Lisa Ray

The Yellow Diaries

MM5K Walk

Hello Yellow Diarists:

I leave this Yellow ‘Post it’ on our Communal Corkboard to let you know I’m travelling out of Toronto to Vermont for a retreat which will be led by my friend Laura Simms. This is my week off chemo and I’m running for the hills. Laura is an entrancing professional story teller and humanitarian and has the eyes of a Devi. I will blog from Vermont. I have drafts.

Now I only have time for a short espresso blog. Ristretto?

I’m off steroids and I need to sleep. I forgot that’s what the night is for.

Just returned from my friend Joshua Bell’s concert in Toronto tonight feeling many things at once. Spilled veins. Heart tips. Tiny wings alive on the surface. Music opens the door of feeling in me. I used to spend hours listening to Wong Kar Wai soundtracks. There’s a line in ‘In the Mood for Love’: ‘at least she was always the heroine of her story’. Yup, that was me.

Then came Goldfrapp.

Tonight was surrender to a violin. If you have seen one of Joshua’s concerts you will know what I mean. If not, see him perform. I will not try to explain. I am overjoyed we have this in the world: art, music, FOOD, transcendence of words, time, logic…

Taken a milli-second before they asked you to turn off recording devices...and 5 days after 'Cooking with Stella' was screened at the Thomson Hall

Taken a milli-second before they asked you to turn off recording devices...and 5 days after 'Cooking with Stella' was screened at the Thomson Hall

Spent a long day on pause in the hospital. Next time I’ll bring my scrabble board or begin a spontaneous game of Bingo in the waiting room. After Noni left, Dad and I shared the same hunting magazine, ‘Ontario Out of Doors’, circa 2006. I learned a lot about cross bows. I’m not complaining just trying to inject some yellow into the pauses.

Dr Galal handed me my latest reports with that gleam in his eye.



We’re not in the FR Club yet, but I’m filling out all the preliminary forms.

Then I went up to the 18th floor to get my eyes checked. My left eye was swollen as a baby slug when I woke the day after the ‘Stella’ premiere. Turned out to be a sty. My immunity is low, so the infection has travelled to my other eye now. Seema has dinner with me before leaving for Sudbury and then India one evening and tells me to wash my eye with warm water and salt. She has seen technicians on film sets in India do this. And then go back to squatting with lights in precarious places. I think I can be all enigmatic and wear shades until my eye clears up and I grow a hump on my back to replace this latest alteration to my appearance.

We have a public screening for ‘Cooking With Stella’ on the 18th of September. I arrive in Paris Hilton sized sunglasses and yellow sneakers. I feel strange. I already feel like I’m having an out of body experience most of the time due to the medication I’m on which is plucking at my nerves. But now I’m dressing the part.

Deepa will rescue me. I unveil my eyes before we go into the theatre for the question and answer session.

‘I’ve got an eye infection. Shall I wear my reading glasses?’

‘Put your shades back on.’

Dilip dedicated the public screening to me. I am butter. With Canola oil. The Spreadable kind. I am without words in front of this onslaught of support and love. I”m already inept in social situations. I think it best I remain mute.

but don’t block the exit.

Can there be a thing as too much love? I think not! Unless it prevents you from learning to tie your own laces.

I want to thank the crew at ‘Psych’ for the laughs and for helping me Stay Encouraged.

Seema and Shriya...enroute to Roy Thomson Hall

Seema and Shriya...enroute to Roy Thomson Hall

Michelle Krall Wigmore and Sindi Hawkins for their gladiator spirits and guidance.

Don Mackellar for sharing the rickshaw. Thanks for the lift- in every way.

Don and I getting a lift in the rickshaw...except you can't see it so trust me. buh

Don and I getting a lift in the rickshaw...except you can't see it so trust me. buh

Dilip, Deepa, David for that family feeling. And teaching me to fight for what feels right.

Garden Sarees and Shilpa Shah for establishing a supportive connection that transcends fads and fashions.

Tina and Noni: for always prospecting with me for lightness.

And  Yellow Diarists everywhere. You move marrow and help me prospect my inside.

