Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Prayer for Stef.

Hello again, dear reader.

Almost a month has passed since I've written an article, and that is mostly due to a lack of interest.  Nothing of note has caught my attention...at least nothing that inspired me to write.  And now I'm back, but I have to warn you now, dear reader...I am not back under happy circumstances.  No, the subject of my writing today is a sad one...and a tough one to write.  But, write it I will, because it is important to me that the request I bring gets out there.  Read on, dear reader.  For Stef.

On Friday November 19, my 22 year old cousin Stephanie was involved in a horrific car accident involving a semi.  Today, Stef is fighting for her life in the Royal Alex Hospital in Edmonton.  I won't go into many details, but she is a very injured girl.  Most worrisome is the brain injury, and the extent of it.

Dear reader, normally I am not very expressive when it comes to religion, my faith or what I believe.  It is not me, not who I am.  Today I step out of my comfort zone.  Today I am writing a simple prayer...a prayer for Stef, a prayer for her husband Aaron, her Mom and dad, her brother Justin, Aaron’s parents...yes, dear reader, I am writing a prayer for the whole family and all her friends.  Please, dear reader, pray for Stef.  Pray for healing.

Dear Lord

You alone are the great healer, the great physician.  You guide the hands of all doctors and nurses and medical professionals.  When things seem bleak, You can provide us with the hope of a better tomorrow.

And today, O Lord, we ask for Your strength, Your healing power and Your love to be on Stef.  Cause her body to heal, and restore her to health.  Preserve her life, O Lord.  Give the medical professionals all they need to do their work...guide their hands and their minds.

Give strength and comfort to her husband Aaron, her mom Regina, her dad John and her brother Justin.  Give them all the knowledge that Stef is in Your fatherly hands, and that You love her.  Also give strength and comfort to Aaron’s family, and to all of Aaron and Stef's extended families and friends.

O Lord, many prayers are being offered for Stef and her family.  Please answer our prayers, Lord.  If it is Your holy will, let Stef be restored.


Thank you, dear reader for praying for Stef.  The power of prayer is an awesome power.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hacked and back

Hello dear reader

Some of you may have noticed on Facebook last weekend that my website had been hacked.  Yes, it's true.  Now, I don't profess to be an expert at this whole website thing, so it was very unsettling to get the email from my webhost saying my account had been suspended.  At that time, I didn't understand how this all worked.  Now, a week later, I still don't understand a lot, but I do get it a bit more. Read on if you care,dear reader.  I'm venting my spleen.

When I received the email from my webhost, I replied with the question "What can I do to fix this?"  The response I got was "Terminate your account and re-apply".  Wowsers.  That seemed rather harsh...were there no other options other than 'start from scratch'?  I didn't care so much about the site itself...I can rebuild that.  What had me very concerned was that, due to ignorance and lack of foresight on my part, I did not have my articles backed up.  That's right, dear reader....as much as I preach to people to back up their data, I did not follow my own advice.  And I almost paid dearly for it.  Articles such as 11 Years Ago, Papillons de L'Amour, Wanna Smoke and A Mistress to Many were going to be gone.  There was no way I could re-write these articles.  Clearly the emotion of some of them were of a time sensitive nature, plus there's no way I can remember what I wrote.

And so, dear reader...I fretted.  I stressed.  I worried.  And I worked my a$$ off trying to figure things out.  The part that made things oh so difficult was that my webhost had changed that way the control panel and site controls worked.  So, instead of installing Joomla into my site space using Fantastico Deluxe, I now had to do this via Simple Scripts.  Because of this change, my website files were no longer where they were supposed to be.  I could not find fifafan.ca.  I could not find my articles.  And for a while, I could not find my happy place.  Losing these articles would have been devastating.  As a writer (or a wannabe writer), my words are pure emotion, pure energy, and my heart on my sleeve.  As an IT professional, backups are one of the most important things we preach...and the fact that I didn't do it hurt.  Yes dear reader, I can admit that my pride was hurt.  And that made me even more convinced that I would stop at nothing to recover from my own stupid mistake.

In the meantime, the emails were flowing back and forth between my webhost and myself.  After I questioned them on the whole 'termination' thing and asking if there was another alternative, they did come back and say that the problem was caused by an old WordPress installation, but since I didn't know how to get rid of it, 'termination' was the only alternative.  Really?  I didn't know how to get rid of it?  I think they just called me stupid!!  And as right as they might be, I did know how to get rid of the security hole.  Now that I knew where the problem was, I could fix it.  So this begs the question "Why didn't they present that option in the first place?"  Now, don't get me wrong, dear reader.  I really like the webhost I'm with.  They offer some very cool stuff.  But, I did find that in crunch time, the one person I dealt with was very un-professional.  Suggesting in an underhanded manner that I'm stupid (rightly or wrongly is irelevant) is simply not acceptable.  And I told them that...not that they care.

One of the problems I faced is that, as mentioned, I am not an expert in all of this.  And apparently, neither is my webhost.  That's right, they offered pretty much no support to get this resolved.  "Not our problem" they said.  "We don't care about your website" they insinuated.  And so, there I was....on my own.  But, with my bulldog approach to this issue, I figured a few things out.  I figured out which zip file on my webspace actually contained my data.  And so, after I cleaned up the old WordPress installation, I copied the clean data back up to the server, and kindly asked my webhost to reactivate my account.  Which they did......just as their server developed issues.  So, for 24 hours, I still could not see my website.  I didn't know as of yet if I was going to be able to recover my articles.  I did not sleep well that night.

Yesterday morning (Tuesday), I emailed them once more and asked if the problem had been resolved.  With a very quick apology, they did something on their end to make things right.  And there, dear reader, there on my screen....there in the exact layout I remembered, were my articles.  I just about cried with happiness.  And I immediately made backups of each article, and firmly resolve here and now to make sure that each article I write is also pasted into a Word document and stored safely.

It was at this point, dear reader, that I became un-stressed.  I completely understand and agree with the position my webhost took in suspending my account.  I do not like the un-professional attitude of the one person I dealt with, but I cannot fault the entire organization because of one person having a bad day or two.  The bottom line is that I got my articles back, I have my site back and I have happy back.  The only thing that didn't work out in all of this was my photogalleries.  And that in itself is no big deal....I can recreate that.  Now I am looking into security for my site.  If I can protect myself from hackers, then a small fee every month might be worth it.  Yes, dear reader, fifafan.ca means that much to me.

Thank you, dear reader, for your patience in waiting for my site to get back online.  And if you're reading this sentence, thank you for staying with this article.  I did something I rarely do in my articles in this one....I wrote it mostly for me.  But thank you, and please come again.  Soon.

My spleen is vented.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Mistress to Many

Today, dear reader, I muse.  I muse about a love affair that has consumed me for a good part of this summer.  The beginning of the summer saw me and my unwilling mistress spend a lot of time together.  I put a lot of effort in this affair, but the effort was rarely returned with the same enthusiasm.    I sometimes wonder if I should have seen the writing on the wall much sooner, but my love was such that I continued to pour my body and soul into her.  And yes, dear reader, I spent a lot of money on her.  And as much as she continued to expect me to lavish her with monetary gifts, she never once gave anything substantial in return.  She would tease me here and there, but not once did I feel appreciated.  And so, dear reader, I need to ask a question of my mistress.  And I need to do this in a very public way, for it seems the only way she will listen, although I do not expect her to answer.  She’s fickle that way.  And so I ask “Ah golf…why do you hate me so?”

I suppose it would be easier to deal with her if she wasn’t adored by so many people.  And the more people that spend time with her, the happier she is.  She will never be a mistress for just one.  I refer to her as the mistress to the masses.  But she holds a powerful sway over each and every one of us.  And in some form or another, she is in our hearts.  I’ve tried to leave her, but she draws me back.  She won’t let go.

