Another HOOFING IT update

One month ago today I started counting kilometres as part of the Canadian Neuroendocrine Tumour Society (CNETS) HOOFING IT Across Canada fundraising challenge. My initial goal was to walk and/or hike 100 km and raise $1500 for NET cancer research by the time the campaign comes to an end on September 7.

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So, how am I doing?

During the month of July, I walked 70.23 km, mostly up and down the streets of our tiny town and on the walking trail around the perimeter of the golf course. When that got too boring I headed out of town and enjoyed a couple of walks in the country. Most of the time, I wear my zebra stripes when I’m walking. Our local newspaper did an article on me on July 1st, so I’m hoping that when people see me, they’ll think, “There goes that lady who’s raising money for that rare cancer that she has. I should really make a donation.”

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Thanks to 22 big-hearted donors, I’ve been able to raise $1295 so far which places me amongst the top 10 fundraisers. I’m hoping that, with the help of a few more generous people, I can meet or even surpass my goal.

For me, a NETS cancer patient living in a rural area where I’m very much on my own, being a part of this effort has definitely been a morale booster. Members of the neuroendocrine cancer community across Canada have committed to racking up as many kilometres as we can by walking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, cycling, roller-blading, or any other forward moving activity that we can think of and tracking our individual distances. The results have been beyond amazing! Our original goal was 5,514 kilometres, the distance from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon. We surpassed that in less than two weeks and doubled our goal to 11,028 km, the distance across Canada and back. Would you believe that we’ve already reached that milestone? Our latest goal is 20,000 km. We’re a determined bunch and we’re going to keep criss-crossing Canada as many times as we can until the end of this campaign!

Unfortunately, we’re not doing as well in the fundraising department. So far, we’ve raised $36,399 which is admirable for a group of just 78 people, but that’s a long way from our goal of $100,000. With just five weeks left we really need to bear down and focus on finding donors to help us meet our goal so that we can continue to support critical research projects that will eventually find the answers we so desperately need; answers to what causes this disease, how to detect it earlier, how to treat it more effectively, and ultimately, how to cure it.

I hate to continue nagging, especially when times are tough for many people, but if you haven’t already made a donation, would you please consider visiting my fundraising page and giving us a much needed boost? No amount is too small.

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Rubbish!

LogoAs a Canadian, I admit that I know nothing about Australian politics, but I do know that being a politician in any country isn’t easy. They can’t please everyone and their personal lives are constantly under scrutiny. I also know that being a female politician is even harder and I greatly admire South Australian MP Nicolle Flint for the way that she stood up to a journalist’s comments about her clothes this week.

Before we look at that, let’s take a look at how she dresses for her role. In my opinion, she looks classy, professional, and approachable. This is her Facebook profile picture.

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And here’s a montage of photos, also from her Facebook page. She most often chooses a basic column of black with a brightly coloured jacket.

In his Sunday newspaper column, radio host Peter Goers wrote, “Nicolle wears pearl earrings and a pearly smile. She favours a vast wardrobe of blazers, coats and tight, black, ankle-freezing trousers and stiletto heels. She presents herself in her own newsletter 23 times as a fashion plate. She has blazers and coats in black, blue, pink, red, beige, green, white, cream, floral and two in grey.” Would he have made similar comments about a male politician’s shirt colour, the width of his tie, or the shoes he wore? I think not. Though not as extreme as having her office vandalized with the word “prostitute”, being called a “skank”, or dealing with a male stalker, all part of Flint’s experience since entering politics, Goers’ comments are clearly sexist and inappropriate.

A politician needs to be thick-skinned, but no one should have to put up with this kind of disrespect simply because she’s a woman. By all means, comment on how well she does or doesn’t represent her constituents. Criticize her performance as a politician and her policies, but unless she dresses completely inappropriately or immodestly, not her wardrobe!

A video of a Flint wearing a garbage bag to protest what she refers to as “rubbish” comments on her clothes has gone viral and drawn support from across the political spectrum. If you haven’t already seen it, watch it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

I wish I looked that good in a garbage bag!

