IMG_1895This morning I am sipping dandelion tea made from roots dug this summer.  Steel cut porridge is simmering on the stove.  The aroma and steam from the cooking is soothing for my dry passages.  No, my tryst with the cold is not over.  I am fooled once again.

It is difficult to be patient.  I am angry with my body, not healing fast enough.  But I must get over my anger and allow my body the ease to heal itself.  The two of us fighting each other will only prolong the process.

IMG_1892My anxiety last evening sent me into a panic of breathlessness.  I got a dose of how my patients used to feel.  One never knows how it feels until the shoe is on the other foot or should I say, on my foot.  It is good to taste one’s own medicine.  A cup of peppermint tea and other tending from the man around the house helped a lot.  An old beauty aid comes in handy, too.  Never throw anything out.  You just never know when something will come in handy.

I should stop saying, I think I’m feeling better today. Optimism hasn’t helped.  I should just ride out the storm.  My colds are usually long affairs.  I’m among the 10% of the population with undeveloped sinuses. The only ones I have are tiny ones above my eyebrows.

I didn’t know I was an anomaly till I was in my 30s when I had an acute attack of facial pain (sinusitis).  It was after visits to several specialists that I was diagnosed. What it meant for me was I can’t breathe dirty air.  I had to give up smoking.  At my worst, everything bothered me – dust, perfume, cigarette smoke.  I could taste the ink on newspapers in the same room.  Colds took a long time to get over.

Life generally sucks when I have a  cold.  I can be handle it only for a week.  Then I go berserk which is right around now.  I feel totally devoid of sanity and good will.  Thank goodness Christmas is not till December for I am also short on joy.

However, life marches on.  I still have the same old, same old problems, perplexities or whatever it is that life is made of.  It is not made of sugar canes, that is for sure.  That reminds me, I have bills to pay.  Call me cranky, call me bitchy.  They both fit. And as Scarlet Ohara I would breathlessly say, Tomorrow is another day.


Our household is up early this morning having gone to bed at 8:30 last night.  That is what you do when you are sick, hoping to get better.  It’s no wonder we’re wide awake before 5 am.  You can only sleep so much, whatever state of health you are in, unless….

I’m sitting here with my hot Chai.  I have on a sweater and a vest.  A scarf is wrapped around my neck to keep out drafts.  Still – I feel the shivers go through me now and again. My head still echoes but somehow feels lighter.  My voice is hoarse in a different timbre.  I am getting better.  No visit to the doctor necessary.

I admit that I was down in the dumps a bit yesterday.  Not feeling super duper can colour everything.  Remember that!  I was sick of everything – in my immediate world and beyond.  I felt nauseated by the news, by people and relationships.  To sum it neatly, I was nauseated by life.

I suppose you could say I have a bad attitude.  I call it surrendering.  It is good to give up sometimes.  I hate those songs and cliches that say: smile the while you’re crying, smile even though your heart is breaking, blah, blah, blah.  Enough of that horse shit!  See, I tell you I’m giving up – fighting.  I’m going with the Tao, the Way of my ancestors.

IMG_0209I’m been on the highway of resistance through most of my life.  Let me change and try another way for awhile.  I am weary of hurtling over obstacles.  My being is drained by dark shadows.  I put my trust in the spirits of my ancestors to lead me out to the light.

I feel their presence around me as I sit here tap, tapping my way out of the shadows and into the light.  I have no need after all, of magic wands nor Wonder Woman’s golden tiara or bracelets.  I have the magic of my words to wield the changes I desire.


It’s not quite Friday but it’s close enough for me.  I’ve missed Friday Fictioneers for the last few weeks.  I miss the telling of a story in 100 words.   Once again, let me thank Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple for hosting us. I hope I haven’t lost my words somewhere in the vineyards of France.

PHOTO PROMPT-Copyright-Melanie Greenwood
PHOTO PROMPT-Copyright-Melanie Greenwood

How dare you!” Alice huffed. She stood, pushing back her chair. Hands on hips, she glared down at the young woman.

Her eyes were met with cold stony blankness. She knew by the proud tilt of the head that she had gotten nowhere. She accepted the obvious. She was tired of it all.

Alice sighed heavily. She put the chair back neatly under the table. The young woman made no move. The tears were gone. Her face was smooth and calm like marble.

C’est la vie. Alice thought to herself. It was time to stop the words and just live.


IMG_1158I’m in trouble.  I have my Chai.  Feeling better, head clearing.  I can feel things draining downward.  But when I speak, I can hear my hoarse voice echo in my head.  My ears pop and my eyes tear.  When I cough, I can hear the rattle in my chest. Too soon for complete recovery yet.  BIG HEAVY SIGH.

