WHY THIS BLOG?
My name is Denise Sevier-Fries (nee Buchy). Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. Come here for some serious issues, but mainly just some cheeky fun; satire with the odd parody tossed in, and a generous helping of hyperbole, with a dollop of facetiousness.
I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.
1) MY eBOOKS CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON: here
2) MY eBook Trailers are on YOUTUBE
3) My website:denisesevierfries.com
4) My Photo-Art Youtube Trailer is here too.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Monday, May 10, 2021
One would be correct in believing the FB page "The Good Old Days of Dauphin" has got my sister Rhonda (Buchy) and I talking a lot. She still lives in Dauphin and I have called BC home for almost 40 years. And we’ve always chatted a lot, but these days, reminiscing about our shared Dauphin experiences has flourished. Take our conversation today for example:
We lived in the South West end of town, so if you wanted to go to the curling or skating rink, Grandstands, baseball diamond, outdoor rink or ‘pool’, that’s where your feet had to take you. I believe you can see the path worn into the ground from our family home to the South East end of town on any aerial map of Dauphin.
Life pretty well centered around us watching our brothers Ken and Bob playing hockey with the Kings (read more about Bob by clicking the link HERE ), and playing baseball with the Redbirds (they played for Team Manitoba too). *As a side note: our dad Steve Buchy played for the Redbirds as well, in the 50’s. He actually threw out the pitch in a Redbird’s reunion (?) many years ago and was tickled pink with it all! So sweet.
Then there was the old outdoor rink across form the Plesh’s house that we either used or cheered on family and friends (or boyfriends!) day and night, and the old pool that I have absolutely no memory of. Rhonda insists there was one there, and still is, and in the old days it was uncovered and if it thundered outside, you had better get the hell out of it quick! Perhaps I didn’t get out fast enough one day and my memory got fried along with my melting bathing cap….
And before there was Selo, there was the Great White Lady herself, The Grandstands!
That old wooden structure was the Go-To Place of its day and I was so sad when I heard it burned down in 2009. So many memories there. Who can forget the amazing fireworks displays that colored our youth, and the carnivals on the fairgrounds (that saw one of my friends run away with the circus! Truth!) From our house, you could sometimes smell the garlic and onions cooking and hear the cheering crowds and booming voice of the MC. We fell asleep licking our lips…our hearts beating in rhythm to the music pulsating over the town.
And all the shows! It was always a thrill to climb the stands and find the perfect spot for the RCMPMusical Rides, horse races, and the Ukrainian Festival! I even met Al Cherney (of the old Tommy Hunter Show) once backstage by accident and we shared a cigarette. I was around 14 years old and thought that was pretty cool. Not that Al was a looker…he was older than dirt even back then, but he was my first ‘celebrity’ eyeball-to-eyeball meet and I was excited! Kept that butt for years in a secret place (because my parents didn’t know I smoked) and it’s probably still there because, well, apparently I’m good at keeping secrets, even from myself.
Back then, the Festival brought so many people to town you needed a cattle prod to forge a path to The Dairy Dip. Myriad Silver Airstreams and campers filled Vermillion Park and every school playground in town. The streets were closed to traffic and they burst to the seams with tourists, and we couldn’t recall anyone get angry, fighting or causing trouble. I think it was the camaraderie everyone felt but Rhonda thinks it was the endless flow of beer. Perhaps the two don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive *smile*.
The old Grandstands were where Mackenzie Jr High (and other schools?) had all day Field Day competitions as well (see pics). We’d dress up in costumes and makeshift team uniforms, and the school would empty and we would fiercely compete with each other’s classes to get the most awards and gold badges. I personally never saw one up close but I hear they were nice. I remember feeling the crippling weight of my athletic family’s honor on my shoulders one race around the track, and being fairly wimpy, I barely made it over the finish line at all. Red-faced, huffing and puffing, I flopped to the ground and Mr. Nadolny, much to my embarrassment, had to quickly pick me up (I think he needed a spatula), and made me walk around as to not get debilitating leg cramps. I use that race to this day to get out of doing stuff, like an old war vet with a missing limb: “Sorry, can’t help you carry those plates to the table…old wound from back in ’74. 800 meter. Near did me in.”
