Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

On Ponies, Paparazzi, Paint scraping…

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm


Hi to my on-line gang!

Well, it seems the time is flying by, but not without medical wrinkles.  I’m feeling okay, great in fact, and enjoyed my first jumping lesson on horseback last week, which was awesome fun and has me in mind of entering a horse show or two this summer. But first I need to get my stamina up enough to jump an entire course of jumps: so far all’s I managed was three in a row. It was so lovely to be part of a group again, and Gypsy really loves lessons too. Watching each other go, then having your turn, and then proudly returning to the herd. It’s just like old times!

So, feeling well, but some of my blood-work has been a bit “off”.  You see, I was mismatched with my donor for the CMV virus. CMV is something *most* people have had in their life and figure it was just “the wicked bad flu”, but it’s actually a specific virus that they have identified. Anyhow, Connie took such good care of me that I never had it (or chicken pox) growing up! So, I was mismatched, but the  risk/benefit analysis was made and I got the organ regardless. CMV is totally treatable in most cases. Anyhow, they’ve been monitoring my blood for CMV cells and found a few recently which means I am having weekly bloods drawn and going on some medications to counteract the virus. These *may* make my white blood cell count drop, so we’ll have to monitor closely.  Our hope is to drop the CMV cells.  You see, my life has always been a balancing act, and CONTINUES TO BE!

Ah so, MUSIC. Lovely music! Our show last week at the Cadillac Lounge went even better than I’d hoped with lots of supporters coming out. I got to wear my new black “wiggle” dress and leopard print shoes. I can’t recall the last time I left the house so dressed up! It felt good! Singing with the band is feeling more and  more normal, vocally, and tonight we hit the stage from 6-8pm at the Cameron House on Queen street West in Toronto. I’m loving it! This is what I do! What could only be more perfect would be to sing from horseback: WAIT, I did THAT this week TOO!

Loving the spring weather too. Had Gypsy out in the back forty and crossed little streams and saw the cardinal and smelt the earth as we trotted along in the spring sunshine down the lane-way between the fields.  What an HONOUR to be able to do this again — without the oxygen tank catching in the trees as we pass.

Speaking of horses, Tom and I went to Woodbine racetrack to play the ponies.  I won a couple of bets (total, about $9.70) but Tom very nearly won about two hundred dollars, (except my horse beat his horse at the wire. ) Can I say that it was a pleasure to be able to walk the stairs from the grandstands to the betting window at each race?  Can I also say that smoking sucks? Now that it’s outdoor season on patios and at the track, etc, I find it’s just such a yucky habit. When someone lights up I don’t recoil in fear like I used to (the smoke would make my old lungs bleed) but I just really resent that smokers are there fouling the air up, even in the non smoking section. Anyhow, a LOT of people smoke at the track so I was constantly on the run from them. Don’t want that crap in my shiny new lungs! What is it that Steve Martin once said, “Does anyone mind if I smoke? No? Does anyone mind if I fart?”


We got the yard into shape this weekend. Tom did all the digging and stuff since I’m supposed to stay away from gardening now (bacterias in the soil are bad for immuno supressed people) but we got some tuplips and daffodils at the nursery, and gave the”tiki” bar a good scraping and a new lick of paint.  Tom took this paparazzi photo of me. I am wearing a mask since paint scraping is a dirty job: this is a mask that friends brought back with them from Vietnam, where apparently masks are all the rage with the ladies! Seriously. They also brought back a plaid one!

Oh, and how did I forget the Ukulele jam? A friend recently gave me a baritone ukulele which I have not put down since. There’s a Uke jam/open mic  in town Wednesdays and so I took myself down there and sang a song.  Everyone applauded enthusiastically and since I had a room of forty people and a microphone I told them about how this was one of the first outings for me and my new lungs. I will spread the word one room at a time if I have to!

Which brings me to my next adventure: TELEVISION. I am taking part in a television program for the W network where I tell my story.  We just started shooting this week with an entire day of camera crew Monday.  We got Gypsy all glammed up and they videoed me riding her. Perhaps she is camera shy, but Gypsy just wasn’t so interested in jumping which is hilarious because she loves to jump and has only ever refused about five times in twenty years.  Well, so we refused on camera (in her defense, the cameraman was crouching just on the other side of the brush jump).  Anyhow, After that false start we did just fine. But it was just too funny. Of all the times to refuse!

Anyhooooo….  that’s it that’s all….. until later. I’ll leave you with an impressionistic photo of Tom in his Homburg hat trackside, racing forms tucked under his arm….



In Uncategorized on April 12, 2009 at 5:42 am

The Wind Up!

So, here it is Easter… On Good Friday I took Tom to the Credit River where I used to take field trips back during my Froebel schooldays.  How much I’ve changed, and how much the river hasn’t! We took Henry and he enjoyed watching me skip stones in the sun, and even waded in a little. Mom and Dad visited Niagara on the Lake for Dad’s birthday on Thursday, and now  Jennifer is visiting from Montreal and plans are for us all to eat the Christmas turkey… finally! (Perhaps I’ll bring my new Baritone Ukulele along to serenade with?)

Oh! So, I had my FIRST RIDING LESSON! Yessum. And it was fun; the hour just just flew by.  Luckily I didn’t have to stop too many times before the rest of the group to catch my breath. It was really focused work and I already learned lots: not taking lessons for the better part of ten years I thought I’d get yelled at way more: but maybe teach’ took it easy on me this week!  It was great to be able to do the SITTING TROT, a movement my old lungs disallowed me to do for almost twenty years. I used to cough up blood. Now my only grievance with sitting trot is the need for a better bra!

