Yet Another One...

One of the very nicest people of my acquaintance, lost her husband a day or so ago. It was not unexpected, nor untimely but it was still unwelcome.

Oh dear Mrs. T-A, I wish you well.



The Entitled

Reading and researching Elder Abuse claims can be harrowing stuff. Over and over you hear about these relatives left high and dry when the family are taken advantage of by a stranger.
It seems to be strictly about money and expectations. You read the sorrow and anger as estates are not what was expected. Sorrow and anger. Do you read about the quality of life of the Elder person? What their hopes and dreams were? Rarely. It is mostly about the *Entitled*.

Perhaps I have a different point of view because of my background. My Grandparents were not poor and my Grandfather left a sizable estate. Stock options, exclusive properties, and lots of cash were in his portfolio. My Grandfather was a self-made man; an immigrant who worked very hard to attain his wealth. He and his brothers all did very well indeed. Had my Grandfather lived past the 60 years he achieved, life would have been very different for my parents. As it was, the estate passed into the hands of my Grandmother who had no intentions of sharing with anyone.

I grew up watching bitter parents making nice for the sake of their possible futures. My grandmother meant more than money to me. She was a wonderful charming person with a frugal streak and no tolerance for extravagance. My parents were very extravagant and it is fortunate my Father also worked hard and achieved a very good lifestyle on his own merits.
This money inheritance stuff is not for me to brood upon. Of course I like money- who doesnt?
But I am not going to go the way of my Mother who died of colon cancer after decades of obsessing on her lost inheritance.

There is a middle way of course. I do not see much of it in my practice. What I do see are sons and daughters, nieces and nephews swooping in at the end of life and grabbing everything they can while casting a suspicious eye on the *hired help*. Hey, we had a private nurse steal sterling flatware from us too, but that never stopped us from believing the best in others.
I hope she needed it, that's all.

My other observation is that abovesaid relations frequently thank the Hospital Staff and Nurses for the fine care of their deceased, in those last hours, days, weeks. They never think to the people who kept their relation in the home happy and independant. They are too busy taking inventory.

One of the saddest things that happened to me was reading that a private funeral had taken place for my very favourite client. The obituary was placed after the private service. There was no closure for me other than my angel ritual at the beach. I would have liked to be present to honour her amongst other who felt the same way. I know the staff where she lived felt the same way. Empty and lost. But the Doctor and Nurses in that hospital got a huge thanks.

It isn't about being seen, it isn't about the thank you. It is about respect. The respect for your departed, knowing and understanding that the people who were close to them miss them too.
Loss. Sorrow. We need to grieve it to move on.


A Light Shining Deep Inside

Having just posted about two wonderful people now gone, I find a note on my desk about another.

The light shining deep inside me, is from interaction with the stars. Each soul that touches me fuels another flicker to share.

Not sure you can understand what I mean, but I just wanted you to know that nothing in life is ever wasted.

Not Unexpectedly, Alice leaves the building...

*Alice* was a very strong woman indeed. She was clever and talented and hugely compassionate. She was a founding member of a volunteer organization in Vancouver devoted to caring for those with disabilities. She had been a career civil servant and had been forced to retire in her early 50-s because of very ill-health.

Alice and I met a few years back when she was released from hospital after some infection or other had settled in on her refusing to leave on it's own. Alice had great Doctors, and knew her own treatment options backwards and forewards. Alice chose her own path, charting it with great care.
She never did anything without informed consent.

The disease ravaging Alice was merciless. She had a drug regime that was destroying her kidneys. She traded longevity for quality of life. Alice knew her days were dwindling but nothing prepared *me* for the day, not long ago, when during my visit she broke down and wept. I had no words of wisdom for her. All I could say was how difficult I knew it must be for her always being the strong one.

Alice had a longtime companion who was older than her. The companion did her best and they lived a good life. I knew it was trouble that day when Alice told me she was tired of it all. She wept and said she was sick of fighting, sick of being strong, sick of pretending everything was going to get better when she knew it was only going to be worse. She had just come home from a horrendous hospital stay in which 3 hell-nurses had sucked her hope away.

That of course is heresay. But Alice never lied to me about anything else and was always exceedingly kind and caring, even when her care was substandard. This last stay was different in some way. She had been vunerable for the first time in her life, in a way she was unused to, and these Nurses had gotten to her. They were trying to get her to do things for herself, telling her to get out of bed and do it herself. They told Alice over and over that she was capable.

