While we pursue happiness, we flee from contentment.”
Hasidic Proverb

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.”

Too too true.

Joy Division

I posted about this before a few times I am sure.
Bill Joy is one of my small g gods.
I revere him in a way most unlikely.

I saved the original article from Wired and take it out to scare myself every now and then. A recent NOW was when the robotics show was aired on one of those American propaganda networks, prolly CNN. Funny how people will rally around the cause of one beached whale or one murdered little white girl but ignore huge societal changes with bliss. The world is markedly different now from when Bill Joy first wrote "Why the Future Doesnt Need Us" .
Is it better?
No. The glaring outpacing of technology over ethics is even more depressing in 2006 than it was in 1998.

bah humbug.
I do not want to be this way but I oh so am.

o'Grady (I Am AN ABBY!)

I love o'Grady~

(da da da da da da, da da ---THE WEIRDNESS!)

If you follow the weblink you can WATCH episodes there.
I love it.

Watch the Bubbleheads episode.
Poor Kevin, his bubble is so lame.


Saving Others (against their will)

Is saving someone else from themselves ethical?
Is it necessary ever?
Can justification be used to intervene?

How about saving someone from another who wishes to save them?
Oh what a tangled web.

I was in a home today where a family member from afar has taken it upon themselves to move in (without invitation) and completely change the homeowners diet.
All very noble I am sure but... without consent?

It is very odd when someone tries to take away stability in the name of holistic healing. Should an individual wish to change themselves; sobeit.
But impressing yourself into a home and forcing change unasked?
The coffeemaker is gone.
The Tea and Coffee are gone.
All non-organic foods are gone.

Oh dear.

Won't be long before we are gone too.

----------- !!


Places to go, People to meet

oh look where I was invited:

Timing is everything!

I believe in God.
I see his handiwork everywhere.
There was an event of confirmation the other day.

Sometimes shopping is so daunting I take the easiest possible routes.
This means going into drug stores for things like butter.
The price is better there anyway.
I did not pull into my regular area but parked a street behind.
I did not jump out of my car and zoom into the store in my usual manner.
I sat and leisurely listened to the end of a song.

As I came around the corner of the store I saw a very elderly woman on her knees; her walker a few feet away. Behind her a woman stood with a look of complete panic.
"Can I get some help here?"

You have to know elderly women cannot stay on those knees on cobblestones long.
You also have to know that the getting someone up is a knack.
Even well-trained people screw it up in a crisis.

I could see this well-intentioned woman was about to put her back out and most likely knock the woman over. But there is no time for such things so as the Samaritan is telling me to help get the woman up on the count of 3 I get the woman up. Then I see the blood. I have only gloves on me, but the uniform always lends authority.

"You stay here while I get the Pharmacist."

Bless his heart, he gloved up and brought out his kit and attended to the woman.
She was more embarressed than anything but being on blood-thinners she was bleeding hard in a few spots. All she could say was:
"Oh the Nurses are going to kill me when they see another skin tear."

I was going to offer to drive her home when I realised that likely she was in the best possible hands: God's.


I saw the Samaritan walking home.
She had a small child with her who was very serious.
As I drove by I honked and called out the window:
"Well done, good Samaritan. Good job!"

Both the Mom and the daughter walked a little straighter as they waved back.
You have to love that!


An act of goodness is of itself an act of happiness. No reward coming after the event can compare with the sweet reward that went with it.
- Maurice Maeterlinck


Good Neighbours

Sitting having a leisurely breakfast at an ungodly hour and who should I spy sitting across from me but my neighbour.

"Drop by for a coffee some time."

She is a lovely woman just a few years older than I am.
We met "on the job" as she is a Nurse who was working in a local facility.
We met "on the job" again when what she thought to be a simple backache turned out to be cancer.

Now perhaps we can just be good neighbours.

-------- *

(Love this picture: it is a good philsophy to embrace)

Making the Grade

Three retired hairdressers are on my client list.
2 out of the 3 have been giving me alot of advice about getting my hair cut.
This is what they consider subtle.
Apparantly my hair is too long for their tastes.

