Rush concert is coming up; expecting an emotional one

Baby Gordon belts out Temples of Syrinx.
Baby Gordon belts out Temples of Syrinx.
I haven't seen Rush in concert since the R30: 30th Anniversary Tour in 2004. I have tickets for the July 12th show at the Halifax Metro Centre, where they'll play the first of two nights in a city they haven't visited since 1987.

I'm sure it will be a highly emotional experience for me. The show is the night after Amanda's hysterectomy and cancer debulking surgery, and the night before a weekend of morning show shifts on the radio. I'll be low on sleep and high on stress.

I've been trying to familiarize myself with material from the latest Rush album, Clockwork Angels. Their material since Vapor Trails has been hard for me to like. I find most of it oversaturated, overcomplicated and unmelodic. It just sits on top of me like a heavy pile of noise. I hate saying that, but it just has not resonated with me.

But at least one song on the newest record moved me, especially in light of recent events at home. I can't get through it right now without tearing up.

Here is "The Garden" from Clockwork Angels: (Music video with lyrics on-screen.)


In this one of many possible worlds, all for the best, or some bizarre test?
It is what it is - and whatever
Time is still the infinite jest

The arrow flies when you dream, the hours tick away - the cells tick away
The Watchmaker keeps to his schemes
The hours tick away - they tick away

The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect
So hard to earn, so easily burned
In the fullness of time
A garden to nurture and protect

In the rise and the set of the sun
'Til the stars go spinning - spinning 'round the night
It is what it is - and forever
Each moment a memory in flight

The arrow flies while you breathe, the hours tick away - the cells tick away
The Watchmaker has time up his sleeve
The hours tick away - they tick away

The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect
The way you live, the gifts that you give
In the fullness of time
It's the only return that you expect

The future disappears into memory
With only a moment between
Forever dwells in that moment
Hope is what remains to be seen

Makayla Lynn: "Fighter" at 2013 Relay For Life Dartmouth NS

I made it to the Relay For Life in Dartmouth NS on Friday night in time to see Amanda enter the Survivors' Victory Lap that starts the event. I recorded the survivors leaving the start line, then this 12-year-old performer from Nova Scotia began singing. Makayla Lynn's song "Fighter" captured my imagination and got stuck in my head. I kept shooting as she kept singing and I imagined putting a video together.

A few days later, here it is. In honour of Amanda and Gordon and all the other people who came out that night to walk all night.

Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.

See more from Makayla Lynn at Learn about the Relay For Life at

Don't shave someone's head with a beard trimmer

Don't shave someone's head with a beard trimmer.

More specifically, don't shave your wife's chemotherapy-thinned hair with a 20-year-old battery-operated beard trimmer. It's not efficient and it does not produce satisfactory results.

Not long after my last post, Amanda's hair was falling out fast and got patchy enough that she decided to go all the way and buzz it short. She'd already had a pro cut her hair from long to short and it looked great. Her hatchet job with kitchen shears actually looked good. But the rate of fallout became too much to endure any more. She asked me to take it off.

We were warned not to use a razor. The chemotherapy she's getting can reduce her platelets (meaning any cuts would bleed and be less likely to clot) and her white blood count (meaning a greater chance of infection).

Step one was with an old trimmer I use for my beard. I've probably had it for two decades. It runs on a pair of AA batteries and has served me well. It's slightly broken, though, and I learned quickly that what worked passably on thick facial hair did not work on dense but fine head hair. So, I moved on to using a comb and the trimmer on my Braun electric shaver. Better, but still bad.

We moved on to kitchen scissors. The hair came off much faster, but in chunks. Within minutes it looked like a very unkind and unstable individual had assaulted her. I'm thinking of what Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake used to do to unconscious opponents in the World Wrestling Federation circa 1988. We continued until ... I don't know what caused us to call an end to it. It did look better once she washed out the loose ends.

Victory for mommy! Gordon throws his arms up in the ay-er.

Since then, her hair has become thinner and thinner. She's pretty much bald. Stubble. Amanda's been wearing some neat-looking headgear. Some it is from the Sunshine Room at the hospital. Some are pieces she got from Often she'll go hatless inside the house. We all just forget that she's got no hair for a while. After all, she still has the same face! The baby certainly doesn't mind!

I think it's kind of cute. Yeah, sometimes she looks like a really tough broad. But the army-inductee look isn't so bad.

She's become used to being looked at. People look at her. People look at us. Sure, sometimes they're thinking "What's that fat guy doing with the hot chick?" and occasionally "Is that the lady with cancer who was on the CTV news?" but mostly I guess they're noticing she's wearing a head scarf and doesn't seem to have hair.

I'm surprised at how okay she is with that. Amanda's never been one for having people look at her, even when she looks her best. I don't know whether to call this new twist 'confidence' or 'indifference' because my own experience has been more the latter than the former -- I don't think I look good, but I don't care that people notice.

Whatever it is, I hope it sticks around when the treatment is done and she's healthy again.

A third round of chemo happens on Tuesday. Then about a month later it'll be time for that radical hysterectomy with a big incision and what we expect to be a painful and awkward recovery. Treatment will end with a series of intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy treatments. Basically, your abdominal cavity is a flesh bag full of your guts and organs. They make a port into that gut-bag and pump a heated batch of the nasty poisonous chemo drugs right into there in hopes of blasting any remaining cancer cells right to hell. Sounds super-effective but we've been warned that the side effects are, simply put, horrible.

You know what's not been horrible? People. People have been great. People at work, people at home, friends, family, stranger. Everyone's been tremendous. "Thank you" seems inadequate but saying more just gives me room to trip on my words and sound dumb. So, thank you. Thank you!

And the baby update: as of his last checkup, he's growing at a fine rate. Actually, his length and weight are good. His head is huge! The doc says he's in the 99th percentile, meaning out of 100 babies his age, only one has a head that's bigger around! He burps and farts and makes big stinky poops, but he's also smiling and waving his arms and we think he might start LOLing any time now. I'm loving it and I know Amanda is too, even though the side effects make it hard sometimes to even hold him in her arms.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

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