Music 4 Cancer – Artists coming together for the fight

One of the biggest fights we have these days is the one against cancer, health wise. In Canada alone, cancer is responsible of 30 % of all deaths. 1 in 2 Canadians will be affected by a form of cancer in their life, and of that number, 1 in 4 will die from said cancer.

Research has been more and more advanced, there are now a few forms of cancer that are 100% treatable and patients have a much higher rate of survival than just 20 years ago. But the fight keeps on going. We should not (and hopefully will not) stop until all cancers are either treatable or eradicated. I’m dreaming big here, but go big or go home.

Back in 2010, two guys from Montreal, Canada, created the Music 4 Cancer charity. All proceeds go directly to cancer research. For the 8th year, they had a two days festival with punk/rock bands from all over the world come and play. Every single cent made by the festival, goes to the cancer funds. Everybody who works there is a volunteer. Some bands will take a massive salary cut to be on stage and perform. Some of them will even donate their cut to cancer. Everybody is doing it for the cause.

 

But why would they do that?

Everybody knows someone affected by cancer. Everybody has known someone who fought cancer, or fought it themselves. This is something that touches everybody.

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Let’s take the band Much The Same as and example. This punk rock band is from Chicago Illinois. In August 2017, Dan O’Gorman, guitarist, was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. Abdomen cancer. Dan is a High School teacher during the day and a rockstar a few times a year while doing shows. He fought his cancer hard.

The battle was not always easy. He shared his fight with the fans over on the band’s Facebook page. His surgery to remove the tumor was pushed back 7 months. Seven. Months. It goes to say that this disease, this sickness is sneaky. It’s vile. But Dan never gave up.

In July 2018, he got his surgery and had his tumor removed. He got the equivalent of a cantaloupe removed from his abdomen. A freaking cantaloupe. That thing was in there, ravaging his body.

August 24th, 2018, he was declared Cancer Free. In remission.

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I took this picture on September 15th. Just 1 year after he began chemo. 2 months after surgery. 1 month after being declared cancer free.

If this is not the face of happiness, I don’t know what is.

If this is not the face of hope, the face of a warrior, I don’t know what is. This is a fine example that all the research we’re doing, all that fight we are going through, it works. Our donations go somewhere. We make a difference. FOR REAL.

If you have the chance to, please donate. If you can’t afford it, volunteer your time during rallies, events and others. Even doing blood donations will make a difference. Every single bit counts.

I never thought I made a difference. I never thought that I, alone, could do something that mattered. But after seeing members of my family fight cancer, after seeing people I love fight with all their might, I am now convinced that whatever I do, I WILL make a difference. At least in people’s life.

 

I’m forever grateful to be healthy. I am lucky. Some others are not. And I will keep on giving my time, and my blood, to those who need a little luck in their life.

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Challenge recap

When I first talked about the challenge with R, he went into it a little relunctantly. He wanted to make me happy, but you could see he didn’t really care. It was sort of a “What in the world is she making me do… again.” type of situation for him. But he did it.

And by the end of it, he was having fun. I think it made us a little closer on trusting each other for the little things. You don’t always think about it, but the clothes you wear that day are the first thing people will see when you walk into a room. I had to trust R with blind trust.

I’m lucky though. R has a very good sense of fashion, he knows what works well. Our styles are a little bit different, but he understands the requirements for my work outfits. I still wore clothes that represent me. I don’t buy clothes I hate. I don’t keep clothes I don’t really wear anymore, or I got tired of seeing. Also, my wardrobe is set in a way that someone cannot go wrong. I have black everything. Tops, bottoms and cardigans.

I have a few colorful skirts that R did not even approach that I do wear for work with a black top. I have a few colored shirts, as you have seen. They’re easy to match to any of my black bottoms. And if I ever want to pattern mix (Spoiler: I don’t.) it’s all colors that go well together with my colorful bottoms.

I’m lazy when it comes to picking my outfit. I just to grab whatever I see first, throw it on in the morning and be out for the day. That’s one of the major reasons why most of my clotehs are black. Also because I love black clothes a lot. At first, I thought this would make a difference in the whole thing. Maybe it was going to be too easy?

It wasn’t. R made bold choices with what I had. I do bring a bag of clothes over to his place, containing about two weeks worth of outfits. He was working with a limited selection of things. I have my ideas of what outfit works and what doesn’t. He has his own. And we seem to be on the same page quite a lot with it. Except for Thursday’s skirt. He loved it, I hated it because of the comfort factor.

No wonder why it had the lowest score of the week. I mean, when you look at it, it looks okay, but the shirt is way too “dressy” for the rest of the outfit. But I think it was the shoes that made it too casual. Again, that’s on my shoulders. I don’t bring all my shoes over, that would take up too much space. These were the most versatile ones I own.

