Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cross that one off my list ...

On my list of 101 Things to Do in 1,001 Days was to walk across the Port Mann Bridge.

Did that tonight.

Just pix, no prose:

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Walking buddies.
2. Engineers.
3. Summer Nights.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday afternoon

It kinda all started because of this picture.

Julie posted it, along with the caption: Best Chicken Ever.

Apparently Herbies in Cache Creek is good for it's chicken. Her facebook friends seemed to agree.

I love chicken dinners so I google mapped how long it'd take to drive there. For a quick chicken dinner. (Long weekend coming up. I have no plans... driving to Cache Creek might just be the highlight of the BCLong.)

Google estimated it'd take over 4 hours to get there.
And then 4 hours to get back.

I decided I wasn't ready to invest 8 hours and $50 in gas to get a chicken dinner.

But fried chicken was now on my brain.


A couple months ago, coincidentally on the day that my dad died, I'd been to my doctor for my annual physical. All The Usual Stuff was dealt with, and then, because I was seeing his female associate for the first time, she and I talked about a few other things. Like moles and veins. And weight.

I decided it was time to move forward and get a few things taken care of. So I made future appointments to get some moles removed, and my one varicose vein obliterated. I determined that I would seek alternative options to get my foot de-hurted. And I'd get all those blood tests (50 million of them) done.

My dad died that night and my crusade to take care of myself took a backseat to more pressing matters.

By May, I got back up on that horse and started to ride it.
First up was the reflexologist/sadist who did deep tissue massages designed to make you writhe in pain for an hour so that any subsequent discomfort, if, say, you stepped on a spike, would pale in comparison. She put 'pain' in perspective. "Does this hurt? On a scale of 1 to ..."
"TEN. This hurts like a TEN."
"Mmm. Good..."

Next, in early June, I finally had my appointment about getting some moles removed from my back because I was getting into a bathing suit in mid-June (and in consideration for Sandra who might put some sunscreen on my back), I thought I'd remove anything offensive. I wanted to have a whole whack of them removed from my side and underboob region but he looked at me and said, "really?" His 'really' meant, "You know, and I know, that we are the only two people on this planet who will ever see these small moles. And I'm OK with them babe. Don't go doing this for me..."

Or maybe it just meant, "Really? Now you're being silly. They are No Big Deal. Why don't you try doing some sit ups though, because your stomach? Is quite a thing to behold."

Men. You never know what they're thinking.

Anyway ...

Of course, that started the whole "you have cancer on your face we need to get that gouged out right away" hoopla, which ended with me needing a week off work and having a zig zag scar from the side of my nose to my tear duct. (And if I had confidence issues about my face before, well, after that surgery? I tried to make sure I sat so that whoever I was with was on my right so they wouldn't have to look at it.)

To be followed almost immediately with the bowel infection and recovery period which was another week off work. And it was a game changer in that now? I WANTED people to look and think of my face when they were talking to me, NOT what my bowels were doing/not doing.



I had a doctor appointment today. Made months ago. About getting the vein dealt with. And after everything I'd been through in the past few months, I felt silly about following through with this appointment. But I wanted to talk to him about a few things, so I left work an hour early and sat in his waiting room for 90 minutes reading Scary Close by Donald Miller because maybe I have intimacy issues and why not tackle those while my body is getting poked, prodded, sliced and diced?

(I think I've highlighted just about the whole book.)

My doctor has a UBC student shadowing him all day, and I am their final patient. They both come in, wondering what delightful ailments they get to sort out for me.

"So? How can we help you today?"
I'm on the table, wearing capri's, holding my highlighter and book on intimacy and point to my inner calf. "Wondering if you can get rid of this for me?" I ask, quite embarrassed. There are people with real diseases, and horrible diagnosis's, and I'm pretty sure I am exactly what is wrong with our first-world expectations for health care and beauty.
And then, in an effort to seem less vain, I pulled out my organ report card (CT Scan results)and requisition form for upcoming related procedure and asked him to explain them to me.