Time has been very kind to me and I certainly would never complain about appearance except to say that I understand how frustrating it can be to look very good and feel very bad. Time did manage to remember to give me silver hair behind the ears.
The rest of my hair is still quite close to whatever colour it has been naturally.
I couldn't tell you as I only get up and wash my face, brush my teeth and get dressed not necessarily in that order. I do the hair thing in the car.
I do the make-up thing at the beach. I do the washing my hair thing before bed.
Color, well, that's a subjective thing. If I am indoors it seem to me to be auburn.
Outdoors, it definitly has that shiny red thing going on.

For dramatic purposes and stage-work, I had a colour put in my hair about 2 months ago and damn, it looked great for the event and about 3 more weeks. The colours faded to a terrible damaged-looking frazzle as they involved bleaching. These are the sorts of things you can't slide past retired hairdressers. Even ones in their upper nineties.

Today was hair day. Thinned, styled and straightened.
I should be good for a week or so.


--------------- *

_* hairdressers do it with style*_

__* hairdressers are a sheer delight *__


Basic Misunderstandings

Alas for humanity, the basic misunderstanding seems to be a core value.

If you were told someone were allergic to shellfish would you puree shrimp and slip it into their stew? Sometimes I feel as if my employer takes delight in continuing to force basic misunderstandings.

I am profoundly asthmatic thanks to some exposure to toxins in my lifetime.
I am triggered by pet dander and cigarette smoke as well as some household cleaners.

At considerable expense to myself, I have removed all carpet from my home and put in hardwood flooring. My beloved dog had to be given to the ex as my little place has no room that could be exclusively hers and no back yard. My little man with me now is a poodle-cross for that reason but I will never stop mourning the loss of my beautiful smart girl.

Working in a home environment, the best I can hope for is no pets no smoking.
The no smoking is an absolute on the worksite but being that we are going into homes, sometimes the client has smoked up a storm before we get there.
Most of the time, the schedulers are well aware of who smokes and who does not.

I was sent to a home yesterday that I got sick after.
24 hours later I am still sick. Once triggered, it isn't so easy to arrest attacks.
Medications keep me stable but vunerable.
And my employer, the people who really should know better, continue to basically misunderstand how such things happen.

wellness my ass.



"I will never forget YOUR name dear."

She never does either.
When she was a little girl, she and her friend would play with two porcelain dolls.
"Only the very best, they were exquisite dear."

The dolls were from France, with handmade clothes that included kid gloves and shoes. Both had a change of clothes but the one doll with the sausage curls had high fashion clothes while the other doll with straighter hair was more demure in all ways. She remembers when she was 6 years old, and playing with those dolls was the highlight of the week.

She told me how she and her best friend would fight over which one would have the more elegant of the dolls. That was the one they called by my real name. They called the other doll "Genevive.
The two little girls never used any other than those two names for the dolls.
The two best names they could think of.

My client and I have progressed to the point where she just calls me Genevive all the time now. I always laugh and it amuses me now the way it did the very first time as finally, I guess I am the other doll.

--------- *

Housecoats and waiting

It is one of those things you recognise after a time; a sign as it were.
Generally it is an older woman in her 90s, but sometimes younger, who likes to sit in her housecoat and just wait. They do not tend to watch television or do crafts, they just wait.

If you were to ask them if they wanted help getting dressed they would politely respond: "Not today, dear" or some other polite refusal. Alot of them read but generally it is the same book or books at their side week after month after year.
If there are family members who drop in or God forbid, live with them, a frustration tends to develop over this change. Sometimes those feelings get transferred onto others, say ME. I generally shrug it off but sometimes, it gets under my skin.

I do understand, somewhat, the rational of the client as I have seen it so very many times. Family members want to think that the job of the HealthCare system is to motivate their Mother/Father/Uncle/whoever into doing what it is they want them to. Or forcing them to do something. It ain't me babe. I still believe the client's right to refuse supercedes all. After all, who hired us? Usually not the one in the Housecoat.