A woman of such immense self-will, who had battled harder than most can imagine finally being tired and being rewarded with the "Do it yourself" routine. I have to tell you that even the dullest care-giver could tell at a glance that Alice had some huge problems to overcome. Her limbs were twisted and her body was bloated from kidney failure. Of course she could do it herself when she was well, but damnit she had not been well in years. And yet she HAD done it herself, day in and day out, getting only minimal support.

Alice thanked me when I left for listening. She asked me to pray for her. I heard two days later she was readmitted, hopefully not to the same floor. She passed on within a few days.

Alice, I know you are free now. I could never do what you did. I am not that gracious.
I know I did all I could for you, but I wish it was more and better.

This one hurts.
Farewell to another warrior.

A Swell Dame

It is another sad farewell. A person in their 90's passing on is not unexpected, yet in some instances it is quite too soon none-the-less. My dear client just departed was so very alive. She had a life-force you could feel.

When I met this woman, it came about in conversation, that I had grown up 2 blocks away from her home. She knew who my family were, all the Aunts and Uncles. We lived in *Shannon* district in Vancouver; just up from Marpole. Four of my close relatives lived in a 3 block area, one just across the street from where my client lived. Back in those years, *Shannon* was not the inner-city next to the Granville freeway, it was quaint and lovely with tree-lined streets. The neighbours were all long-time residents and people mostly all got along with each other. We knew the names of everyone on our street, both sides long, and they knew us.

"Carrie" had been married and widowed by the age of 35. She was an only child and had no children of her own. Once widowed, her father began to worry about her future. Carrie was comfortably well-off even before her husband's estate was settled on her. She did not work of course, but she did the rounds of Country Clubs and golf courses. She was the life of any party, and a grand hostess. A swell dame.

Under pressure from her Father she did indeed remarry in her late 40's. There were children from a prior marriage, but that did not bother her. Until later. When husband number 2 died, he wrote his will in an ambiguous way which, under legal (very expensive legal) scrutiny, left half of everything Carrie owned to his children. Half of everything Carrie had possession of, half of all she had inherited from her first husband and her father, was legally bequested to these children of his who wished immediate dispersal. They got some cash out of her and a legal promise for half of the proceeds of the sale of her home when at last she would sell.

Carrie had no plans to sell and continued to live on happily until she was declared legally blind.
Suddenly she was visited by a Doctor she did not know in her own home. Not many weeks later she was informed she was incompetent to make her own decisions and her home was put on the market and sold in record time. Her large Art collection contained many family pieces. Some of them were large sculptures.

What did not sell at auction for a song, went to her step-kids, against her wishes. A few cracked sculptures came along with her to the small 2 bedroom apartment in assisted living chosen for her. This was a huge change from her 4000 square foot home, and she was mad as hell for about a year. She told everyone who had ears to make sure to make their wills with caution.

Carrie did settle in eventually to live another 3 years in that place. She brought elegance and happiness and endeared herself to all. She was a great friend and a charming companion and enriched the life and soul of the place. Carrie is not replaceable. It is a terrible loss.

Her obituary somehow did not manage to catch her joy and spirit. It had several lines duly chronicling in black and white those step-relatives of hers. I am certain they believe they did what was right and proper under trying circumstance. No doubt they are congratulating themselves on a job well done as she lived on much longer than expected.

SO: listen to Carrie. Be sure to make a Will, an iron-clad will before you re-marry, and choose your Power of Attorney with great care. It may seem trivial at the time, but as years go on, the entitled need to be protected against. You think you won't care, but in my experience, most people care deeply.

Farewell Carrie, you were a swell.


I got *clean teeth*

Somehow, in my brain, that title is being sung to the Pointer Sister's "Steam Heat" melody line.
My teeth are spectacularly clean. They look fabulous, and feel even better. So I have to wear a retainer that makes me gag... bfd. It's worth it. They look good and I feel great. No more jawa cramping or painful nerve pain shooting behind my eye. It is all good.

I am over my bad-show-itis. Like an olde skin, I have shed it. Of course returning to my staid normalcy and work-a-4-day-week world helps oodles. It is good to be love-d. And you know what? My clients appreciate and love me. It floats my boat. I like feeling needed. I like working at something meaningful. (Even if I do dream about appraising at least once a week in full detail)
I also dream about being on stage at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Sometimes I even dream about being on Network television. Oh there it is. My guilty secret out.

It is a source of deep and lasting bliss to me that when Hollywood came a-calling, I had the sense to say no. I can still see the guy from Paramount Pictures in my mind. Not many people say no I suppose. If I had said yes, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind I would be deceased. Or worse: world-famous with a huge addiction problem.

