2:00 AM Pixel Style

I’m taking a video game class this week. It’s exciting. I thought maybe I could make a video game around coping/treating/attacking cancer. It’s just an idea. I’m not actually sure where the ‘game’ aspect would come in, but if anyone has any personal coping techniques they love, please do let me know. Maybe it’s a morning drink, or a meditation, a phrase they repeat over and over, an act of advocacy, or even an act of escape. a treatment you believe in, a For me it’s often just finding a way to let the steam release.

So, yesterday at 2:00 am when I woke up with a tight chest and fear, I got up and drew this picture. It’s my first bit of pixel art. Reminds me of playing adventure games, so it seems fitting for this upcoming video game class.

Sleepless Night

Zsolt’s Heroic Pepper Plant

This is a short story about Zsolt’s heroic pepper plant.

We have been waiting and waiting to grow peppers. We have a very special variety of yellow peppers that are quite sweet and refreshing, and remind us of Hungary. So, it all started back in March. After so much delay, we finally found some little seedling planters and the big man planted the seeds. Except he didn’t quite plant them . . . he more or less flooded them. The instructions read “sprinkle with water,” and instead he “poured a jug of water” over the whole thing.

hero pepper2

For weeks we waited. I kept saying, “throw ‘em out and replant the seeds. We’ve drown them.”

But Zsolt had faith.

Then one day they began to sprout. One after the other, after the other! This was a miracle unto itself. And so Zsolt tended the plants, very carefully watering them, leaving them on the radiator, moving them into the sun.

One particular shoot was doing really well. It was the one you’d point to and think, “yep, it’s coming along.”

Except one day, after having left the plants outside to toughen up (Z is always trying to make them really tough, for some reason), our prize pepper plant somehow broke right in half.

Disappointment was felt. No way would a plant recover from such a bad break.

The next day, Z put the seedlings back outside, including the broken plant since they were all in one big seedling plastic thing. (I should win a prize for that amazing bit of description, eh?) They stayed out all day long, and then in the evening we brought them inside.

Lo and behold! The little broken pepper plant had fixed itself! Right where the bit had broken, there was a sort of swollen area, and the plant was fixed far more upward than it had been earlier.

The next day, it stood even taller.

And the next day, even taller.

Now that really felt like a miracle. Just when we had counted it out – the little guy proved its resilience and stood back up!

And now, way over in August, it has the biggest pepper of them all. Okay, sure, the peppers are all little and have a ways to grow – but it’s our resilient plant that is leading the charge!

Zsolt calls that plant his little hero. I think the meaning of this scenario goes way, way further than simply growing a plant. Obviously. Do I need to explain it? Probably not, I think.

Heroic Plant

That little paprika pepper means a lot to us. And when the day comes that we get to actually eat the pepper, I plan to make an entire meal around it – potato layer with sour cabbage on the side, maybe even a little wine, and some wonderful Liszt in the background while we eat.

Sometimes the little stories make the biggest different. This is one of those times.


A Little Healing Harp

Today I listened to a harp. Right up close –ear to the wood. Very slowly the strings were plucked, and I listened with eyes closed to the vibration. The sound would start very deep, and made me think of the colour brown for some reason, then it would stretch out far and just continue and continue and continue until finally, eventually it faded away.

Good Vibration

There is a lovely lady in Ottawa who invited  me to her home this Monday morning. I won’t say her name only because, I forgot to ask if I could mention it here. She is an actress and musician and writer and counsellor and traveller and the perfect example of a renaissance woman.  Through a small series of coincidences, I found myself in her living room today, ear on her harp as she plucked different notes.

Two weeks ago I was at the Ottawa Women’s Business Network Courageous Women’s Event, which was organized by the lovely Camille Boivin, for whom I support in writing the blog “Sister Leadership.” This women’s event was held at the Bytown, and part of the evening involved storytelling and meeting notable women of Ottawa’s past. One lady there was Mother McGuinty. Mind you, she’s not the real Mother McGuinty – that lady being from the canal building times in Ottawa, which was long, long, long ago. The women at the event was an actress, and she often plays this role. Anyhow, she was by far the most popular person at this party as she played the role – and she wasn’t even there to network! Mother McGinty kept asking us to show her our ankles, and invited us to work at her ‘bar’ over the way where men would go crazy over the flash of a lovely ankle.

She was totally charming.

Then the other day, I was at the OICC, and there she was on the cover of a music CD – Mother McGuinty. She was on the cover of this CD, playing the harp.

And then, I was asked to find and interview her (for a series of Ottawa women we are doing over at SL). Which I did, because that’s what I do – and during our conversation it came out that she had had stage four lymphoma many years ago. To help herself feel better during treatments, she found a favourite note on her harp, and she would play it, listening as it stretched out and vibrate into her, until it finally faded away – then, she’d strum it again, and again, and again, resonating with the notes.

During my interview with her, which will sooner than later be on Cam’s blog, I had mentioned seeing her CD at the OICC, which is when she learned about the stage 4 breast cancer, and invited me over for a cuppa and some harp-listening.

It was a lovely part of today. It’s lovely how the notes flow right into me.

Never in my life did I imagine holding a harp and resting myself against it to listen and vibrate and heal. But that is exactly what happened today. It was lovely, she was lovely, and now I know my notes. J B and C – deep and strong.

So there is a little story about that.