Thursday, May 31, 2007

Be in peace Mike

At the young age of 44, my dear brother, Michel (Mike) Louis LeBlanc has passed away.

Mike was 14 years older than me and rumour has it he cried the day I was born. The poor guy already had two little sisters – all he wanted a little brother. :-) I guess that’s why he always called me Danny. I’ve always said; my big brother is the only person who can call me Danny without getting punched in the face. I think his sadness with my lack of a penis quickly dissipated as I can remember how he would often bring me with him on his outings.

My brother was a man of few words, but I always knew he loved me… I always knew he would do anything for me or anyone else he knew because he had such a big heart. With 14 years between us you can imagine we often felt like we had little in common. He liked cars and knew everything about them… all I knew about my car is that is was black. Yet, somehow he would still make an effort to keep up with my ever-changing life.

The love of his life was without a doubt his beautiful daughter RayLynn. Today is RayLynn’s 10th birthday and I know he was fighting hard not to die on her birthday… but when it’s your time, it’s your time. I remember when he called me in Ottawa to tell me he was going to have a baby. You could tell he was just beaming on the other end of the line. He was so proud. He was a wonderful father. I know that she was often the light that kept him going all these years.

In my constant effort to bring diabetes awareness to the forefront, I can’t write about Mike’s life without mentioning the challenging disease that he lived with every day. Mike was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 41 years ago at the age of 3. Research and technology has come a long way in the last 40 years, but we still have so far to go. Insulin is not a cure for diabetes and I’m saddened when I hear people say it is. In his life, my brother has given himself over 65,000 insulin injections, had kidney failure twice, amputation, vision loss and now heart failure. We can justly say that he died from complications of Type 1 diabetes.

As I reflect on Mike’s life, I remember a man who loved his family dearly. A man who had more strength and fighting power that I ever knew possible. A man who thought the world of his daughter and often tried to better himself for his daughter’s benefit. A man who will forever be the only person to call me Danny.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.
- Robert Fulghum

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The final days

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to type right now, but I feel I should say something… my brother’s days are numbered. He’s been in the ICU since Saturday. When he went to the hospital for his dialysis on Saturday he collapsed right in front of the nurses station. His blood pressure had gone low and I believe he went into cardiac arrest. He was immediately admitted to ICU where he went into cardiac arrest four more times since Saturday (this information is a little fuzzy – no one seems to have a straight answer of exactly what is happening). Yesterday we almost lost him and the family was called in. I was in Nova Scotia in the middle of nowhere on a business retreat. Although my Mom wanted to call me, Christine insisted they wait until I come home today, as he was stable.

I saw him today. He can talk, but he pretty much just drifts in and out of sleep. They’ve made him comfortable and have told us it could be days or weeks… I doubt he’ll be here in a week. His daughter’s 10th birthday is tomorrow and I think he’s fighting hard to make it until at least Friday.

It all seems bizarre and surreal.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy 80th! I’ll drink to that!

Today was my Aunt’s 80th birthday… actually, yesterday was her birthday, but today we celebrated it. I mentally prepared myself for a boring afternoon of hob-knobbing with vague great-aunts and third cousins twice removed. To my surprise, I actually had a ball! Ok, let’s be honest… I also had a lot of wine, but even without the wine I think I would have had some fun. I got to see cousins I hadn’t seen in a while and realized I need to see them more often cause they are pretty damn cool. I also got to drink lots of really cheap cold red wine. Someone really needs to tell my Mom that red wine does not go in the fridge (cold red wine is just a sin). However, you apparently get the same buzz if it’s cold or if it’s room temperature, so all is good.

Back to subject at hand: my Aunt’s 80th. 80 years… can you imagine? That’s almost 50 years older than me! My aunt Vera has always been more of a grandmother figure to me given that my grandmother passed away when I was 12. I thought it was funny to see my mother and her bickering after the party. My mom does a lot for my aunt and I think she sometimes treats Vera like she would treat her mother… you know how you get annoyed at the silly things your mother does and you just want to roll your eyes? Well that’s how my mom is with Vera. Well I can tell that even at 80, Vera still has some wit left to her.

Mom to Vera (who lives in a senior’s home): I have two bouquets of flowers Vera, what are we going to do with them?
Vera: I’m going to bring them home.
Mom: Well how are we going to carry two vases? (Obviously she was implying that Vera couldn’t carry a vase on her own) How are you going to carry one of them?
Vera: I’ll carry it on my head. How do you think I’m going to carry a vase!

