Friday, July 29, 2011

The World has lost an angel, but Heaven has gained one

On July 17, 2011 a good friend of mine passed away.  She was only 26 and yet lived her life to the fullest right up to the end.

Chelsea Ann Umbach Yates was an amazing woman and her passing has left a hole in my heart.

Chelsea was a fighter.  When she was 15 she was diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.  When I met Chelsea she was 24 and living in Birmingham, Alabama awaiting a double lung and heart transplant.  I didn't meet Chelsea in the conventional way.  I met her on-line on a Bulletin Board for stitchers.  Chelsea loved to cross stitch and especially loved Heaven and Earth designs and Chatelaines by Martina Weber.  She was pretty well confined to home because she was weak in body, but she was never weak in spirit.  She did not feel sorry for herself and instead chose to put her all into everything she did.  She stitched a lot, talked to us on the board a lot and poured out her feelings for life to us on a daily basis.  During her time in Alabama she also completed her master's degree in English Lit - with A's.  Her humor was contagious and I've laughed at her posts and felt uplifted by her too many times to count.  Unless you have shared a friendship on-line you might not understand how well you can get to know someone without actually meeting them, but trust me and know that you can.  I felt closer to Chelsea then I have to some of my other friends. 

Chelsea lived with her boyfriend Robert who is a very special person.  He made sure she kept to her strict low-sodium diet and cared for her in only a way someone who truly loves someone can.   He was by her side throughout the good and the bad.

On January 4, 2010 Chelsea's prayers were answered and after having been on the waiting list for an organ donor for over 3 years, Chelsea received the gift of new lungs and a heart.  The surgery is definitely not an easy one and not without risks, but Chelsea came through the ordeal  wonderfully. 

On March 28, 2010, she and Robert were married in her hometown of New Orleans.  She was a beautiful bride and was surrounded by the love of her friends and family.    It was a dream come true.

Shortly therafter, she and Robert moved back to New Orleans to begin their new life as husband and wife.  Chelsea was getting stronger every day and life was good.  They bought a house and she was working at her mother's Scuba Shop and was looking forward to a happy life.   Although she was busy almost all the time and making up for time lost while she was so sick, she still managed to stitch now and then and also kept in touch with the friends she made on the stitching bulletin board.  We were all thrilled she was finding joy in everything she did.

Sadly on July 15, 2011 Chelsea developed Pneumonia and was rushed by jet to the hospital in Birmingham where she had received her heart and lungs and they tried valiantly to save her.  Unfortunately they were not successful and Chelsea lost her battle on July 17th.

She has left behind hundreds of people who knew and loved her and she touched each of us in ways I can't even begin to tell you about.  She was courageous and a true hero and I will miss her for the rest of my life.  She was wise beyond her years and I just know that she is somewhere in heaven and I know she is still smiling and is an angel there, just as she was here.

In closing this post I want everyone to know how much the gift from her donor changed Chelsea's life.  She had 18 months of living how she deserved to live.  Without this gift, she would have succumbed to her illness.  Please consider becoming a donor and help change someone else's life.  It's the most unselfish present you can give someone.

I will never forget you Chelsea....with love my friend....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why I hate the gym

I've always hated working out and going to a gym, so I didn't for a looooonnnnnngggggg time....Hence, I got quite heavy...of course this had nothing to do with the amount of junk food I could consume in one sitting  8^)

In January I started on a weight loss program called RVL from Monavie.  My DH and I are distributors and have been drinking their amazing juice for well over a year now.    The RVL program consists of having one of their nutritious shakes for breakfast, a delicious snack bar for a mind morning snack along with a capsule full ofgood stuff...another shake for lunch, another snack bar and capsule for a snack and then a sensible dinner.  The capsules actually take away your cravings for junk food.    I was very happy that with no exercise to speak of (except for hitting the button on my bullet when preparing my shake) and loads of stitching (don't laugh, you actually do use calories to stitch) , I still managed to lose 21 lbs.  With almost another 30 to lose, I decided I'd better step up my game.

That's when I joined the gym.  It's just down the block from my home and Trevor Linden (you know the famous hockey player) opened it in February of this year and it is extremely cheap.  How could I NOT go !!!!!