Of course, time was not kind to those old buildings and Stands and they are all but gone, but they certainly had their time in the sun. More than one first kiss, first cigarette and first beer were had under those Stands and we owe the South East a lot for making our community a great place to grow up in. And maybe once covid worries are gone, I can come home for a visit so Rhonda can prove to me that pool wasn’t just in her imagination…
Brother Bob playing for Manitoba:
Brother Bob playing for Manitoba:
Dad with a Redbird trophy:
Friday, May 7, 2021
FREAKIN' NADIA COMENICI ! (was I really her age when I watched her win 5 Gold Medals and earn the first 100% score in Olympic history?)
So many accomplished, outstanding people are my age.
MY age! (Well, one year younger but whatever....)
What, from the bottom of my heart, the hell?
I feel gut punched. My tongue is rolled out of my mouth as I slouch my way over to the fridge like a dejected Quasimodo to check if there's enough wine in the box (yes I said box) to numb the pain of the giant LOSER sign nailed to my forehead.
It's times like these that make you question what the hell you've been doing your entire life. What have you created that is lasting and impressive?
Well, I have 5 beautiful children and they have given me (so far) 7 gorgeous grandkids...but that is, however lovely, not an especially headline worthy accomplishment. Sorry kids. The world doesn't share my feelings of your utter and complete uniqueness.
And it's true that the model of my hand I made at my first real job as a 19 year old dental assistant (using a milk carton full of alginate...the pink stuff used to take teeth impressions) is a classic 'rebellious youth' statue (also known in Canada as the Trudeau Salute) ... but one careless elbow can knock it off the shelf and ALAS! my legacy is lost.
I will have to do better these next 10 years so when the NEXT list is made, I will sit and take a peek through it and think "Whatever. Losers." and with my head held high I'll turn my scooter into the produce aisle and drive off to find an economy size bag of prunes.
(Below...the source of my angst!)
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Back in youth...I'm talking the 60's and 70's...in small town rural Canada, the height of personal entertainment was the radio.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
I am Canadian and know nothing of rugby.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
How one is to interpret or read those Signs is another thing.
What the hell use is there of a message one can't understand? Ah...well, I'm beginning to think only age and experience can reveal that answer. Not a satisfying revelation, I must say.
Take, for example, the events of the past month: we all get good news and bad news, that's life, but how often do they come in patterns that repeat. It may be a pattern that has visited me before but I was too young and racing at Indie 500 speed to notice.
Youth doesn't pertain to me anymore. Speed isn't my friend.
So, here's the thing. Twice now, I have gotten either fun/good news that is immediately followed by truly harsh and unimaginably sad news. I'm talking within seconds of each other!
Just weeks ago, someone in my immediate family (cant say who cuz they would shred me) won a few coins in the lottery. $500,000.00. Quite a few coins actually. And within 3 seconds of hanging up the phone in wonder and awe of how many Creamsicles one could buy with half a million bucks, the phone rings to say our dear sister-in-law in Austria died of a brain tumour. Andrea was the beautiful wife of my husband's youngest brother Michael. She was diagnosed and hospitalized only 2 weeks before passing. It was a shock and sorrow double-punch to the gut. You reel back at the sudden tragedy and grasp for answers that nobody can answer. She was a kind and lovely soul.
And it feels somehow worse because Fate had made your heart extra happy first, lifting you up high so the fall is worse. Felt more keenly.
'Okay', I said. 'That's just bad timing. Such is life. Deal with it and carry on carrying on.' (like the posters say). Struggle with the happy thoughts of the good news battling the tears of the sad. All day long. All week long....
But then today, it happened again.
