Monday, August 29, 2005


MONDAY, Aug 29

Wow, the month is almost over and soon it will be the end of summer and Fall time. The weather is still quite warm so I hope by the weekend I'll get another swim in the pool by the Bay.

This weekend was pleasant. Yesterday I went to see a lovely movie "Ladies in Lavender" with those amazing women Judy Dench and Maggie Smith. Afterwards my friend came for dinner. When we got to my place she opened her car trunk and there were bags and bags of groceries that her daughter had bought for me. I was so awed by this -- another act of kindness by a generous friend! There was everything from pizza to strawberries! Although I do get my cheques this week, this will certainly cut down on my grocery expenses. I'm ever so grateful!

After dinner and a long talk, I just relaxed for the rest of the evening. My TV is giving up the ghost so I don't watch it much at all these days. Just played on the computer and did X-words.

Today, with money in my pocket (at last! Yay!) I went downtown to visit A. Took him a red rose. It was a nice visit, though he seemed bewildered today, a bit beaten and looking old. But at least he'd eaten something nutritious. And he appologized for not being able to talk as his voice was hoarse (from the treatments, apparantly). While he was sprucing himself up I went to the lounge and had a long and interesting, (also revealing) talk with his youngest daughter. It was good to talk more intimately to her and good for her to be able to express things to me. I think it was special for both of us. As I was leaving he said "I'm going to get well!" Good to hear a positive statement. And I agreed, "Yes you are!" And he thanked me for the rose, and my love and my caring. His daughter and I had a good warm hug, and then I left.

I felt good after that visit and talk. We all have to work together to help him get through this. And don't forget to pray!

Tonight was my writer's group -- always good to be with my writer friends. I've even had a few good laughs today. So it's a positive start for the new week.

Saturday, August 27, 2005



After the horribly down day all Friday (except when I was writing poetry in the Gardens with the group of poets from Pandora's Collective), I ended up having a much better day today.

Yesterday I could hardly stop the tears. During the outing to the park (you can read the poetry I wrote on ) I was in a good space and the Muse was certainly present. But in the evening I went to the L.Q. to dance and had to keep leaving to go either into the washroom or outside as I was so teary. Especially when the band played that song young William sings which A. had been translating for me last week. I couldn't hold it in any longer and dashed outside, just heartbroken. All during the evening to I was touched by the fact that A's friends kept coming over to ask me how he was and how I was doing. And then the evening took a positive turn when that lovely Frenchman arrived. We sat and talked and he has this marvelous smile that makes you want to smile back. He bought me a couple of drinks and then he walked me home. It was like (once again) he was being my guardian angel!

I went to bed last night just sobbing (in spite of my excellent company going home) and this morning I woke in the same mood but willed myself to get over it. Then I got a nice email from my Havana Buddy offering to loan me money for groceries (which I needed). I am so touched by the kindness of my friends! So we met and then I went grocery shopping and kept running into people along the Drive and stopped to chat. It was a bit late when I got home so I had a late start going to the hospital. I wanted to take A. the poetry I wrote yesterday, also 2 avocados and a peach as the hospital food is gross beyond words.

My stomach was upset when I left the house (as it has been all week). I was so afraid that other person would be there. But she wasn't, just his youngest daughter and grandkids. So we had an amazing visit, such sweet conversation. And in spite of it all he looked good and is keeping very cheerful. They came in to give him his meds and that means shortly after he's nodding off, so I left. But I felt so good. No stomach upset either! And came home feeling much more light-hearted and hopeful. Now I'm cooking a special good dinner (eating late, European style) but it smells delicious and I am going to enjoy my relaxing evening at home. No more tears tonight!

Thursday, August 25, 2005



Maybe this will turn into a record of me trying to keep it together while I wait and hope and pray that my friend recovers. These past days though, it seems as if the situation is pretty grim. There are so many stories, nothing up-front, variations of diagnosis and I am finding it confusing. He won't talk about it straight and his daughter told me if I want to know I'd have to ask him. But reading between the lines, and having had a lot of experience in the past with people (dear friends and family) who have suffered from cancer, I can see this isn't going well.
The other night when I was there he looked fine, perky, happy and eating well. By yesterday they moved him to Pallative Care (ominous!) and since then he's been nauseated and not eating. If he doesn't eat he won't gain back his strength. And putting all the stories together I am beginning to see that perhaps his cancer has metastacized. Tonight he daughter talked about taking him home, getting a nurse in etc. I just don't know...