Well, I signed up, then felt intimidated to actually go.  I mean there'd be 20 something young fit girls there would who take one look at me and run screaming from the premise.  Unfortunately, I mean fortunately my good friend who had been away for a year returned and talked me into going with her.  I found out that the young things don't really care about me or what I look like, they are just into staring at themselves in the million mirrors around the room.  I felt safe.  Everything was going along fine until my "friend" suggested we try a yoga class.  I hesitated at first and then thought "why not"..the gym hasn't been too bad, how bad could yoga be???

Now Yoga and a lack of balance don't really go well together in my opinion.  I suffer from meniere's disease (a disease of the inner ear which has left me deaf in my right ear, suffering from tinitus and a decreased sense of balance)..all was well until a certain pose where I was leaning on my right hand which is also not in good shape since I had a joint replaced at the base of my thumb.  Somehow supporting all my weight on my already weakened wrist, didn't do my joint any good and I now have an appointment with the original surgeon to see what he thinks and if it can be fixed.  Ok, I can live with the pain...not a biggie...

Then last week I walked into a machine while doing the circuit at the gym and now have a bruise,  what my DH describes as a huge Nebula on my left leg.  Really it does look like a nebula from far out in outer space.  It's about 6" all around.   The kicker was today when I was sitting down at one of the machines and missed the seat and ended up falling on my rear (thank god it's still somewhat padded).  It probably could have been worse, but I broke the fall with my already sore wrist, which has swollen up again.

The good thing is that it is Monday and I don't go back to this place again till Wednesday.

I'm supposed to be getting fit, not broken.....yikes...

I will continue though as I still have another 25 lbs to lose and already I feel more buff...the wiggle on my underarms doesn't seem nearly as bad as it did before.

Oh, I should mention that not one of the pretty skinny young buff girls staring at themselves in the mirrors, asked me if I was ok after my fall.

Ok, enough about that...except to say that I really wish that I thought of the gym as being "fun" like so many people do...I think they are all lying.

On a different note, on July 1st of this year for Canada Day, DH and I went to a "Hanger" party at a local small airport.  We have a friend who owns a 4 seater plane which he keeps in said hanger.  Every year they have a party and it's great.  Early on, he takes those who'd like to go up for a ride, on a 20 minute ride over the neighbourhood.  DH is afraid of heights and small planes, so he won't go up, but this year we took my 27 year old son and he and I went up in the plane.  What a lot of fun.  Sure different then being in a large jet while travelling across the country.  Richard had been thinking of taking some flying lessons so was really interested in the whole thing.  He got to steer the plane, the only time during the flight I felt a little nervous.  He also took some terrific pictures and said I could share them.  The view from up there was wonderful and makes me remember why I love living on the west coast of Canada.

My Neighbourhood - the evil gym is along the bottomof the picture at the bottom of the Hydro green space...which is all vertical (hard to tell from the picture)..our home is in the lower left quadrant.

Great View of Indian Arm in background and White Pines Beach - It isn't summer till we get to swim here....right now it's been too cold and the water will be brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Burrard Inlet, SFU Campus atop Burnaby Mountain, and Vancouver in the background

My home is in the middle here...we weren't really this close, he just had a great Zoom on the camera

Vancouver in the distance

Looking Eastward along the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Bridge

WHAT an incredible experience.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jazzy kind of Mood

We're heading downtown to see Richard's Band "The Brass Action" at the Railway Club in Vancouver.  Richard has been playing the trumpet since Grade 5.  There were times when he wanted to quit but I gently convinced him that he would really appreciate knowing how to play one day.  That day came in high school when the school band travelled down to California and performed in Disneyland in front of the Castle.  Then they went to San Francisco another year to compete with bands from all over the U.S. and Canada.  They didn't win there, but they came away with the title of "Most Congenial Band"....hey we're Canadian, what can I say.

He's now 27, a Civil Engineer (his real job) and for fun he has the band, cycles (see previous post) and is busy with his girlfriend.  Needless to say, unless we go and see him perform, we don't see a lot of him...ha ha

The music is bit jazzy...a  lot "ska" and really really good.  Of course I'm a little biased.

I've been stitching quite a bit on "Leo"...his face is starting to come into focus...I love the colors of this one.