Before leaving tomorrow morning and before my next post, there’s this;

I’m doing the 5K walk for Princess Margaret on October 18th. Shane Saunderson (http://www.prairiepedal.comcycled 3500 km across Canada to raise $35,000 for Myeloma research. Together we are Team Myeloma. I’m thinking I gotta whip it. If Shane can do this and Bobcat can cycle 800 km in 4 days for Cancer, well, a 5k walk in Toronto is just a warm up.

I am already grateful for your support and would be grateful for your sponsorship.

So this is my warm up 5K for Princess Margaret and Myeloma. I know this isn’t the best of times to hit you up but whatever you can contribute is appreciated: including goodwill. No gauge on a webpage for that but we feel it. Contribute and get a free blog. Ha!

More research translates into more options in treatment which translates into a longer lifespan for members of the Multiple Myeloma Club. And then chances are increased we can find a cure in this lifetime.

Here’s the links:

Personal Donation Page:


Team Myeloma Canada:

Thank you. For the tender space and glueing with me for a while. Thanks for walking with me.

This is from Susan Sontag’s  ’Illness as Metaphor’. Mind tickle;

‘Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds a dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.’

Next post: Beluga whales and deer that pinch. And insurance. Buh.

next up: Everyone Loves Marineland!

next up: Everyone Loves Marineland!

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    As soon as I had all the facts clear, I asked the nephew to dine with me and laid the situation before him. I had only one loyalty �� to my employers and the good of the ship. To my astonishment he seemed displeased at first; ��more trouble,�� he began, ��why can��t you stick to your own job and leave the others alone? What��s in a commission after all?�� When he came to understand what the commission amounted to and that he himself could do the buying in half an hour a day, he altered his tone. ��What will my uncle say now?�� he cried and went off to tell the owner his story. There was a tremendous row two days later for Mr. Cotton was a business man and went to the butcher we dealt with and ascertained for himself how important the ��rake-off�� really was. When I was called into the uncle��s room Payne tried to hit me; but he found it was easier to receive than to give punches and that ��the damned kid�� was not a bit afraid of him.

    Curiously enough, I soon noticed that the ��rake-off�� had had the secondary result of giving us an infer-ior quality of meat; whenever the butcher was left with a roast he could not sell, he used to send it to us confident that Payne wouldn��t quarrel about it. The negro cook declared that the meat michael kors crossbody bag now was far better; all that could be desired in fact, and our customers too were not slow to show their appreciation.

    One other change the discharge of Payne brought about; it made me master of the dining room. I soon picked a smart waiter and put him as chief over the rest and together we soon improved the waiting and discipline among the waiters out of all comparison. For over a year I worked eighteen hours out of the twenty four and after the first six months or so, I got one hundred and fifty dollars a month and saved practically all of it.

    Some experience in this long, icy-cold winter in Chicago enlarged my knowledge of American life and particularly of life on the lowest level. I had been about three months in the hotel when I went out one evening for a sharp walk, as I usually did, about seven o��clock. It was bitterly cold, a western gale raked the streets with icy teeth, the thermometer was about ten below zero. I had never imagined anything like the cold. Suddenly I was accosted by a stranger, a small man with red moustache and stubbly unshaven beard:

    ��Say, mate, can you help a man to a mean�� The fellow was evidently a tramp: his clothes shabby and dirty: his manner servile with a backing of truculence. I was kindly and not critical. Without a thought, I took my roll of bills out of my pocket. I meant to take off a dollar bill. As the money came to view the tramp with a pounce grabbed at it, but caught my hand as well. Instinctively I held on to my roll like grim Death, but while I was still under the shock of surprise the hobo hit me viciously in the face and plucked at the bills again. I hung on all the tighter, and angry now, struck the man in the face with my left fist. The next moment we had clenched and fallen. As luck and youth would have it, I fell on top. At once I put out all my strength, struck the fellow hard in the face and at the same time tore my bills away. The next moment I was on my feet with my roll deep in my pocket and both fists ready for the next assault. To my astonishment the hobo picked himself up and said confidingly:

    ��I��m hungry, weak, or you wouldn��t have downed me so easy.�� And then he went on with what to me seemed incredible impudence:

    ��You should peel me off a dollar at least for hittin�� me like that,�� and he stroked his jaw as if to ease the pain.