Family members want everything to be safe and secure and the way it always has been. But people change and that's normal. For every housecoat-wearing waiter, I have 15 or 20 vibrant 90 year olds out and about doing as much as they can.
And that's great too. But some of us are just tired and waiting.
And there is nothing wrong with that either. No matter what family members think do or say.

I have two of these sorts of clients on the same day.
Both of these women are elderly and mostly healthy.
Both of these women have serious memory loss, but not longterm memory loss.
I can go to either one of them and be filled with a spirit of love as I see the natural fruition of a live well-lived and well-loved.

These clients are very content with their lots in life.
Both of them have a son in the picture.
One son sighs and moans and complains about his own ailments and can't even manage to keep the kitchen clean after he makes toast, the other son makes mom breakfast and sighs also but without complaint. Both of their mothers are appreciative and happy.

Both of their mothers love to chat endlessly. They are self-actualised and really just sharing their wisdom. Granted, the stories are repetitious, but they don't know that. It is always new to them! Each one of these sons sees a situation differently although in reality, it is so very similar. Both of their mothers really just need companionship more than anything else.

Again we come back to grace.
One exercises it. The other expects it.

---------- *

Isaiah 40:31 - But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.


The Entertainer's Story au jour

I can't say I wasn't warned.
Here I am early in the morning at the Entertainer's house.
She is a chatty little thing, what with being a professional entertainer and all.
She is 91 and has yet to retire. She has done theatre, film, all things artistic....
she sings, she dances. STILL *HURRAH*

But I do not have alot of time here as my task is simple.
OR so it seems.
Some aspects of care require client participation. This is one such task.
But she is not co-operating as she wants to entertain me.
Even now. In her nightie. Early in the morning.
Now THAT'S dedication to your craft!

So this is her story to me:

There was a young couple who met in Church and agreed to go on a first date.
During dinner the young man leaned over to the young lady and asked:
"You do believe in the Hereafter do you not?"
"Well," she answered, "What do you mean by the "HereAfter?"
"Well it's like this", he answered looking into her eyes.
"If you're not here after what I'm here after, you'll be here after I'm gone."


Guess you had to be there

"Some Goon"

"Have I told you this before?"

"My mother-in-law was the biggest bore. She told the same old stories over and over again. It drove me crazy"

well... actually yes you have told me this before. You tell me every time I come. In the same ways, with the same enthusiasm and same twinkles in your eyes.
And I love it.
It reminds me of that movie "Groundhog Day."
Some people think its a comedy. I believe it is a commentary.
On grace. Finding grace in unlikely mundane places.

--- *

And so she told me this again.

" I moved to Winnipeg to help my sister. I can't remmeber why I moved there but we went skating every Friday night. It was just what young people did. There wasn't much to do and there wasn't any money although I guess we must have paid something to be there....

"I was sitting in the penalty box. My feet hurt. I looked up and this fellow skated by. I know this is horrible but I remember telling my cousin: "oh no, I think this goon is going to ask me to skate." Can you imagine? How awful I was.
But he asked me so very nicely and had such good manners and we had such a good time I did. And then he asked me to go out on Saturday night. Pretty soon we were dating regularly and by Christmas we were married.

We were planning for June but then he figured out he could claim me on his taxes for the whole year so we married in December.

I was his tax deduction."

Now, how sweet is that.
70 years later she remembers even the feeling of sore feet and looking up at him.
Some goon.

----- *


Another Coincidence

There are so many vinyl covered homes in this area.... most of them less than 15 years old. This is paradise where all come to retire if they can afford it.
Somehow, the secret got out in the last few years. New neighbourhoods of vinyl-clad structures everywhere.

There is one development with approximatly 300 homes, that is a strata.
The homes are beautiful of course, and expensive, and back onto a golf course.
What else to do in paradise?