Hah! Gotta love Aunt Vera!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Two days post-race and I’m STILL walking like a cowboy!

I don’t remember the last time I was this sore after a race. Even after my marathon I felt fairly good. Hmmm... could it be the lack of proper training? :-)

I just took the elevator to go up and down one floor. I attempted to go down the stairs, but it was too painful to go back up.

Over the weekend my sister, her sister-in-law (Mireille) and I talked about judging people without knowing the full story. Have you ever seen someone take an elevator one flight and thought – geez you COULD have taken the stairs!? Well, maybe they couldn’t. Mireille was recently quite ill and although she looked ok, she wasn’t able to go up and down stairs. On a recent trip to the doctor she had someone look at her strangely for taking the elevator up one floor. She felt judged, but also realised she has likely judged before.

I just felt judged by a fellow elevator rider and thought of Mireille’s story. I really need to make an effort to assume people who park in a handicap parking are in fact sick even if they don’t look it and people who take an elevator up one flight aren’t necessarily lazy.

I've just taken a double dose of Advil and hoping it will kick-in soon. I have to admit - it's quite nice working with pharmacists. You can always count on them to have exactly what you need. :-)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blue Nose Weekend

Another half-marathon under my belt. There seems to be something physically wrong with me as I keep getting slower and slower with every race. I’m only slower by a minute or even seconds, but aren’t you supposed to be getting faster with time?

Side note: I did end up finding my Garmin about 2 minutes before heading out. It was in my work briefcase… why? I don’t know!

The half-marathon went well for the most part. When I woke up on Sunday morning, the rain was not very inviting! Once I got to the starting line, the rain was reduced to a drizzle, so it wasn’t so bad. It drizzled the whole way, so I was wet, but at least it wasn’t a downpour.

Around what I thought to be the 5 km mark I looked at my Garmin for my time and pace and I was cruising! According to my Garmin I had done 6.2 km in 30 minutes (I normally do 5 km in 35 minutes). Something was definitely wrong. Not long after I saw the actual 5 km marker and realised my Garmin was somehow adding kilometers to my route. Since the Gamin uses satellites to measure distance, I figured it was a one-time blip in the system. I would just calculate my distance based on an additional 1.2 km. No problem, right? At the 8 km marker my Garmin was reading 9.5 km… yet more mileage! Grrr. I decided I wouldn’t think about it for the time being and would just look at the pretty trees and listen to my music. I was feeling good as I entered Point Pleasant Park – at which point Betsy apparently screamed at me and waved while she crossed the other way, but I was totally oblivious to her as my music was so loud. OOPS. :-) I tell my clinic students that you should avoid wearing headphones, but if you do wear them you should keep the music low enough to be well aware of your surroundings. Ummm… do as I say, not as I do.

Generally cheering crowds add to the excitement and fun. However, at some point in the park I crossed a group of girls from Dal University who were just simply annoying! They were standing at the foot of a really steep hill (I’m talking 60 degree incline most likely) and screaming at the runners to run up the hill. I happened to be in a walk break at the time (I walk 1 minute every 10 minutes), and groups of them were screaming: Run up the hill! Run! Don’t walk it! Run! Gah I felt like saying, Shut the hell up! They weren’t encouraging at all they were just plain annoying.

Not long after coming out of the park, I found my sister Christine cheering at the side of the road. She ran a bit with me and asked how things were going. I checked my Garmin for distance and I was at 42 km! What the ???? My Garmin had added another 30 km to my distance. I think it was mad at me for loosing it. I clearly couldn’t trust the distance on my Garmin.

Once I hit Beaufort Street I knew I would be taking on the bulk of the hills as I climbed back to the finish line. The hills went surprisingly well! I ran all of them and felt really good.

The last 5 km is what killed me… it usually is the toughest part. Since I didn’t know how far I had to go and wasn’t sure what the last few km looked like I felt lost. :-( I kept looking at my time thinking I was almost there, but never seeing any markers. The mental game really got to me. I would speed up thinking I was close to the end, then have to stop and walk because I was running too fast too early.

