it was to be involved...from tweets #JianInLdnOnt, Facebook "likes", blog entries, instagrams, youtube videos, heck...even our own website!

A great example of social media bringing people together. Can't wait for Mr. Ghomeshi to host from our fine city!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

contemplating cancer

They say that you don't know what you're capable of, until it happens. I suppose that is true in many areas of life and I am learning that with each day.

Last week, my sister Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, it is a stage one or two cancer and she has surgery booked within 2 weeks with an optimistic prognosis. However, this does not negate the gut-wrenching feeling when you hear those words. They are words that I have heard too many times before, unfortunately.

The first time cancer hit close to home for me, was when my friend Bruce was diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was terribly upsetting to see him go through treatments and the toll it took on him physically. My sister Jo-Anne was next with colon cancer. The reality of that diagnosis was very close... my very own sister...with cancer. This summer my 86 year old aunt was also diagnosed with colon cancer. It has been an emotional rollercoaster seeing her go through recovery with many setbacks. And now, this disease has infiltrated my family once again.

Connie is so strong and brave, she is really amazing me with her attitude. I told her she must be related to Peggy (who has had nothing but spunk and determination throughout her ordeal). I know that she will come out an even stronger person.

Love you Pink Powderpuff :)