Finding trends in my closet

LogoAs most of you already know, I don’t shop for clothes online and I’ve mostly been staying away from brick and mortar stores since the onset of Covid-19. That leaves shopping my closet and trying to create new looks with old clothes.

When I researched fashion trends for spring and summer 2020 for an earlier post, one of the looks that appealed to me and that I could see myself wearing was the suit with Bermuda shorts.

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Had I still been teaching instead of happily retired, I could definitely have seen myself investing in one of these menswear inspired suits. They’re a nice take on business casual and if the trend doesn’t last, the pieces could still be worn separately. I didn’t realize at the time that I could create a similar look using pieces from my own wardrobe!

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I wear capris more often than shorts as I don’t think that my knees are amongst my more attractive features, but I do have several pairs of shorts including these black ones from Nike Golf. The top is cabi and the little black jacket is from Canadian fashion retailer, Reitmans. All three pieces have been in my wardrobe for several seasons.

I’m not really going anywhere these days that requires even this level of dressy, but I did have some business to take care of at the bank yesterday and even though it wasn’t necessary, it felt nice to dress up just a bit.

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HOOFING IT Across Canada update:

I’ve now walked 51.37 km since the beginning of the challenge. With over 6 weeks left, I should have no problem surpassing my personal goal of 100 km. Donations have slowed down a bit, but thanks to many generous donors, I’ve raised $1095 which is 73% of my $1500 goal. As the Canadian neuroendocrine cancer community, however, we have a long way to go to raise the $100,000 needed to continue funding much needed research. At present, we’ve raised just over $31,600.

 

Playing pretend – fantasy backyard book party

LogoAs a child, I loved playing pretend. You probably did too, but as we got older, real life pressed in and the world of make-believe was all but forgotten. Apparently, not so for retired high school English teacher, Sue Burpee, who has hosted two virtual parties for the readers of her blog, High Heels in the Wilderness, since the Covid-19 shutdown began.

In her blog, Sue writes about fashion, travel, books, and life in general. I’ve been following her for several years and had the privilege of “attending” both her parties. The first, in early April, was an afternoon tea at the historic Chateau Laurier in Ottawa and the second, this past Saturday, a book party at her home overlooking Ontario’s Rideau River. And what a party it was!

Since we came from across Canada and around the world, it was an overnight affair complete with an old-fashioned, down-east lobster and corn boil at supper time and houseboats on the river to accommodate us for the night! You can read all about it here.

The invitation told us to dress casual, cool, and comfortable and to be sure to bring a hat. After contemplating my closet and considering several different options, here’s what I chose.

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The white crop pants are a basic piece that have been in my wardrobe for several years and the light, airy Scallop Top from cabi’s Fall 2019 collection was perfect for the heat wave that the Ottawa area has been experiencing lately. My Summit Breeze crushable hat was easy to pack and provided great protection from the sun. Of course, I also wore lots of sunscreen! I knew I’d want to stroll around Sue’s lovely property, so I wore a comfortable pair of Naturalizer sandals that I’ve had for several years.

Since this was a book party, Sue also asked each of us to bring a book that had had a significant impact on us to share with the other guests. Again, how to choose? There have been so many! Probably the book that has had the most profound impact on me, other than the Bible, is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, but I don’t actually have a copy of it right now. Instead, I chose one of the memoirs that I’ve been reading during Covid-19. A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose, by human rights activist Samra Zafar, is the inspiring story of a courageous and determined woman who walks away from a harrowing past and builds a new life for herself and her two daughters. An arranged marriage in her native Pakistan at age 17 and a subsequent move to Canada with her new husband promised to be the fulfillment of her dreams, but instead turned into an abusive nightmare. I was impressed by her grit and determination and reminded that many women, especially amongst our immigrant population, live lives shaped by cultures that we have little understanding of.

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Yes, a virtual party during these most unusual days was just what I needed! I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a whole group of like-minded women from around the world and I’ve added several new books to my ‘must read’ list.

Many thanks, Sue!

and BACK!

