My mind has been spinning today, for whatever reason, like the song says…like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning, on an ever-spinning reel.  There is nothing for me to except to observe it…waiting for the wind to die.

I have learned some lessons in life so far….not always to fight so much.  It is okay just to ride it out.  I have also learned to be a little kinder to myself and not to judge myself so harshly.  I can have a bad day.  I can behave badly.  The world will not end because of it.

While I was waiting for the wind to abate, I got out of bed, dressed, took Sheba to the park, shopped…..In other words, I got on with this thing call life.

Unfortunately or fortunately, life is not like a treadmill.  You cannot stop and get off.  It will go on without you.


I’m hearing Joni Mitchell’s song this morning as I look at my pictures of clouds…..and ponder about life and it’s swirling mystery.  I am enjoying the morning sun, sipping my tea and rejoicing and celebrating.

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Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that wayBut now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

Oh but now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From WIN and LOSE and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all


The sun is out in all its glory this morning.  It is the 27th of August.  Fall is in the air, but it has been a wonderful summer, even with the weather’s unpredictability…..even with all the rain and the ever-present lake in the back alley.

Believe it or not, the City of Saskatoon does listen to its citizens.  And now the lake is no more even after an all-day rain.  I will have to send them another email…one of thank you, for a job well done.

Our garden started off slowly and pitifully.  The lettuce got crowded by the cress.  The beans didn’t show and the peas were sparse.  The radish didn’t radish.  Neither did the kohlrabi and broccoli.  And I wondered if we will get any tomatoes.  Even the sweet pea failed us.  Oh well!  It did look good, lush and green.  Who knew there was hardly anything edible?

But surprise, surprise!  It was not a total failure.  Yesterday I discovered the broccoli did brocc’ed.  I found enough to serve us a meal. There was also a kohlrabi even though it was small and old.  The beans took after a second planting and we’ve had a few meals.  The carrots came, but not enough to satisfy Sheba.  I found a couple of cherry tomatoes turning reddish, too.

So, all in all, the garden is like all of life.  Some things turn out and some didn’t.  Best to make notes for next year.  Learn from our mistakes.  Do more of what works.  Take pride in our labours.  Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets.  Give thanks to the Universe.


I recently received a subscribed email from a writer to make a list of ten things I’ve learned lately.  It seemed to be a good exercise so I am rising to the challenge.

1.  Nothing is as it seems so I will not take anything for granted.

2.  My dog, Sheba, is a human being. 🙂

3.  This, too, shall pass.

4.  Things are difficult because we choose to make them so.

5.  I am bigger than I think.  I am not invisible.

6.  Life is a circle so do not burn any bridges behind you.  What goes around, comes around.

7.  Friends and connectedness are the aroma of coffee in the morning.

8.  I do love work, but work is not me.

9.  Every question does not need or have any answer.

10.  I need not fix everything that is broken.  Some things fix themselves.


My pivotal moment came upon waking this morning…..every moment is pivotal…every moment that we can see the blue sky, smell the sweet grass;  every moment we can touch our love ones and feel them by our a pivotal moment.

I’ve never been a fan of Tony Robbins but at this moment, he is my pivotal person as I watch and listen to him talk about raising our standards.  Yes, to keep the life juices flowing and a sparkle in my eye, I need that push.  I need to raise my standards.


Do you realize that no matter where we are, we are surrounded by signs….man-made or in nature.  Quite often, we are oblivious to them, walking right by, paying no attention.  That’s how we are, always in a hurry to the next event, even though we have a million and one ways of saying we should stop and smell the coffee.

We rush on by  not wanting to be left behind, not wanting to miss something important.  But we miss the sign to paradise.

And it is so for myself, too.  I am also guilty of being blind to the many signs around me.  It is difficult sometimes to finally see and admit that a change is necessary.  And so we delay and delay and justify and justify….afraid to let go.

I am seeing so clearly now.  There are so many signs to show me the way…. that    work is not fulfilling me, that it is not healthy for me to continue at the present mode.  I see that in the patients that we have been getting in the last few weeks.  They are truck drivers even younger than myself.  They all present the similar symptoms – overweight, diabetic, poor circulatory systems…in short – heart attacks on wheels.  And there are good reasons for their conditions…long hours behind the wheel, eating to keep awake, eating at truck stops, etc., etc. They have to make a living.

All those things are applicable to my profession, too.  I am often too tired from 12 hour shifts, from night shifts.  I am often too stressed to do even necessary things or things for enjoyment.  At other times, I’m so used to be stressed and tired, I’m uncomfortable being rested and not stressed.  Try to understand that!  And lately, I’m coming home angry.  Sometimes I need a big fat example of what I could become to get the message.  There’s a life outside hospital corridors.  There’s a whole wide world out there.  There’s other ways of serving.  Thirty plus years are enough.


It’s Sunday morning, rainy, grey and cool.  It is August the 5th and I can feel it in my bones even before I got up.  I’m one of those weather vanes that can feel the changes of the moving calendar.  There’s this icky sense in my body and my mind…a feeling of dread and doom.  I accept this as part of me and rise to greet the day.

I’m thinking as I’m writing.  We should have accepted our friends’ invitation for beer and sitting around the fire pit last night when the weather was nice.  Should have, could have, but we didn’t so here’s hoping it will be nice tonight.  And that is the thing.  There is no undoing a decision once it is done.  It is what it is.  And maybe even if the weather is cool tonight, we will enjoy the fire pit more.  There is always another side of everything but you cannot go down two different paths at the same time.

Sometimes in your life, you just have to stop and pause and stall…and smell the flowers along the path.  You might not come along this way again.  And so I have,  even though it is through the paths in my photo album of our camping trip last month.  It is filled with wild flowers at Brightsand Lake Regional Park.