My client is a man.
After a few visits it is obvious his dementia is very much worse than documented.
During my visit he invites me to see his "other cat" and opens the door to his very much younger daughter's bedroom.
"What are you doing in here again? Get out of here!"
She clearly was not expecting him to come in.
She looks exasperated and he looks surprised.

We sit down for a chat and he tells me he is 100 years old.
When I look non-plussed he says:" Actually I am 101"
Then he tells me some whoppers.

He was a witty devil. I could see flashes of incredible humour and little shimmers of intellect. But mostly, he is confused.

I look out the back window to the golfcourse.
I remember this house too.

I was doing CPR here a few years back while awaiting an ambulance.
My client had gone out in the nighttime and smashed her head against the concrete.
She got up and fell again. More than once.
She had broken and cracked bones and ribs all over.
And she did NOT come home, although she is happily living in a Nursing home now.

That is another house I do not think I would move into.

------------- *

Deva Vu -- Voodo

I look at the name and address of the client of where I am going and it seems familiar although I am positive I do not know the name.
I am notoriously poor at names and, on balance, am equally notorious and great at numbers, so I have long ago given up on apologising. Harmony, you know.

I pull up to the home and experience profound deja-vu.
Going in, it is slightly out of sync, as if it is a memory of a half-forgotten dream. My client, is a woman needing assistance because of weakness.
She is not very elderly, but she is extremely frail.
She has had a recent mastectomy.

--- and now I remember ----

I was in this house 2 years ago.
My client at the time was dying of complications from breast cancer.
oh dear.
I recall feeling that the situation was very creepy because when I first began my rotations in this area one of my very first clients lived in this very house. A woman. A one-breasted woman dying of cancer.

So this is #3 home-owner in 5 years at the same address.
A perfectly ordinary home in a respectable area with other similar homes that I do not go to. This everyday house has had 3 owners that I knew intimately.
Three out of 3 with breast cancer final stages.

When that home comes on the market, I aint buying it.


Coincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys.
Emma Bull


"The First Woman I had seen in 3 months!"

I think we both knew it was the last time I would be seeing him.
It was unimaginable to me that he could last another week, even though he had not yet slipped into unconsciousness. He had lost so much of his strength, but he was still hanging on. Probably for his wife.

Those longtime married men are so very honourable. Always worrying about their women. How refreshing. I love that.

He was comfortable in his bed and I was asking him about the plaque on the wall. It was a souvenir from long ago, a measure of the esteem in which he was held by others.

All of a sudden he got a look on his face; a glowing look.
"I remember the first time I saw her.
I was out in the bush for over 3 months. Can you imagine? The only time in my life I grew my beard. I looked like a bushman. And then we came out."

He told me he had been surveying for the Government out in the back of beyond.
"I love the forest. It is a part of me."
He told me that he and his coworker came out and stopped at a store.

"She was the first woman I had seen in 3 months. And that was that!"
That glow spread. He looked enraptured.
"I cleaned up pretty good and I went back in and asked her to a dance in the town.
I brought her home late and made a date for the next day. Then I took her out rowing, me and the music."

I nodded. Wait a minute... they have been married 66 years.
What kind of music would this be in 1939 wilderness?

"Sir, did you sing?"
"Oh yes. But mostly it was the old machine. You know... the kind you crank up. I brought all my best music and we took it out on the Lake."

"A Victrola?"

"Yes yes that's it. I cranked it up and we danced under the stars and I asked her to marry me."

"After 2 days and 2 dates?"

"Yes ma'am, she was the only one for me."

I can well believe that!
He is gone now of course.
He let her go at last.

--------------- *


The Guest

Language barrier?
Bad manners?
Patience at an end?

I have no idea why but my guest acted very badly on her last morning here.
Making it clear that we had to leave the house by 06:30 to get her to her bus by 06:45 seemed easy until 06:30 when her door was still tightly shut and every question was answered by "Yes?"

at 06:40 everything of hers was put in the car (against her will) and we drove down the highway at speeds best left undiscussed. I had shuffled my clientelle so that I was able to drop her off. This, like the rest of the morning seemingly meant nothing to her. Suddenly, from the back seat I hear a little scream.
"Back! Back! My uniform! Back!"