Oh! So, I had my FIRST GIG! Yessum. And it was fun; the set just flew by! I was nervous about performing, but it was a nice warm crowd who applauded and listened, but who chatted perfectly during our set: this was good because the ambient noise helped to give me courage (that it might swallow  up or hide any of my vocal rough edges.)  I was DELIGHTED to be able to play the mandolin again without tiring.  Towards “the end” of my old lungs I could no longer stand, strum, and sing simultaneously. To be able to *strum* and sing was a joy. Be sure to catch us this Thursday night at the Cadillac Lounge, 9pm start! It was also really really special to be able to raise my voice in song with the whole band behind me, looking into the eyes of the best duet partner around, Tom Parker! (He’s also a wicked crokinolt partner too, as it turns out!)

Oh! So, I had my FIRST TRIP TO THE GROCERY STORE! Yessum. And it was fun; SUPER FUN! (Normally Tom goes alone on the way home from work because Grocery stores during daytime hours are GERMY places).  I made sure to eat a large steak tonight before going so as not to go shopping hungry & spend TOO much money, but I ended up dropping about $250… They have great cheese selections at Metro… oh my GAWSH: *Rarely* have I been so EXCITED to GROCERY SHOP! It was SUCH FUN! ALL THAT FOOOOOD!  *Aisles* of it!!!!  (The prednisone: I SWEAR it’s the prednisone!) At 10:30pm there was hardly anyone there.  I did, however, have to tear myself away from the candy section and chose some nice Spartan apples instead.  And I’m trying whole wheat pasta to see if I’ll enjoy it. (The spelt looked three times as expensive).   Also got some cases of DIET soda. I am *trying* to get accustomed to Diabetic habits, although truthfully my blood sugars only spike the odd time since the insulin seems to be working. (I should be able to eat a couple chocolate Easter eggs with medication!)

My Boys in Erindale Park

My Boys in Erindale Park


April Update

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2009 at 3:18 am

We were up again to Owen Sound & stopped near Chatsworth at a roadside maple syrup stand to buy some of that sugary goodness direct from the Mennonites themselves.  I got to say hello to their horses who were patiently waiting at the front of their buggy. Working horses. Far out.


We walked out to a set of cliffs out back of the Parker house to view Owen Sound harbour.  Quite remarkable.  (We kept Henry on a short leash owing to his penchant for adventure and the steep drop!) It was a lovely spring walk  on the Bruce trail. To think of the mischief my young husband must have gotten up to in those woods…  This was followed by a warm fire in the fireplace (without my lungs fearing smoke!), roast beef and much jamming (we’ve been practicing our piano/fiddle duets East Coast Canada style.)


Back in Toronto, I took the new breathers for a test run behind the microphone, very much on a whim. I was heard to be singing in public not once but TWICE last month. I stopped by Gate 403 to hear a friend’s band and wound up accepting a gracious offer to sit in.  My goodness it’s nice not to have to plan my verses around coughs and phlegm, BUT  I must work on projecting! You’d think with so much more air capacity I’d be louder, when in fact I’ve lost all those fabulous coughing (and singing!) muscles, so this must be remedied in order that I can project and be heard better. With this in mind I sat in again, this time at the Rex Hotel.

I was delighted again in my lung function today, another high of 2.53 litres! I had suffered a mild head cold last week and was petrified at first when I came down with it: scared of having my first cold with no immune system to speak of.   Thankfully it was mild, and seems to have limited itself to just my head, touch wood. Plans are to join a weekly jumping lesson on Gypsy, so I’d better be better!

Speaking of Gypsy, I found  her just so SLOW in March. So slow in fact that I did myself injury from squeezing so perpetually hard in the saddle that I’d have quite intense attacks  of sciatica. I lost a lot of core strength through the surgery/lay up process which I believe to be a contributing factor to these flareups. Well, so we adjusted pony’s feed, and I had the vet come up to do some blood work on her since she’d been a bit “lack luster”.  Long story short? She galloped around her paddock & I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to catch her for the Doc! Watching her tear muddy, snorting, loops around us the vet quipped, “well, she LOOKS healthy!”  I present you with a photo of “Geriatric” Gypsy (The vet’s word, not mine!);


You Can't Catch Me!

Hmmm… Since I’m now about 51 kilos and quickly outgrowing my “skinny jeans” I realized that I’ve made food a bit of hobby lately.  I’ve dabbled in Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Upscale Bistro,  Indian, Lamb and Elk burgers, BBQ steak in our backyard, and my first Swiss Melt sandwich ever at a late night diner! I still have a little ways to go before I fill out my riding chaps like before: I’ll know to stop when I can’t bend my legs anymore to mount up!  But seriously, it’s very bizarre and refreshing to look in the mirror and have some mass again: to begin to fit my old clothes once more. On a few occasions people have failed to recognize me.  When I think back to how thin my illness had made me last fall and how I worried my audience would think me anorexic… well, this is a welcome health change.

Gigs loom ahead for our little country band leading up to a record launch for us on May 2nd… TRIAL BY FIRE! (I am having some confidence and practical problems with my singing mostly due to a few drug induced side effects which hopefully will lessen as doses are tailored). The best side effect by far though, is being able to breath again: I never let a day go by without thanking my lucky stars!