The winning outfit

Now that one doesn’t come as a surprise at all. I think it was pretty clear Wednesday’s outfit was my favorite. It was also R‘s favorite. He loves that dress a lot, he’s always happy when he sees me wearing it. I usually wear it when we go out to concerts or out with friends with mesh tights. But the fact he used opaque tights made it totally work appropriate with the cardigan over. My bosses actually said that day I looked beaming. I think it was clear the clothes I wore made me happier than usual.

 

Final thoughts…

I think overall it was a fun thing to do for R and I. It’s something everybody should try with their partner, even if it’s just one day. Just to see what our significant other thinks what looks good on us, or see what they would like to see us in. Or just to have a good laugh together.

Because after all, that was the goal of this challenge this week, have fun with my boyfriend.

My partner dressed me – Day five – Friday

The last day! The final one. R‘s salvation. His HALLELUJAH time. Seriously. I think we were both relieved it was over.

I had a day off to get ready for the Music 4 Cancer fest, a punk festival where every single cent of profit was going towards cancer research.

Here’s the outfit:

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I don’t have individual pictures of the pieces, because I was in a rush all day, but you can see me good old Vans, my oldest pair of jeans and my new Parkway Drive tank top.

Now for the breakdown:

  1. Comfort: 3/5

I hate jeans. Let’s be real here, I hate jeans with a passion. These ones are comfortable, but I hate jeans. I really need to give these away.

     2. Day Appropriate: 5/5

I mean, a day off, a music festival… Jeans and a band tank top is pretty much perfect fit!

    3. Coordination: 5/5

You can’t go wrong with that. I did change into my Chuck Taylors before we left to the festival because I don’t want to ruin my Vans just yet, since I bought them like a week prior.

    4. Overall Appreciation: 4/5

One word: Jeans. Other than that, it was perfect for the day, I threw on a hoodie in the evening to prevent getting sick (spoiler alert, joke’s on me I was already going down with something)

Total: 17/20

And that was it! The whole challenge is now over! Tomorrow I’ll be breaking down my thoughts, wrap it all up and we will look at the winning outfit for that week!

Welcome to the purge

When you live half the time at your partner’s place, you end up in my situation where half your belongings are still in boxes three months after you moved in.

So Friday I took ALL of my clothes out, threw them on the floor and went through everything to sort it out. My goal? Have at least my bedroom be liveable. If you can call it like that since I have a bed frame but no mattress.

 

Back to the main thing though.

I have too many clothes I don’t wear, but just kept putting back into my closet or in my dressers. It was time for a purge. I wanted to get my things ready for Fall, I needed to know if I had to go shopping for the cooler days, so I put everything in a pile, sat down and started going through everything, piece by piece.

Here’s what it looked like before:

IMG_20180914_091125465.jpg Now that’s what I call a war zone.

 

It took me two hours. Two hours to sort, fold and put away everything. Two hours to fetch lost sock friends, decide that no I do not need two bath robes in the exact same color, find a bag big enough to fit everything I was donating (because I never throw my old clothes in the trash, unless they are ripped, forever stained, completely stretched out of shape, or just un-wearable).

I parted with about half of the clothes I had. With each piece of clothing I was taking I was going down this list of questions:

  1. Is it still wearable?
  2. Have I worn this in the last year?
  3. Is it for a special/specific occasion?
  4. Am I going to wear this in the next year?

If the answer to any of these questions was no, I would put it aside for donation, unless it was time to trash it.

Purging my closet is something I like to do twice a year. Once in the Spring and once in the Fall. Not only does it help me keep things tidy and unclogged in my closet, it also helps me get a good idea of what I need for the season to come. It’s also a very good way to clear out my head. I get in the zone and I stop over thinking other things that may be going on my life. I’m so invested in the purge, that for a couple of hours, my brain shuts everything other than the clothes. I’ll usually have music playing in the background and most of the time I’ll be humming or singing along. I’ll light some incense to clean out the air in the room and leave a refreshing smell.

I also took that opportunity to re-organize things in my closet and in my dresser. I’m a little bit freaky on this, I have one way to put things, each type of clothes has its own place in a very specific spot.

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Now that! is what I like to see.

It is in no means perfect, but I work with what I have. My apartment is about a hundred years old and as much as I love its quirkiness, it makes it difficult to really organize everything the best way. But for now, this is pretty damn good and I’m happy with it.

It’s easy for me to see what I have, what I want to wear, etc.

My closet is very, very intuitive:

  • Left side: work appropriate.
  • Right side: Fun/weekend appropriate.

 

My dresser is also intuitive, to me.