Yes, dear reader, golf is an affair of the heart.  For some, it is a casual affair.  For others, it burrows  down deep into the heart.  I suppose I fall into the ‘casual’ category, and maybe that is my mistake.  For this particular mistress demands more time than I am willing to spend with her.  And although she doesn’t always need me to spend a pile of money on her, she does expect that every time I see her, I spend something.  She also doesn’t like it when I drink in her company, although it is a common practice.  Most everyone I know can’t help but drink when with her…such is her personality.  Aye, the more I drink in her company, the more she seems to hate me.  I try to control it, but she frustrates me.

Alas, I must admit that my frustration is most likely due to my own failure to do exactly as she expects.  When she expects a 3, I give her a 4 or even a 5.  When she expects a 5, I throw up a snowman.  She demands that I be a straight shooter, but inevitably I veer either to the right or the left.  But honestly, dear reader, it’s not all my fault.  She doesn’t make it any easier for me, what with all the trees and long grass she throws into my path.  And I can hear her evil laugh every time we are in the water.  Or the sand.

The very afternoon of this writing, I gave her one last chance.  I gave her the opportunity to repay me in a meaningful way.  But alas, she threw back her head and scoffed.  Oh, along with the scoffing she threw me a brief glimpse or two of how much she wants me.  But I was not fooled, dear reader.  She really doesn’t like me that much.  And so I told her that our affair had run its course.  I was calling it quits.  I am done with her, dear reader.  I cannot, in good conscience, continue to see her.  I don’t see it ending well if it continues.  And thus we part.  Not as friends, but as enemies.  For on the final 9 holes of the year, I shot a 51.

Ah, golf.  Why do you hate me so much?  See you next year.



Thursday, October 7, 2010

11 Years Ago.

Hello again, dear reader.  This particular article could prove to be one of the most difficult I've written.  Oh, it's not from a lack of things to say, or the creativity to say it in an appealing manner.  No, that is not my problem.  Rather, it is the content of this article that is somewhat difficult.  You see, this article is about my son.  Most of you are thinking about David, as he is the one that most of you have heard of.  However, dear reader, this article is not about David.  Today I am going to introduce you to Michael, who 11 years ago on October 14, was born to Dianne and I.  I am going to give you a glimpse into his life, and what he was all about.  If this article could show tear stains, I'm sure you'd see a couple.  But the tears would not be tears of pain, or sadness....they would be tears of joy.  Read on, my dear readers.  I present to you Michael Jeffrey Kok.

When we found out we were going to have a baby, we were over the moon.  I mean, what an intense feeling of joy, suprise, elation, nervousness and w00t w00t....all in one big package.  We assumed, as is pretty much normal, that all would be well and in 9 months (give or take a week or so), we would have a healthy baby something.  Dianne had found an OB she was very comfortable with (he was shocked the first time he met me....he was expecting a small little asian man, not a big pasty white guy).  She went to visit him regularly, and everything was progressing nicely.  We picked out names, we heard the baby's heartbeat, we acted and reacted exactly like we should have.  Life was beautiful.

19 weeks into the pregnancy, things started to go awry.  Dianne's water broke, leaving just a wee little pool of amniotic fluid for the baby to use for development.  We saw several specialists in light of these developments, including Dianne's OB/GYN.  The prognosis from them all was not great, but what struck us the most was the different opinions on how to deal with it.  One Dr. suggested an abortion. Dianne's Dr. and ourselves were completely against that option, and ruled it out immediately.  He, as well as ourselves, wanted to give the baby every chance of survival.  So, that's what we planned.  Dianne stayed on intensive bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Many ultrasounds took place, and much hard work happened before the baby was born.

27 weeks into the pregnancy, our son was born.  He was 2 lbs 1 oz at birth.  The NICU staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton was absolutely amazing.  They worked their tails off for that little boy.  They too wanted to give him every chance of survival.  There are many details that I just don't remember anymore, and I suspect that it's because those details aren't too important in the big scheme of things.  I have my memories of Michael, and that's the important stuff.  And it's some of those memories that I'd like to share.

Michael was a tiny little boy, but he had huge attitude.  If any of you were ever in the old NICU at the Royal Alex, you will remember that it was not great on privacy for the kids.  Michael's home was right at the entrance for the staff...thus at shift changes or staff eating times, it was quite noisy in his corner.  He hated noise.  You could see him reacting to the noise...his oxygen levels would go down, his heart rate up and he'd start pulling at his breathing tube.  Yup, my boy loved his peace and quiet and in his own way, he'd give the noisy people a piece of his mind.  It didn't take long before there were signs up at the staff entrance reminding the staff to be quiet.  Michael won that battle.

I'll never forget the first time we got to hold him.  The nurses took him out of his incubator, and we got to 'kangaroo cuddle'.  That means that he was up against our bare skin....he loved the warmth, he loved the cuddles and we were thrilled to bits with this contact.   Rarely have I been so proud as after one of our cuddle sessions (kept my shirt on for this one).  When it was time for Michael to go back to bed, the nurse moved him away from me and there, like a tattoo in the middle of shirt, was a big wet stain.  My boy peed on me!!!  Through all the swaddling cloths, he managed to get me.  I beamed.  Peeing seemed to be something Michael enjoyed...one day he and the little boy across the way both set off their alarms.  When the nurses came a runnin', Michael shot a stream out through the arm holes of the incubator!!

One of the fondest memories I have of him was when a new nurse (new to him) was going to be his nurse for the night.  She had heard about the little baby with the big attitude over in the corner, and she was a bit nervous.  Dianne and I could tell that she was on edge, and I warned her that if she didn't settle down, Michael would extubate himself (extubate means to pull his breathing tube out).  Well, this made her even more jittery.  So, I mentioned to the RT (Respiratory Therapist) before I left that Michael was going to extubate within the hour.  Sure enough, the little gaffer yanked his tubes out before we were even home.  That nurse didn't look after him again.

Dear reader, it may seem odd, but the time we spent in the NICU with Michael was a very good time.  We developed some great relationships, we grew in faith, we grew closer together and to our families.  11 years ago, Michael Jeffrey was born.  After battles with meningitis and e-coli, amongst all his other health issues, Michael lost the battle to live.  Along with his doctors, we made the decision to remove MIchael from life support 8 weeks after his birth.  His chances of survival on his own were nil.  And so, surrounded by Diannes parents, my parents, my brother Lyndon and our Pastor Rev. Aasman, Michael Jeffrey Kok died in my arms very peacefully.  The doctor came in every 5 minutes or so and checked his vitals.  I don't remember the exact time, but I do remember the doctor looking at us and saying that he was gone.  We said our goodbyes, and the nurse took his body away.

Michaels gravesite is just east of Barrhead, Alberta.  We go once a year, just to make sure everything is nice and neat.  We take great comfort knowing that Michael is in Heaven, and he is perfect.  He has no illnesses, no weakness and no threat of disease.  Yes dear reader, we still cry sometimes when we think of him, or when we look at pictures.  But, we don't grieve anymore.  The memories are not as painful as they once were.  No, rather, the memories have turned from pain to joy.  We were blessed with Michael for 8 weeks.  How can a person be anything but joyful at that rich blessing?

In memory of: Michael Jeffrey Kok

October 14, 1999 - December 7, 1999


Monday, September 13, 2010

Papillons de l'Amour

Hello again dear reader

14 years ago today, I married my best friend.  Back then, when we were young(er), we had dreams, we had hopes, we had ambitions.  We were like every other couple in that regard.  Today, I reflect on the past 14 years.  I think about the dreams we had as compared to the life we have.  I think about our hopes and ambitions of yesteryear....is that where we are today?  Oh, we had no illusions in that day that life would be a bed of roses...but honestly dear reader, we could not have prepared for what we were given.  And as I reflect, I realize that it's a good thing we didn't know what was going to happen.  Read on, if you'd like....the time for reflection is upon me.

When we started dating, we really didn't expect much to happen from the relationship...I was oil, she was water.  Two people could hardly be more different.  Our running joke was 'Hey, if we're still together on the weekend, want to catch a show?'  I don't know how long that went on for, but as time went on, we came to realize that we worked well together.  And against all odds (and some peoples wishes) we fell in love.  We only dated for 11 months before we announced to the world our engagement.  The proposal was not romantic in the least....110Kmph through middle of farm country in Southern Alberta.  I had promised Dianne that I wouldn't spring any surpises whilst her final exams were happening....she wrote her last one the day before, so I caught her in an exhausted state.  I planned it that way.