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If you’ve been reading my blog recently, you already know that I’m participating in a fundraiser called HOOFING IT Across Canada. We, the Canadian neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) community, are working together in an effort to raise $100,000 for much needed neuroendocrine cancer research. Participants have been racking up as many kilometres as we can by walking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, cycling, roller-blading, or any other forward moving activity that we can think of and tracking our individual distances. Our original goal was to record 5,514 kilometres, the distance from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon, but I am very proud to announce that in less than two weeks, we’ve already surpassed 4000 km! As a result, we have a brand new goal. We’re not just HOOFING IT Across Canada, we’re HOOFING IT Across Canada and BACK! That’s right! Our new goal is 11,028 km.

Personally, I’ve walked over 33 km since July 1st. While that’s a tiny fraction of the distance that’s been covered (it helps that we have some long distance cyclists and runners in the group), I’m one third of the way to reaching my personal goal of 100 km. At this rate, I may have to increase my goal too!

Of course, the main purpose of the HOOFING IT Across Canada campaign is to raise funds for research. Once rare, NETS is now the fastest growing class of cancers worldwide, accounting for approximately 2% of all cancers. We need to know why this is. We need safer and more effective methods to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure this disease. Research is the key to transforming and saving lives and research takes money.

HOOFING IT is the easy part. Asking people for money is more difficult, especially in today’s economy when many are facing financial hardship and don’t have extra to give. By last night, however, we had raised over $20,000 and were 20% of the way to meeting our goal. I’m extremely grateful to those who have made donations on my behalf. At $875, I’m almost 60% of the way to meeting my personal goal of $1500. If you would like to add to this amount, please click here to visit my fundraising page. No amount is too small. Every dollar brings us one step closer to finding the answers we’re looking for.

In the meantime, I’m off to the city tomorrow for CT scans to see if there’s been any change to my NETS tumours over the past six months. I won’t be meeting with the doctor and finding out the results until August 6, so I’ll try to provide an update after that.

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Back in business, but without a fitting room

LogoOur local thrift store reopened on Tuesday. My main reason for going in that afternoon was to drop off a load of things that I’d sorted out of my closet, the storage room, and the kitchen cupboards over the past few months. I also wanted to see if I could find some more  books to read because I’d finished most of the ones I picked up prior to Covid-19. Of course, I couldn’t be in the store for the first time in over four months and not take at least a quick look at the clothes too!

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Almost immediately, I spied a cute pair of Simon Chang capri pants. They looked like they might be the right size, but as I’ve mentioned before, I have a hard time finding pants that fit my boyish figure. If they fit at the waist, they often bag at the hips. If the hips fit properly, they’re too tight at the waist. Like many stores, however, there were some restrictions in place due to the pandemic and the fitting room was closed. Should I buy the pants anyway? At just $3, what did I have to lose? There are no refunds, but if they didn’t fit I could simply donate them back.

OR… I could try them on anyway! That’s right. Savvy thrift store shoppers know that not every second-hand store has a fitting room, though most of them do. As I mentioned in a post entitled 18 Tips for Successful Thrift Store Shopping, if you have to try things on in the aisles, you want to be able to do it easily and modestly, so it’s a good idea to dress with that in mind. Even if there is a dressing room available, wearing leggings, a cami, and slip on shoes makes trying things on a breeze, but on Tuesday I hadn’t come prepared. I was wearing pants, not leggings. How could I try on those cute capris?

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I wouldn’t do this in a regular retail store, but I simply took those pants over to the circular rack of skirts and dresses which is up against one wall of the store and found a long skirt with an elastic waist. Standing where I was largely out of view, I slipped it on over my pants, and you guessed it… I discretely removed my pants from beneath the skirt and pulled on the capris! There weren’t many shoppers in the store at the time and I don’t think anyone even noticed. Sometimes unusual times call for unusual measures!

The pull-on capris are made of a very comfortable stretch fabric with a nice wide waistband, but it was the tiny polka dots that attracted my attention. Polka dots are very much on trend this season and I’ve been wanting to add some to my wardrobe.

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I’m wearing my new pants with one of my brightly coloured golf shirts, my Nordgreen watch with it’s navy leather band, and a pair of Naturalizer sandals that I’ve had for years.