The Happy High wasn't a big lottery win (that would have made it a Proclamation, not a Sign) but a silly fun win. I had written the Chimes candy company weeks ago, whinging that my bag of Ginger Mango Chews ripped me off with an empty, air filled wrapper. It had been like the 4th time this happened and I was right pissed off! Trivial, perhaps, but it seemed unfair to not get what you paid for...so there ya go. Old People World Problems. Loads of Pandemic Time on my hands.
Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from California (I am in Canada) from the Chimes company PR rep who apologized profusely for my deep suffering at the loss of my single ginger mango chew (with sincerity, not a trace of condescension) and explained to me that the weight of each bag is consistent, and the empty wrapper was common but irrelevant. Then he offered to send me some free chews for my trouble and sweetly said goodbye. Nice!
I clicked off my phone with a massive Cheshire grin, and immediately within seconds of hanging up, received the news that my son-in-law Duncan had died of a brain tumour. Duncan was the husband of my eldest daughter Chantal, and father to their three young children. My gorgeous grandchildren. It was another shock and sorrow double-punch to the gut. With the added shank to the back because, well... kids.
Ummm...hello? Universe? Are you trying to tell me something?
Admittedly, the Happy High wasn't as lofty as the lottery win but I was floating on a cheeky win nevertheless and doing the happy dance, then, well, you know. Devastating sadness. Unspeakable heartbreak. For everyone. And the loss of a wonderful guy. So funny, so smart, so good.
'Okay', I said. 'That's just bad timing. Again. Such is life. Deal with it and carry on carrying on'. (like the posters say). But now there is the added absurdity of that Californian sun-soaked voice repeatedly saying "I am SO sorry you had to go through that..." about a fucking piece of missing candy, while my mind sporadically spits out sparks of reality to my head about poor Duncan. All day long, making me fight tears that wont change a bloody thing.
So yea. This is a repeated Sign I have to figure out what the message is about. And soon. Or I just wont pick up the phone again.
Not worth the risk. 💔
(💫Believe it or not, I just remembered this pattern happened before: In Year 2000, we took the kids to Europe for 6 weeks on a first ever family tour, and when we returned, all Happy High, I called a best buddy Lana to chat about our amazing trip, she told me her husband Bernie, the most adorable man ever created, was diagnosed with a brain tumour just after we left, and died a week after we returned. Man...I need to process this...)
DONATE: If you wish, please donate what you can to the CURE BRAIN CANCER FOUNDATION (click capitalized name for email link). In memory of Duncan Cutler, Australia, if you like. THANK YOU.💓
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Splaying his fingers so they could feel its cool steel patterns, she helped them travel down the side and up again, allowing a slow and thorough sweep over the decades of engraved names.
She avoided looking at his tear-filled eyes, giving him a period of grace to enjoy a personal moment of wonderment and awe, and a sliver of the privacy that his disease had stolen. Bob knew he could never die a happy man, but he and Bobby Clarke had touched the same Cup. That was happy enough.
Millions of people go to see the Stanley Cup, but how many people can say the Stanley Cup came to see them?
Born in a small prairie town in Canada, my brother Bob and sister Rhonda could not have been further apart. In every sense. A fifteen year age gap leaves a lot of dead space between siblings. The rare shared experiences don’t really stick. There is just a thin, shared branch of a family tree.
Where Bob was a tall, fit, Hollywood-handsome jock with the kind of aloof self-assurance and blue eyes that melted chastity belts like chocolate bars on a June dashboard, Rhonda was a sharp-tonged girl with a pleasant face and the meaty Ukrainian thighs the women of our family were legally required to own. Where Bob walked under a perpetual spotlight of attentive admiration, Rhonda was, I admit, largely ignored by her shitty babysitters (read: the sisters, including myself). A household with seven children is bound to have issues, and we had our fair share, but we were always close-knit. We laughed a lot and went through myriad decks of playing cards. That’s my memory anyway. Until that awful summer.