When I finally crossed the finish line I was so emotional I started to cry. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever crossed a finish line without crying. Hah! You just get overwhelmed by the emotion of it and you are just so physically tired that it all comes out. I was upset with my time and frustrated that I let the last 5 km get to me. When you run your first half-marathon you can say you don’t care about time, because you just want to cross the finish line. However, when it’s your fourth it’s hard to say, “it’s ok, at least I made it”. Of course you made it! There was never any doubt you would make it! It’s your 4th one, it’s not some kind of miracle you crossed the line – you’ve done it before! By the time you do your fourth half-marathon you’ve run 20 km at least 12 times. Add to that the fact that I have run a full marathon, I’ve probably done the 20 km distance close to 20 times. It’s not “new” anymore.

Well, at least training is over for another few months and I got a really nice technical shirt and medal to add to my collection. Maybe next time I’ll cross that finish line sooner. One can always dream.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Mystery of the Missing Garmin

T Minus 46 hours till my next half-marathon and my Garmin goes missing. For those not in the running “know”, a Garmin is like a fancy watch that tracks mileage, pace, calories, heartbeat and a whole bunch of other fun stuff. My Garmin is my lifeline during a race! It tells me if I’m going too fast or if I need to speed up to make up for lost time. Essentially, it’s my race day security blanket. I know it’s somewhere ridiculous, but I can’t seem to find it! Last time I had it I was sitting in the stairs at home, talking to my sister on the phone. I remember taking it off… but that’s where the memory ends. So send all your happy Garmin finding vibes my way!

I’m really looking forward to my trip to Halifax. Although I won’t be there long, I’ll get to meet up with quite a few friends, do a little shopping and of course see most of Halifax by foot. I’m trying not to focus on time, but I do have a finishing time in mind. I’ll let you know if I make it.

You can check out the course by clicking on the image below:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Obviously distracted

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself this morning as I went over notes from a meeting I had yesterday. I’m leading a project I really don’t understand so meetings are quite overwhelming with terminology that leaves me scratching my head.

So this morning I see the following note: IMPORTANT – Send email on

That’s it. Not other detail. Hah! I guess it’s either not important after all or I completely missed the train on that one. I guess I’ll see in two weeks at our next meeting. Wheeee!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Enough with the self-pitying post!

It's a new week - time for a positive attitude. :-)

End of self-pitying phase.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I don’t like Facebook. I like Facebook. I don’t like Facebook.

First of all, I know a few of you out their probably don’t know what Facebook is (namely my family) so here is a little introduction.

Facebook is a social networking website. It was originally developed for college and university students but has since been made available to anyone with an email address. People can select to join one or more participating networks, such as a high school, place of employment, or geographic region.

Facebook – I don’t like it.
When I first joined a little over a month ago I didn’t see the point. I checked for any of my High School alum and a total of three people (out of a graduating class of 500) were listed. I barely knew anyone on the site and it seemed to be over-run by teeny boppers. The whole experience made me feel quite old.

Facebook – I like it
After about a month I got a message from a childhood friend. I was suddenly intrigued and interested in this Facebook phenomenon. I logged back in and started searching. Suddenly I was inundated with messages from childhood friends, high school buddies, old boyfriends, etc. It was fun and exciting to see what everyone is up too.

Facebook – I don’t like it
This week, Facebook is really getting to me. Seeing all these people I once knew, happily (or seemingly happily) married with kids or expecting kids is a harsh reminder of just how far I am to being in that position. It really sucks having this biological clock ticking and no way of stopping it. Even if I go the adoption route (which I’m planning on getting the ball rolling in the Fall or Winter) I’m still looking at a minimum of seven years before I have a child. Ugh. I don’t know if it’s the tiredness or the stress of buying a house, but I feel like I’m constantly reminded of the things my life is lacking lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited about the house and very proud for doing this on my own, but it feels like something is missing… like I should be sharing my excitement with someone other than my sister or my mom. Singledom at thirty-something sucks.

Running because I need to run

Yesterday, after I ran with my clinic members, I went out for an extra run just because I needed it. It’s been a while since I ran because I needed to run. It feels good to run without having to complete a certain distance or time and without having to think about anyone else but me. The last time I ran because I needed to run was right before I left for Hawaii when my stress was getting the best of me.