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HOOFING IT Across Canada update:

I’ve walked 22.99 kilometres since starting the challenge on July 1st and thanks to many generous donors, I’m slightly over half way to my fundraising goal of $1500 for neuroendocrine cancer research.

Walking in the rain

The past few days have been sunny and warm, just the way summer should be, but today has been mostly cool and cloudy again. I really didn’t feel like putting on my zebra stripes and going for a walk. Cancer’s a bit like that. I don’t only have it on days when I feel like it! I wake up with it every morning and I go to bed with it every night. These days, I’m not just walking because I want to. I’m walking to increase awareness of neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) and to raise funds for research.

As I walked, I thought about how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I don’t live where I’m able to attend support group meetings nor do I really feel that I need them, but I am part of several online groups for patients and caregivers. Every day I hear from people whose NETS stories are so much worse than mine. I walk for them as well as for myself. I walk in memory of those we’ve lost and I walk for those who will be diagnosed with this increasingly common type of cancer in the future. I walk in hope that money for research will eventually result in a cure.

I was walking in the exact opposite corner of our small town when it started to rain! (I think I need to find a zebra striped umbrella.) There was no way that I could suddenly transport myself back to the comfort of my warm, dry house. I had to keep walking. Cancer’s like that too. When you’re diagnosed, you suddenly find yourself a long way outside your comfort zone and there’s no going back. I treat my life with cancer a lot like a walk. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. I refuse to stand around in the rain feeling sorry for myself!

When I walk through the corridors of the cancer clinic as I’ll do again later this month, I can’t help feeling like I don’t really belong there. I look and feel so well compared to most of the people around me. It’s called “survivor’s guilt” and it’s common to those of us who have or are surviving cancer. We can’t help asking “why them?” and “why not me?” I only know that when all this started, God promised to take care of me and, while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, He’s been doing a great job of it ever since. So here I am, feeling strong and able to HOOF IT Across Canada!

Since the campaign started on July 1, I’ve logged 12.96 kilometres. Reaching my goal of 100 km by September 7 should be no problem, but far more important is the money that I raise for NETS cancer research. As a Canada-wide community, we hope to raise $100,000. I set my personal goal at $1500 and at $550, I’m 36% of the way! Thank you so very much to those of you who have already donated. I’ll try not to bore you with too many updates! For those who haven’t donated yet and who would like to, you can find my personal fundraising page here.

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Chinos

LogoI finally went clothes shopping this week! To be more truthful, we were in the city for an appointment and I went into one clothing store. Just one!

After weeding several things out of my closet that should never have made the cut when I did my seasonal closet switch last fall, I identified a couple of significant holes in my summer wardrobe. As I mentioned two Friday’s ago, I have lots to wear when the weather is hot, but where we live I need things that are suitable for cooler summer days like the ones we’ve been having recently. One thing that I clearly needed was a couple of pairs of pants that would be warmer than my shorts and capris, but cooler than jeans.

Though I don’t shop for clothes online, the internet is a great place to do some scouting, especially during these days of Covid-19 when I don’t want to spend a lot of time browsing. I’d much prefer to go into a store, buy what I want, and leave again without lingering. When I knew that we’d be going to the city, I checked out the Mark’s website in advance and decided that their chinos might be just what I was looking for. Chinos are a nice middle ground between dress pants and jeans for both men and women.

The first thing I did when I entered the store was check to see if the fitting rooms were open. If I couldn’t try the pants on, there’d be no point in me even looking at them. Thankfully, a limited number of them were in use and there weren’t a lot of customers in the store so I didn’t even have to wait in line.

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Finding pants that fit well is often a struggle for me, but Mark’s slim-fitting, tapered leg chinos were perfect for my boyish figure. The toughest decision was which of the several colours to choose! I settled on two pairs; one in a light tan called Stone and the other in a dark Olive. Both will be very versatile. I’m showing you the light pair today, but I’m sure that the others will show up on the blog sometime soon. The bottom hem is meant to be rolled to ankle length, but they can also be worn down.