Our visits are very special to me and precious, considering they might be the last. And I am feeling really uncomfortable about the way another certain person moved right in from the beginning and is acting the role of 'girlfriend'. Tonight when I went there she was sitting on his bed holding his hand, and when she left, whispering sweet things to him. Up until he went into the hospital she had another boyfriend but suddenly she's taken on this new role and she seems to know all the inside details about his condition etc. I don't want to feel jealous or possessive over him but he and I have been friends for four years and I feel that she's pushing it a bit. Even the card she wrote to him was more like a love letter. Well, I'm trying to deal with this in a most dignified way. It isn't right to be playing tug-o-war over this poor man who is so ill.
But I don't want anything spoiling my visits with him. And stuff like happened tonight leaves me feeling very awkward.

Another thing that happened today was when I was having lunch with a friend to discuss Greece she started going on a big rant about Chilean men and said some very hurtful things such as "I don't know why you bother with him. He's not worth it." And other very nasty things. She's had a bad experience herself and seems to be full of poison over it.

By the time I got home tonight I felt a wreck. Just sat out on the balcony awhile looking at the sunset and having a cry. I can't let myself slip into depression over this but to tell the truth, if he doesn't make it I'm going to be totally devastated.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005



I've been trying to get back on track with my writing schedule this week and so far, so good!
Yesterday I did a few hours work and in the evening the writer's group came so it was my turn to read. I got very useful and encouraging critiques, so today I did some editing and made notes to finish off Part IV. The ideas are flowing now. The Muse is there on my shoulder giving me hints and ideas!

After my few hours of work today, I headed for the beach. Summer's drawing to an end and in another couple of weeks the pool will be closed at Second Beach. I still haven't gone swimming in the ocean though, so perhaps I ought to do that soon. I usually head for the beach in the mid-late afternoon. When I got there today there weren't too many people so I nabbed a deck chair and was able to lounge in the sun for awhile as well as have a couple of excellent long swims. The pool water is so pleasantly warm!

By six thirty I decided to head along the sea wall and caught to bus to the hospital.
A. was sitting up looking very well again tonight. Shortly after I arrived some other guests came too and he was very pleased to see them (the guys from the LQ). I was going to leave but he asked me to stay so I hung out until about 8.30 then left because he still hadn't eaten his dinner and was hungry. The hospital food is a disgrace. He suggested I should write a story about it and I certainly will if I get more info. It's so disgusting his daughter says she'll take photos of it. The meal she showed me tonight looked like vomit! So she's bring bringing him suitable and delicious food from outside and his friend arrived tonight with a big bag of fruit.

So tomorrow is another day at home, writing and doing some errands I need to do (checking up on my own health and well-being). I'll go and visit A. again on Thursday afternoon. At the rate he's going we hope that he'll soon be able to get out. He's finished his radiation now and it's only a matter of time. And, of course, we're all praying for a positive outcome. But it's looking more hopeful at this time.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


SUNDAY, Aug. 21.

It's been a good weekend so far. Friday I visited A. again and this time he was so much improved, looking himself again, sitting up dining and talking. We had one of our wonderful long chats, so I stayed longer than I'd intended as he wanted me to. At one point he was listening to a song he wanted to translate for me and he was actually singing! It was so great to see him in such good spirits. Staying positive and hopeful is part of the healing process and I felt in my heart that he will get over this. He asked me if I thought he would beat it and I said he certainly would. He's a survivor and he'll do it! I pray a hundred times a day that he will.

I'm finding distractions to keep myself from being preoccupied with A's condition. Yesterday I had my good friend George here for dinner. We always have such nice visits and long talks. Our history as friends goes 'way back to the '70's. So I prepared an Italian meal, he provided the Italian wine and we had quite an enjoyable evening. Watched the video of the "Arturo Sandoval Story" which has the soundtrack of Sandoval's amazing trumpet playing. A very nice evening! And I managed not to let myself slip into any sad thoughts about negative possibilities concerning A.

