Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Mom

My mom lost the vision in both eyes (5 days apart). It was sudden and unexpected. We are all in panic mode right now.

She was sick in May with Giant Cell Arteritis (which is a condition related to Polymyalgia Rheumatica - which she was diagnosed with in January). Giant Cell Arteritis is much more serious though because it can cause blindness and strokes if not treated immediately. All indications were that she was on a high enough dose of prednisone before she lost her eyesight - 3 weeks after diagnosis.

So, I was in Toronto in May to help out (right after she was diagnosed but before she went blind). I am going out again in 11 days to stay with her while we attempt to get home care and other services in place because we all hope that she can stay in her apartment and maintain some independence.  What is very unfortunate is that it happened so quickly and completely. She is not visually impaired...she is BLIND. On occasion, she will have some peripheral vision out of one eye and she can see shadows with the other.

I feel so sad for her. I am sad too because she will never again see my beautiful children. Any of her grandchildren. She won't see another sunset or blue sky. She won't be able to look at old photos of my dad. I know it could be worse, definitely could be much worse. But not being able to see is definitely something to mourn.

My poor mom.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Run Run Run

I completed my fourth Seattle Rock'n'Roll 1/2 Marathon yesterday (and fifth 1/2 marathon overall). I am very pleased with my time - 2:55:19.  I am not a runner and when my friend and I started doing these we knew we would be walking.  Slowly it evolved into walk/run/walk and then this year it was run/walk/run. We shaved 17 minutes off last year's time and 41 minutes off our time from the first year.

I contribute the improvement in time to the Total Body Transformation classes that I have been taking at the ProClub. I am stronger. My endurance has improved and I can actually run for more than a minute or two at a time.

Of course on the downside is that I have irritated one of the quad muscles in my right leg (hurt it a few weeks ago and it has been giving me nerve pain and numbness but the doc said it was ok to do the 1/2 marathon). And I have a disgusting blood blister on my right foot. Ugh!

The fun thing about the Seattle R'n'R 1/2 is that there are always lots of bands playing along the route and concerts after the race.  This year was so much fun!  The Presidents of the United States of America played and then Sir Mix-a-Lot - both groups are Seattle-based. So fun! It was a gloriously sunny but not hot summer day (first day of summer). All around a great day!

Now I am all pumped up that I keep thinking about running other 1/2 marathons!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

This Father's Day marks 15 years since my dad passed away (the actual date was June 20, 1999). He died 13 months after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  This year is a milestone anniversary but also my mom has been sick and she suddenly and unexpectantly went blind this past week. She is on massive doses of steroids in hopes of calming the swelling in her optic nerve in hopes that her eyesight is restored. We should know more in a few days. 
In the meantime, here are some of my favourite photos of my dad.
Jackson and My Dad 1998
Dad bbqing out the back door on Madras Crescent

Politician in Action

Marc, Jean-Paul, Michael, Me, Judi with Dad at Grandpa and Nana's house. We were visiting for Christmas and Nana died a couple of days later. Nana died from the same thing my dad did although hers was called a "bleeding ulcer" in her esophagus. My dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer 26 years later.
Dad as City of Toronto Councillor

Dad at home on Madras

Running for office for the first time.  Putting a sign on his parents' lawn on Midland Avenue.

Mayor of Scarborough

Friday, June 06, 2014

Everyday I'm Whittlin'

I am still taking a woodcarving class every Tuesday morning and I am still plugging away at my projects. I am so slow at it (mostly I am afraid to make mistakes so I hem and haw over every move before I make it - do I cut the wood this way or that way? Are the two sides even? What if I do this?  What if I make a mistake? OMG! And my most recent project (that has taken me a YEAR) is made out of yellow cedar which rips and tears and is hard to work with. Anyway, I finally just finished carving and staining it and will paint it over the summer.  Here's a picture:

Ok, it will look much better once it is painted (black and red). 
I also finally finished painting the piece that I finished carving last year:

My next piece will be a "Cooper" which is like a shield. I think historically they were made from copper, hence the name.
I will post photos of that in a year or so.  ;)

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Summer is approaching quickly (less than 2 weeks of school left)! I am excited to have a nice relaxing summer after last year's bathroom remodeling that kept us tied up at home all summer.

We have booked our trip to the Oregon coast which will be fun.  I hope the weather is a bit warmer there than last year! This is a photo of me from last year:

Yes, I really was wearing a knit hat (and two hoodies)! Brrrr! It was cold!