On a little boat

Well, all the way down and back has been completed for another quarter. All clear folks! It’s a wonderful thing.

Ruby is doing well, I’m trying to post some pics here but mixed tech is bugging. She keeps growing in an upwardly direction, has many regular questions and observations about the world but to me she will never be ordinary. What an amazing kid. This time it took 4 needles and three nurses to finally get the IV in for the MRI. Needless to say (catch that little word play?) she earned herself another stuffy. And yes. It’s a cat.

We have a new doggie who is melting into our family quite well. The kids did a random dog name search and decided on Ceska who in my mind was a dangerous choice considering that’s the name of that dastardly Kardasian villain on Voyager. Turns out she is equally devious when it comes to pancakes left on the table and escaping the yard.

Holling is also growing upwards and outwards and inwards. His vocabulary amazes me and he always has some astounding facts to share. That and mysterious stories that sometimes take us from the truth to a whole other very fascinating world.

We have good friends in Vancouver who need some loving energy sent their way for challenging medical situations. Please send some love to Stan and his support family while they navigate their path to good health. Much love to them.

Righteo, that’s all for now, will update when I’m inspired and not folding laundry. Maybe it’s time for voice recognition – I’d get more up here but….then again, editing out all the asides and bad language…I guess I’ll stick to typing.

-hugs to you all!


One year CLEAR SCAN!

Hi everyone, it’s been a while since I updated but for all of you who haven’t heard from Ruby already, her latest scan got the all clear. I think she told everyone from Vancouver to here. This included the one year post chemo test for kidneys and that got an a-ok as well. There are some minor liver imbalances in the tests but as you can guess, I’m reading up on it now.

I will take a pic and post soon, it’s been busy here with the back and forth, end of school, helping with an attendance initiative to get kids keen to come to school, running after my backyard explorers and doing…well …laundry.

If anyone knows how we could track down a new trike for Ruby:
http://www.worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/ptjr.html   let me know. She has loved my trike since she got back as her balance issues prevent her from riding a two wheeler. These are lovely trikes and we found ours at the dump 5 years ago. Problem is, the back assembly is toast. So….I went searching for parts and came to their website only to find that they make these awesome ones for kids with balance issues! How cool is that??? So if anyone could find a used one, reconditioned, or even somewhere in Alberta or BC that sells them, please message me here.

Righteo, I hear the whistle, some yelling and crying, time to go mediate. Ahh…summer, the sound of laundry slapping in the wind, kids yelling and joy of joy…KIDS yelling. Plural. PLURAL! I’m the luckiest mom in the world.

Much love


ruby n mama

Long time no hear!


Some days you just don’t know where you will find yourself.

In a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife or in a piano – needing someone to grab you by the scruff of the neck because your fat butt won’t let you turn around.  Yup.  That’s me.  Or wait, no that’s Precious.

We are home again.  One more three month trip, one more set of tests and results. Before her MRI, we ran into Dr. Cochrane – the big reason we are still here.  He is the best neurosurgeon we could have wished for.  I gave him a big northern hug and wished him a great year.  Ruby did an impromptu skipping and jumping dance.  Without warning.  Without a word.  It was very “mime”.  He clapped for her and with a huge grin went off to save another life.

Another big top to bottom (1.5 hour) scan of Ruby revealed nothing unexpected or maybe I should word that differently.  ALL CLEAR!!!!  YAHOOOO!!!  We didn’t expect to see anything and we were chuffed to have that expectation exceeded.  Nothing.  Nothing that didn’t belong there anyway.  That’s a strange thing to say though.  Maybe cancer did belong there when this all started.   For anyone with a brush or an experience with cancer, either as a survivor or support, there is so much loaded emotion and growth through the experience.  It isn’t fair that it happens to children or to anyone at all for that matter but there is a blessing in the pain.  As a family we are closer and more connected to every moment (except when I’m obsessed with following the Yukon Quest).   In a very exciting way, Ruby continues to change my life.  No offence Ruby but if you could please just start doing these “Mom, you need to straighten up and fly right”s with maybe…..a letter or….a sharp elbow to the ribs.  Needless to say all of this puts me on a path that I’m focusing on rather intently now.  Nutrition, researching people like chrisbeatcancer.com and keeping my spirit clear and positive.   This in turn helps her, helps her little wild brother and their overworked much loved dad.  Obviously it helps me.