Yesterday had just been a horrible day!
1. It all started when I forgot my coffee at home on the counter
2. I forgot my monthly parking pass which I had just bought the day before
3. I sent out a newsletter by email to about 500 people and 355 of them bounced back
4. Said email kept crashing my computer
5. People kept calling me and emailing me telling me they either couldn’t open my email or they received 5 copies of my email or could I send them a quote for such and such insurance package (wah?)
6. I spent my lunch hour on the phone with IT trying to figure out the problem
7. My Realtor called me and the first words out of her month were: are you sitting down?
8. The inspector hadn’t been able to get into the attic last Friday so he went yesterday. Turns out there is light seeping through the roof. Great. After some negotiating the owners agreed to have it fixed before closing (phew)
9. I get to my car and I had a parking ticket

If there was a day I needed to run, yesterday was it! I’m feeling much better today and hopefully I’ll have better luck.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Catering: the Good and the Not so Good

GOOD: The food... Oh my God the food! At every shift we get a meal which is whatever the guests are eating... including desert. The food is so good! Yesterday we had all kinds of Italian food and 4 different cheese cakes!

NOT SO GOOD: The food... I swear I'm going to gain like 20 pounds!

GOOD: The people... you get to chat and be a part of someone's fun experience. It’s quite fun to observe someone else’s celebration. You kinda feel like you are also a part of it.

NOT SO GOOD: The people... waiting around for Mr McDrunky to go home at the end of the night so you can clean up isn't so fun.

GOOD: The co-workers... I work with a bunch of University kids and all I can say is they make me smile! Yesterday, two of them were hung-over from partying until the wee hours the night before. It made me laugh because I remember being there at one point. They all seem very intrigued by me. They can't believe I'm 31 and not married and don't have kids. Like, Oh My God! I told them I was recently out of an 8 year relationship (so it’s been over three years… they don’t need to know that). Of course, heartache and drama is something they understand quite well and were very sympathetic. That's when one 19 year old who had been showing me "the ropes" said. Don’t worry about it. You found a good job to meet people. You can totally pick up here. Last year, I had like 24 year olds hitting on me at weddings and I was like 18 at the time. You’re like totally going to find a man here. Tee Hee. I adore their youthful exuberance! Remember when numbers meant how many guys you had made-out with and didn’t refer to the numbers on your most recent bill? Ah good times. Good times. This is going to be an interesting summer. If nothing else, I can live vicariously through the partying lives of my co-workers and reminisce.

Friday, May 4, 2007

It's official - I'm a homeowner!

The inspection was today and everything went well. The SOLD sign is going up any day now! EEK! I can’t believe I bought a house. I’m so excited! Just for fun, here are a bunch of new pictures!


Office looking into the living room:

Front door:

Hallway looking into the kitchen:



Funky Door:

Funky Chandelier:

Inspection Count Down

I’m really nervous about the inspection. The inspector should be there right now and I’m going to the house at 3:00 so he can go through his “findings” with me. What if there is something major wrong MY house? I think I would be crushed. Right now I’m wishing I was buying the house with a guy… someone to hold my hand through the process. At least I would get a second opinion. Unfortunately it’s all on me!

In other news, my Mom saw my ex’s parents last night. That would be the last guy I was with for 6 months or so. I miss his family terribly! His Mom said to say hi to me and that she wishes me well… and that she really misses me as well. I guess his niece still talks about me and that makes me sad. He had such a wonderful family! Gah! Why couldn’t have worked out.

I think I need a stiff drink to calm my nerves.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Welcome to the chaos that is my life

Things have been so chaotic around here the last few days, I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the big news.

I’m a Home Owner! Well… so far I am. The financing has been accepted and next up is the inspection. Hopefully MY house won’t have too many issues. If everything goes well I’ll have the keys to my new place on August 1. I signed the mortgage papers today and that was effing scary! You feel like you are signing away your life. EEK! Here is a picture of my “baby”

Second, I got a part-time job waitressing at a local convention centre. It’s a good deal because it means only working Friday and Saturday nights and maybe some Sundays. I start on Saturday.

Third, I brought “my wedding dress” to a local consignment shop and they said they would try to get $200 for me. That’s a pretty easy $150!

Fourth, I’m still teaching a local Learn to Run class and leading a virtual class, and working full time and trying to get all this house stuff tied up and trying to see family who are in town for the funeral and I’m feeling quite overwhelmed today! Phew. At least I know that the house stuff will be settled in a week or so until August anyway.