Patiently, for my benefit, as well as for the 12 year old student in the room, he went through it line by line and made me feel like it was No Big Deal. He even said the magic words, 'everyone in the western world has this. Unless you were born in Africa and raised on a diet of whole grains and fibre rich vegetables, we all have diverticuli.'

Intimacy issues or not, I coulda just kissed him. More than anything I just want to be normal. I do not want anything that makes me stand out. I am not an attention seeking missile. We all have diverticuli.

I told him that I had never gotten around to getting all that blood work done, and he looked at the forms the hospital had sent over and commented, 'Well. They certainly took a lot out of you that night in emerg."
"Yeah. I passed out."
The kid in the room looked alarmed.

"They checked you over thoroughly. And then he reads off all the organs that were scanned and all the things they tested my blood for and smiled. "You are unremarkable. Everything is as it should be."

My new favorite-ist word.

So, with that out of the way, they came closer to my legs. And he picked it up. "This?" He pressed his finger into the offensive blue, slightly raised vein.
I nodded.

He explained to Doogie Howser that it was a perforated deep something something. And then he explained to me how I got it. And then he pressed it again. "Does this hurt?"
"Not unless someone presses their finger into it at exactly that spot."
"Is this your only one?"
"Uh huh."

He picks up one tanned leg and gives it a good feel.
Then he picks up the other one and checks it over carefully as well.

It was at this point that I remembered I don't do needles. I've got one and a half men feeling my legs and I'm giving myself a pep talk about getting a needle and remembering to breathe.

"You've got good legs."
"Oh. Thanks?"
"And this vein? Is hardly noticeable."
"I know. And it only sees the light of day for a few weeks a year,,,"
"It's a complicated one to repair, and I wouldn't be able to do it here. I'd have to send you to a vascular surgeon."

(Haha. By the time I'm 75 I will have a specialist for every single body part. It takes a village...)

"Ok. Let's not bother then."
"And besides? I think it's a good idea to hang onto all your veins. They come in handy if you need to grab one in the future, say, for heart issues or something."

So it was decided that I will keep my one lumpy vein in case I need bypass surgery someday in the next 30 years. This is me. Taking care of my future self.

I left his office feeling better about things than I had in weeks.
And I was hungry. For chicken. Fried chicken. Fried chicken that is only available in a hick town 4 hours up the canyon highway away.


(We'd had another full staff BBQ lunch today, and it was delicious. The theme was 'Garden Party' and the food was salad. Oh My Goodness. ALL my favorite salad toppings. (fresh greens, spinach, feta/goat cheese, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes, diced apple, various nut and crunchy toppings, blue berries, raspberries, avocado, diced BBq'ed chicken, etc. So, so good.)

Plus the team had an activity planned for us.
It appealed to the crafter in me:

I know.
You really wish you worked with me.

Best Workplace Ever.

Where was I?

Leaving the doctor's office.
Thinking about fried chicken.

I was on my way to my mom's house, on the bypass in Langley, when Michael's called to me.
"JANE! Come see..."

Chapters, right across the street was beckoning me as well...

I had a Chapter's gift card from Jenn from my birthday. It needed to be used.

I blame (or thank) today's luncheon for inspiring me to make the following purchase:

A coloring book.
And felt pens.

Oh man.

I can hardly wait til the weekend.

How old am I?

Hanging out with that baby-faced doctor probably impacted me as well.
(He was such a teen. While Dr. M was chatting with me about my bowels, he pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked his Facebook.)
So I partially blame/thank him too for my juvenile purchase.

I left the bypass, turned right onto 200th, and what should be there? Right before me?

And I didn't even care that it's not The Best Chicken In The World.

It was exactly what I wanted for supper.
(It's now after 7 and I am vera hungry.)

Did you know that Tuesdays are big deal at KFC?
All of Langley shows up.

The drive through was a million cars long, so I parked and went inside.
I had a book to read and  no other pressing appointments, so I was just going to make myself at home.

I was about tenth in line, with a couple men behind me.
Part of me was worried that they'd run out of chicken by the time it was my turn. The other part of me was listening in to the conversation behind me:

"Are you from around here?"
"From Langley?"
"Uh huh."
"Were you born here?"
I turned slightly to see what was going on. One one who initiated the conversation looks to be in his mid-30's. He's dark-haired, has grey eyes and olive skinned. Well-groomed and dressed nicely. The guy he's chatting up seems to be the same age, and could be African with some white in there. He too looks like a professional.

