October 1, another new day, another new month. I’ve been remiss in showing up here in this, my writing space. Hopefully I can show up daily for the month of October to mutter, sigh and bitch about the weather and whatnot. This month I’m writing for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. My rules  are always the same for this challenge and space. They are:

  1. To show up every day.
  2. Truthful and respectful.
  3. Hopeful and helpful.

I’ve had a difficult and challenging September dealing with one of my neighbours. I’ve always had a difficult time all the years she’s lived next to me. But I realized this time that she has given me much insight into myself and human relations. She has taught me many valuable lessons about life and what is important and what is not. It is strange but I am grateful to her for all the miseries coming from her direction. Every cloud does have a silver lining.

For October, I hope to capture the silver linings of those clouds. The sky is cloudy today but my world is lit by the gold and oranges of the autumn leaves. There is much wrong and meanness in the world. There is also much right and kindness in the world. The ying and the yang. I like to concentrate and share the love and kindness and what is right out there. It’s a worthy goal.



It’s a friggin’ mystery to me why I waste so much time scrolling when I have so much I want to do. In no time at all, an hour goes by. I could have, would have if only…blah, blah, blah. I feel like I have no mind of my own. It’s been taken over by aliens. Another name for it would be ADDICTION. There’s no point in ruminating about the whys and wherefores. But I’ve finally got my ass in front of the keyboard to peck out a paragraph.

I’ve managed to get the dried washed woolies off the rack in the laundry room. Changing posture, being in a different room changes my perspectives, my energy. I feel a ‘desire’ to do, even if it’s fleeting. I take my clothes upstairs to the bedroom, folded the sweaters and put them in their drawer. The scarfs I hung on their hooks on the back of the door. There! Some stuff back in their own place.

Not everything is that easy. But I am trying to make everything easier. There is no point in making them harder, is there? I am learning to be more – of everything. I can be more receptive by being more quiet. That way I can hear when my angels are talking to me, telling me their wisdom. I can be more observant instead of more showy so that I can see the problems in front of me. I can be more attentive of Sheba. I knew right from the start, she is a gift from God. She shows me how to be. She comforts me and fills the empty spaces. She has schedules that needs to be met. In meeting hers, mine are too.

I am learning to be more out of myself so I can see others in their suffering. I saw this on an article on Oprah this morning: When someone asks for help, always give her something. You don’t have to give her what she asks for, but you can give her a word of encouragement, a helpful idea or a caring glance.  It’s very good advice. You never know how much kind words or a gesture can mean to a person. An acquaintance told me that after I dropped in to see her husband on my way to work.

He was a patient on the onocology ward at the hospital. I worked on the ward next to it. So it really wasn’t out of my way. The article reminded me of her words. “It might not be of anything to you but it meant alot to John,” she said. I have to confess. I’m not a mean person but I don’t always remember to be kind.

I have to remember to be more grateful, too. God has given me some powerful gifts. He has given me tools of expression. I would not be sitting here now tap, tapping out my innards if not for this gift of words. Do you know how powerful words are? I do. I use them to ease my dis-ease, to give me wings to fly, to create stories to encourage and heal what is hurting. I have great respect for them. I use them to speak only for and of myself here.

Then he gave me the pencil and brush to paint my blues away. I believe the blues is his gift, too. How else could the other two show up. One could not do without the other. It’s a tangle dance they do together. I am not sorry for having them. I would be lonely without them after all these years together. Are the blues an addiction? Should I try to rid them. For now, I’ll just try for finding easier ways to live with them. What do you think?


Marianne Williamson wrote on her blog yesterday:  It would be easy to slip into hopelessness now, to resign ourselves to the idea that the concentrated assaults on everything from the planet to our democracy have succeeded to such a degree that it’s no longer possible to stop them.

I understand those feelings and find comfort that another person is expressing them. I am not alone. However, I am resisting the urge to go down that slippery hopeless slope. I live on the same precarious planet but Donald Trump is not our leader. There is hope though I’m not feeling optimistic today. Can you, if you’ve had another sleepless night? Too much stimulation yesterday? Or too much smoke from forest fires in the air?

It is very true that I am not myself. I will be a different person after a good night’s sleep. I’m envious of Sheba sleeping so peacefully next to me as I sit and tap here. She is stinking me out though with her quiet, lethal farts. Phew! But she is sweet, so bonelessly relaxed with her floppy ears. It is soothing to have her near. She comforts me with her soft animal spirit. I am grateful for her presence.

I will try not to fret too much about my sleeplessness. I will sleep when I am ready. I am not totally incapcitated. I am half way through a book. It is an easy read. And I’ve primed two wood panels. They’re ready for a creative streak. This is a day for easy stuff, not a day for brain surgery even if I knew how. It’s not a time for serious contemplation either. I tell myself, don’t think. Just do and you’ll be fine. Yes, I’m resisting the urge to slip and slide. It’s a day for kindness towards myself.  Tomorrow I can Wonder Woman again.

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE – Day 15 in a year of….