Most of us had grown up and left home...going off to university, finding jobs, getting married or, in Bob’s case, joining an NHL farm team in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Mom had a scrapbook full of Bob’s headline-news hockey career, and we were all mighty proud.
He was 19 when St. Louis nabbed him. 6’0”, 185 lbs, playing Centre with a smooth/effective style. He played for the Billikens first, and then went onto play in Syracuse, New York, and a few other American teams.
Desperately unhappy, with his self-assurance and dreams now shattered, Bob left hockey and entered dental school, trying to wrap his head around his unfathomable loss and stark new reality. But his naturally positive good nature and instinct for survival soon helped him refocus and his new path began to look brighter.
And then we got the call.
I was 14. My big brother was my hero, and now my hero was blind and couldn’t move. MS had drawn his name on Fight Night and it was Round 1.
Sucker punched. A TKO.
He was sick for months, and then unexpectedly he went into full remission. But at age 24, he was forever a changed man.
He began the life of a Free Spirit. Quitting dental school, living in the bush up North, building log homes, grabbing at pleasure at every turn, doing whatever the hell he pleased and living in constant fear of a relapse. People who didn’t know him thought him an odd duck, a drifter...or a Charismatic Pirate who was quick to laugh and cheat you at cards. And steal your girlfriend.
And that was Bob’s life until, 10 years later, MS rang the bell for Round 2. This time it wasn’t a TKO, but he was on the ropes. And he’s hung there ever since.
A lifelong, slow and unrelenting attack.
Playing cards at the kitchen table (a family tradition), Bob would sometimes stand up and his legs would wobble. Those long muscular legs that used to pump like an iron horse on the ice, thrilling us all with their smooth elegance, now barely able to push back his chair. Struggling visibly, he would shun anyone stupid enough to offer assistance, and then leaning on the countertops and walls, he’d drag himself, tortured step by tortured step, to the bathroom. The usual 10 second walk became a 10 minute ordeal. One way.
We would sit back and wait, feigning interest in small talk. An unspoken agreement to provide a half-assed background din so Bob wouldn’t be embarrassed by us overhearing his difficulty making it up and back down the hallway. Grunting. Shuffling. Heavy breathing. None of us making eye contact with each other, only half hearing each other speak, listening instead with perked ears for the dull thud of a fall. Or a call for help. Lost in our private anguish at the unseen evil that was attacking our brother. All of us helpless to fight back. Not allowed to help.
He would make it back eventually, sweating and red-faced from the effort, and we’d start up again like nothing happened. Deal the cards.
A true warrior, he fought. And he fought. And he fought.
Much later, suicide notes were found tucked in-between book pages: I will NOT end up in a wheelchair. I’d rather die.
What does one do with old suicide notes?
Rip them up.
Don’t tell Mom.
Although my brother won his battle against Suicide, he lost his fight with The Wheelchair.
Rhonda had remained at home and soon, mom and dad couldn’t live without her selfless, invaluable help. It suited them all perfectly and they had their routine down pat.
Then at age 35, health worsening, Bob had to move back home. Rhonda was now 21.
Things slid downhill quickly after that.
Defeated and dejected, Bob was learning to cope, but our family home wasn’t very big and definitely not wheelchair friendly. His legs were near useless now and his hands were starting to numb. Mom catered to him devotedly but inside, she was crushed. And scared. Dad just lived in some kind of blind denial. Accepting the truth would have broken him. The weight of all that fear and sadness became tangible and the symbiotic nature of their home drastically changed. Duties shifted and allowances were made, whether they were welcome or not. Rhonda fumed. Bob fumed. Frustration and anger mounted. Clashes of personality began to hit hard and daily petty spats between Rhonda and Bob eventually turned into shouting matches.
I think it was Mom’s obvious distress that finally made them run up the white flags, and they simply recognized that they were just two people who were pissed off at what life had dealt them and they’d become each other’s convenient punching bag. The wall of contempt fell and the healing began.