This trip we had a 2 hour break to spare between appointments so Ruby and I rushed up the road from the hospital and we ran as far as we could through VanDusen Gardens.  Just as we got to the end of our time and had to start the quick walk back….we landed right at the edge of the Medicine Wheel.  We walked the perimeter and I followed Ruby’s lead  thanking every direction marker. Then we went to the centre where our little rose quartz crystals joined other offerings in the middle.  We both walked back with a lightness and a real sense of blessing.

These crises bring gifts.  So many gifts.  Gifts of new family; a home base in Vancouver with the most amazing couple I could have every hoped to be crashing with; kindred spirits Stan and Barbara and just so many gifts of random kindness.  We work with healers such as Tom Smith, Laura Cook and Susanne the chiropractor in New West; they somehow get our mechanics sorted with light touches here and there, spirit check ins and putting the power back in our hands to heal.

We have friends from up north with a son in BC Childrens walking the path through lymphoma.  Eric Morin and his family are in need of support energy-wise so if you have a spare prayer, please send it on behalf of them.  They are an extraordinary family of great warmth and ready love.

I’m feeling a bit dried out writing wise.  I’ve been working on my first Marigold story for Ruby and my next step is illustrating it all.  Badly of course but it will be….charming?   I’m taking things on slowly again but cautiously, careful not to over-commit and under-deliver.  Hung out with my recording buddies David and Dieter this weekend and had such a laugh working through the next two Blues @ the Junction shows. http://junctionjam.ca/blues-the-junction/introduction/

Ruby is enjoying slow livin’.  That’s like slow food right?  It involves many hours of gluing and cutting and colouring, homeschooling and brother tolerating.  We’ve had a good solid cold snap and we are actually enjoying the challenge to not do each other in on days we can’t run around outside.  Ruby’s sensitivity to cold limits her to nothing below -20 or so.  Once it drops below that, the time it takes to get ready to go out is greater than the time it takes for her to get cold and come back in.  So…..in her words “I like Garfield better.”  She’s such a little bookworm, I’m so grateful she hasn’t had visual impairment from her surgeries and treatment.  As for her hearing, we are all damaged from the supersonic powers of Holling.  It all evens out.  We are trying to teach him to direct his superpower for good.  So far, it’s an effective weapon against things like “no, no more tv” or…..”sit down and eat your food with your hands not your feet” or …”please put the chainsaw down.  We already have too much wood.”.   March 20th can’t come too soon for him.  5 is a big birthday.  Don’t tell him but I got him a skateboard.  If I get a chance I will try to record his impromptu concerts about rainbow bridges and wide ocean crossings on said rainbow bridges.

I suppose that’s about it!  Remember that time in July before the trip south for an MRI and I dropped a paint can on my head and gave myself a concussion?  I thought that was pretty exciting.  This trip, just before I had to get in the car to drive 2 hours to the airport after 2 feet of snow (halfway plowed, the other half forgot),  I poked my eye out with a cactus in the middle of winter in the Yukon.  How’s THAT?!


Here’s a couple of pics for fun, one from Christmas with the GG’s and the Stuffy Flood of 2015.





After a yearly dose of Scrooge…

I’ve always loved redeemable characters. Scrooge. The king of them all. The movie I torture my family with every year. Fortunately, Ruby gets it so for her it’s not painful. She said her favourite character is the ghost of Christmas Present. “He looks like Daddy and he’s the happiest person in the movie!” I’m 100% Alistair Sims.

I guess I’ve always felt tormented (internally not externally) and hoped that one day something would redeem me, turn me from my narcissistic self into a kind, generous, light soul.