I need to be patient and let the cold run its course.  But I am getting cranky and feeling distraught with discomfort at times.  These are not the restful symptoms of being totally sick, of doing/not doing of yesterday. I’m going to take these as signs of healing.  I better keep pushing the fluids and take an analgesic to relieve my distress and crankiness.  This morning, my tapping fingers are not enough.

I don’t know how other Canadians are feeling, but I am sick of the Jian Ghomeshi story. Only a day out, it seems to be in our lives over everything else.  So much speculations.  So many different opinions.  So much #*^!!!!  Reminds me a little of the O.J. Simpson story. Let me not add to the hash and rehashing of these stories.

Let me move onto my second week in France.  I was interrupted by a slow Internet there.


October 22, 2014

It is now Wednesday in France. We are down to our last two days before heading home.

I am happy for this time away from my familiar surroundings. It helps to take me out of myself, out of my small mind and gives me a larger scope of the world. I hope I can be more open-minded. At this same time, being away from home brings me closer to understanding who I am. I see my small concerns for what they are. I see my selfishness and my mean ways. I wish to do better.

IMG_1249I am missing my fur baby, Sheba. I can imagine her excited barks upon our return. I remembered the first time we were away from her. She was so happy to see us upon our return that she ran circles in the street.  She brought tears to my eyes. I’m thinking that we could learn from our pets. They know how to greet us. We should let the people in our lives know they are appreciated.

This is what I’m thinking as I sit here tapping my words. It should be that simple. But it is not. We have to make things complicated. We put in conditions. We insist that people see things our way. We demand that they hear us before we will listen to them. I believe we call this tit for tat.

IMG_1692I am quite weary of this way of living. I am exhausted by it. I am at many crossroads at this time in life. What a better place and time to find this out than in a place of neutral ground. Perhaps I will have a clearer sense of direction as I fly home.

I am hoping when we get to the airport on Saturday morning, we will not be told there is something wrong with my ticket. It is strange all the things that had gone wrong with our bookings when they were done by professionals. Now I’m totally sold on that there are no such things as accidents. Everything is meant to happen.

IMG_1712On these last mornings here, we walk the streets of the village. They are still quite empty. We see the same cat and dog. Some cars drive by. We wave. Now we are able to discern a nod from the drivers. We see a woman here and there clearing the flower boxes in the windows. We say bonjour, the only French word we know besides Je ne parle pas Francais.

Well, I like to say I’m trying. I am. Every day. Always. Sometimes it wouldn’t hurt to give it a rest.


mornIt’s 6 o’clock Monday morning.  I’m having my first cup of Chai since coming home.  It’s hot and I can faintly taste its spiciness.  The thing with a cold is it kills your taste buds and your sense of smell.  My tongue feels like sandpaper.  My head feels full of cotton batting. No matter.  Hot tea is good going down my throat.

I’m not sure if I’m feeling better.  I think the nature of the cold is changing.  My cough is less frequent but harsher when it comes.  I hear myself wheezing.  Will I live?  There is a relief in being really sick.  I can give myself permission for doing or not doing.  So – here I sit in my pink bathroom.  My hair is standing on end, almost tomahawk style, looking and feeling like hell.  Somehow that feels good.  I’m comforted by the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

Canada is experiencing so much drama recently.  First there’s the killing of a soldier by a ‘terrorist’ in Ottawa. Then yesterday, news of CBC’s firing of Jian Ghomeshi hit the air waves.  It’s a case of sex, scandal and she said, he said with no women coming forward publicly.  BUT seeds of doubt have been planted.  I feel myself being swayed in one direction, then another.  You know what they say, where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.

I am sure we all have been in situations of you said, I said.  They may not be the same high stake situation that Jian Ghomeshi is in, but aren’t all truths costly? Each of us have to weigh how much ‘the truth’ is worth and be willing to pay the consequences.

I had an epiphany recently about the truth of you said, I said.  We all wanted to be right and I want the other person see my right as his.  That is impossible because he wants the same, that I see his right as mine.  It’s an impasse. A little something nudged me.  Maybe I was hearing Dr. Phil saying:  Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  I chose my well being over being right.  The truth does not set you free.

So much about Canada and truths, let me move on with my musings while in France.  The slow Internet had interrupted my postings.


It’s Tuesday in France. I’m here and tapping some of my thought and feelings. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in foreign country and in a foreign household. The language is different but we are managing somehow with our broken words and sentences and gestures.  We have more similarities than differences.  We are all human.

IMG_1533The village is small, containing over a hundred some inhabitants. The streets are mostly empty on all our walks. A dog and a cat greets us once in awhile. I can hear the echo of our shoes on the street. Life is a leisurely pace here. We hear the chime of the church bells signalling noon as we climb up and down the hillsides.

