Friday, July 12, 2019

Facing Cancer: 40 Days of Radiation

Imperfect but still beautiful 

A neighbour you wave to, a co-worker you work with, a distant relative you see maybe once or twice a year for family gatherings, or even a  stranger that you meet while waiting in line at the grocery store, what do they all have in common? They have probably been through a cancer diagnosis or supported someone through it. However, it's a totally different feeling when it is someone so close to you.

I've almost lost my Dad once (through his very unexpected encephalitis illness) which took a very bad toll on my mental and physical health, even after his own healing began. I could not heal, I was not able to process my emotions clearly and no matter what doctor I went to, I still felt like this was just a nightmare I was never going to wake up from. Thankfully,  I woke up and realized that the next time (there will always be a next time of bad news - this is the reality of life) I will handle things differently, or at least try to.

I failed. I failed miserably yesterday. I got so overwhelmed with the idea of researching to make sure I knew everything about my dad's condition (prostate cancer) and what he was in for. Truth is, no one knows because every person is so different. You get horror stories from people and then others say that it wasn't pleasant but it was tolerable, and then there are the in-betweeners.  I had booklets and tons of information that I thought were all credible sources. I suppose my thinking cap wasn't screwed on tight enough when I didn't question the title of  one article stating "your prostate wants you to be a vegan." A bit extreme. I am just going to look things up when I absolutely need to. 

This is a situation I cannot really control fully and my burning desire to be in-control of something, anything... is hard to let go of.  I also have to acknowledge my own boundaries of what I can and cannot handle. I am thankful to my brother for taking the reigns this time and helping out in areas that I'm not equipped for.

And so I start again.

Here is my Dad's latest blog on what happened on his first visit to the Cancer Center here in Windsor.  His oncologist is wonderful, not to mention the whole staff and volunteers there. 40 days of radiation, 5 days a week is coming up.

The thoughtful words and on-going support never go unappreciated or unrecognized, so thank you. :)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Coping with Cancer One Day At A Time

Respecting my family's wishes to keep things private does not always work well, especially when it comes to topics like this.  Thankfully, my Dad has decided to open up and share his journey, a hopeful one. I feel content that instead of writing cryptic posts on Facebook and going to meetings at Hospice for my own self-care strategies, I can express my emotions openly and honestly, like you have come to know me to do on this blog.

I am really appreciative of all the support and I hope to update again soon.

The rock I found at Hospice after my first meeting

From my Dad:

<Gulp> I truly did not realize that I have not written anything on my website for about three months! I knew it was a little while but, seriously, I did not think it was that long until my daughter mentioned that people were asking about me. I did want to keep things private but realized that this was taking an emotional toll on my daughter's health and so I am coming out to share some news.

Here it comes… What is going on with me these days.

Do you want to know something silly? I really was not sure how many people were actually reading my articles. It did not really matter to me if anyone came to my website at all these days because I was really writing for my own purposes as a release from some of the tension under which I was living after my illness.

I am an old guy after all and who knows how many years more I am supposed to be around here. Until fairly recently, I felt so healthy that I expected it to be a very substantial number. Surprisingly, I really do not feel much different now but my situation changed significantly after one of my normal cancer screenings. 

I have prostate cancer. 

It is an illness that many men have. It appears to be in the early stages and localized, which has a better prognosis than later stages.

It took quite a period of time from the date that I had a biopsy done, and then various other tests to confirm the diagnosis. 

So what's next for me? I am booked to see a radiation oncologist at the Cancer Center on Kildare Avenue here in Windsor in a few days for a consultation. From what I have been told, he is a wonderful man and very knowledgeable in this area. I look forward to meeting him! He will decide what treatment options are best.

There are many forms of radiation available, some which occur every day for a specified amount of time and others that are shorter in duration but more aggressive to treat the cancer cells.  I'm not a doctor, I'm a lawyer, so I will leave it up to the experts to tell me what will be most effective.

The sad part of all of this is that I hope my treatments don't affect my attendance at such an important event coming up. My daughter is getting married in September and I must walk her down the aisle. 

I hope you understand now, dear reader, what caused my Website “invisibility” and I will update again soon.

Wish me luck on my first visit this coming week. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Asiatic Lilly

All of a sudden, this Asiatic Lilly bloomed in our front yard. A gentle reminder to cherish the moments. 

As Ferris Bueller so eloquently stated:
"Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

This is for my Dad.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

All Fired Up: Flame Throwers Take Over Fringe – 2019 Windsor Fringe Festival Review

You can also check out my review at 519 Magazine:

The Fringe Festival took over Windsor, Ontario this past week and on one of those lovely days, we caught another awesome performance. This time it was Toronto-duo; the Flame Throwers, featuring Karl and The Prodigy.

This busker-style show was definitely like a buffet, it had a little bit of everything for patrons to enjoy.  I enjoyed the dead-pan humour and there was a lot of variety in musical choices to rev up the crowd.  It also had some fun audience interaction, one bit involving hand sanitizer, a marker, an innocent audience member, and juggling pins!