Today I'd thought of going to the beach later on but my girlfriend called to remind me of the Latin Days celebration at the local Trout Lake park. So we're taking a little picnic and meeting some friends of hers there. That should be a lot of fun and no doubt we'll run into a lot of our friends there (Hispanic ones and otherwise). Maybe even do some dancing. (I missed out on my dances with the Greek on Friday night as I arrived at the L.Q. too late and he had to leave.)

So, for the most portion of today I'll concentrate on writing. Got to catch up and keep my mind occupied with creative activities!

Thursday, August 18, 2005



After I delivered the reading material last Saturday, I had several phone conversations with my friend A. He tried to explain the situation of his health problems to me but I wasn't sure if he was in denial or if the situation wasn't so serious. He asked me to come to see him. So today, back from my four day reunion holiday at the Lake, I promised I'd go. Then I got an email and also a phone conversation with a friend who'd been there earlier this week. It seems the prognosis is not at all good. He does have cancer and is undergoing radiation treatments.

I went there today, expecting the worst, but it wasn't quite so bad or upsetting as I'd antipacated. Yes, he is very ill, he's very weak but was a good colour today and cheerful.
We had a good visit. I talked to his daughter in the hall awhile. Both of us were nearly in tears. She said "I'm a Christian" and I said I was too. She said, "He says as long as two of you are gathered together I will be with you." And I said, "Yes and He is with us." I told her how fond I am of her father and how I pray for him every day. This is what we must do. Pray that the treatments will heal him. Keep the Faith. Send up good thoughts and positive vibes to the Cosmos. And ask for healing prayers. I believe in Miracles, and I pray that God will provide one for my friend.

Saturday, August 13, 2005



When I went up to the hospital this morning to drop off some reading material for my friend, I got caught up in the largest military funeral parade that has been held in this country in many years. It was in honour of Ernest (Smokey) Smith, Canada's last living Victoria Cross winner who single-handedly fought off a German tank unit back in 1944.

I hadn't intended to watch the processional but the Church where the service was held happened to be right next to the hospital. And I'm glad I did happen upon it as it was a moving moment in history, honouring a Canadian hero. When the entourage of veterans passed by there was loud applause from the spectators that lined the street. I thought of my Dad, and how proud he'd have been to attend the ceremonies. Dad was a veteran of WW2 too, a chaplain stationed in an army hospital unit in Belgium and Holland. He was awarded the M.B.E. for his compassion and bravery.

Later I dropped by the daycare to help them celebrate their 20th anniversary. They had a BBQ with entertainment for the kids. A very nice family affair.

I was so pleased, when I got home, to find a phone message from my friend A. who called me as soon as the nurse had delivered the package to him this morning. And since then we've had three conversations. He was very appreciative and asked me to come to see him, which I'll do next week as soon as I'm home from the Lake. He is weak and ill but recovering slowly and it doesn't appear as if he has cancer -- at least not according to what he explained to me. But he's obviously been very ill. So he asked me to keep my fingers crossed that all goes well and that he gets better soon. And of course I'll pray for him also. But it was so good to talk, to hear his voice, to hear him say "I miss you too!"

So now I can go off to the Lake for that special reunion with my grandson and daughter and know that for now, all's well!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I've had a feeling for weeks that something was very wrong with my friend A. Before I went to Greece he had confided in me that he was worried and scared about the possibility that he had something not right with his stomach and the doctors had 'found something'. I worried about him all the time I was away because he didn't reply to my emails. But when I returned, he contacted me and I saw him one night, looking thinner but quite well, and he explained he had been in hospital but the outcome had been positive and he was on the road to recovery.

He's contacted me a couple of times since then, said he really wanted to talk to me but never showed up. Some friends saw him the other week and both said he didn't look well or happy.
It made me wonder if things were not as good as he'd thought. But as he's often a dark and brooding man, we also contemplated that he might suffer from serious depression.

He has not been to the L.Q. since before I left for Greece and this weekend I really missed him, could feel his presence around, and so I asked his friend how he was. I was told A. was fine, he had some 'little problems' but everything was okay. That was just a cover-up. Because last night I found out A. is back in hospital and he has cancer.

Evidently he didn't want anyone to know and yet it's important for him to know his friends care and are supportive. Today one of the friends is going to find out more -- what hospital he's in etc -- I'm sure he doesn't want visitors, yet I feel that sooner or later I must go and see him. We need to talk. We'd had a long, though tempestuous friendship. (I loved him more than just a friend. ) When I got back from Greece, he emailed me and said he really wanted to talk to me, that I was 'different from the rest'. I know over the past few years we have confided a great many things to each other and I always respected him and valued our friendship no matter how often my feelings were hurt or I felt he was being insincere.