    ��I��ve a good mind Michael Kors Handbags to give you in charge,�� said I, suddenly realizing that I had the law on my side.

    ��If you don��t cash up,�� barked the hobo, ��I��ll call the cops and say you��ve grabbed my wad.��

    ��Call away,�� I cried: ��we��ll see who��ll be believed.��

    But the hobo knew a better trick. In a familiar wheedling voice he began again:

    ��Come, young fellow, you��ll never miss one dollar and I��ll put you wise to a good many things here in Chicago. You had no business to pull out a wad like that in a lonely place to tempt a hungry man . . . .��

    ��I was going to help you,�� I said hesitatingly.

    ��I know,�� replied my weird acquaintance, ��but I prefer to help myself,�� and he grinned. ��Take me to a hash-house: I��m hungry and I��ll put you wise to many things; you��re a tenderfoot and show it.��

    Clearly the hobo was the master of the situation and somehow or other his whole attitude stirred my curiosity.

    ��Where are we to gof�� I asked. ��I don��t know any restaurant near here except the Fremont House.��

    ��Hell,�� cried the hobo, ��only millionaires and fools go to hotels. I follow my nose for grub,�� and he turned on his heel and led the way without another word down a side street and into a German dive set out with bare wooden tables and sanded floor.

    Here he ordered hash and I, hot coffee and when I came to pay I was agreeably surprised to find that the bill was only forty cents and we could talk in our corner undisturbed as long as we liked.

    In ten minutes�� chat the hobo had upset all my preconceived ideas and given me a host of new and interesting thoughts. He was a man of some reading if not of education and the violence of his language attracted me almost as much as the novelty of his point of view.

    All rich men were thieves, all workmen, sheep and fools, was his creed. The workmen did the work, created the wealth, and the employers robbed them of nine-tenths of the product of their labor and so got rich. It all seemed simple. The tramp never meant to work; he lived by begging and went wherever he wanted to go.

    ��But how do you get about?�� I cried.

    ��Here in the middle west,�� he replied, ��I steal rides in freight cars and box-cars and on top of coal wagons, but in the real west and south I get inside the cars and ride, and when the conductor turns me off I wait for the next train. Life is full of happenings �� some of ��em painful,�� he added, thoughtfully rubbing his jaw again.

    He appeared to be a tough little man Michael Kors bags on sale whose one object in life it was to avoid work and in spite of himself, he worked hard in order to do nothing.

    The experience had a warning, quickening effect on me. I resolved to save all I could.

    When I stood up to go the hobo grinned amicably:

    ��I guess I��ve earned that dollar?�� I could not help laughing. ��I guess you have,�� I replied, but took care to turn aside as I stripped off the bill.

    ��So long,�� said the tramp as we parted at the door and that was all the thanks I ever got.

    Another experience of this time told a sadder story. One evening a girl spoke to me; she was fairly well-dressed and as we came under a gas-lamp I saw she was good looking with a tinge of nervous anxiety in her face.

    ��I don��t buy love,�� I warned her: ��but how much do you generally get?�� ��From one dollar to five,�� she replied; ��but tonight I want as much as I can get.��

    ��I��ll give you five,�� I replied; ��but you must tell me all I want to know.��

    ��All right,�� she said eagerly, ��I��ll tell all I know: it��s not much,�� she added bitterly; ��I��m not twenty yet; but you��d have taken me for more, now wouldn��t you?�� ��No,�� I replied, ��you look about eighteen: in a few minutes we were climbing the stairs of a tenement house. The girl��s room was poorly furnished and narrow, a hall bedroom just the width of the corridor, perhaps six feet by eight. As soon as she had taken off her thick cloak and hat, she hastened out of the room saying she��d be back in a minute. In the silence, I thought I heard her running up the stairs; a baby somewhere near cried; and then silence again, till she opened the door, drew my head to her and kissed me:

    ��I like you,�� she said, ��though you��re funny��

    ��Why funny?�� I asked.

