Saturday, July 23, 2011

do me a favour: honour my friend by having some fun

My friend Rebecca died this week. She was all of 37 years old (if I've done the math right) and she had metastatic breast cancer. She was also one of the funniest people in my online community. She was also generous, straigtforward and honest. My heart goes out to her friends and family - the people she loved, wrote about and who knew her best.

Rebecca left strict instructions that we were to shed no tears after her passing (I'm afraid I've let her down on that front but I've been doing my best) and that, instead of a funeral she wanted a celebration of her life. I'd love to join the party and to hear the stories that those closest to her would be bound to share. Because Rebecca took her fun seriously.

I won't be able to attend the celebration (Rebecca lived in Cape Cod) but I would like to do something. And I need your help.

1. In the next week or so, please go out and do something fun. Do anything at all, as long as it makes you happy. If you need inspiration, Rebecca loved dogs (especially her pit bull, Diezel), cooking, eating out (her restaurant reviews were among my favourite blog posts), her scooter, her little car, road trips, NASCAR, kick boxing, books, funny movies and music. If none of these things appeal to you, please go out and do your own thing. If you like, bring someone with you to join in the fun.

2. Let me know. You can leave me a comment on this blog, send me an email (laurie dot kingston at gmail dot com) or message me on Twitter (I'm @lauriek). Just a few words to let me know what fun thing you did in Rebecca's memory. I'll compile a list and make sure that it gets to her family.

That's it. It already makes me feel happier, thinking that there will be a little more joy in the world this week. I think Rebecca would approve.

Monday, July 04, 2011

brain scanned

Update: My brain is perfectly normal. I'd still like to see the pictures but normal is very, very good.

I had a routine brain scan today, my first in two years. 

It was pretty uneventful (they got the vein for the contrast dye on the first poke) and was over relatively quickly.

I can call for results in a week or so. And I'll probably be told that everything is fine.

I wish things were like in the movies, though and a few minutes after the test, a doctor would look at the images and then we'd discuss them.

I never get to see the pictures. Wouldn't you like to see images of your brain?

This is Patrick Denker's brain. I would like to see mine.

Friday, July 01, 2011

the good things about being Canadian

Today is Canada Day.

I've been feeling pretty out of sorts about my country lately, for a whole bunch of reasons (the most recent of which is our opposition to listing asbestos as a banned substance at the United Nations. Asbestos is a known cause of cancer. This kind of cancer is solely caused by asbestos. Asbestos is banned in Canada. But we still export the stuff. So it's OK to give people in other countries cancer. Shameful.)

And I really don't care about the Royal Visit.

I've only been to Parliament Hill once on Canada Day and that was more than twenty years ago, before I lived in Ottawa.

I'll be spending the day on the road, in advance of an important family event in Toronto. We'll be listening to talking books, breaking up fights between the kids and trying to convince the dog to stay in the back with the suitcases. And I won't feel like I'm missing anything.

But I am a proud Canadian, despite my country's bad choices. And July 1 always provides me with an opportunity to think about what that means. So, in no particular order, here's this year's list of things I like about my country:

Politeness. The other day my son stepped on my toe. We both simultaneous said, "I'm sorry!" There is a certain level of courtesy in our culture that I have come to really appreciate. On the street, between strangers and at home, with those we know best.

Moderation. My younger self is howling with laughter at this one but we Canadians mostly avoid excess of all kinds and I've come to really appreciate that.

Universal health care. Do I really need to explain this one?

Gay Marriage. For six years now. It's not going away and it's no big deal. Except that it is.

Neighbourliness. Canadians are generally good neighbours. We tend to be "live and let live" types (occasionally to our detriment but, mostly, it's a good thing).

An appreciation of good beer. It's not just about quantity but quality too. 

The weather. I can't believe I'm saying this but the changeability of Canadian weather is highly entertaining (when it's not downright disastrous). With weather like ours, there is always something for strangers to chat about.

Pedestrian friendly cities. I think the best way to get to know any place is to walk or ride your bike. I love that I can walk so many places in my home town (and it's a good thing, too because our public transit sucks).

And I love that many of you will disagree with me on some of these things (heck, with the exceptions of beer,gay marriage and health care, I may change my own mind tomorrow) and some of you will let me know. Politely.

Happy Canada Day! Have a moderate amount of fun and enjoy yourselves - courteously.