Sunday, 17 January 2010

Random Thoughts

Wow! I'm sure glad I had that fabulous Christmas break to nourish my soul with some down time, cuz it's been hit the deck running full tilt since I went back to work on January 4th! Lots of new projects happening for my office (translated: lots of MEETINGS and many REPORTS) and very little time to breathe. I made a pact with myself to take a half hour in the middle of the day this year to get out of the office. I don't make New Year's resolutions, and I seldom start new things in January, but I really need a brain break in the middle of my work day. I haven't succeeded in accomplishing that EVERY day, but am pleased to say I have gone out for a walk or a bowl of soup (or a brief fondle-new-yarns session at our downtown yarn store) MOST work days so far this year.

In addition to a crazy work schedule, we've been experiencing a crazy warming trend in our weather. Hello, weather gods! This is January ... in The North! We're supposed to be well below zero and buried in snow in January!

Hello? Weather gods?

Anyone listening? (tap tap) Is this mike working???

Apparently not. Thanks to recent rain and warming, there is green grass appearing ...
... yet it's still close enough to zero degrees that SIDEWALK conditions are rather perilous. In pretty much any given location around the city, you can have one foot in a puddle ...... and the other foot in snow ...... then one step farther, both feet in a patch of ice ...... and hopefully you can navigate that without landing on your keester! While out on my travels today, I was pleased to see Terry wasn't having a problem navigating our sidewalks ...... and that he currently loves our University! I love our University too. I MISS our University! I was a guest speaker this past week for the BC Rural & Remote Health Research Network's "The Many Faces of Health Research: Promoting Seniors' Wellbeing Using the Seniors Mental Health Policy Lens Toolkit" presentation. Sound complicated? This project is just one of the multitude of things that's keeping me really busy this year! It was rather fun to be back up at the University ... made me realize how much I miss being there (sniffle) and how very much I want to be a student again!

With all this craziness, I haven't had much time during my weekends or evenings to continue with the quilting. Sadly, I've only managed to complete Heart #2 ...... and partially finish Heart #3 ...... of my wall hanging. Getting all three hearts joined and quilted before Valentine's Day 2010 is looking rather uncertain at this point! However, I have made a point to relax for a few minutes at the end of each day, even if that brief bit of relaxation didn't accomodate sewing. My routine usually includes a fast shower, but this stuff ...... a gift (thank you, S.!) this past Christmas ... is certainly helping me to slow down and smell the Moroccan Roses! (If you like roses and have a Body Shop near you, I highly recommend this stuff. It stinks purty!)

So I deliberately took some time out today and took myself out for brunch.Do you have a White Spot near you? I have a special place in my heart for this restaurant chain, and was reminiscing about why that is over bacon and eggs this morning.

My oldest boy, Robert, had surgery for lung cancer when he was a toddler. There I was, about 20 years old (too young to be married and a mum, never mind mum to a little lad facing lung cancer!) and in the big city of Vancouver BC all alone. I was afraid to walk too far from the hospital for fear I wouldn't be able to find my way back again, but found I really needed to get out of the hospital for a little while each day. I found a White Spot restaurant a couple of short blocks away ... still within sight of Vancouver General Hospital ... and, bless them!, they had chicken pot pie on their menu! Respite and comfort food! I noticed today that they still have chicken pot pie on their menu.

That's only one reason that I have a special place in my heart for White Spot. After my boy started recuperating from his surgery, he was seriously craving two things: real potatoes ... particularly home-made potato soup ... and peanut butter. Both items were forbidden on his ward as too many of the children there had difficulties swallowing.

Okay, that was the excuse given by the hospital staff at the time. I might buy it for the lack of peanut butter, but not for the lack of real potatoes!

Robert begged and begged for potato soup, and finally someone brought him a bowl of instant mashed potato flakes mixed with hot water. He was NOT impressed! I can still hear his squeaky little voice letting the entire ward know "You're not fooling me! That's NOT potato soup!"

Nearing the end of his hospital stay, I was allowed to take him out on day passes for short periods of time. On one of those day passes, I took him to the White Spot near the hospital. On Cambie Street, if I remember correctly. Robert was a bit of an extravert and exhibitionist, and quickly regaled all the waitresses with every gruesome detail about his lung surgery along with a close-up display of incision and sutures. He explained that all he really wanted was real potatoes and peanut butter ... and, bless them!, the White Spot staff brought him a beautifully arranged platter with a little bowl of peanut butter surrounded by pieces of real boiled potatoes! Even dressed up with a bit of parsley! Robert was so thrilled! Any busy restaurant that takes the time and makes the effort to cater to a sick little 2 1/2 year old like that is pretty darned special in my books!

While I'm on the topic of pretty darned special in my books, this fella ...
... Canadian wrestling legend Gene Kiniski, is right up there with the White Spot (photo from One another day pass, I took Robert down to a Dino's restaurant on Broadway ... about the same distance from Vancouver General as the White Spot but in a different direction. We had just ordered pizza when Robert spotted Gene Kiniski. He knew who Gene was because Grandad F. had been an avid "wrastlin'" fan and Robert had watched many hours of "wrastlin'" on TV with his Grandad. Before I could catch him, Robert was down out of his chair, across the restaurant, and regaling Gene Kiniski with tales about his surgery and the accompanying display of incision and sutures. And Gene, bless him!, picked Robert up, sat him on his knee and treated him with the utmost graciousness and patience. He gave Robert a very special memory to take home and brag about to his Grandad F.!
Hmm. This isn't where I was planning on going with this post. I suppose Robert is on my mind because we are almost at the time of year when he left us. Robert lived with lung cancer for another 6 years after the White Spot / Gene Kiniski experiences. Sometimes he's as close today as he was 30 years ago.


Anonymous said...

That makes me sad. :o{

sheri said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us..
It breaks my heart to think of your young family going thru this.
Bless his heart, I will be thinking of your Robert when I have a bowl of potato soup, and it will make me smile to remember such a little guy letting everyone know that he was not being fooled:)