I dream it though. Heh.
For today, my clean teeth are my everything.
It is well with my soul.


Should have, could have, would have

It is called INTUITION for a reason. Sadly, mine was correct.

I sucked at the show. I mean, I really sucked. It surprised me, as I am usually spot on.
I even had some shakes goin on. ( !! )

I arrived 35 mins before show because of another committment. When I walked in to a full house, I realised I had gotten the time wrong. It was 5 minutes to show. *Five*

The Stage Manager did not have a mic for me set up. "Öh, do you need one?"
--ya think?
Anyway I sucked. Gave my cribs to someone else for the later performance.
Apparantly he did NOT suck. Thats great. My day is done.

Perhaps I won't do the little theatre gig this summer.
It's been awhile since I did a bad job. I wasnt totally bad, but noticably not good.
We all have bad shows. Like bad days they are best forgotten.


Show tomorrow...

I am uncharacteristically nervous. I love the stage and the stage loves me. I know it will go well and noone really cares about the things that I stay up obsessing about.... as in which of my many seemingly casually off the cuff remarks to trot out when the sound guys miscue or someone forgets a costume and I have to *do the blah blah* for a few...

Could be all this buggery ailing about has me down. Still not quite right although much better. I never did get the hearing back in that ear fully, and my energy is not what I would like but I am most assuredly better. My immune system needs a good shot of HEALTH points.

Tomorrow I get the G- Rated crowd as I opted for an afternoon gig.
Gramas and mommies and kiddos.
God help ém.

There is some kind of party tomorrow night but I am going to give it a miss.
I cannot afford to take any chances at the moment. And bugger it all I cannot even sip a drink.
All these damned chemicals swirling about inside me.
*The no-fun* version of me.

Okay I actually have somethings to say but I am too tired.

Send good energies.


Shiny things

Believe it or not, after 7 years of blogging it all out loud, ranting and raging and spitting into the wind, I am jest about talk-ed out.

That's right you heard me.... talk-ed out!

I deleted the old blog in a moment of unclear on the concept, but this one is going to stick around.
Likely I will start posting about my beloved shinies.
The things I cannot change continue on. New day, same old shit, and being shit I need to flush it.

I can't change the world, only my own mind. I try to be kind every day and share joy.
I live in hope that all the good people are doing likewise and better, and thus the world is improved. Actions are imperative. Talk is cheap.

So - shiny things! Let's hear it for Shiny Things.
Shiny, glittery, loverly things.

Todays shiny thing is the curtain on my wall. I have no idea what the symbol means.
But its cool.
My thinking regarding symbols is that they mean whatever you imbue them with.
--- posting picture later when I get batteries for digicam

Hard times, soft people

IF you have never experienced a moment un-copable, if you have never been touched by the hand of fate in a withering manner, then you cannot possibly empathsize with those in crisis invisible -- the warriors of the unseen, the shadows of the mind.

During my walk-a-bouts, I frequently run into people who I met when I volunteered at the Street level Mental Health Centre. This group of people has the highest rate of loss of any group I know, including my elderly clients. The ones who wink out, or flash by tend to be in their 30s, or 40s.

It was sad news to hear that yet another of the folk I bonded with during my 2 year sojourn is gone to a heroin overdose. Damnitall people, HEROIN HATES YOU!

I would like to think this was an accidental overdose. Like last time it was an accidental fall from a cliff. And before that an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.... and on and on and on.
The system is broke. And noone with power, authority and money is taking responsibility and trying to make it right. We need a Mike Holmes of Mental Health.

Years ago after my volunteer stint I applied for a job at this *place* and was told that they perceived my skills to be in the social realm of things. This, evidentally, was not in the job criteria. But they would be delighted if I continued to volunteer. I hate to say it but something my ex said to me rang in my mind:
"Even Jesus had to eat."

Yes, I am retired from the BIG LIFE of olde. No, I am not independantly wealthy.
I require income.

All these losses make me sad. The 3am of the soul came hard for each of these folk.
I understand. And after a week on heavy doses of codeine, I understand very well.
Opiates of any description or strength do not agree with me. Oh they take the pain away....
but they make me exist in a twilight of terror.

Getting close to 2 years since Mad Bee Maddie took her life.
I saw her former lover today - (sigh)

Why is life so hard on the young?
Why do fragile people find little strength from friends and community?

I try not to take it all on. Good thing I did not get the job at the Mental Health centre.
It would have challenged my every boundary.

Still human,...... sigh. Currently decidely human.

Faithful friends

Thinking this is a post about you?