Day 15, August 6, 2016 @2:39

Afternoons are not any easier to show up here.  The air is warm.  What I really want is to lay down and have a nap.  Maybe a cup of tea will help.  That is my answer for everything – a cup of tea.

IMG_6973How quickly one’s brain get clouded.  That small window of clarity is there for me in the morning when most of the world is still asleep.  I can see that message on the wall before the world rushes in.  I sit in the silence and the unspoken wisdom.  Then I sit in the words of those who have trained and taught the wisdom – Melli O’Brien and Elisha Goldstein.  

IMG_6979What I know for sure is that it is never a good or right time for anything.  You have to make time for what your heart desires.  It is and it isn’t all about me.  It is about me in that it is I, who has the choice.  It is I who must do the work.  I am responsible.  It isn’t all about me.  The world is a big place.  There are many me, me, me out there.  We are all different but we are all the same.  We are all part of humanity.  We all suffer.  We all bleed.  If I can open my eyes and heart a little more each day, I can let more of the world in.  I can suffer less.  I can love more.  I can, can’t I?  What about you?  Can you let me in just a little more?

Till tomorrow again.



I am ignited by Anne Lamott’s post on perfectionism this morning.

” There’s a whole chapter on perfectionism in Bird by Bird, because it is the great enemy of the writer, and of life, our sweet messy beautiful screwed up human lives. It is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back, and if you’re an artist, it will destroy you.”

I am fighting back.  Her words stir so much emotion in me.

” Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else’s needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to “help” and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short. “

I do mind – a lot.   Years of anger and resentment are boiling inside my deep cauldron.  There’s threat of it spilling over and scalding me.  I breathe deep and slow.  The boiling subsides, the lid closes. The danger passes and I am safe, again.  No use letting my self-anger hurt me more.

My pastor said last Sunday that if you don’t change directions, you are going to end up where you are headed. Is that okay with you, to end up still desperately trying to achieve more, and to get the world to validate your parking ticket, and to get your possibly dead parents to see how amazing you always were? “

IMG_0515Be smarter!  Do not fall back into your old patterns.  Do not beat yourself about yourself.  So I go into my Wonder Woman persona to lasso in my anger and to turn it into energy to work for me.

Who needs all this anger?  But when it comes, you have to let it in, acknowledge it, feel it, use it, turn it around and then send it on its way.

Thanks to anger’s angst and Wonder Woman’s magic, I have moved a few a little mountains in my world this morning.  It is not that I have to work harder.  I have to be a little smarter and a little more flexible but most of all, a little kinder to myself.  It is important that kindness starts at home.

But being a woman, daughter and a nurse, I’ve been taught it is holy to be out there for others.  I’m seldom home for me.  Thank you Anne Lamott for all your words.  I love you.




So far today, I have not try to put any order to my office.  The day is hot.  The neighbour’s music is loud and insistent.  I cannot think.  My blood sugar is low and I am getting cranky.  I put on Pavarotti & Friends 2 on my portable.  I put it on the deck and crank the volume up.  I like to see how she likes it, she who wants to hear the birds sing.  So much for kindness and compassion.  My words are not going according to my intentions!

It is a little later.  I am bolstered by some crackers and walnuts.  I am a little mellowed by a glass of wine.  Pavarottie & Friends are done but   the beat is still going strong next door.  It is all right.  Everything is copacetic.  I am done with tit for tat.  There is no satisfaction in it except deafness.  And I cannot afford to lose any more hearing.

I am being kind to myself, not going down or up the spiral staircase of anger.  I no longer hold any feelings of irritation.  I really do not want to hurt others in the same way that I am hurt.  That is what compassion is.  It is not an easy thing to practice.  So often I want to give the other person a taste of their own medicine.  There, you take this or that!  See how you would like it.

I am remembering Karen Armstrong’s talk on compassion.  The beat is going on louder next door.  Ahhh, human frailties!  We so crave for attention and love and yet we do not know how to love.  I am so happy to have seen Karen’s talk.  Otherwise, I do not know where I would be.

I am looking at the flowers before me….pastel colours of pink, blue, yellow and white.  The flowers came from a genteel woman’s celebration of her 90th year.  She holds the key to the United Church in Maidstone, Saskatchewan, Canada.  I guess you can guess what kind of woman she is.  The colours of the flowers soothe and calm me.  Sweet pastels!

Kindness is such an easy and hard thing.  It is in your choosing.  Have you been kind today?  Enjoy this poem on kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye.  It is truly awesome.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

The music next door has stopped.  Sweet peace!




“I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime.  To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute joy to the world.  That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  We must try.  I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

– from LIFE ITSELF, Roger Ebert

It is a rainy Saturday morning.  My clouds have lifted a little.  I am out of bed, dressed and sitting here sipping tea and tapping out my words.  I am grateful that they come one by one, spelling out my story, easing my pain and lighting my way.  What a gift I have been given!  At least I can express myself, warning others that a woman has fallen…momentarily.  But she will get up again.

What I have learned lately is that I am not a kind or generous person.  My kindness and generosity only extends to others.  And that is a false thing.  It has surprised me to hear patients telling me that I am so kind and so gentle to them.  Can’t they tell I am just boiling inside?  It surprises me they take my sourness for humour.