The first guy continues, "I was born in the middle east, but came to North America during high school. I am an engineer and live at 198th and 64th... We just moved here. It's hard to meet people. What do you do? Where do you  live?"

The second fella is a little more cautious about giving out personal information, but he is friendly. Everyone in front of me is ordering buckets of chicken. My organs are unremarkable. I have a coloring book. Am I not married because I have intimacy issues?

"Yes? How can I help you?"
"I'd like a small fries, a water, and one piece of chicken. Original recipe. Breast."
"They're pretty small, and I can make a combo for you if you want a second one.."
Just then the women who is managing chicken parts yells out to her staff on the front line, "NO WHITE MEAT LEFT!"

Breasts are white meat and this is exactly what I was worried about.
Meanwhile behind me the two guys are sharing job details with each other, "I design the systems that make the blah blah move ... etc."

"Do you mind waiting two minutes? We have more chicken coming right up."

I nodded, he handed me my receipt and said he'd call me when it was ready.

So I found a lovely window seat with a stunning view of the parking lot and settled into my molded plastic chair and pulled out my book. Nothing beats a summer evening in an orange and yellow environment surrounded by the scent of grease.

In the back of my mind I was keeping an ear open to hearing my number being called while I got lost in Donald Miller's tale of achieving intimacy and his journey as a writer. I could hear those two men getting to know each other, and I hoped they would keep in touch. People need connections. Friends. It's hard sometimes to reach out. I was proud of the first guy taking a risk.

"Your order is ready. Two breasts."
"Hello? Two breasts and fries. Order is ready."
"Two breasts... fries. Water ..."

All of a sudden all talk in the restaurant stops.
It's dead quiet.


That was me. The lady with two breasts.
There really is no end to the number of ways a person who doesn't want attention can get attention.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. My doctor. And smart people who study things for a long time in order to make the world a better place.
2. People who take a chance.
3. Donald Miller. Who wrote these words:

Write/Talk/Share/Sing/Speak up. Because your voice matters.

God message of hope? Will be delivered to the world, partly through you. The real you. The authentic, transparent, totally honest you.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Wedding Weekend Pt 2

Gary and Joy's reception was on Saturday night.
I went.

In the end was perfectly good.
But the getting ready and the driving in to Vancouver?
Leaves me too much time to talk to myself. About myself.

Typical insecurities. Who would I sit with, talk to, talk about, dance with, kiss?


Heather's friend, Nancy, (the generous one who lent me her pink sari/suit) asked me, just as I was leaving her place on Thursday night, if this wedding was a multi-day event. I said that yes it was. She asked if I had anything appropriate to wear to the reception on Saturday night. I shrugged my shoulders... Saturday was a full 48 hours away. I'd worry about Saturday's clothes on Saturday.

"Would you like to borrow another outfit?"
"I couldn't."
"I have a perfect dress for you, and I think it'll fit you just fine...
We walked into her closet and she handed me a dress that was hung inside a Macy's bag.
"Try it on," she suggested as she lay it on the bed and walked out of the room.

I pulled the bag off, and saw a long black evening gown covered in sequence and sparkles. With flowy fabric and stetchy material.

I picked it up and it was heavy. I've never owned a dress with so much weight.

I slipped it over my head and it fell to floor beautifully, all swishy-like.

There was no mirror in her bedroom, so I walked out into the hallway where she has mirrored closet doors. They were both waiting for me. "OOooohhhhh" they both sighed.

I looked in the mirror and started to cry.
The dress was stunning.
And it did fit.
And I couldn't believe Nancy's generosity in allowing me to borrow it. This? Was a wonderful, meaningful garment for her. Probably bloody expensive. And she doesn't even know me. And she offered me the use of this magical piece of fabric because she knows.

She's single too.
She probably has a servicable wardrobe of regular clothes just like me.
And she guessed that I would never buy myself a dress with sparkles.