Seems she left her blouse to her school uniform on a hanger on the back of the room door. When she realised I was not going to turn the car around she began to have a little fit.

Pulled into the school where her bus waited. The rest of her group were tearing up and hugging their hostfamilies. She refused to look at me.
I told her English liason teacher the problem and underlined the fact that I __could not__ get home for the uniform and her to the bus and get to work.

They sent a cab to my house to pick it up and take it to the ferry.
She got on bus sulkily and steadfastly refused to look out the window.

I dont know....
It kinda killed the goodwill.

Grace and Anger

With less than a modicum of grace, I find myself on the listening end of a long-winded siloloquy on the virtues of the Home Help. The Home Help I hired.
Everything but raising the dead is lauded to the Home Help.

Well, we all make our beds. Sleeping in them and complaining is routine around here.

Just a moment while I find my hairshirt.
And adjust the nails.

------ *


Hearing a Truth

I just got a call from mr. macho.

"Well the Assessment was done on me today. I am now a "frail elderly Veteran".

I missed my cue.
I was supposed to say something like: "Only in words."
or even better: "no of course you are not!"

I said: "So go with it."

Dead silence.

Oh well.
Truths can be hard to hear


"Have I told you this before?"

There are times I am living out a John Cleese skit.

More Clues

The wonderfully elegant woman I know has bedhead today.
Her fine features are marred by a terrible skin condition as yet undiagnosed.
She is sleeping in the living room on the couch, and is utterly convinced that someone is trying to break in to her home.

I used to check on her once a week.
We would chat about things and I would discreetly check the home for signs of medication misusage. She does not intentionally overdose herself but there are times when memory slips and pain yells.

Today, I decide to flip the cushions on the couch when she has excused herself to freshen up. I take off the covers and notice they have alot of cathair in them.
I see something small shoot across the room. Something pinkish.
Tracking it down, I realise it is one of her morning medications.
I decide to check the sides of the couch.
Putting my hand down the side, the one where she sits, I find a little stash of medications. Pink ones, yellow ones, white ones, blue ones.
Oh dear.

I find some antibiotics, in fact I find about 8 doses of them.
Sometimes, a lock is necesssary to protect a person from their own best intentions.

------------------ *


Shh! Its a Secret!

well okay, so I couldn't resist posting one teeny weeny little hint.

Speaking of spirals:

A few echos this week.
Spirals of power.
Spirals of shame.
Spiral staircases.

Power is delicate to wield.
You can crush it so easily.

Shame ricochets back and forth without bidding.

And staircases:
I always wanted a spiral staircase even though I had seen "The Haunting", the original B & W version with Claire Bloom, which is as good an advertisment NOT to have one as any.

Whilst eating my french toast and bacon as it my wont on Fridays, I ran into a gentleman from the church. He is a really cool guy.
Older and wiser than me of course.
I asked him how he was doing and he told me he was in the middle of building another home, having sold his last dreamhome for a tidy profit.
"My address is the God #"

apparantly 777 is God's perfect number.
At least my gentleman friend so believes.
(God's magic number is 137 btw, as any physicist (and kaballah) knows...)
That, I could comment on, but it would take a few thousand blogs.

"I just put in a spiral staircase."

--- cue twilight zone music ----

Tempus Fuggit

Ah, tempus fuggit.
Yes, yes I do know it is FUGIT.

Tempus fugit is a Latin expression meaning "time flees", more commonly translated as "time flies". I think I like the flees better.

Lately, I have spelled that phrase consistently wrong.
*Dr. Freud? Can you bring Jung with you this call please?"

It does encapsulate my thinking nicely tho.
Screw time.
It's an illusion anyway.