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Today is my third day off from work and I am feeling fine.  Last week feels like an eon ago.  I feel as if I’ve lost a chunk of time and myself in those long hours at the hospital.  I am in recovery mode.  I wonder if other 12-hour shiftworkers experience similiar feelings.  Maybe I am just an oddball.  I dont have the metal to cut the pedal.  Is that how the saying goes?

It was rainy and grey most of the day yesterday, not good time for working outside or doing anything else.  We went to the Western Development Museum instead.  It was a welcomed change in our routine.  It has been many years since I was in Boomtown.  The last time was when I took my nephews Adrian and Michael.  They are both in their 20s now, so you can count the years.

Boomtown has grown in my absence!  It took me awhile to orientate myself to my new surrounding.  I heard this frantic voice inside me:  What do I do now?  Where should I go first?  Quick, get the camera out!  Take pictures!  Take pictures!  I had to find my other voice:  You don’t have to do anything yet.  This is not the hospital.  There is no such thing as: STAT!  You can just stroll and enjoy the ambiance.

This is Boomtown.  There is no traffic, no traffic lights, no sirens, no ambulances…only people who wants to see and experience some of our history.  It is a place to feel some of yesteryear when things were slow and mellow.  It deserves more visits from me.


It is August 3, day 2 post work syndrome.  I’m sitting here with my tea and the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkle’s Dangling Conversation are running through my head.  And the conversation does describe how I am feeling off and on, dangling on the edge of my consciousness.

The morning is grey.  I am feeling the greyness around me.  I suppose our profession can be a hazard for the soul if one is not careful.  I can and have gotten lost in thinking it is my responsibility in caring and saving, not only our patients but family, friends and coworkers.  You know what?  I am not all that powerful!  I have to tell myself many times I am just human.  It is okay to be flawed, to be selfish and weak as long as I’m not in that slot all the time.   Sometimes I am my worse enemy.

The sun is trying to rise above the clouds.  I feel its ray dispelling the greyness.  I am proud of myself.  I am not staying in my slot.  There’s a hazard in living alone, but it offers you the comfort and safety of just being.  You don’t have to try so hard.  You can stay down, safe in your cocoon.  When you live with someone, you have to try a little harder not to shed your greyness to them.  And so I try a little harder to rise above the grey.  I watch and learn from my partner on how he is and does.

The morning is progressing and I will have to put away my words for the day.  There’s the hard reality that goes into everyday living…things like dishes, laundry, cooking, paying bills.  But there is poetry in doing these things, too.  I have felt it at times when I put my mind there.  It feels like music….the times I’m baking bread, ironing.  The rhythm of my movement in kneading the dough and seeing the iron smoothing out the wrinkles eases the crinkles in my mind and body.

I think we put too much emphasis on salaried work.  All I hear these days is overtime, overtime.  Somewhere along the way I think we have lost our souls.  Patients are now clients, and we are healthcare providers. I remember once a doctor bellowing about the only professions he knew having clients are lawyers and prostitutes!

These are my thoughts only, my dangling words….no dangling judgements made.

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.
And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.


I have now come to the conclusion that life without stress is like asking for jello without gelatin.  It is not possible!  It is now day one post three 12-hour shifts of work on your not so typical hospital ward.  I am not complaining that the work is not satisfying.  I am just saying that it is very challenging to be in a caring profession where you are immersed in peoples.  You are in a cesspool of human interactions as well as being up to your elbows in human feces sometimes.  It is very well to start the day with good intentions and noble goals, but soon those fall with the patients or your first confrontations with your coworkers.  I’ve been told that I have high standards and though I try not to hold others to them, I do.  But…here I am, intact after three days of headache and gut burning angst.

I felt quite badly about myself during those three days.  I’m thinking I am such a terrible person to have all these negative feelings burning and churning inside.  But then this 92 year old patient told me that I’m very pleasant and so happy.  She enjoyed me very much.  She told me that every day of those three days.  I did thank her but I will have to learn not to discount myself by telling her that it was a facade.

Then her nephew came to visit her.  He recognized me as soon as I walked into the room.  He greeted me exuberantly.  I was very puzzled as I did not recognize him at all.  I told him he must have me mixed up with someone else.  No, he knew me.  He held up his finger and ask me how many do I see.  He was quite enjoying himself.  It didn’t work.  I still did not know him.  So he pointed straight ahead and ask me which is better, this or that.  Well, that failed too and I was starting to feel that one of us must be crazy!

He told me his name.  I said: No!  You don’t look like you.  You don’t sound like you!  We had such a good laugh and a good visit.  It was as if God knew that I needed something to lighten my day and sent him.  The nephew was my first ever optometrist when I came to live in the city.  I was his patient from age 19 to 42! And I left him because he could not fit me with contact lens anymore.  I had to show my appreciation by telling him that he always had good bedside manners.  That produced some good laughs from his relatives.  Well, he did!  He was very patient.  When he moved to a new office, I had a hard time finding it.  He gave me directions and told me he would wait outside so I could see where he was.  Well, I took too long and he had to go inside, but I did eventually find his new office.

I did not remind him of my last appointments when nothing went right!  I became frustrated and found tears trickling down my face after many fittings for my contact lenses. I have a high prescription and Asian eyes so my lids are tight making it difficult.  He was very kind, saying that we cannot continue our session with tears.  He would cancel his other appointments the next day and give me the whole afternoon.  How many optometrists would do that?

I did have to part company eventually but I could obviously see that I had left a good impression with him.  And I’m thinking that I am not a bad person…..not as bad as I have been thinking and feeling about myself anyways.  I am all talked out now.  The burning in my stomach is gone.  I am rested and at ease.  Sometimes you need a little stress so you can appreciate the jello.  Raindrops are falling gently on the roof of  this special private space.  Life is good.