Dear Stars…Your Secret is Safe With Me

We often go to the market to buy our groceries.  Sometimes, when we are there, we see “celebrities”…ie:  William Shatner, Eddie Shack, blah blah blah.  Most of the time, I don’t even know they are there unless someone point blank tells me who they are.  ‘Cause really, I don’t care.

A few weeks ago, I went to a vendor and picked up some pomegranate seeds in a container.  Some tall guy beside me said, “Do you know how to get the seeds out?”  “Yes,” I answered.  “You put them under water… but I still manage to stain my clothes”.   “Actually, you get the back of a spoon, and hit it”.  I gave him an “Are you kidding me?” look.  He smiled.  The vendor looked at me and said, “You should listen to him.  Don’t you know who he is?”  “Nope, can’t say I do”, I answered.  “Why he’s the galloping gourmet”, he said.

I still bought my pomegranate seeded in the container.  In fact, I bought two.

The following week, I picked up 3 whole pomegranates, whacked the hell out of them with the back of a spoon, like the tall guy told me and, voila!  He was right.  As soon as I peeled back the skin, the little seeds just spilled out effortlessly.  “Cool”, I thought.  I gotta tell everyone this trick.  I still got stains in my clothes though!  And do I know who the guy (chef) was that told me that trick?  Nope.  I haven’t got a clue.  Maybe some day I will see him on the food network or something.

I have come to the unhappy conclusion that when it comes to Celebrity Stars, I am truly totally clueless.  Ever since I had kids, I only watch around two TV shows a week… Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy.  I did see Dr. Yang and George at some soap opera event at Disney World a few years ago, but I only knew who they were because it was advertised all over the place, and they were signing autographs in a designated corner.  If I had met any of them on the street, their celebrity status would be safe with me.

Several years ago, I used to go to a bar called the Loose Moose with my friends.  One time when I was there, a really big guy stepped on my foot.  I was incensed because it hurt like hell.  Stupid jerk.  While I was muttering away under my breath shaking my fist at his disappearing body, a guy next to me said, “Don’t you know who that was?”  “Nope. All I know is that he stepped on my foot and he didn’t even apologize”, I muttered.   “Why that’s Wendell Clark?” he told me.   I shrugged my shoulders and gave him a questioning look.  “You know, the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player, Wendell Clark?”.  Don’t care.  Stupid jerk should watch where is is going.

According to my husband, Wendell apparently used to frequent that bar  with another hockey player who used to pick up really young chicks.

Another time, long, long ago, I was at the Loose Moose with another friend of mine from University.  She wanted me to go to a bar with her because her husband had left her for another woman.  We went to my old hang-out, the Loose Moose.

I remember sitting down talking to someone at the bar who looked a lot like Kirstie Alley.  I must have talked to her for at least 1/2 an hour about  my friend who was determined to save her marriage, regardless of what her husband had done.  She basically told me to tell her not to waste any more time on him.  He wasn’t worth it.  I agreed.  Later, the rest of her party approached us.  She introduced me to a guy named Bobo who looked remarkably like Parker Stevenson and another couple.  Odd, I thought.  Weird name.  He looks familiar.  Very handsome.  Neat eyes.

The next day I was talking to my cousin from Australia, who said, “You idiot.  Don’t you know that Kirstie Alley is married to Parker Stevenson”.  Nope, can’t say I knew that.  Holy shit.  I am an idiot.  Not sure I would have had that conversation with her had I known she was really Kirstie Alley.  I think I would have been “Star struck”.

Two summers ago, when I went to Mont Tremblant with my cousin from Australia (whom I will call Boo) and my kids, she pointed out some celebrities (Michael Douglas and Rita Zita Jones… or something like that).  Do ya think I would have known that on my own?  No way!  I am oblivious to anyone famous.

You think I would recognize the Pope if he was standing 2 feet away from me?  Well, I didn’t know the Cardinal either.

And he came to my church today.

And I think I kind of interrupted an interview he was having with someone at a hidden, secluded spot of the church outside.

I just kind of came around the bend with my Tim Horton’s coffee and bang, the next thing I knew, I was in the middle of an awkward situation.  The guy dressed in black gave me a quizzical look and tried to continue to talk to a “reporter” armed with a recording device.  Didn’t know who he really was until I saw him on the alter all dressed up in red… with a Pope hat and very large crooked wooden stick.  At least I think it was him.  I don’t really know for sure because I was sitting in the back and my eyesights not so good.

I think I may have inadvertently interrupted the Cardinal today folks (or some other important religious figure).


Like I said.  If you are famous, your secret is safe with me!

And I can just hear my cousin Boo say as she is reading this blog…



Scorned Because I Parked In the Handicapped Parking Space

I don’t think I was very nice today.

Too bad.  So sad.  It actually really felt good.

I bit somebodies head off at a nearby Garden Centre/Nursery… you remember that place where someone stole my Christmas tree when I was undergoing chemo?