We stayed engaged for a year and a half, taking our time with the planning of our wedding.  We didn't do anything fancy, but it sure was a beautiful day.  I think the only thing that didn't quite go right was the lack of a corkscrew at the reception.  That day, September 14, 1996, I told my best friend that I loved her, and that through sickness and health, riches and poorer and good times and bad, I wanted to be with her, to support her, to love her, to be her helpmeet and to walk with her down whatever path was ahead.

Almost immediately, the promises we made to each other were put to the test.  I had knee surgery a month after our wedding, and because of an extended recovery time, my job was given to someone else.  I was un-employed.  This, dear reader, was the start of the whole 'for richer or poorer' thing....financial trial by fire.  Thankfully, I didn't stay unemployed long.  I found a job in a bakery about an hour away from home.  Working 16 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week meant I wasn't home much.  I did this for two years.  It didn't give us much time together, but we made it work.  During this time, Dianne had back problems, and was laid up for a while.  It seemed that for the first 6 months of our marriage, one of us was crippled.  Do you see the start of the 'in sickness and health' thing?

Time moved on, we moved to Edmonton for a job that didn't pan out.  I ended up with a decent job at an IGA bakery....and stayed there for 3 years.  It was in this time period that our first son was born (being home at night really helped with the procreation side of marriage).  Remember my introduction, dear reader?  Remember when I talked about our hopes and plans?  And remember how I said we could not have prepared for what was to come?  Well, once again, God had a plan for us that we could not fathom.  Without going into huge detail, our first son, Michael Jeffrey Kok, was born on October 14, 1999.  In His infinite wisdom, God took Michael home on December 7, 1999.  Nothing,dear reader, could have prepared us for this.  But, we are comforted by knowing that God will never give us anything we can't handle, and sure enough, He walked this path with us, holding our hands.  We cried, we grieved together and together we carried on...in faith.

Carrying on forward a few years, we had an amazing time.  We purchased our first house, which we still live in today.  We were richly blessed with two more children, David in 2001 and Rebecca in 2004.  I ended up switching careers at the age of 32, because my back just wouldn't handle the physicality of being a baker any more.  So, I went to college for a year.  For almost a full year, we had an income of $0.  And out of that $0, we paid our mortgage and everything that comes with owning a house, we were raising a baby (we only had David at this point), and we tried to live.  And, by God's grace, we made it through. Roughly 5 years after the career change, my income was beyond what I was making as a baker when I quit.  Truly we were blessed.

I'll try get to the end of this, dear reader.  I'm sure you're bored by now.  Carrying on then.....our promise of 'in sickness and health' was tested yet again.  First, I developed health issues that at first looked related to a bad ticker, but ended being a bad respiratory system (25 years of smoking will do that).  Then, the lumps were found in Dianne's breast....and a lot of you walked that path with us through the blog.  I won't re-hash any of that.  If you want to, go to http://fifafan69.blogspot.com and go on that journey.  And, the third health related issue to strike us was my diabetes, which today is very much under control.

Dear reader, I write all of this to give you a glimpse of the past 14 years, and how the promises we made to each other before God and many witnesses were put to the test. Did life turn out as we planned?  Absolutely not.  Did life, to this point, turn out great?  Absolutely.  But, we discovered that our plans don't neccesarily match with the plans God has for us.  Be prepared for bumps and curves in the road...our human GPS is not really all that accurate.

And now I ask you:  Did you notice the title of this article?  Papillons de l'Amour.  That is French for ' The Butterflies of Love'.  Yes dear reader, after 14 years, after riches and poorer, after better and worse and after sickness and health, I still get that little feeling whenever I look at my lovely bride.  Calvin and Hobbes referred to it as 'cooties'.  I call it butterflies.  Butterflies of Love.  Papillons de l'Amour.

Happy Anniversary, Dianne.  You truly are my best friend.  I love you.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

What was that all about?

'Allo, dear reader

You may or may not have heard by now that my dear wife went in for a bunch of tests this week at the CCI (Cross Cancer Institute).  Some of you may even have been a bit startled by this.  Well, let me put your minds at ease.  Please, dear reader....read on.

A couple months ago, I posted an article in which I mentioned a 'test' that Dianne was possibly going to participate in.  For those of you who missed that entry, here it is again.  I'm copying and pasting from that article, so please read it if you'd like, and then I'll continue todays writing.

"Also, starting in September, Dianne will be participating in a study that will see her take a new drug called Neratinib.  We had some concerns about this drug and it's side effects, but her oncologist reassured us that all the side effects are treatable.  Orginally Dianne was going to turn down the opportunity to participate in this study....mainly because she's had enough.  She is tired, and it takes hardly anything to wear her out.  Yes, she looks healthy and she looks awesome, but really people....there are still issues.  I think most people forget that (not that I blame them for that).  The thinking is that she must be good since she looks so good.  Not so much.  The heart medicine really sets her back every morning, and this new drug too will not be very pleasant.  The oncologist really wants Dianne on this study, because she is a very high risk for re-occurence due to the type of cancer she had.  Fortunately, she will be able to start the study in September, once the kids are in school.  She really did not want this drug and its side effects to ruin her summer...and now it won't.  We are very thankful for that.  Again, I will keep you all informed as to any test results that we get back, and I will continue to post updates if there's anything."

So, now that it is September, the process has started to possibly enrol Dianne in the study.  Thus she had to go for a mugga scan, an ECG, a chest x-ray and blood work.  All of this is to determine if she is healthy enough to go on the drug.  We will not find out the results until next week Thursday.  If everything looks good, Dianne will start the drug on Friday.

And that, dear reader, is what it's all about.  Nothing to worry about...it's just another case of our health care system working well.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wanna Smoke?

Good afternoon, dear reader

For 20 years or so, I was a smoker.  At times, I was a very heavy smoker...2 packs a day type stuff.  But, for the most part, I was a 1/2 a pack a day kinda guy.  Yup, my fingers had a yellow tinge, my pillow was stained with the nicotine that bled out of my pores at night, dentists despised my teeth (although they loved the bills I had to pay for them to try make my whites pearly), and for 11 years, my wife complained about kissing an ashtray.  Yes, dear reader....I was a smoker.

Almost 3 years ago, I made the decision to quit smoking.  I had just finished spending over $70 on a carton, and it suddenly struck me what a waste of money that was.  Along with the fact that I'd been experiencing quite a bit of chest pains and shortness of breath, the signs were pointing towards quitting.  So, I told myself that when the carton (plus 2 packs of American smokes) were gone...that was it.  I was done.  And sure enough....my last smoke was on a Monday morning around 11AM...right after a staff meeting.  I remember that moment very well.  It's the sort of thing one doesn't forget...kind of like 'where were you when Kennedy was shot'.  (I was a a mere wish in my father's brain, but I digress).

And here we are....almost 3 years later.  And you're wondering why i'm bringing up smoking now.  Let me try paint you a picture, dear reader.  On a sunny Friday morning, the grass is still wet with dew, or maybe it was a bit of rain from the night before.  I'm standing on the fairway of the 7th hole.  Ok, busted...it's actually the fairway of the 3rd hole, but I'm playing the 7th....my drive was a bit askew.  I'm golfing with 2 nephews and a good friend....mere hours before a wedding.  The air is crisp...the 4 of us wend our way through the fairways and greens (not always our own!!).  We've pretty much got the course to ourselves.  Our laughter (and the odd curse because of a bad shot) fills the air...we're having a grand time.  We were alone...but now, on the 7th hole, we are joined by a videographer.  Apparently, this is part of the whole wedding thing.  You see, one of the golfers is the groom, one is the best man, and two are groomsmen.  Perfect time to get the silliness on video.