What was most impressive was Karl’s ability to be on a unicycle while solving a Rubik’s cube AND rapping to the trend-setting Flobot’s “Handlebars” song.

A rather tense moment was the chainsaw juggling bit, which thankfully didn’t have anyone cut up into pieces!

Kyle definitely stands out as a performer with his talents of juggling and balancing objects, whether that’s with balls, Rubik’s cubes, clubs, knives, or fire torches.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Believe It Or Not: The Clairvoyants Bring Their Supernatural Abilities to Windsor

The Clairvoyants
Photo credit: Dan Savoie

You can also check out my review at 519 Magazine: 

The Clairvoyants are an Austrian mentalist duo who arrived here at Caesars Windsor on Friday (May 24) to perform on stage for an all-ages show.  Thommy Ten and Amélie van Tass have impressed judges on America’s Got Talent, especially the hard to please critic, Simon Cowell and even spooked out comedian Howie Mandel. They are currently on a 2019 world-wide tour and will be jet-setting all the way back to Austria soon!

With a packed house, there was a lot going on in the show from a Jelly bean prediction that left you with a sweet-tooth to an intricate puzzle board trick done by Thommy with precision and skill.

In one of the acts, two audience members were chosen at random and made a rather psycho-kinetic connection which really left the crowd with their jaws dropped.

The audience interaction throughout the night was absolutely hilarious from an older lady commenting how she liked “balls” (she was holding a large blue beach ball on stage) to a feisty woman who was ready to shake her booty.  Thommy had a lot of subtle comedic elements that brought the show to another level and sporting to the crowd his cute doggy socks.  It’s always nice when performers don’t take themselves too seriously all the time.

I could also really appreciate that both Thommy and Amélie didn’t just utilize the crowd at the front either, they made the effort to climb the stairs and seek out other random participants scattered throughout the Caesars auditorium. A simple gesture, but one that didn’t get overlooked.

The real beauty about mentalism and performers like The Clairvoyants is that these acts don’t need extravagant props or even very many at all.  Anyone can learn the secrets, that’s just part of the fun, but in the performing realm, it’s not solely about “how did they do that?”  It goes way beyond that mentality.

It does require a high level of skill, patience, connection, and let’s be honest, the grand ability to make the impossible seem possible.

What the F*@kboys is a Musical?! – 2019 Windsor Fringe Festival Review

You can also check out my review at 519 Magazine:

We have pigs, scrubs, douche-bags, and now enter the world of f*@kboys. They are the guys who won’t hold your hand or take photos with you in public. They are always the first to run for the hills when the word commitment is uttered or even the slight glimpse of L-O-V-E on the horizon. The most you can expect out of a f*@kboy is well…nothing.

F*@kboys The Musical is and it isn’t a typical musical. Yes, they break out into song every chance they get and they belt out harmonies beautifully, however, what sets this musical apart, beside the obvious grabbing name, is that it has a predominant theme of self-awareness. “I won’t talk about it, but I’ll sing it. This is a musical after all.”

When it starts out, one may begin to think that this production will be a man-hating, feminist buzzkill.  This in its own self-awareness, is where the musical shines. While it makes some valid points, it’s also not afraid to poke fun at itself at the same time to show that everyone has levels of ridiculous behaviour. As the characters grow in life and love, you can really see certain re-evaluations, which then makes this comedic musical quite touching and even more lovable.

I was really impressed how the cast and crew were able to adapt the show to a change of venue and a smaller performing area. They performed choreography in a tight space outside under a canopy tent that was originally meant for a stage with wings.

In the end, instead of dwelling over regret and wondering what could have been, grab a drink, go sing some karaoke with friends. F*@kboys The Musical is here for a good time, not a long time (yep I just put in the lyrics to Trooper).

Saturday, May 25, 2019

You Spin Me Right Round – SpinS Windsor Walkerville Fringe Festival Review

SpinS - featuring Janoah

You can also check out my review at 519 Magazine:

SpinS is a difficult show to describe. It’s part circus, part mime, part clown, part performance art and part chaos. Maybe that’s the point though – a little bit of mayhem.

Janoah Bailin starts out with a cool way to set the stage, by using his one-wheeled companion, the unicycle. While on the uni, he reaches into his bag and pulls random things out and places them all around the stage. Not everything the audience sees will make sense until the props are used later on in the show.

Be prepared for oodles of funny bits. Situational humour is at the forefront, like how to get from one spot on the stage to another without Janoah’s feet touching the stage (reminding me of the “floor is lava” game we played as kids). There is also plenty of interactive audience work, to groan-worthy puns.

Janoah shows some superb juggling skill using balls and rings. His diabolo work was pretty impressive too. Best though, was his work with clubs (which also has a nice tie-in with the name of the show, but no spoilers for you!)

I appreciated some of the interesting artistic explorations, like the eyeball coloured balls and some unusual feet and leg work (again, you’ll have to see the show to fully grasp what I’m talking about). I was slightly disappointed though that these segments were not expanded upon, as I was wanting more. Maybe in future performances he’ll do just that.