Yesterday, I was confronted by a neighbour in conversation,  even though I tried hard to avoid her.  I felt my unkindness then.  I felt my heart constricting in meanness, no generosity coming forth.  I kept my eyes downcast, answering politely.  It was very difficult but I did not want to listen to her woes.  I did not want to see her tears.  I did not want to be her keeper – when it suited her.

That was yesterday.  Today I realize that I was being kind and generous to myself.  I am a nurse, a caretaker.  But I don’t have to take care of everyone.  I can’t.  I don’t have the power.  I feel my meanness coming out when I neglect myself. And without kindness, there cannot be generosity.

To myself I have to be true.  I am doing the best I can.  Perhaps I can do better tomorrow.




I am hearing John Lennon’s song, A Happy Christmas, but I’m having a hard time feeling the music or the sentiment.  I wonder how many people are of the same sentiment.  I’ve been fighting these feelings to no avail.  Perhaps it’s time to stop fighting and I mean it literally and just do the right thing.  Even Sheba looks sad as Santa Claus.

So, I give up gritting and gnashing my teeth.  I get up and down a pain killer along with  my blood pressure pill and vitamin Ds.  No point in suffering and being a hero.  I’ve been trying to make a simple batch of biscuits for the last two days.  The first time, I put in a tablespoon of baking soda instead of a tablespoon of granulated sugar.

How the hell did that happened?  Don’t think that it couldn’t happen to you.  Never say never, because even though I was reading granulated sugar, my brain saw baking soda.  And I never caught the mistake till I’ve already added the milk.  So hoping against hope, I added the missed tablespoon of sugar, formed the biscuits and popped them in the oven.

They came out of the oven puffy and golden, but with a very bitter after taste.  Well, what do you figure?  The recipe already called for 4 teaspoon of baking powder.  It didn’t need an extra tablespoon of baking soda!  Very big sigh.  Mistakes are apt to happen when one is tired or under the weather.

This reminds me of a time very early in my nursing career.  Well, I’ve never forgotten it.  It is always just barely beneath the surface of my mind, ready to pop out.  I was working a set of nights and made a medication error.  Much like my reading of the biscuit recipe, even though my eyes was reading codeine syrup, my brain was saying morphine syrup.  Even though I had to look and look at the label and calculate the dosage each time during the night, my brain told me it was morphine syrup instead of what it actually was.

The incident has taught me not to swear by my memory or my other senses.  Sometimes we are wrong even though we swear that we couldn’t be.  And kindness can come from strange places, like from the patient at the receiving end of my error.  Doctors make mistakes, too!  She comforts me, though she had received less than adequate pain relief because of me.

And from my manager at the time, a visit to her office and a typewritten list of all my inadequacies, at the time when my patient load for those nights was 25.  None of my coworkers spoke of it to me, except the one who discovered the error.  She felt so sorry for me.  Sometimes one’s universe can be such a silent empty place.  You can almost hear the echo of one hand clapping.

 That was the hardest summer of my life.  It happened in July.  I felt I had no one to talk to.  I learned to journal, talk into a tape recorder……all these memories, triggered again by the nurse who was duped by those two broadcasters from Australia into thinking it was the Queen calling and forwarded the call.  I can understand how upsetting it would be to make such a mistake…  well, maybe just a little.  Her mistake was broadcasted worldwide.

The sun has come out.  Time to move on with life.  My Tylenol 3 is working.  I’m feeling more comfortable.  And oh, on my second try at the biscuits, I forgot the salt.  They didn’t look as nice as the bitter ones, but they tasted much better.  I even fed them to a guest and got praised!

I’m a much stronger person/nurse now.  Mistakes are part of every human being/life.  If you see/know another suffering from a mistake, don’t avert your gaze or look the other way.  Give her an acknowledgement/comfort, however you can.  I am sure it will be much appreciated.  I know that from experience.

And here’s wishing everyone A Happy Christmas:


Perhaps it is just in the day.  It is cloudy and drizzly.  Now I have the time I crave, time that I have been wishing for, to do so many things.  But I can’t seem to move forward, cannot find what it is that I wish to do.  It is not that I’m restless,  for I feel a sense of inertia, and yet a sense of discomfort…of things left unsaid and undone.  And so here I sit.  Maybe the words will come to me.  Maybe the voice will come and tell me what it is that I want to do, what it is that I want to say.

The other day, I went to my friend’s mother’s funeral.  It seemed  as we age, the more funerals there are.  I cannot say that it was sad,  for she was 83, lived a good life and was suffering bad health the last year.  It is good that she is freed from all that.  I am happy that she is in heaven, among the stars, along with her John.

I remembered her kindness, her contributions to the community.  She was always happy to see me and welcomed me in her home.  One time I was visiting and she polished my shoes for church, along with her family’s.  Another time, she climbed the rickety stairs of my boarding house to give me a pair of lamps as wedding presents for my ill-fated marriage an eon ago.  She called herself my other mother.

Now, I think I can go on with my day.