Have I lost you yet, dear reader?  Continue reading.  A couple of the people present light up cigars.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of the smell of cigarette smoke, but on this beautiful morning, the smell of a freshly lit cigar was intoxicating.  Wow.  We are so relaxed, having some fun, being (dare I admit it?) a bit silly.  And there it was, like a weight pressing down on me.  My whole psyche was feeling the pressure....I was finding it hard to breathe.  Got it figured out yet, dear reader?  I was craving a smoke...desperately.  Oh, I'd had a nic fit before....heck, it hasn't even been 3 years since I'd quit.  But this one....this was bad.  I wasn't sure I was going to get through this one.

Are you a smoker, dear reader?  An ex-smoker?  If you are, you'll know what I'm talking about.  As a smoker, there is an easy cure to this phenomenon....have a smoke.  As an ex-smoker, it is much more difficult.  Every ex-smoker has their own method of dealing with this craving.  I just take a real deep breath, and hope like mad that it goes away.  (Notice I didn't mention the reformed smokers?  They are the ones who look down their noses at the lowly peons that dare to smoke in their illustrious presence, and claim that only losers smoke.  Totally forgetting that their last smoke was mere months ago.  Nope, I'm not mentioning the reformed smokers...they frost my apricots.)

Well, dear reader.  I survived the scare.  It was close.  I'm sure I could have cajoled one of the smokers to hook me up and light me up.  At the time, I actually imagined that I would even enjoy it.  Looking back, I think I would have coughed and hacked out a lung, leaving a quivering jelly-like mass on the 7th green or maybe on the 8th tee box.  Looking back, I think I would have turned a horrid shade of green.  Looking back, I don't think I would have enjoyed it.

Wanna smoke, dear reader?  I sure don't.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Good evening dear reader.

I have one word for this entry....SIGH.  Yup, I am sighing with frustration.  I seem to have a bad case of writers block.  I have started a few different articles, but all of them stalled fairly early on.  I have tried to start a book, but I can't get into it.


What do I do, dear reader?  I need your help.  Why don't I let you decide what I write about next.  Remember my Monday Musings?  Why don't you suggest some topics for me.  Maybe that will get the creative juices flowing.

Help me out, dear reader.  Please?  If you don't want your suggestion to be made public, then please send me an email via the 'Contact Us' link.  But please...suggest something.  Because as the title suggests....my creativity is BEGONE.



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Summer of....what?

Hello dear reader and welcome once again to my blog.

Is the title too confusing?  To be honest, I'm not 100% sure what I'm expecting out of this article.  Maybe just a run down of all the summer activities to date.  I might throw in an update on Dianne too.  But, for the most part, I'm just going to write whatever I feel like writing...kind of like I always do.

The summer started off real well.  Officially, on July 5th, my promotion at work kicked in.  I went from being a Help Desk Analyst to a Technical Analyst.  Basically, that means that I am now working out at a variety of schools, providing tech support.  This is a very thrilling change for me.  To be honest, it took longer to move off the Help Desk than I expected, or wanted, but there were reasons for this.  I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that the management team at work made the right decision in keeping me in the Help Desk role for the extra time.

The cool thing about the day the new position started is that my holidays started on the same day!!  I love my job.  Yup, starting July 5, I took  2 weeks off....and had a very nice couple weeks.  I spent a couple days at home with Dianne and the kids...and we packed.  We had to pack basically for two trips...one trip to Barrhead and then a trip to southern BC.  As there was hardly any time between the two trips, we had to pack for both before either started.  More on that debacle later (please remind me if I forget).

So, the first week.  Keith and Jessica's wedding.  An event anticipated for a long time.  And what a beautiful day it was!!  But, before I get to the day itself, a bit about the days leading up to it.  The decorating of the school gym was a long, 2 day affair.  I commend everyone who designed, directed and helped, for the place was turned into a masterpiece.  It really was an amazing sight.  Over the days leading up to the wedding, I met some very nice people....mostly from Jess's side.  Her brother Patrick and his wife, Brendan and Lisa, Joel and Crystal, Kelly and Trevor....all of them I really liked meeting.  (I'm not sure the feeling is mutual, but hey....I am who I am.)  There were others I met as well, but I can't remember their names right now.  There was some brilliant golf played (not that the scores indicated our brilliance, but the amount of fun we had was brilliant), and some good food consumed (and maybe the occasional beverage).  All in all, it was a great time!!!

The morning of the wedding, Keith, James, Chris and I went for 9 holes of golf.  I'm sure pictures will show up at some point, because the videographer and 2 photographers were there for holes 8 and 9.  Hopefully the shots are all of Keith....  Now, one thing needs a quick explanation.  For months, I have been teasing / negotiating with Jessica (the bride, not the sister) about what independant choices I have regarding the clothes I was to wear (I was Keith's best man).  I had pretty much no choice (as expected).  However, my awesome negotiating skills and Jessica's willingness to allow me a small victory  produced this:  I was allowed to choose my own socks!!!!  And the choice was revealed after the ceremony, after Keith and Jess and Crystal and I walked out.....before I was allowed to give Jess a congratulatory hug, she asked to see the socks.  And there they were.....baseball style socks (knee length, with nothing around the  heel or toes)....bright orange!!!  Hup Holland Hup!!!!!!!  The hysterical part was that Keith was wearing a pair, as were James and Chris (groomsmen).  Oh it was priceless to see Jess's reaction.  Well played, team!!!!

This article is getting long enough, and you are probably getting bored, so in the near future I will put up another article with the rest of the promised information (2nd week of vacation, Dianne's update etc etc).  Thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it.  As always, I appreciate your comments on both my articles and my photo gallery.  If you have something to say, but don't want it public, then use the 'Contact Us' link on the main page to send me an email.  I look forward to those as well

Until next time, dear reader....cheers.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Update and.....update and stuff.

Good Morning dear reader

Welcome once again to fifafan.ca.  For those of you who were re-directed here from fifafan69.blogspot.com....welcome.  This is the place for my blog entries, so bookmark it, and check back once in a while.  My posting has been a bit random, so don't check back too often.  Better yet, use the RSS feed.

So, what's going on you ask?  Lots of stuff.  My big helicopter is still not flying.  The speed controller blew up for unknown reasons, thus I have to wait for a new one to come out of Hong Kong.  I'm holding out a very slim hope that I'll have it flying before I depart on holidays.  And that's it for heli talk.

Anyone watching the World Cup?  My teams, in order, are Holland, Spain and England.  Beyond that I just don't care.  I find it very comical that the French blew up, the Italians showed their age, and as much as I like the English, why do they insisit it's their God given right to do well at the WC?  They really aren't that good.  The only reason the Premiership is so good is all the foreigners.  A select few British players are really any good....Gerrard and...and....well, Gerrard.  John Terry is shyte apart from the fact he plays on a Chel-scum team that has some brilliant foreigners, and the same for Frank Lampard.  Wayne Rooney is only good in club football, and then because he has some foreigners on his team that can feed him the ball in space, thus allowing him to score.  His british counterparts couldn't find him in space for 4 games....thus Rooney looked like poo out there.  Meh, as long as Holland beats Slovakia today, I'm happy.  After that, I fully expect them to crater as is their wont.  /end WC rant.

Very soon is the wedding of my nephew Keith.  Less than two weeks away is the big event...and we made some definite plans for the days leading up to the day.  The Wednesday is our golfing 'stag', followed by a BBQ and bonfire.  Thursday is decorating, followed by golf.  and Friday morning is golf before the ceremony (with the brides permission!!!!!!)  Really, I just want to golf.  Speaking of golf, I went out on Saturday, and broke 100 for the first time ever!!!!!!  Back to wedding plans...if Keith thinks he's uptight, he should see the state of mind I'm in.  I don't even have my 'toast to the groom' done yet.  Oh my.  The stress.  *sigh*

Now on to the important stuff.  Here is another update on my dear wife.  The Herceptin treatments she's been taking are over.  Yay!!!  They cancelled the last one because of her heart.  Boo!!!  Yes, you read that right.  I posted about this in an earlier blog that the Herceptin caused her heart to show signs on cardiac toxicity.  Well, that did not improve any, so they called off the final Herceptin.  For now, Dianne will remain on the heart medicine until she gets her heart checked out again by the experts.  I'll let you know how that turns out.