SpinS is not your usual flashy juggling show at all. There are no strict boundaries to adhere by, just an unrestricted flow of energy, story-telling and creativity for all.

You can catch more performances of SpinS at the Windsor Walkerville Fringe Festival. The festival runs until May 26. For prices, times and venues, visit the Fringe website.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Swipe Right: Adventures in Dating at Windsor’s Shadowbox is Rip-Roaring Fun

Promo photo: Adventures in Dating by Rob Tymec

You can also check out my review at 519 Magazine: 

Whether you’ve used dating sites like Lavalife, Plenty of Fish or currently perusing a dating app called Tinder, you’ll know that dating is not always smooth sailing at all. Adventures in Dating is a rip-roaring romantic comedy by Rob Tymec that takes dating to a whole new level of crazy, with only two actors (played brilliantly by Rob Tymec and Teagan Smallhorn) but portraying over 20 characters between them.

We caught the show on Saturday night (May 11) at Windsor’s Shadowbox Theatre.

There will always be winners and losers, and sadly Jeff is on a pretty consistent losing streak going on first dates with women who might have been left too long on the crazy train. His choice of restaurant remains the same each time, and so when each date goes badly, he can still frequent other restaurants without the bad memories attached. What an optimist! While dealing with dates ranging from a chatty cathy and OCD’er to an aggressive feminist who literally knocks him off his feet, Jeff still musters the strength to get through these dates and plot away to find his next one.

Jeff’s salvation throughout these dates is often his waitress hero, Jen. She comes to his rescue a handful of times with words of encouragement and slivers of wisdom.  Their bond begins to deepen with each date under his belt. She brings to the table a whole new perspective, as well as a red table cloth. However, she’s also mending a broken heart and jumps on the bandwagon of serial dating. Tables are turned (rather switched to blue this time), as she reminisces about her “first” date experiences.  Her luck is just as bad as Jeff’s dealing with a gym rat hopped up on protein shakes to a sci-fi geek who is outraged at Jen’s comment of mistaking Star Trek with Dr. Who.

The characters are engaging, funny and down-right quirky. Rob and Teagan are so impressive transitioning from one character to the next. The chemistry together on-stage is wonderful and unless you have been blessed with only amazing dating experiences, the play is quite relatable. It personally felt at times that I was reliving my past dating life.

You can catch Adventures in Dating at the Shadowbox Theatre here in Windsor, ON.

For more info contact: 226 344 3814 or email:

Hooked With Humour at Spiritual Soldiers Coffee Compound

Comedian: Tim Otter

You can also check out my review at 519 Magazine: 

There was not an empty chair in the place Friday night (May 10, 2019), as customers piled into the Spiritual Soldiers Coffee Compound in Windsor to enjoy an evening filled with music and comedy.  As newbies checking out this place on Erie Street, observing the atmosphere and interactions in some ways felt like Cheers (without a stitch of alcohol in sight, only delicious smooth concoctions and beverages!) where everybody knows your name.  I’ve never been to a spot where so many people hugged each other, it was like their own personal greeting. If I don’t really know someone well enough, I’m more of a fist-bump/ hand-shake or head nod kind-of gal, but you know we all have our preferences. Best of all, when you want a safe haven whether you’ve overcome addiction or in the process of doing so, this is your ideal spot to check out without judgment.

The evening started out with some acoustic guitar by the incredibly talented, Cassidy Young. I had heard of this musician by name before, but never had the opportunity to check him out live. I’m so glad that I did! Emotions ran high as he started to perform his own unique covers of songs such as: Say Something, Zombie and Breakfast at Tiffany’s just to name a few.

Then it was time for the Windsor Improv Troupe which consisted of: Dylan Macdonald, Alex Monk, Eric Minch, Nancy Lefebvre, and Mark Worsley.  One of Dylan’s skills that really stood out to me was his ability to switch accents (from Greek to an Aussie) so flawlessly.  He had me roaring with laughter.  I loved when Eric and Alex did skits together because they played so well off of each other.  Mark was a joy to watch on stage, hitting his comedic delivery every time. With Nancy, she’s a firecracker where you really don’t know what hilarity will come out of her mouth and I think that’s a true gift.

The improv games that really stood out for me were the hilarious round of Jeopardy, The Dating Game, Lines From a Hat, and Store Return. Sipping my peppermint tea, it was great to not just watch these performances either, the audience was part of the show being able to shout out answers and dictate what objects, words and phrases the Troupe would ultimately use.  It was definitely not easy to create creative and funny scenes on the spot and yet they all managed to do so with ease.

A special guest appearance was made by one of Windsor’s top Comedian’s, Tim Otter, who honestly reminded me of just the most lovable lumberjack. He had the best deadpan humour which included quips about a zombie grandma and having a non-Tom Selleck body.  After his stand-up comedy, Tim chimed in on some of the improv skits.

Overall, it was a fun night and goes to show you that variety is the spice of life.

Check out all the awesome upcoming events happening at:

Monday, April 29, 2019