I've lost three very dear men friends over the past five years to cancer. He knows this, and perhaps wanted to spare me more heartbreak. Roberto, my soul-mate/brother/friend died in Athens five years ago of throat cancer that spread through his body. Four years ago my dear shepherd Mitso from the village, who I loved so much, died unexpectedly of lung cancer. This April, right before my trip to Greece, my other buddy Graham died suddenly of colon cancer.

These are just some of the recent deaths of friends and family members, and mostly all from cancer.

I believe it's terribly important for people who are ill with this disease to try and keep a positive outlook and fight with all their strength to beat it. A. needs to know his friends care and are praying for him. I am feeling very sorrowful about this news. Because of circumstances, I've tried to put him out of my mind, move on, but deep down I knew it was not possible to abandon him and now more than ever I feel a need to see him, talk to him, pray for him. I don't want to let him down in this very serious time of need.

Monday, August 08, 2005


SUNDAY was such a relaxing, fine day. I started out doing several hours of writing, then headed for the beach about 4 p.m. I've been missing out on a lot of beach time this week because I was determined to stick to my decision to write each day. So except for Wednesday, I haven't been out unless it was in the evening (and even then I've stayed home some nights).

I like going down to the beach later in the afternoon when it's not so crowded at the pool and the temperatures are not at their highest. So I had a good long swim, laid back and watched the kids playing on the slide and frolicking with their parents (no whiney little spoiled brat to ruin the peace like there was on Wednesday). Later I went and sat on the beach (acutally wished I'd gone swimming in the sea as the tide was right up). I had a little snack of pears and corn muffins, wrote in my journal, and just enjoyed the scenery: sailboats cruising on the Bay, the last few people enjoying the sun and sand. The Bay is so lovely and I always enjoy my times down there, special times when I am alone and can relax my mind and body.

Then I walked along the seawall and hopped my bus to come home. Got back at 8, just as I'd planned. Sat out on the balcony sipping gingerale while I enjoyed the sunset. Phoned my girlfriend Dinaz in Athens, talked to my son, and had a long chat with my pal Suzaki. Then I made a late dinner: cod in lemon and garlic, broccoli and new potatoes. Delicious! Spent the rest of the evening reading the paper, doing x-words and watching a bit of TV. A nice relaxing way to end a perfectly glorious day!

Friday, August 05, 2005



It's been a rough week for me, living too far over the edge and wondering what to do to make ends meet til the end of the month. I used my daycare paycheck to get the bus ticket to go to the Lake next week to have a reunion with my grandson and daughter. That left me with nothing after rent and bills were covered. By last night I was down to a bit of small change and contemplating what items that I own might be pawned...

But there are angels among us, in this case the angels are very good friends. And by now I should never give up hope that somehow things will turn out alright.

The other night one of my sweet friends loaded me up with goodies from her fridge to take home (I've been on a poverty diet which has paid off somewhat as yesterday I weighed in at the pool and disovered - oh joy! - that I had lost 3 lbs.) Still, it's not nice to feel hungry and for some reason when my cupboards are bare I begin obsessing over food.

This morning started off grand when I found that a cheque had been deposited in my account (from my memoirs class). That means I'll have the spending money I need for my trip to the lake and a wee bit to live on meantime. (God knows how I'll manage for the rest of the month though.) Then a friend came for lunch today bearing care-packages from her daughter: a large laundry basket full of dry-goods and a big bag of frozen goods. My friend bright lunch along too, so we had an excellent visit. And when I began to unpack the goodies, there was an envelope containing $25. I am speechless at the generosity of these wonderful friends. They are truly angels!

I really hate being broke, feeling like a moocher. It's just a fact of life in the summer-time for me. There haven't been any daycare calls (and likely won't be many) and my classes don't resume til mid September. So there is little left to live on. (I still haven't paid my utlities. They'll have to wait.) However, I developed survival skills a long, long time ago and once in awhile (like now) they come in handy and I manage to make the best of it. And obviously Somebody Up There is watching out for me, because He sent Angels to help me out.