    ��It��s a scream,�� she said, ��to give five dollars to a girl and never touch her: but I��m glad for I was tired tonight and anxious.��

    ��Why anxious?�� I queried, ��and why did you go out if you were tired 1�� ��Got to,�� she replied through tightly closed lips. ��You don��t mind if I leave you again for a moment?�� she added and before I could answer she was out of the room again. When she returned in five minutes I had grown impatient and put on my overcoat and hat.

    ��Goinf�� she asked in surprise:

    ��Yes��, I replied, ��I don��t like this empty cage while you go off to someone else.��

    ��Someone else�� she repeated and then as if desperate: ��it��s my baby if you must know: a friend takes care of her when I��m Michael Kors outlet clearance out or working.��

    ��Oh, you poor thing,�� I cried, ��fancy you with a baby at this life!��

    ��I wanted a baby��, she cried defiantly. ��I wouldn��t be without her for anything! I always wanted a baby: there��s lots of girls like that.��

    ��Really!” I cried astounded.

    ��Do you know her father?” I went on.

    ��Of course I do,�� she retorted. ��He��s working in the stock yards; but he��s tough and won��t keep sober.��

    ��I suppose you��d marry him if he would go straight?�� I asked.

    ��Any girl would marry a decent feller!�� she replied.

    ��You��re pretty,�� I said.

    ��D��ye think so?�� she asked eagerly pushing her hair back from the sides of her head. ��I used to be but now �� this life �� �� and she shrugged her shoulders expressively.

    ��You don��t like it!�� I asked.

    ��No,�� she cried; ��though when you get a nice feller, it��s not so bad; but they��re scarce,�� she went on bitterly, ��and generally when they��re nice, they��ve no bucks. The nice fellers are all poor or old,�� she added reflectively.

    I had had the best part of her wisdom, so I stripped off a five dollar bill and gave it to her. ��Thanks,�� she said, ��you��re a dear and if you want to come an�� see me any time, just come an�� I��ll try to give you a good time.�� �� Away I went. I had had my first talk with a prostitute and in her room! The idea that a girl could want a baby was altogether new to me: her temptations very different from a boy��s, very!

    For the greater part of my first year in Chicago I had no taste of love: I was often tempted by this chambermaid or that; but I knew I should lose prestige if I yielded and I simply put it all out of my head resolvedly as I had abjured drink. But towards the beginning of the summer temptation came to me in a new guise. A Spanish family, named Vidal, stopped at the Fremont House.

    Senor Vidal was like a French officer, middle height, trim figure, very dark with grey moustache waving up at the ends. His wife, motherly but stout, with large dark eyes and small features; a cousin, a man of about thirty, rather tall with a small black moustache, like a tooth brush, I thought, and sharp imperious ways. At first I did not notice the girl who was talking to her Indian maid. I understood at once that the Vidals were rich and gave them the best rooms: ��all communicating �� except yours,�� I added, turning to the young man: ��it is on the other side of the corridor, but large and quiet.�� A shrug and contemptuous nod was all I got for my Michael Kors gold purse pains from Senor Arriga. As I handed the keys to the bellboy, the girl threw back her black mantilla.

    ��Any letters for usl�� she asked quietly. For a minute I stood dumbfounded, enthralled, then ��I��ll see,�� I muttered and went to the rack, but only to give myself a countenance �� I knew there were none.

    ��None, I��m sorry to say,�� I smiled watching the girl as she moved away.

    ��What��s the matter with me?�� I said to myself angrily. ��She��s nothing wonderful, this Miss Vidal; pretty, yes, and dark with fine dark eyes, but nothing extraordinary.�� But it would not do; I was shaken in a new way and would not admit it even to myself. In fact the shock was so great that my head took sides against heart and temperament at once as if alarmed. ��All Spaniards are dank,�� I said to myself, trying to depreciate the girl and so regain self-control; ��besides her nose is beaked a little.�� But there was no conviction in my criticizm. As soon as I recalled the proud grace of carriage and the magic of her glance, the fever-fit shook me again: for the first time my heart had been touched.

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