So she offered me the gift of 'feeling like cinderella' for an evening.

I gave her a hug.
Heather looked shocked.
"Uh, she doesn't usually do that," Heather informed Nancy.
"Yeah, I don't..." I affirmed. "Are you sure you're OK with this? Because, wow...."

She was sure.
And I was grateful.

Later that evening I thanked Heather again, for being instrumental in getting me clothes for the weekend, and she said, "I love the way women love each other."

So true.

I am the lucky recipient of so much woman-love.


So I've got this pretty dress, and the only thing on my mind is I wish my boys could see me in it.
I really don't care about anyone else's opinion.

Do women (or men for that matter) dress for themselves? Or for the ones they love? If you make a great effort on yourself, who do you hope notices? The whole world? Everyone at the event? Certain people at that event? Or your date?

I didn't have a +1. And didn't think, other than the bride's family, that I'd know anyone at the reception. And really, I wasn't dressing for anyone. I just wanted to be appropriately groomed so I didn't stand out as being disrespectful to the occasion by being poorly dressed.

Turns out, I was probably sparklier than necessary, but it didn't matter. Those Indian outfits out-shone everything in the room. It was a room filled to overflowing with beauty.

Know what I LOVED about the wedding and reception?
Was the deep respect both families showed for each other's totally foreign-to-them cultures.
And the love; the rich, unconditional, parental love that each set of parents expressed towards their new in-law child.

Here are some pics from last night.

We (450 of us) met at the Fraserview Hall. The doors opened at 7. We found tables (no table charts) and sat down to platefuls of Indian appy's and conversation while a live band played background music.

At 8, Mr. And Mrs. Gary and Joy Sodhi arrived and were introduced.

And the first order of business was the cutting of the cake.

This is how things are traditionally done, so I just sat back and enjoyed the program.

The MC's (Joy's sister-in-law, and Gary's brother) kept us informed all evening long, as to what the order of events was going to be. We were very informed.

That done, they moved onto the stage and sat behind a plexi-glass table ...

The lights were lowered and a video of Friday's events (getting ready, ceremony, tea at the richardsons, photos at the park) was shown on half-a-dozen big screens throughout the hall.

And then?
(That phrase will resurface often in this post...)

Family introductions.
All immediate and extended family members (siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins) were introduced and asked to stand next to their tables. Paul was the only one sitting near me, so his is the only photo I took. But you get the idea.

Claire had prepared a video tribute to Joy as part of her speech. Twas touching and emotional and wonderful.

Then Gary's friends had a go at honoring their friend:

Rob and Maureen reminisced about the past 48 hours (2 weddings! A Sihk one of Friday. A Christian one on Saturday), plus the previous 11 months (all three kids got married!), and they welcomed with open arms and open hearts Gary into their family.

Gary's mom and dad did the same.
It was awesome to hear them share their love for their new daughter-in-law so glowingly.

Some cousins made a presentation, an auntie recalled her impressions of the first Canadian Christian fairy-tale wedding ceremony she'd attended the day before, then Gary and Joy share the mic.

Father-daughter dance.

Then Gary and Joy's first dance:

And then, after we ate dinner, everyone danced.

Like Cinderella in her borrowed dress, I left the ball at midnight.
All three kids were online once I got settled in my bed with my laptop.
So we chatted for an hour or so while I downloaded photos.

Every so often I'd post one for them, so they'd know what I was referring to.

Just before I signed off, I posted these three pics, along with the words, "This is what I wore. Twas a borrowed dress. I felt all fancy for the first time in forever."

Two of them responded within zero seconds with, "Wow mom you look great." and "Mom. You look awesome."

So very sweet of them.

And really unexpected. Because they've never commented on my appearance before. (Other than Max telling me I looked 'like a normal mom'.)
My eyes just overflowed. There's was the only opinion I cared about. And they said nice things.

So I signed off and called it a day.
A very successful one. But exhausting x 1000.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Pushes outside my comfort zone that push and pull me.
2. Invitations from sons to join them at church.
3. Movies nights:
Friday night: Jurassic World
Sunday night: What We Did on Our Holiday

Loved them both. But maybe the British one a little bit more.