I suppose I’ve had my visits. My ghosts to remind me to stay in the moment and find the joy. Ruby’s year of illness and recovery has been fraught with trauma for all of us yet blessed us with many miracles. We are a year past now. I can’t recall exactly but I think we were released on the 28th of December last year from Ruby’s first round of chemo.

“She is not changed by the harshness of the world
but you are.” (Ghost of Christmas Present)

I struggle. Daily. Only now am I getting brave enough to talk to people at any length, to smile more freely, to walk less fearfully.

“These are the shadows of the things that have been. They are what they are.” (Ghost of Christmas Past)

It’s all about perspective. Perspective, perspective, perspective.

I opened with some photos so you can see some joyous moments. Free from pain, free from illness. My two children love each other so much that when they fight they make up and apologize without prompting. The kids remind us to hold hands at supper and say what we are thankful for in that moment.

As we grownups struggle to contextualize and restructure, redefine, and rebuild; they hug, love and sing without pause. All I know is that the focus is love. Pure and simple. As simple as a piggyback, as simple as a cuddled sneeze. As simple as a darned sock and a perfectly cooked moose roast. Love is in all these actions. Without expectation, without judgment. And always, always faith that on Christmas Day (western or Ukrainian – we get two hurrah!) Scrooge wakes up and is redeemed into joy and a renewed faith in love.

To all of us out there struggling with the feeling that Christmas Day did not again bring this transformation and retraining, “Go and redeem a younger, more promising creature…” (Scrooge) I prescribe a yearly dose of Alistair Sim’s Scrooge. Black and white. If you are Holling, you will just say its weird.

Scan result : no sign of any change – this is a very good thing

Hi everyone,

I thought I had posted this but just so’s you know, Ruby’s latest scan a week or so ago was negative for any change – she remains cancer free!  Whoot!

Our time with Ali and Darren was typically awesome and we even brought a couple days of sun with us from the shiny north.

Now it’s the big hunkerdown to get the house ready for the GG’s coming from the south.  Grandparents are particularly fantastic so I want to make sure they don’t have to climb over all of our crap to make it to their room.   Yes.  We are hoarders.  It wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t leave such amazing things in the free store with such incredible potential.

Time to take the pizza out of the oven.  Ruby and I are compiling a cookbook.  We should have something posted at some point in 2015 for your enjoyment.

Hugs and smooches, all the best!

the northern fairy watchers

Ruby and horses

Well!  So Ruby’s wishes are getting fulfilled one by one a little bit at a time.  She would like to own her own horse but I’m thinking this will have to wait for a bit.  8 is bit wee to be a horse owner without living on a farm.   Ruby was a complete natural at Gail’s Heart Bar Ranch.  What a LESSON!  They brushed the horse, cleaned it’s hooves, I backed away and let the mama fade away to minimum so she could enjoy it completely absorbed without my approval.  Kids are funny huh?  On one hand they are telling you to back the tabarnouche off and in almost the same instant it’s, “is this ok?”.

Ruby got on the horse and rode around without being led, she rode bareback, (always with the helmet of course, I might be backing off but I’m not completely without my paranoia) and she hugged that ole horse to bits.   I’m going to get Ruby watching some Tellington Touch videos (at Gail’s suggestion) and see if the next time we go this weekend if she feels motivated to explore that “animal healer” drive she has.  Our friend Brenna came with us and assisted with the other horse, Delilah’s friend Honey – which Ruby renamed Honey Toot…for obvious reasons.  It was a bit of a “windy” day.  The girls had a fabulous horsey day.  Eventually, when I sell my first in a series of Ruby’s invented Ivy and Marigold books I’ll be able to afford to take lessons myself.  The last time I think I was on a horse was at a friend of mine’s  when I was young(er).  The horse was this massively tall retired racehorse and when it bolted because it saw a gopher (uh..hello, you are approximately a million times bigger!!!)  I nearly lost the contents of my bladder.   It would be fun to explore losing my fear of that.  In about 10 years.