Also, starting in September, Dianne will be participating in a study that will see her take a new drug called Neratinib.  We had some concerns about this drug and its side effects, but her oncologist reassured us that all the side effects are treatable.  Originally Dianne was going to turn down the opportunity to participate in this study....mainly because she's had enough.  She is tired, and it takes hardly anything to wear her out.  Yes, she looks healthy and she looks awesome, but really people....there are still issues.  I think most people forget that (not that I blame them for that).  The thinking is that she must be good since she looks so good.  Not so much.  The heart medicine really sets her back every morning, and this new drug too will not be very pleasant.  The oncologist really wants Dianne on this study, because she is a very high risk for re-occurrence due to the type of cancer she had.  Fortunately, she will be able to start the study in September, once the kids are in school.  She really did not want this drug and its side effects to ruin her summer...and now it won't.  We are very thankful for that.  Again, I will keep you all informed as to any test results that we get back, and I will continue to post updates if there's anything.

And that, dear reader, is all I've got for today.  Hup Holland, Hup!!!!!!!!



Update....but not here

'Allo dear reader

Please visit the following site for all future blog entries, including today's update.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stuff....and things.

Good morning dear reader

Long has it been since I've graced this site with some musings.  It seems I do that a fair bit.....so much time in between writings.  I must avail myself of more time to keep in touch with you all....or run the risk of losing you forever.  And that, dear reader, pains me to think of it.   You've devoted much time to following me on the various blog sites, and I in turn must continue to provide you with my musings.  All I can say is this:  I'll try.

So, what's the latest?  Well, I have received a promotion at work.  Currently I am a Help Desk Analyst, working on the Help Desk (Captain Obvious!!) for Edmonton Public Schools.  As of July 5th, I will become a Technical Analyst, working out at various schools as the tech guy.  This is a huge step for me, and one I am definintely looking forward to.  My first couple weeks in my new role will be spent on holidays.  I love my job .

My helicopter hobby continues to progress nicely.  The latest copter is costing me a fortune, but mostly because I need to buy specific tools to get the thing running.  Fortunately this outpouring of cash should come to end (sort of).  I won't have to buy the tools again, but parts will be never ending.  I don't have the 450 class copter running yet, but I am getting close.  I'm in the process of installing the electronics, after which I will need to set up everything to work nicely together.   Hopefully a couple more weeks will do it.


Here's a question for you, dear reader.  Why in the name of all that is good do some people feel the need to express how much money they spend on stuff?  I mean, do I really care how much you spent on your Lexus, and how much you spent on your toys?  No, I don't care.  And if you think you're impressing me, think again.  Really, if you need to throw dollar figures around, I'm more than likely to think you’re an idiot.  This mostly applies to conversations like "yeah, so I'm driving my Lexus, which cost me $50,000........."  See what I'm sayin', dear reader?  I know that in an earlier paragraph I moaned about my helicopter hobby being expensive, but that is different.  I didn't throw out numbers, and I didn't try impress you with the amount spent.  /end rant.

About the only other thing I've been doing over the past little while is working on the speech I have to give at my nephew's wedding.  Yes, I am the 'best' man, and yes, I have to give a toast to the groom.  So far I am on revision 6, which is also known as RC (release candidate) 1.  I plan on working on it some more on my lunch hour today.  As I write it, I usually laugh a lot, so they people I work with look at me funny.  Meh, nothing new there.

And that, dear reader, is about all I've got for today.  It is approaching my lunch hour, and thus another writing task awaits.  Hopefully I will see you soon again on these pages.  Until then....take care.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hello Heli....and other stuff

Good Morning, dear reader

Once again, I make a return to these pages to impart my thoughts to the world.  However, the world most likely couldn't care less, but that's fine with me.  I write anyways.  It's therapeutic.  It's fun.  And it's what I do.  Moving on then...........

What, dear reader, is the one thing that is in my mind the most lately?  If you guessed flying, you are correct.  I have been getting more and more into the remote control helicopter scene...and it is a blast.  Right now, I own 3 flyable choppers (and 1 non-flyable, which has a seized motor).  My little chopper is an E-Flite Blade mSR, and it is a squirelly little devil.  It is a fixed pitch heli, and is mostly an indoor helicopter, although on a calm day I could probably take it outdoors.  My medium size chopper is an E-Sky Lama V4.  This was my first real chopper.  This one is a coaxial heli, mostly made for indoor flight, but again, on a calm day, I could probably fly it outdoors.  The Lama flys completely different than the mSR...but both are a lot of fun.

My latest chopper, and probably my last one for a really long time, is the CopterX 450SE.  This is a clone of the Align T-Rex 450.  It arrived from Hong Kong yesterday, and all I have to do now is put it together.  This is strictly an outdoor chopper (or a really big indoor area), and it is capable of 3d flight.  That means that eventually I will be able to intentionally do tricks, such as flying verically and upside down.  I suspect that by early June, I will have this chopper in the air.  Very exciting times, indeed.

Another way I like to fly is with Microsofts Flight Simulator.  For those who haven't used it and enjoy flying, it is a very realistic way to enjoy soaring with the eagles.  I was at my Dad's place on the May long weekend, and we flew around on his FS.  We attempted to take a Cessna to the top of Mt. Everest...and failed miserablely.  I suspect that the air is much to thin to support such a flight, but I will not give up.  It is also a pile of fun learning to fly a heli on this simulator.

And that, dear reader, is the story (continuing) of my flight.

The title of this article also reflects other stuff.  What other stuff do I have?  What else can I talk about?  A quick update on the website end of things.  Nothing has changed on this site, and for now, nothing will change.  I'm pleased with where it's at.  The only thing I will be adding in the very near future is more pictures.  Stay tuned for posts regarding that.  My other websites (http://rkotech.ca and http://leffers.ca) continue to be worked on, albeit very slowly.  If you're in anyway related to a Leffers, please register on the Leffers site and enjoy the many things it has to offer.

And that, dear reader is about all I got for now.  No, I won't be going off on any rants, or telling you exactly what I think.  I actually want to go read the manual for my new heli radio (Spektrum DX6i)...plus I should do some work .  So, until next time....enjoy doing whatever it is you do and I hope to see you back on these pages real soon.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Hello dear reader

Well, whoever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks is wrong.  I have been learning about making websites...in Joomla.  Joomla is a content management system that is very intuitive and easy-ish to learn. 

So, the result is my website...http://fifafan.ca.  It is a work in progress, and constantly changing.  Right now, I have a poll on the site, and I'm asking any of you who read this drivel to head over to the site and take the poll.  It's free and it's easy.  You, dear reader, will have a say in the future of this blog!!!  How exciting, huh?

Please bookmark the website, and follow along with the changes.  It will be a fun ride. 


Thursday, April 8, 2010

A musing...of sorts.

Greetings once again, dear reader

Part of me says I should apologize for not writing anything sooner, and I am currently in the process of fighting those feelings.  The little devil on the left shoulder is winning this battle against the little angel on the right.  And the voices in my head are very very loud, clamoring for me to make a decision either way.  So, in order to shut the voices up...I have come to a decision.  I will NOT apologize.  It's my blog, I'll write when I want, and to be honest, I'm not actually sure anybody aside from my wife reads this drivel. 

Ah, silence.  People say that a dog is a mans best friend...I disagree.  I believe that silence is a mans best friend.  And now to muse.

Dear reader, I do not claim to be a smart person.  As a matter of fact, I will vehemently argue the opposite.  However, I do possess a great quantity of something that many people lack...common sense.  Common sense (hereafter refered to as CS) is not common at all, and I'm sure that this declaration comes as no surprise to anyone.  Yes, dear reader, this is the part where I go off on a rant.  Buckle in, and relax...and whatever you do, don't take this personnally.  Unless you're one of the people I rant against.  In that case, I laugh at you.