(on a related note):
My guest leaves in two days and then I can wind all the clocks up again.
I seem to have broken both clocks with Westminster chimes.
My handyman dropped one, and I was very nonchalant as I did not yet know my clock maker was no longer in the area.
I had an estimate on the repair by one of his competitors.
$300 IF he can get the parts.
My former clockman MADE parts he couldn't find.
Of course now he has departed this mortal coil for the great corkscrew in the sky.

Drat it all.
Pesky time.
In the way again.

Time hanging in the air.

She looks pretty darned good for a woman in her 90s.
She looks great.
That is part of the trouble, I expect, that looking great thing.

She sits in her own home, where she has lived since retirement.
Her husband died long ago but she feels they had a good run.
She took up gardening and painting and needlework and she has examples of her fine workmanship all around. Today, however, the biggest challenge is just staying motivated to be alive.

Old age can be very cruel.
It takes the things we cherish.
Possibly this is God's way of getting us to let go of the life we love above all.
It sure works, at any case.

She can't hold or wringe out a facecloth.
She can't turn a doorknob, or a radio button.
She cannot sew, cook, clean, or do any sort of art.

I can help, but just in the moment.
After I leave, she has the entire day to fill.

"They loom before me, every second hangs on for so long."

That temporal mystery again.
I do recall feeling the same way after my head injury.
For me, it was gazing into an endless hall of mirrors, seeing reflections and reflections of reflections...
It was hell. If I had to stare down infinity every day still, I would have long ago gone to meet it voluntarily.
Yet here is the opposite problem. And yet so very familiar.
Time hanging.

Spiral of Power

He walked to the backdoor with the watering can in his hand.
He went out and patiently watered every single pot and plant in the garden with many trips to the hose.

When we were not paying attention he opened the front door and went out to water the sole plant that hangs by the door.
There is no screendoor at the front and when he opened the door both small dogs raced past him and out the door to the busy ringroad in the townhouse complex. Out, out they ran across the lawns and driveways, to the main road.
One thought better of it and returned.
The other would be chien ala squish if even one car had been near.

"Get in the house or I will clobber you" he called.
He laughed.
"Come on you bad dogs get in here or I'll thrash you"
He laughed again like it was some great joke.
"That's right, I will thrash you to within an inch of your life."
"haha, of course I wouldn't do that! I love my doggies."

I have to tell you. I stood there frozen.
It was definitly NOT funny to me.
I looked at my sister.
"Takes you right back, doesn't it?" I asked.
"Yup", she said.



So many charming people, so little time.
Sometimes I get lucky and actually have the time.
This week I got very lucky.

A cancellation resulted in my getting a new-to-me person.
This person is 97 years old. It is considered to be respite for the family that live with her. The family member met me at the door and told me that her parent would be annoyed as I was not the *regular* girl.
She told me that her parent was terribly deaf and it was very difficult to communicate with her.

I smiled and thought "I dont think so" but I keep such things to myself.
I love love love elderly people and have done so since I was a little girl.
My grandmother was in her 60s when I was born.
The years we grew closer she was in her 80s.
I enjoyed her and her friends more than my own.
Of course mine had the disadvantage of being in their teens.
Hers had long lifetimes.
Such interesting women.
And so willing to share their stories.

Of course this older lady reminded me so much of Grama even though she was Scottish and my Grama was as English as they come.
She shared so many wonderful things with me.
Then I asked her:
"What are you planning for your 100th birthday?"
She looked me in the eye and laughed.
Then she pointed at the ground.

I have to admit I laughed too.
SO very honest.

"I've had a good life. I am ready."

Bless her 97 year old heart.


Part the 2nd of fife

Today I heard part the 2nd before her shower:

"away I go with fife and drum
here we come, full of rum."

The family was as surprised as I was.
What a cute little rhymne.


Just a little bit of research and I found this:

The North Atlantic Squadron chorus:
" Away, away, with fyfe and drum,
Here we come, full of rum,
Looking for women to pat on the bum
In the North Atlantic Squadron"


I am sure its a variant on some traditional song or t'other.