IMG_1693We are back at the house. After some time we leave to have lunch at the truck stop. It is a popular place for everyone, truckers and non truckers. There are separate dining rooms for each as the truckers have to eat quicker and be on the road.  The rest of us can take our time.

For 13 Euros each, we have a buffet of salads – as much as we want . It consists of a selection of cold meats, fish, shrimp, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. We get to choose a main course from 4 selections or ‘the plate of the day’. This is followed by a selection of cheeses and dessert.   Also included : a 1/2 carafe of wine , coffee or tea.  This takes a bit of time.

Finally we are finished with the courses of our meals. It is a grey and rainy day in France. We go on a tour of a high technology company where they make parts for airplanes. Metal is cut using laser and water. It is all very fascinating but I am sure it has more meaning for the men than me. It makes me see how different our brains are, how non tech I am.  I can only blink and scratch my head at what I saw.

So goes our days – a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  Then it’s the evening meal.  It’s usually 8 pm and after.  If you need time and space to be, France is the country to come. That is my experience anyways.



IMG_1878It’s Sunday morning.  I’m back from France, showing up at my keyboard.  I’m tap, tapping away though my head is thick and groggy.  My ears are still ringing and somewhat plugged.

Our flight coming back was almost as eventful as the one going.  My reservation showed cancelled again when we checked in with Air Canada at Charles de Gaulle Airport.  We had to show my ticket purchased at the airport in Saskatoon.  A long phone call later, everything was cleared up.  I was allowed to check through.

We were late departing from Paris due to air traffic and delayed further by strong prevailing winds.  Our scheduled stopover was short in Toronto to begin with and with the delay, we had to hustle clearing through Customs.  It was a good thing they had set up a system of scanners to process the papers instead of lining up for a Customs officer.  Thank God that there were enough personnel to help figure things out. Perhaps this is one of the times that I do appreciate the impersonal, of just feeding things through a machine.

After going through Customs,  we had to wait to claim our luggage and put it onto a conveyer belt for our connecting flight.  I had a good workout galloping through Lester B Pearson Airport.  We made it to the departure gate with just minutes to spare. Whew!

I have to admit that I was a little grumpy by the time we were on the last leg of our flight. There is nothing to crow about Air Canada’s food.  Reheated prepackaged frozen lasagna may smell delicious to the tired, hungry traveller, but then you bite into the overcooked crunchy pasta.  You eat it because there are no options.  Time pass and you forget – till the next meal.  This time is an over microwaved hot wrap sandwich.  On the domestic leg, from Toronto to Saskatoon, there was no food, only water and non alcoholic beverages. Not even a peanut or pretzel.

IMG_1883Yes, I was crabby and critical of the airline. Was it too much to ask for decent food? They provided movies and other entertainment programs but gave out cheap earphones.  I could not hear anything except loud noise.  I spent the time watching the progress of the plane on the map and coughing and coughing.

But I am home.  Sheba is laying beside me. The sun s shining.  I’m none the worse for wear.  The sleep thing is not perfect, in 2 hour spells through the night,  but my cough is a bit better.  I’m pushing the fluids. The suitcases are unpacked.  Laundry is almost done. Now if only lunch could be simple.

But – I am finding the words, having the desire.  I am quite pleased that I kept up the exercise while I was away.  I could even post using my iPhone, but the Internet betrayed me the second week.  My writing is saved on Werdsmith, waiting to be polished and posted. They are not perfect but they have captured some of the memories while in France.



It’s Monday in France. We are down to 5 days before we head home. Time has been fast and slow at the same time.

Sleep did not come again last night. This time then can be slow. I try to rest and enjoy the darkness. The little things would creep into my mind. Then they get bigger and bigger, all clamouring for attention and to be acknowledged. I wonder if they really understand what they ask.

We all seek for ‘truth’ and ‘understanding’ like Anne Lamott says. And it is as easy and fun as shampooing a cat! I’ve been scratched many times before. I have the scratch marks.

You seek your truth. I seek mine. Do we listen to each other or do we hear only the cries of our own hurt and how we’ve been done wrong by the other? Walk in my shoes! We demand of each other.

I try not to play the game but sometimes my back is against the wall. I know that I cannot make another behave in the manner that pleases me. I do not have that much power. I do not want to lose respect for myself by just pleasing another.

I walk the only road open to me. The road that is governed by Don Miguel Ruis’ Four Agreements. 1. Be impeccable with your words. 2. Take nothing personally. 3. Make no assumptions. 4. Always do your best.

That is pretty well how I was raised by my mother, too. I try my best always to do the correct thing. I’m talking about manners and etiquette. I do believe they will carry you far in life, no matter where in the world you are.