Meanwhile back on the El Rancho Maniac Eleniaks we are busy homeschooling, Holling is a vegetarian (unless that’s pepperoni on that pizza), Brian is busy with school, I’m sitting here gearing up to either sleep in or fold the laundry and Precious is snoring in front of the woodstove.  It’s pouring rain but that didn’t stop the bike gang from whipping through the puddles a few thousand times around the magic forest at “recess”.    Well it’s time to avoid the housework and maybe play piano with the kids.  That’s WAY more fun.  Ciao bella’s, much love, you are amazing folks you know, just a word of advice – love love love.  Ya, it’s always the same huh?  I’m a pretty boring advice giver.

Jamie Grace and Ruby Maye

I have to say this album is perking Ruby and us up a TON. 

Jamie Grace has come through alot in her life and has a fabulous album that Ruby listens to every chance she gets 🙂

Jamie Grace is so awesome she posts stories about people that inspire her.  I sent her Ruby’s story and she posted on her site!!!


I just wanted to share that with you.  Ruby still replaces the name “God” and Father with Mother Nature as this is how she sees things (makes me giggle in a really sweet way).    When I showed her this page on Jamie’s Imafighter site she almost cried with pure and unabashed joy.  Thanks Jamie.  We love you.  

By the way, that’s the pro-bowler in the background.  The man referred to as “my wrestling buddy” by his grandson Holling.  He’s my inspiration too.  Thanks Dad.  You’ve made two life time bowlers out of my kids.  Right now we are bowling in the living room and singing “It’s a Beautiful Day” and thinking of Ruby’s last birthday at the bowling alley.  

Holey Moley, it’s almost been a MONTH!

Morning all, I’ve stolen some moments while Holling watches his favourite show Handy Manny.  I think today he’s going to try hammering some real nails.  He wants to build stuff.  Sounds like his dad huh?  Let’s just hope he doesn’t repeat his dad’s “nailgunthroughthehand” excitement just as I went into labour with Holling. 

Ruby is at school, she took a day off to get over a cold and then took a tumble in the driveway trying to run after her brother (in boots of course) and took a prize-winning head over heels dive.  So, swollen knee, lots of ice and she’s back at school today.  As it’s getting colder out with the snow creeping down the mountains, we’ve really noticed her sensitivity to cold is super intense.  Time for mama to get out her sewing kit and make some felted wool liners for Ruby’s coat and mitts.  I bit the bullet and blew a bunch of cash on some wellmade mukluks, they are the only thing that keep my feet warm up here.  In direct contrast there’s Holling in his paper thin car pyjamas walking around the school yard refusing his coat and staying toasty warm while telling everyone that the legs go alllll the way down to here in his boots….pulling the bottom of the pants down inside his fireman boots…..while bending over……am I painting a clear enough picture?   Not even cold hands.  Gah.  What a monkey.  

He likes his mama-mornings and today it’s play-dough snake letters, obstacle course (gotta find my whistle) and nature walk.  It’s definitely a 2 coffee day.  

Ruby’s finally come around to wanting to answer Cassie at the Make-a-Wish foundation.  It’s taken a while for her to be ok with identifying as someone who was sick.  She refuses to believe she will be sick again and I am right there with her.  Her wishes so far have been Fiji with Ursula for diving lessons and as of yesterday when we went over the letter to show her that wishes can be many things: trips, tools like video cameras, things that you get to keep…etc….so now it’s an Icelandic Pony.  Surprisingly, her dad got behind this right away!  I of course can’t refuse that idea.  So let’s give her some more time to think about things and see what else she can come up with for wishes.  

What I love about this kid is she keeps saying when we hand her the Friday Allowance (cough,cough, Dad, you missed this week)….she says “yaaaay!  I am saving money to give to Laura and Tom!!!”.  What a lovah! I can just smoooooch her up.  I really CAN!  What a joy!