Dear reader, I want to talk about drivers.  But before I begin, let me just clarify that I do not profess to be a perfect driver.  I don't always obey the traffic rules as I should, but mostly that pertains to speed limits.  On the highway I will not stick to the 110Kmph limit (unless I'm in a particularly frugal mood and want to spend less on gas consumption).  No, I am not perfect.  At least now, none of you can get all snarky and say 'Ooooo, doesn't he just think he's perfect!!'.  No, you can't say that. 

Yes dear reader, there are some drivers out there on the roads that do not possess one iota of CS.  CS dictates that one would stop at a red light, and would stay stopped for the duration of the light being red.  CS would dictate that one would not move until the light changes to green.  Red means STOP (and stay stopped!!!!) and green means GO.  Why, oh why, dear reader, is this so difficult to understand?  I can't tell you the number of times I've been stopped at a red light, and the bozo beside me is creeping forward until he or she is in the intersection!!  And the light is still red!!!  I've also had to swerve around these creepers whilst driving through a green light, and the bozo at the red light has creeped into my driving lane.  If you are one of these people, dear reader, RED MEANS STOP AND STAY STOPPED!!!  Keep your foot firmly planted on your brake.  In the immortal words of Don Cherry, it's not rocket surgery. 

Something else frosts my apricots, dear reader.  As we discussed, red means stop, right? Right.  So, if you are coming up on a red light, and you are making a right hand turn...does the rule not count anymore?  And don't even think about bringing up right hand turning arrows....that doesn't count to this discussion.  RED MEANS STOP!!  And if you're planning on making a right hand turn, guess what?  RED MEANS STOP!!!!  Stop and then turn.  Again, dear reader...CS that is not common at all.  Just this morning, on my way to work, I was stopped (firmly stopped, I might add) at a red light, and 3 vehicles went through the red light and made a right hand turn.  No stopping.  Heck, they didn't even slow down.  And no, there was not a green turning light at this moment.  I can't believe these idiots.  Are people just color blind?  No, dear reader, I don't think so.  I think that people are in too much of a hurry to pay attention to the rules of the road.  And when people are in a hurry, CS goes out the window.  One of these days, I am sure I will be rear-ended because I do stop before making a right hand turn on a red light.  I understand that our police force is stretched, and can't monitor everything, but it is time for our roads to be safer.  And being safer starts with you, dear reader.  Pay attention to the rules of the road.  And remember, RED MEANS STOP and GREEN MEANS GO. 

Dear reader, I really wanted to write a little more today, but this post is long enough.  Maybe on my next musing I will get you up to speed as to what I'm doing with my website, and what I'm planning on with my little tech business.  But, until then, dear reader, please use CS and drive safe. 



Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday's Musings

Dear Reader

Due to work committments, slight lack of time and a real lack of creativity, there will be no Monday Musing today.  Or tomorrow.  Um, not Wednesday either, but Thursday is a possibility.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday's Musings...on Tuesday.

Good Afternoon, Dear Reader

So last week just didn't work out for writing.  It was a fairly busy week.  This week is busy as well, but I have about an hour and a half to try put something coherent here.  There is not much new going on right now.  Dianne and I did go to a concert the other night...we went to see the Soweto Gospel Choir perform at the Winspear here in Edmonton.  Dear reader, if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend seeing this group perform live.  Listening to the music off a cd is wonderful, but their performance, their dance and their wonderful interaction with the audience is worth every penny.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and I will definitely go see them again!!

Wondering how the RC helicopter hobby is taking off?  (Groan, that was horrible!!!)  Well, I believe that last time we talked, I had been flying the little Falcon 3 channel chopper, and I had ordered the Lama V4 4-channel chopper.  It turns out that the Lama is an absolute blast to fly, but it is not suitable for flying in my house.  So, I fly it at work in the loading bay.  I have since purchased an E-Flight Blade MSR, which is a little chopper (less that 8 inches long) that is perfect for flying in the house.  It is a squirlly little thing, and is an absolute blast.  It is very durable, as it should be.  It goes a million miles per hour until it hits a wall, after which it will merrily fly along again with no damage usually.  It is a much different flying experience than the Lama...the Lama is a coaxial chopper, while the MSR is a fixed pitch.  Now I can't wait to get home tonight to fly.  I'll post pics of the choppers on http://www.fifafan.ca/ (works best of Firefox or Safari).

Health wise, there is not much new to report.  My diabetes is being managed by pills, diet and (alleged) excercise. And Dianne continues to go for treatments and tests.  Both kids are healthy.  All is well then, right?  Right. 

Renovations on our house are continuing.  We have decided to get the house sided with vinyl siding, which will just go over top the existing stucco, with an inch of insulation between.  The company, Ultimate Renovations (no I don't get a discount for the free advertising), started the job on Friday, and we are hoping they'll be done this week.  I'll post pictures on http://www.fifafan.ca/ once it's done. 

And that, dear reader, is about all I've got.  I could go on a rant about the stupid drivers in Edmonton, but as I believe I've mentioned before, that will be an entire post on its own.  So, until next time.....farewell.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday's Musings

Good afternoon, dear Reader.

I have decided today that the greatest way to spend a lunch hour at work is to go into the loading bay, and fly my gyrocopter.  I was down there with 3 other guys today, flying away.  What a blast!!  Now, my 'copter is not as powerful as theirs, but the fun factor was way up there.  If you're not sure what my gyrocopter looks like, here's a pic:
It is not as big as it looks.  But it is twice as much fun as it looks.  I bought this one at the TV Showcase shop in Londonderry mall.  The first few hours I flew it, I crashed and burned several times.  It is very easy to hit the panic button when you lose control of the 'copter.  But now, with a few more hours of flying under my belt, I am much better at NOT panicing, and I am more able to recover from a bad situation.  Of course, some situations are just not recoverable from...and then the crash is ugly.  So far, I haven't broken anything on the 'copter, or in the house...although my wife's ivy plant just about bit the dust.  That, dear reader, did not go over well.  I am hoping that within the next 5-7 days, my big 'copter will show up.  The big 'copter is an ESky LLama V4.  I bought mine out of Hong Kong, mostly because it is about a $100 cheaper than here....the only drawback is that I have to wait for 7-10 days for it to arrive.  Patience is a virtue. 

Dear reader, I really don't have anything more to muse about today.  Just a little more than an hour to go before I can go home and fly my bird around the house.  Tonight is a meeting at the church, so flight time will be somewhat restricted. 

And now, my brain is done.  Thus I bid you adieu.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dianne's Update

'Allo Dear Reader
As promised, here is the latest on my dear wife. If you recall, Dianne has been receiving a drug called Herceptin. This drug is an antibody that fights against HER2+ disease (which is what made her cancer so aggressive). With this drug comes some inherent risks....mainly heart problems. So, she has been going for heart tests every 3 months.  Around 6 weeks ago, she went in for her regularly scheduled heart test....and the results were that the numbers dropped by a factor of 10.  What this means I don't have a clue.  But what we do know is that the doctors immediately stopped the Herceptin treatments.  It is policy that if the numbers (what they mean I still don't have a clue) drop by 10 or more, the treatment is cancelled for at least one month, and resumption of the treatment is subject to a) another heart test and b) the doctors whim.
So, where does this leave us, dear reader?  Well, Dianne did go for the follow up heart test, and the 'numbers' did not improve.  And by 'did not improve' I mean they went up by a factor of 1...basically very little.  And here is where the fun begins. 
Dianne's oncologist has decided that he wants her to continue with the Herceptin, even with the 'numbers' of her heart.  However, instead of going for a heart test every three months, she is going to be watched very closely by the heart specialists at the University Hospital.  Apparently, it might even be the head honcho who will be watching and testing her heart very closely. 
What are they worried about?  One of the side effects of Herceptin is heart disease / failure.  Before you freak out, dear reader, let me explain.  The doctor is NOT worried about Dianne suffering from heart failure.  But he is erring on the side of caution.  She is young and healthy, and thus is not a likely candidate for heart failure.  But, as he says, why take a chance?  It also allows the medical community to study the effects of Herceptin...thus they are using Dianne for research purposes.  And we are good with that....if they can learn something that will help someone else down the road, then all of this is well worth it.
Dear reader, all of this means that Dianne will have oodles of appointments coming up.  Heart tests, echocardiograms, consultations, blood work, more heart tests etc etc.  Just when we thought the constant barrage of appointments was coming to an end, they start up again.  We are not complaining about it, of course...we could not be more pleased with how the medical community has taken care of Dianne in the past 14 months.  Alberta Health Services has come through big time, and they continue to come through.
And that, dear reader, brings you up to date.  Based on all this information, you can correctly assume that much more will be written in the upcoming weeks and months.  Use the RSS feed to keep up to date, or bookmark the site and check back regularly.  Thanks again for all the ongoing support.  And please, in your prayers, remember Evelyn Peters....she's battling this awful disease right now.  We wish her the Lord's strength, and also to Marvin and the family. 
Until next time...cheers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Musings