This is a post about my faithful friend who loves me no matter what I think say or do.
He just loves me. He is faithful and kind and most of all loyal and true.
He never criticizes or chides, he always greets me with affection and happiness and I love him to bits!

Yes, my doggie-boy who sees me through good times and bad.
During my baaaad codeine moments, he jumps up and reminds me I am, to him, fine, just fine.

What's not to love?

Another Warrior felled

Sometimes the strongest warriors are the gentle ones.

A year ago, this lovely man, looking transluscent, shook my hand and looked into my eyes and thanked me for taking time on a morning to sit down with him and chat. He was critically ill and already past the day when it was expected he would join the choir invisible.

This week I had the sad news that the gentle warrior went on to other realms.
Kendall was his name, and he was a friend of mine. He used to come for the Friday morning breakfast club at the local A & W when he was well enough. His cancer was slow and insidious, but it never ever triumphed over him. He was a man who lived and died with cancer, but not of cancer.

This quote is for you, Sir Kendall:

"Though my soul may set in darkness it will rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." -- (Sarah Williams)


Weird dreams

I remembered to write down some keywords from a very vivid and strange dream.
Believe it or not I was dreaming about the Empress of Blandings .. ( yes, yes I know, stranger than strange)
Okay, so I consult the paper that I jotted down keywords, thinking I would remember everything....
The list reads:
" Empress, Jello, pool, 6th husband"

Uhm, okay....
+- +- +- +- +-

Antibiotics finally got my immune system to reboot. I feel alot better altho I am still completely deaf in my left ear which is still feeling *full*. The mass on my jaw is loosening. My teeth, although still sensitive are tolerable. THANK YOU GOD!

+- +- +- +- +- +-

A good score for me. 75th anniversary edition of *Dracula* starring Bela Lugosi.
I have a soft spot for Lugosi thanks to Nightmare Theatre (late nite highschool tv on a friday night), Chris Houston's rant about Bela Lugosi being *buried beside my record company* ("I aint losing it" on the Evil Twang "War of the Dudes" early 90's release. Or was it 89?
----and----- of course from my Goth days, or is that my poseur days? or hmm, just like listening to deep voices intoning melodious atmospheric music days, BAUHAUS
I still love that damned song.

Don't tell ye olde thrift shoppe but my jeweller training allowed me to buy a hollow gold bracelet. $6.99 Hell yeah. Not as good as the day I found a 60 pt VVS2 diamond earring there in a platinum setting for $2.99 but still very satisfying.

While at the Sally Ann, the very nice clerk laughed when I commented on my usual gleanings of shiny things and candles... I spotted a key chain under glass for 50 cents, It was a pester crown with three charms hanging down; a tiny crown, a VW bug style charm and an elongated shoe. The key chain was engraved in large letters - QUEEN OF THE ROAD.

The only way it could have been better was if it was either queen of the fucking road or queen of the whole damned road. As I asked her to include it in my booty haul, and made my shiny thing comment, she laughed and said loudly:

" I see. I want. And I shall not be denied."

ok, uhm yeah. Busted.



Thank goodness I laundered my linens today.
Tonight's sleep is something I am anticipating with great delight. Not that I exerted myself with serious work or workouts.... just the weather breaking. At long last!

I am a person who possesses the genes of a Nordic dweller; someone North of 60. Alas I live smack dab on 49. The last week has been very humid as well as hot. During the nights I have awakened absolutely covered in sweat. Oddly enough for such a well known hedonist, I find it difficult to sleep naked. A throwback to my prudish upbringing when the sight of even panties where verboten, I find even in the hot hot heat, pajamas or some kind of nighttime outfit necessary.

The Price of Paradise Shared

It breaks my heart to see the changes in my Paradise. I know the Island was all logged out once in this area but even second growth forests are still forests with little ecosystems. We have alot more wildlife wandering around in stupors as their habitant is destroyed.

This last while, a very large acreage near the resort downtown was clearcut. It is now for sale as single acre lots for development. People are coming here for the lifestyle that is rapidly being lost. Never mind that our infrastructure can barely support the huge influx we have already had. Now we are trying to triple it seems.

Here is an object lesson.


An Affirmation most welcome

She was sound asleep when I arrived. I tried to be quiet but it just isn't in me. Mornings are for enjoying! LAAAAAH!!! WELCOME DAYBREAK!

She opened one eye and stole a glance at me. She is very capable of pretending to be asleep if it suits her. She broke into a huge smile and said exhubertantly:

" Oh thank you - GOD IS GOOD!"

I love being loved.

G O D is G O O D