Is it silly of me to be talking about this when I am right in the middle of Champaign area in France? Why am I tap, tapping about this as if to save my life? Well, things don’t let go of me just because I’ve left the country. Voices cry and would not be denied.

So here i sit like Lewis Carroll, tapping out my nonsense, my babbling tale from a French Wonderland. It is important to have words and to have a voice. It is not only important to listen but to hear what is being said .


It is Sunday in France. I am surviving the language barrier and time zone change somehow. Sleep finally came on its own last night. I’m feeling more at ease in another country and in another’s home.

I am not a good traveller, preferring the comfort of the familiar. I suspect that there are many like myself. I shall just have to get out of myself and not confine my experiences because of the smallness of my mind and body.

I am venturing out into the world again with my small steps. I will not put the blame of my inadequacies to my 30 plus years of working as a nurse. I am trying but it is much easier in my younger years. I do not have as much resilience and fortitude now. They will come with practice.

I am doing the best I can. That is all that I can ask of myself. It is good to have my words to guide me. I can still tap them out. Do not judge me for my lack of structure and poor grammar. I am not quite in my space. I am happy just to be able to write.

It is sunny on this day in France. I’ve had my tea and toast. I’m tapping to relax my body and mind.


It is now evening. We’ve just come back from an outing around Lac du Der to watch the cranes fly. Along the way we visited a couple of heritage site churches. We spent the afternoon around the reservoir.

I’m poor describing places and events. I’m taking note so I will have something to refresh my mind when I return home. Quite often I return home from vacations with nothing much to show and tell. It really is not a bad thing. Vacations are meant to get away from it all- even yourself.

But there are times like this when I want a bit of memory of where I’ve been.


It’s Saturday morning in La Celle-Sous-Chantermerle. The sun is shining brightly. I have been to the market with our hostess while Rod is out bicycling with the men.

I am tap, tapping on my iPhone, getting proficient, doing almost everything I can do on a laptop. I’m not attempting to insert any photos,just enjoying the beauty of words in black and white.

I am reading Anne Lamott who says good writing is about telling the truth. We all want to know and understand ourselves but the process is about as easy and pleasurable as washing a cat.

I always tell/write the truth – as much as I am aware of it. Sometimes I have to tap very hard to get it out. Other times the truth comes tumbling out from my finger tips. Life is like that.

What is my truth this morning? My body is still rebelling but slowly coming around. I’m slowly learning to take time and just be. There really is no need to react and respond to any stimuli like an amoebae.

It is now evening. We have just returned from Provis, a world heritage medieval town from the 11th, 12th and 13th Century. I have to tell you I know very little of France and have not heard of it before. I cannot tell you my impressions. I have to let things sit and settle. I will have to do some research when I get home. More importantly I need some French language lessons.

The truth now is my thoughts are disjointed and I’m rambling like Lewis Carroll. It had worked for him so I’m going to carry on thus. Not everything needs to make sense. Sometimes there’s a lot of wisdom in nonsense. It sounds good anyways.


It’s a Friday in France. My apple cart is still upset, sleeping only every other night. What can you do when you fly over an ocean and cross time zones? Unfortunately my body is not a machine. It does not go on and on like an EverReady battery.

I am missing the smallness of my life back home – my morning rituals, writing in my sun room with my fur baby at my feet. She knows my moods. She licks my wounds and picks me up. I miss my flow of words.

It is not a bad thing missing the familiarity and comfort of home. It makes me appreciate what I have. I work a little harder and pay a little more attention to the here of France. I am not skilled at details nor at gathering information. I absorb things but can’t spit anything back.

Maybe it seems foolish of me to keep up my writing but it helps my focus. It trains and disciplines mind. It’s not that I want to develop multi-tasking. But if I want to be serious about my writing, I want to learn to be more flexible and be consistent at it.

My routine is disrupted but I can still put my mind in that 15 minute space and in that one-inch picture frame. My concentration and train of thought are scattered to the wind. Can I put my mind to what is right before me, in this place now?

I put aside my small discomforts of travelling as much as I am able. I appreciate the special place I am presently in. Now is the time for expirencing and learning. I look around and take in as much as I am able. It is mentally challenging and tiring at the same time, not knowing the language, not familiar with the culture.

I am a strange woman in a strange place. I am in the desert of my dreams. The shadows of the old have followed me across the ocean. They are nipping closely at my heels. I feel their hot breath against my skin. I hear the snap of their teeth close by. But I elude them.

At times I feel as if I had wandered into another’s life. I am THE Alice who fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Can I write her story? More importantly, can I write my way out?

That is the key, of course. We have the key to unlock the doors to Wonderland. We can write a different story if we don’t like the one we’re in. We are not trapped. There are ways out of rabbit holes.