  • Top row: Bottoms, it’s always the first thing I grab in the morning. On the left, skirts, in the middle, leggings and on the right, jeans and shorts.
  • Second row: Shirts, since I always chose my shirt based on the bottoms I picked. On the lefts side, t-shirts, in the middle, warmer long sleeves and on the right, work appropriate shirts.
  • Third row: leftovers. On the left, my gigantic panda onepiece pajama, in the middle, my woods appropriate clothes for the colder times (jogging pants, merino wool long johns, etc) and on the right, tank tops.
  • Last row: warm pajamas for the winter, or when I want to be snuggled up in the warmest things I own.
  • Top drawer: socks, underwear, bikinis and swimsuits.
  • Bottom drawer: pajamas, pajama pants and t-shirts I used as pajamas.

 

I’m very happy with the way it looks right now, I most likely will change everything again in the Spring, but for now, this is what I have!

My partner dressed me – Day four – Thursday

Thursday was my last day of the week at work. As I had mentionned, I had a day off Friday, since I was leaving early to attend a festival (Which I’ll be covering in a separate post). It was also R‘s hardest day to work with. He realized how many black skirts I own. Spoiler alert, I own 6.

Thursday was also the return of very summerey weather. Which meant the a/c would be in full blast + 1000 in the office. Spoiler alert, I got sick.

Here’s the outfit:

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My Vans, pretty sure I’m going to be wearing those every single day of my life until they fall apart, a chiffon skirt, pretty whimsical. A green shirt that has silver flecks in it (I love this shirt a lot). And my good old cardi for the cold a/c.

All pieces I love individually.

Now for the breakdown:

  1. Comfort: 3/5

The skirt’s band is extremely scratchy. This is a skirt I would no wear without tights under it to prevent the band scratching me so much. It was getting so annoying that I kept pulling the band over my waist when I sat down even though it’s a hip worn skirt.

     2. Day Appropriate: 4/5

It’s a little bit more casual because of the shoes. Other than that, it was pretty okay for the day!

    3. Coordination: 3/5

The skirt did not match the other items in terms of style. That skirt is very hard to work with because of the way it looks with the different layers of chiffon.

    4. Overall Appreciation: 3/5

I was miserable all day because the skirt’s band. I was not happy.

Total: 13/20

I know I’m a few days late for these but with the festival, things got a little out of hand pretty fast. But no worries. This whole ordeal is coming to an end

 

I’ll see you tomorrow for Friday’s pick!

My partner dressed me – Day three – Wednesday

I don’t want to jump the gun, but Wednesday is my favorite day so far. For many reasons, but in general, Wednesday was good day!

R was soooo proud of himself for this one, he was beaming with pride. You could see on his face that he liked what he did. He was also the one to say “Time to pick your clothes!”

Here’s the outfit:

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My good, trusty Vans, same tights as the day before. My favorite dress I currently own and my favorite cardigan to wear at work.

There’s a little bit of green and pink in the stripes of the cardi, mixed with the white and black, it’s just the perfect amount of color so the visual is not too boring or not too… Funeral looking.

Now for the breakdown:

  1. Comfort: 4/5

The tights. Tights are NOT comfortable. But other than that, the dress is crushed velvet and and soft like heaven. The cardigan is super tight at the arms, which I love, because it keeps me warm!

     2. Day Appropriate: 5/5

Perfect for work. I looked professional, I looked comfortable, I got tons of compliments about this look.

    3. Coordination: 5/5

I think we can all agree that this is a perfect match! Everything looks great together, my edgy side was coming through a little more and I liked it a lot.

    4. Overall Appreciation: 5/5

Three words: I love it. If I could give it a 6, I would. I think this will be a staple outfit in my rotation for the cooler weather.

Total: 19/20

R can be proud of himself with a reason. He did amazing!

 

I’ll see you tomorrow for Thursday’s pick!

September 13th, a special date…

Today marks my grandfather’s two years passing away.

My grandfther was not the best father. He was definitely not the best grandfather. He had his issues, we had some problems, but what family doesn’t? No family is perfect. And I loved my grandfather dearly. I also hated him. But I loved him.

Because of him, I have some of the best childhood memories I could ever ask for.

  • He would bring me on his skidoo during winter and we would ride for hours in the woods, on the frozen river and in teh fields surrounding his house. He had also screwed a big wooden box on two skis so that my siblings and I could sit in it and he attached it to the back of the skidoo. Hours and hours spent riding with him, feeling absolutely free, coming home with red, cold cheeks and a runny nose.

 

  • In the warmer months, he would bring us with him on his wood land he owned and let us play there while he would chop wood to make fireplace logs. In his retirement, he was working kind of as a lumberjack, making fire wood for his friends and neighbors, selling it. I was lucky enough to learn how to work a few logging machinery.

 

  • He had this big John Deer backhoe that he loved sitting us in the bin and drive us around on his land. He would then stop, let me hop into the cabin and pull my siblings high in he air, because he knew I was terrified of heights.