The problem was that I knew I was going to be late picking up the kids unless I really was fast picking up a pair of gardening gloves.  I had bought some flowers at another nursery earlier in the day.  Had to take my pain meds after that.  They didn’t really weigh too much, but it still did me in.

I was really happy to see that my handicap spot near the door was available as I went there already twice this week and it was occupied.  So I pulled into the spot and quickly got out of the car.  A woman with a limp was coming out of the store and she gave me a dirty look.  Then she said something which I couldn’t really hear, but I knew it was a derogatory comment directed at me.  “Excuse me,” I said to her, “Did you say something to me?”  “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”   “What did you say?”.  She muttered something about not being handicapped and which I replied, “Well in fact, I am handicapped.  I have cancer in my spine and two metal rods in my back and I am in pain every day of my life.”

She ran away.

(And she went pretty darn fast considering she had a limp).

Irish Maria

Mother Theresa

Irish Maria

My oncologist’s secretary phoned me today and told me not to worry about the ultrasound…. it was not cancer, I would not be needing an MRI or surgery right now, and he would talk to me about it next week during my next appointment.  Big sigh of relief, let me tell you.

Today, I would like to write about my friend Maria, whom I have a tremendous amount of respect for.  I met her at Gilda’s Club…everyone calls us the two Maria’s.  Just so no one gets mixed up, I’m called Italian Maria and she’s Irish Maria.

This is a woman I very much admire.  Let me tell you her story.

Maria has esophageal cancer.  Several years ago the doctors had to remove her esophagus and put a balloon there (which is, from what I understand, a replacement for her stomach).  I am in awe when she eats because sometimes her neck begins to bulge like a bullfrog.  And sometimes, if she eats too much, she ends up puking her meal.  She has had chemotherapy and radiation.  But the woman is a real trooper.  She does the best she can.  Even something as routine as eating a meal, can be a horrendous experience for her.

Now imagine coping with having to deal with eating three square meals a day with a very tiny stomach, as if that wasn’t bad enough, she then also developed metastatic cancer.  Her esophageal cancer spread to her liver and she had two thirds of her liver removed.  Luckily, from what I understand, your liver can regenerate itself; but Maria I am sure, experiences a lot of pain from that surgery even though she doesn’t say much.  I see her wincing at times and doubling over and I’m pretty sure it’s her liver that’s giving her trouble, although she doesn’t complain.

Recently, the cancer spread to her lung.  Two thirds of her lung was removed a few months ago and now she has a hard time doing anything too strenuous… even walking can be too much.  Sometimes when I phone her, I can hear her trying to catch her breath to talk to me.  She sounds winded.

In addition to her daily physical discomfort (from many surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation),  Maria still has the strength to carry on.  Her family life is a lot more difficult than mine.  She also has two children, but one of them is autistic.  Her son is 10 years old, but he is unable to communicate verbally.  Sometimes Maria would tell me stories about some of the things he does and I am silent… not knowing what to say.  I just listen.

For example, one day a few weeks ago, one of her friends gave him a ride home from somewhere and he defecated in his pants, took his hand, and smeared it all over the back of the woman’s car.  Maria was horrified when she found out what her son had done and offered to pay to have the car detailed, but her friend graciously declined, and cleaned it up by herself when she got home.

And stupid me, I go nuts when Frack misses the toilet and pees all over the place in the bathroom.  Maria’s son is still in diapers and you never know what part of the house has to be cleaned on a daily basis.  One day Frack will grow up and be independent; but her son will be limited in what he is able of do and will always need help.  I don’t know how Maria finds the strength to deal with all this, but she somehow does it.  She loves both her kids with a passion like no other.  She motivates me.

Maria says I am lucky.  That I have found something I love to do… teaching.  At first, she couldn’t understand why I wanted to go back to work so much, but now I think she does.  She came to my school today to sell jewelry because she wanted to start her own business and get away from all the cancer stuff.  I don’t blame her one bit.  It’s much more fun talking to people and being anywhere else, than staying at home thinking about cancer.  Maria met my wonderful staff and could sense that it was a special place.  She told me so.

Sometimes when I look at my situation, I think, “Damn it, if Maria can keep going, even with all she has been though, then surely so can I”.


I wanted to share with you a comment which Maria made which I loved when we were discussing death a while back….  Maria, with her strong irish accent proclaims….  “Oh, those damn Catholics… they are the worst of the lot.  If they truly believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then why the hell are they afraid to die?”  Good point.  She makes me laugh.


Tonight it was thundering and lightening like crazy over here.

Time for bed.

The kids, the cat, and Bobo all crawled into my bed so we could watch and hear the stormy weather around us.  “Look at that,” I said,  “The angels are have fun bowling again”.  “I know”, pipes in Frack, “The one who wins gets to be “Special Angel of the Day”.

Then Frick starts rhyming off all the names of people she knows who have died, “Umberto (my Godmother’s husband), Yvonne (my friend), Krystianna (my previous student of mine who died of cancer), etc.

Not sure who won the bowling tournament.