Good afternoon, Dear Reader

Well, I've managed to do it.  I have successfully managed to muse once again on a Monday, something I wasn't sure I would be able to do.  Hmm, this could be habit forming.  One would hope not, though....my musings aren't really all that interesting.  But I've said it before and I'll say it again...I write for me for the most part.  Important stuff like health updates I write for you, but the rest is fluff.  And, once again, in today's edition I have some very important health updates.  Actually I think I'll put that in a separate post.  That way I can get the color scheme correct...and since I'm all about fashion and design, it only makes sense.

So, how about those Olympics, huh?  I firmly believe that every single one of our athletes did our country proud.  Personally, I am extremely proud to be a citizen of this great country...I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.  For Emma in Oklahoma, all I have to say is this:  Canadian Womens Hockey: GOLD.  USA Womens Hockey: silver.  Canadian Mens Hockey: GOLD!!!!  USA Mens Hockey: silver

ner ner ner ner ner ner

I have finally been putting in some effort on my 'toast to the groom' speech.  Yes, I have to give one of these at my nephews wedding.  Once in a while I will write for it whilst at work....and I laugh out loud.  My co-workers think I'm nuts, but that's nothing new.  No, I am not giving anything away as to the content.  Now, about the whole wedding thing....Jessica, you can trust me.  LOL.  She'll know what that's all about.  And yes, I get to choose my own socks (really, Jess....you can trust me).  Understandably I have no say in the tux (apparently neither does Keith LMAO)....but I can choose my own socks.  And I'm very pleased about that.

Let's talk hobbies.  I need to make a choice.  Do I want to give up on my model railroad hobby (lack of space in my house) and move into remote control stuff (planes, helicopters and really fast cars)?  Both hobbies are expensive, and I can only afford one.  I would finish off the layout I'm presently building, but I would not expand after that and proceed into remote control.  *sigh*  I will continue to ponder this, and make a decision.  Any thoughts, dear reader?

Today's entry was a lot of nothing, wasn't it?  Can you tell I'm not horribly inspired?  I promise I'll try harder next time.  Watch closely though...there will be an important update coming soon (tomorrow?  tonight?)  regarding my dear wife.

Until then, dear reader.......cheers.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musings

Good Morning Dear Reader

I have decided to start a new feature on my blog called....you guessed it, Monday Musings.  Now, I don't promise a new entry every single Monday of the year.  As a matter of fact, I promise nothing beyond this entry.  What is the point of my Monday Musing?  Pretty much nothing, to be honest.  Once in a while, there may be a nugget of useful information, but more often than not it will be exactly what it suggests....musings.  Also known as mindless ramblings.

Well then, let's begin our (drum roll please)............MONDAY MUSINGS!!!!!!

For my very first official musing, I'd like to talk about my website.  Yes, I have a website.  Yes, I own my own domain name.  No, I am not creative in any way, shape or form, so my website most likely looks like poo.  But, it is mine and it is a constantly changing work in progress.  It contains an RSS feed, so you can easily keep up with the changes (Although, watching paint dry might be more exciting than waiting for me to change my site.)  It also allows comments to the individual photos.Right now, it contains a boring welcome page, and another page for my photo albums (or photo album, as it were.  There has only been one album posted to it so far).  If you're interested in seeing it, click here.  I have also just purchased the domain name www.thekokclan.ca, but as of right now, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. 

Dear reader, remember a while ago we talked about making my blog into a book?  And remember how I asked you all for suggestions regarding the format of the book?  I must say that the response to my query was overwhelmingly under-whelming.  So, based on the feedback, I have decided what I'm going to do with it.  I have not yet decided if I'm going to publish sneak previews on here....that can be determined later.  Wish me luck as I forge ahead and try write this thing into some sort of entertaining and helpful form.

Ah, yes...the dentist.  I get to go to the dentist tonight at 8:00PM.  Yippee.  One of my fillings chipped this past weekend, and now there is a very sharp piece sticking up and gouging my cheek.  Good thing for benefits, because the dentist is going to see dollar bills when he / she looks in my mouth.

Speaking of music, I have finally got it figured out how to stream my own music from my own music library into Second Life.  It is awesome!!  My avatar can be relaxing in his house, and can listen to music that I'm playing.  What's the point, you ask?  Well, if my avatar has company at the house, his guests can also listen to the same music.  Basically I can DJ for my guests.  Which is really cool.  Next step in Second Life is to become a DJ and have some fun with that.

Oooh!!  Guess what!!  My doctor has given me permission to consume alcoholic beverages again!!  He was fairly happy with my blood sugar numbers at my last appointment.  This, of course, is terrific news!!  He did throw in a caveat....he says 'in everything....moderation'.  In my most humble opinion, moderation is better than not at all.  So I am good with that.  That means wings and beer night with Sheldon can be a real wings and real beer night....not a real wings and diet coke night.  Yay!!!!!

And that, dear reader, is the end of the first official Monday Musings.  As always, comments are welcome.  Maybe I'll even take requests.  Want me to muse on a subject?  Drop me a line and I'll ponder it.

Until next time, cheers.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hump Day Ramblings

Good morning dear Reader

I hope you're ready for this, because I'm not.  I have no idea how this post is going to turn out.  I have no clue what I'm going to put in this.  And I really don't know if you'll like it or not.  And frankly, my dear, I don't give a d@mn.  Let the carnage begin.

I suppose I could start off by telling you all about my struggle to get my blood sugars under control.  Or I could start off on a rant about people who creep forward at a red light, and are into the intersection whilst the light is still red. Or I could not mention any of this, and go off on something completely different.  It actually seems that I'm going to talk about nothing except what I could talk about.  Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not ruling out the above topics.  Well, actually I am ruling out the rant about people who creep forward at a red light and are into the intersection whilst the light is still red.  That is an entire entry all on it's own.

Oh, I have an idea!!!  How about I ask you for your advice on something.  Last year, when I was blogging about Dianne's battle with cancer, it was suggested to me that I turn it into a book.  Now, this idea appeals to me.  The problem I have is that I don't know what format to use.  I have a couple ideas, but I'm not at the point to divulge them right now.  What I'd like to know is this:  How do you, as my loyal (or not so loyal) readers, see a book based on the blog playing out?  What format would work?  It would be great if you could give me some ideas.  If I use your idea you'll win a prize.

At this point, I guess I will throw in some useful info.  If any of you are wondering about my struggle with diabetes, read on.  If you don't care, don't read.  For the most part, things are going ok.  Between the meds and diet and excercise, my blood sugars are coming down.  Over the past week and a half, we have been aggressively increasing the dosage of Metformin...and this has not been fun.  It has hit me real hard, but as my body gets used to the high concentrations of the drug, the side effects are not as noticeable.  My mmol/L is not where the Dr. wants it yet, but it's getting there.  It fluctuates quite a bit, but we're starting to get a grip on what makes it do that.  I go for a diabetes training course in March, so hopefully that will give us some useful information.