It started with civility. No more name-calling or rudeness. No arguments. They ignored each other for a while but spoke politely when circumstance necessitated. And then one night during a regular game of Rummy with Mom, Bob couldn’t hold his cards easily anymore. His fingers could barely move so they called it a night.
Next game, Rhonda unexpectedly joined them and helped Bob deal the cards. She then shifted them around in his hand with his instruction. Looking at his cards, he shook his head sombrely and said, “I’ve seen better hands on a snake.”
The laughter around the table was loud and cathartic. Like a giant chalkboard brush wiping the slate clean.
Bob, ever defiant and hungry for independence, decided he needed to be on his own and wanted to live in his old cabin by the lake. How’s that possible, one could ask? Great question. How can a man who cannot walk or move more than a finger look after himself?
And so the Charming Pirate re-emerged and with assistance from his new ally and astonishingly resourceful sister, arrangements were secured to have help come up twice a day to the lake to 1) get Bob out of bed and 2) get Bob back in bed.
In-between those times, save for the odd visitor, he was all alone.
It wasn’t ideal. We worried. A lot.
“What if a hungry bear comes by, or your cat curls up on your face and smothers you one night? ”
“Then I die. My choice.”
Freedom to choose saved him from despair. Complete autonomy became his standard. And his life became bearable.
Bob was in and out of hospital with so many near-death bouts of pneumonia, we lost count. We’d visit him in hospital and he’d whisper-sing the Fred Penner kid's tune, ‘The cat came back, the very next day…’ and we'd laugh through our tears.
A cat with nine lives, indeed! But then the whispering stopped.
MS took his voice.
So Rhonda and Bob developed an exasperating and painfully tedious way to communicate that we dubbed 'AlphaBlinking'. When lip-reading fails, Rhonda starts with ‘A’ and works her way down, all the while looking to see if he is blinking once for ‘yes’, or twice for ‘no’.... slowly spelling out his words.
YOU try it. Good luck.
My brother and sister carved out a life for themselves with the tools they were given. Neither are prone to verbally expressing affection (NOT a family trait...the rest of us are embarrassingly mushy), but they give each other the gifts of kindness, laughter, and a love that is never spoken, but always shown. Every single day.
I love getting pictures of Bob's bright, colorful birthday parties. His brilliant, hilarious Halloween costumes. Their lovely Christmas celebrations. Scenic day-drives to the parks and lakes.
What could top that?
Well...there might be ONE thing.
It happened on August 22 2018, when Rhonda gave Bob the most treasured gift of his life.
Any true fan would kill to touch the Stanley Cup, and one day, to Bob’s utter amazement, news hit that it was coming to the house.
To THEIR house!
Dauphin Kings Alumni and Head Coach of the Washington Capitals Barry Trotz brought The Cup to town to raise money for charity. Hearing that Bob couldn’t possibly come to the fundraiser to see it, he brought Lord Stanley to see Bob.
Barry once said, in a SPORTNET article: " [my] favourite player was a centre named Bob Buchy. He reminded me of Jean Beliveau — tall, graceful, skilled. Everyone has a favourite player growing up and I guess a lot of them are [NHL] stars these days. Mine was a player from our hometown.” (link to article CLICK HERE )
Carrying the large, iconic trophy carefully in his arms like a big shiny baby, Barry walked up the wheelchair ramp and into our hearts. My brother’s eyes were as wide as any Knight newly gazing upon the Holy Grail.
Rhonda’s face split into such a wide grin, she found teeth she didn’t know she had.
They say that our experiences in life are like Deposits that we save in the Banks of our Minds. The more we experience, the more we save, and then in our solitary Golden Years when its hard to get up from our rocking chairs, we can make Memory Withdrawals, enjoying them over and over again. My brother had led an interesting life for a while, but MS robbed him from filling that memory bank. That special day did much in way of enriching that vault.
There must be a special place in Heaven for people like my sister Rhonda and Barry Trotz…but Bob? Well, I’m not sure where pirates go…
Bob and my twins Scott and Chaelan circa 1992