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I didn’t realize until after we’d finished taking the pictures that I’d forgotten to put on any lipstick, so this is my au naturel, at home look! Actually, I’d just got back from having several vials of blood taken at the local hospital, so perhaps I was even a bit paler than usual!

Being a word nerd, I couldn’t help doing a bit of research to find out how chinos got their name and what it actually meant. Apparently, the word was first used to describe khaki coloured military trousers that were worn during the Spanish American war of 1898. They were made from a cotton twill fabric that was sourced from China, so the name came from the fact that Chino is the Spanish word for Chinese. Thankfully, my new pants, which are made of a stretch cotton blend, were not made in China as one of my fashion goals for this year is to avoid buying Chinese products as much as possible. Of course, I have no idea where the fabric came from. As I’ve mentioned before, being a truly ethical shopper is very difficult, but I try.

It’s Canada Day and Day 1 of HOOFING IT Across Canada!

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Today is Canada Day, the 153rd anniversary of our country’s birth as a nation. It’s also Day 1 of the HOOFING IT Across Canada fundraising campaign for neuroendocrine cancer research. Today I begin counting the kilometres that I walk and/or hike between now and September 7th. Joining with participants from the neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) community across the country, we hope to record 5,514 kilometres, the distance from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon! We also hope to raise $100,000!

I’m very grateful to those who made donations following Saturday’s post. Thanks to their generosity, I’ve already raised slightly more than 20% of my goal. There’s still a long way to go though!

If you haven’t already, I hope that you’ll consider going to my fundraising page and making a donation. No amount is too small! Every cent received will go toward neuroendocrine cancer research and hopefully bring us closer to understanding what causes this disease and to ultimately finding a cure.

I’ve been asked several questions regarding making a donation, so I’ll answer those here:

  1. What methods of payment are accepted?  You can make your donation using a credit card (VISA, MasterCard or American Express), PayPal, or a CanadaHelps gift card. 
  2. Can I donate from outside Canada?  Yes! Absolutely! Research conducted in Canada will benefit patients around the world. Many of my readers live in the US or elsewhere and some have already made donations. Your credit card statement will automatically show the value of your donation in your local currency.
  3. Will I receive a tax receipt?  Again, the answer is yes. When you make a donation, you’ll be asked for your email address and a tax receipt will be sent to that address immediately. Only Canadian tax receipts are issued however, so if you’re donating from elsewhere, you might want to check your country’s income tax policies to see whether or not you can use a Canadian tax receipt when you file your tax return.
  4. Can my business make a donation?  Yes. Simply select the “Corporate/Group” option under Donor Type when filling out the Donor and Tax Receipt Information section.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them. In the meantime, I’m off to watch a Canada Day parade later this morning and then it’s time to start walking!

HOOFING IT Across Canada!

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Today I’m super excited to share something that’s very close to my heart and to give you an opportunity to participate!

It’s almost 7 years since I was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer (NETS). Once the shock of learning that I had a cancer that I’d never heard of and that I’d be living with it for the rest of my life wore off, it became important to me to do what I could to help raise awareness of this little known disease and to support fundraising efforts for research, better treatments, and patient support. That’s why I’m going to be HOOFING IT Across Canada with CNETS Canada!

Between July 1st and September 7th, the Canadian neuroendocrine cancer community will be working together in an effort to raise $100,000 for neuroendocrine cancer research! Participants will rack up as many kilometres as they can by walking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, cycling, roller-blading, or any other forward moving activity that they can think of and tracking their individual distances. Together, we aim to record 5,514 kilometres, the distance from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon! In the days of Covid-19, the beauty of this is that we can each participate in our own community while practicing appropriate social distancing.

My goal during this campaign is to walk and/or hike 100 kilometres and to raise a minimum of $1500. That’s where you come in! I’m hoping that I can persuade you to visit my fundraising page here and make a donation. No amount is too small! Every cent that is received by CNETS will be directed to neuroendocrine cancer research. We need to know what causes this disease and we need to find a cure!

If you’re in Sedgewick, you’ll probably see me walking around town or out on the walking path wearing my zebra stripes and from time to time I’ll post updates here on the blog.

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Please make a donation!