Hmm...now what.  Is there anything you'd like to talk about, dear reader?  I know I can make you want to talk about stuff, but I'm trying to be nice and giving you the opportunity to be heard.  No?  Well then, it's still up to me to direct this conversation.

And I direct it to end.......until next time when you'll hear about the drivers who creep forward at red lights and are into the intersection whilst the light is still red.



PS:  I have added an RSS feed to the blog, so you can now follow it that way as well.  Thanks to my brother for the idea.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Strong like Athlete and Sweet like Sugah!!!!!

Happy Monday, dear reader.

I cannot begin to describe how thrilled I am that you've joined me this morning.  After all, a writer needs an audience....and so do wannabe writers like me.  The whole purpose of writing is to convey a message to the readers, or to entertain the masses.  I too, write for these purposes.  I want to entertain you, make you chortle and maybe even force you to guffaw.  And, at the very least, I want to convey messages.  That then, dear reader, brings us to the crux of this post.  I have a message.

The message I have is two-fold.  One part (and the first part) of the message is concerning my dear wife.  But, hold on whilst I switch the font color......

Alright then....moving right along.  This past week, my wife had to go for her regular heart test.  She gets these tests in order to make sure her heart is good, and that she is still able to receive the Herceptin.  Well, as it turns out, based on this heart test, she cannot receive the next 2 scheduled doses of Herceptin.  Now, before you go off and panic, hear me out.  The data that came back from the heart test show that her numbers have dropped by 10 points (please don't ask what that means, because I don't have a clue).  This does NOT mean that Dianne's heart is bad....as a matter of fact, she has been told she has the heart of an athlete.  But it is the rule (written in stone type of rule) that if the numbers drop by that much, then Herceptin is delayed for at least a month.

So dear reader, there is nothing to panic about.  This is merely a safety measure.  Towards the end of February, Dianne will go for another heart test, and after that it will be determined what will happen in regards to the Herceptin.  As always, I will keep you up to date.  Now, let me switch back to a normal font color and proceed to part two of my two-fold message.

Ah, there we go.  And welcome to part two, dear reader.  This part of the message concerns myself.  For further information, please read on.  If you have no interest whatsoever, please click the 'home' button on your browser or the little red x on the top right of your monitor (or top left if you're on a MAC).

Right then...me.  For those of you who haven't heard yet, I have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  My first clue that something was wrong revealed itself in my great thirst.  For quite some time now, I have not been able to get enough liquids in me to quench my thirst.  My second clue was my great weight loss.  I have dropped 55 pounds in 4 1/2 months...and not intentionally.  Dear reader, there is no denying that dropping  a few pounds is not a bad thing, but let me just make it clear that my diabetes was NOT triggered by obesity or too much weight.  A person my height and my build can easily carry the amount of weight I was carrying.  Most people have not even noticed that the weight is gone, for goodness sake.  There...I just needed to get that off my chest (sad attempt at a funny).

Some of you may be wondering what my blood / sugar levels are at?  Let me give you some information on that.  My initial test (official test) which was done after a 12 hour fast was between 16 mmol/L and 18 mmol/L.  A normal person should be around 6, and no higher than 8. My blood is sweet like sugah!!!! Since diagnosis, I have been been monitoring my blood / sugar 4 times per day, and my levels have been anywhere from 22 mmol/L down to 11 mmol/L. 

Just what does mmol/L mean?  Basically it is the world's standard for measuring the amount of glucose in the blood.  It stands for millimoles/liter.  A mole is about 6*10^23 molecules.  Which honestly, dear reader, is all greek to me.  I don't have a clue what any of that means.  What I do know is that the whole world uses this method of measuring...except the US.  (This next sentence is for Emma in Oklahoma) - the backwards, non-conforming Americans measure completely differently.  But I won't go into that LOL. 

Dear reader, you're probably wondering what the prognosis is going forward.  And if you're not wondering, please refer to my previous post in which I explained about how I can make you ask, think and do anything I want.  Anyways, moving forward. 

Right now, I am less than a week removed from my diagnosis.  My Dr has determined that we will try for 2 weeks to get my blood / sugar levels under control with the use of Metformin, a drug made for this purpose.  If after 2 weeks, my numbers are not within an acceptable level, I will be started on Insulin shots.  I really hope it doesn't come to that.....the thought of jabbing a needle into myself is daunting. 

Along with the pills being used to get my levels back down is the obvious dietary changes.  The nice thing with this is that my meals don't have to change a whole lot.  We eat healthy to begin with, so some minor adjustments will bring that in line.  The big thing is my snacking.  I love snacking.  I love eating potato chips, chocolate, candy......*sigh*.  No more.  Now I have to eat at regular times, snack at regular times (watch me bust out a banana in church!!!!) and control what I snack on.  Fruit, vegetables, cheese and the like are part of my regular diet now.  Hopefully someday I can have potato chips again...even just a few.

And that, dear reader, brings you up to date.  Once again, we are faced with a challenge..and once again, we know that our Lord is with us, and will never let a hair fall from our heads without His will.  Is it frustrating?  Yes it is.  I will not sit here and tell you all is ok....because it is frustrating.  But, on the other hand, it is what it is.....our family has gotten through an awful lot, and we will manage this as well....but not alone.

Dear Reader....thanks for reading.  See you soon.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

So, what's new?

Belated Happy New Year, Dear Reader!!  I have been remarkably absent from these pages, and recently have started to feel remarkably bad about it.  So, here I am.  And there you are....I think.

/me peers out into the interwebz to see if he can see u

So, what's going on, you ask? And if you didn't ask that, then I just put words in your mouth.  I'm a (wannabe) writer, I can do that, you know.  I can make you ask questions you never thought you'd want to know the answer too.  And because I have the power to do that, I will do that.

/me laughs an evil laugh.

Now, to answer the question.  What's going on?  What's new? What's happening?  The long and the short of it is this:  lots.  Oh wait, that's just the short of it.  Read on, dear reader, to get the long of it.  (I think grammar wise, this paragraph is an epic fail.)

I suppose that some of you are getting curiouser and curiouser about Dianne.  How's she doing?  How's the recovery going?  Things are going well, dear reader, things are going well.  Recovering her strength and energy is a long tedious process, but this is very understandable in light of what she's been through in the past year.  She works hard to do things, and to not let the after effects drag her down...and she does an amazing job of it.  Dear reader, we are so blessed that Dianne is able to do the things she does, and we thank our Lord for being with her.

Dianne now has more hair than I do.  Of course, mine has remained off by choice, and I steadfastly continue to shave it off.  And at this point, I am determined that it will remain like this for a long long time. Dianne, however, has different opinions...she wants her hair to grow back...and it is.  I figure we could have remained bald together forever, but I couldn't find it in our wedding vows anywhere.  Thus, her hair groweth.  And it looks very nice, I must say.

What's in the future for Dianne?  I don't know if we've covered this before, so I'll go over a few things again.  Dianne will continue to get Herceptin IV's until at least May, 2010.  This drug works against the protein factor which made her cancer so aggressive.  So, if there is any cancer left, it won't be affected by the HER2+ disease.  She also is on Tamoxifen for the next 5 years.  Tamoxifen "prevents estrogen from binding to its receptor. Hence breast cancer cell growth is blocked."  (the text in " " is a direct quote from Wikipedia).

Dianne has also had a visit to the plastic surgeon in light of reconstruction.  I am not going to go into any details at this point, because a decision has not been made as to what's going to happen.  I just wanted you to know that the initial consultation has taken place.

Believe it or not, dear reader, Dianne's 6 month checkup is scheduled for February 4, 2010.  This, of course, is 6 months after the last chemo.  But it seemed to have arrived very quickly.  I am hoping to attend this with her, and and soon as we know something, I will let you know.

And that, dear reader, is what's new.  I was nice, and didn't make you answer any questions you didn't want to know the answer to.  I make no guarantees that this will happen again.  Know this: the desire to write again is coming back after a short hiatus.  Thus, I hope to see you again soon. 

(Updates on myself will be in a separate entry)