 

  • He taught me to drive on his very, very old Kubota tractor. This is a skill I sadly lost, as I do not drive shift at all. But He taught me how to do it way back when I was much too young to be taught these kind of things. He did the same with my siblings as well.

 

  • He would bring me fishing with him for weekends at his cabin, hours and hours north and we would spend days sitting in the boat, just the two of us, him with his fishing rod and me with my stick with a fishing wire attached to it, we called it “The Little Boy”. My mother learned to fish the same way. My siblings as well. This is probably one of my most cherished memories. To this day, whenever I go fishing, I’ll use my rod, but I’ll also make a Little Boy and fish the way I used to with my grandfather.

 

  • Every single year, for 15 years, in the month of august or september, my grandparents, my parents, my siblings and I would go to the giant outdoors market and spend the day there, buying fresh vegetables and other home made goodies. It was my favorite day in the entire year. I loved it more than Christmas and Halloween combined. And that’s not small statement. Grandpa would literally buy us anything we wanted. Want a basket of carrots? You get it. Want 3L of fresh apple juice? You get it. Want a little cone filled with maple sugar? You get it. We NEVER took advantage of it. We would always be very reasonable with what we would take, but never backed out of anything. We literally had unlimited budget, but never bought more than maybe 25$ worth of stuff each kid. We knew our luck, we knew it was a priviledge and we did not want to abuse it and lose it. We would always go for the crepe stand, eat crepes there, then we would go and eat corn on the cob at one of the many corn stands. We our stand. We went there for 15 years. The lady there knew us. We would eat maybe 3 or for ears of corn each, every year. It was our ritual. I have not been since grandpa passed away. I can’t deal with the nostalgia it will bring me. It’s still too hard to even think about it, I’ve been tearing up just writing about this special day.

 

Two years before his passing, Grandpa was diagnosed with a lung disease. It was not cancer and it was most likely not curable. They said it would slowly degrade his living time, but there was no indications he would pass away in the next couple of years. We knew we had probably less than ten years left with him. But grandpa didn’t want to fight the disease. He was not having it, he did not want to be stuck in the hospital and had decided not to pursue treatments.

A few months after his diagnosis, grandpa had an accident. He went to one of his lands he owned, like usual, and for a few weeks, he had seen this log in the middle of the road and kept thinking “One day, a motorcycle will hit it and someone will get injured”, so he tought he would move it on his way back home. He picked the log, threw it in the ditch and went back to his truck. The effort probably took a toll on his body. He had a weakness and most likely blacked out a second or two. When he tried to hold himself, he accidentaly pu his truck on Neutral (he had one of those side shift trucks) and fell down under his truck. His truck ran him over and one of the back wheels got stuck between his shoulder blades. He had to wiggle hard enough to let the truck go over him and he passed out on the road. A guy on a motorcycle drove by and saw him, saw the truck in the ditch, called the ambulance and stayed until the paramedic arrived.

Grandpa was not meant to die that day. He broke 10 ribs, one of his ribs pierced a lung and he broke his shoulders, but he was alive and well, considering the seriousness of the accident. Also considering that he had a very, very big accident back in the 80s, where both my grandparents did a face-to-face with a car spinning on ice. Mom was just a teenager and she had to care for them for months and months as they recovered. But Grandpa faced this second accident with a smile and told us he wasn’t ready to go.

After the accident, Grandpa decided to do the treatments for his lung disease. It made him realise he was not ready to let his body go just yet. That’s also when we learned the doctor had given him 2 years to live with his lung disease. Grandpa had hidden it to us, because he did not want us to pity him.

Almost a year after the accident, Grandpa went for a routine check. He mentionned migraines, so they did a scan of his head. They found metastases in his brain. He only had a few months left to live, at most. And would go downhill, quickly.

Two months later, on September 13th, 2016, my grandma went to the camping grounds where they rented a lot during the summer time. She was going to shut down the trailer for the winter while Grandpa was working on the yard. They were gettign the house ready to sell, slowly but surely.

Grandma came back from the camping in the afternoon and found Grandpa’s tractor upside down in the hill. The house is on a lot facing the river and Grandpa had been working on the hill down to the river. Grandma knew it was not normal for the tractor to be upside down.

You can guess the rest.

 

When my mother called me to tell me what had happened, I laughed. Defence mechanism, probably. I cried a lot, but I laughed. There was no way my grandpa was going to let a disease take him. His mother had lived to 100 years old (Yep, I was lucky enough to know my great-grandmother until I was 22), his brother had survived to a freak saw accident that took his arm. There was no way a disease was going to take him.

 

My grandfather is a hero in many ways. 

 

So today, as I celebrate my 8 month anniversary with my boyfriend, I’ll raise my glass up high in my grandpa’s honor who taught me one of life’s most valuable lessons: Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones, because you have no idea what tomorrow brings.

 

Salut, Grand-p’pa!