Family Christmas

Ah Christmas time!
Nothing comes close to the warmth of family.
Not a nuclear blast, not a supernovae, not the glow from the Channel 1 yule log, no; only family emit that thermal heat we love so well.

As I sit facebooking, the replicant mutters about webcams, the evil twin bellows rules to the father who is shamelessly cheating at cards... or was that the other way around, and the dogs sniff about looking for any leftovers.

Bring on the New Year.


A Left Coast Christmas Wish ♥ ♥

What a week we have had! What a whorl whirl world! Only the weather could displace the economy as the major news story. From coast to coast to coast, Canada is a wild wet white wonderland.

Speaking from the left coast - I love the idea of a white Christmas. I am not so sure about the weeks before and after. The snow removal budget in our Village is infintismal. The crews not at the top of their game. How do I know this latter fact? The transmissions of three snow removal graters blew during the first clearings. One is bad luck. Two is remarkable. Three points to something else.

My week started at being snowed in at home and ended with being snowed in at work. Luckily for me, the wonderful management of job #2 allowed me to sleep overnight where job #1 could be accomodated by walking my route. This only worked one day. The next was today.

I am always more than willing to do my share and your share too of the workload if it makes things run smoothly. I will go most places and do most things if I can. Alas I am not driving a Van Truck or 4x4, I am driving a GM with all seasons on it. Every year this has sufficed. Not this time. It was impossible to negotiate the side streets where two addresses on my list were. I got stuck, got pushed out by wonderful strangers and drove in vain slowly along nearby main street looking for a parking spot. It was not to be.

At the base of a hill another client. I had double checked with my office to make sure it was possible to get in there. I was asked to park at the top of the hill and hike down. I was assured that everyone else got in there. I did my duty and hiked down. The driveway was not ploughed. The stairs were not shovelled. The door was not answered. I hiked to the back door. No answer. I walked around the place in 3 foot snow jumping up and knocking on the windows. Nothing. I looked under every brick and patio ornament, every bin and rock for a key. Nope.

Did I have my phone? I had left it in the car. At the top of the hill.
When I called the Office I was assured again there was a key and other people had gotten in. Back down the hill, back to looking for the stated key hiding spot. No key, no answer at the door, no success. Back up the hill. This visit is scheduled for 45 minutes and I was now at the 50 minutes mark.

Back in the car, I headed for my next visit and once there called my Supervisor to give the facts. Now in my head I was expecting her to follow up on it as I had more people to see. Instead I heard her tell me the name and phone # of a contact who lived next door and then she said: " See if he can help you get in and call back if you have a problem getting in." I guess she missed the part where I said I had left the area and was at my next client. I get paid by the assignment - my Supervisor makes a much higher salary. It is not my job to do follow up as I have more people waiting on me. I called the contact number, wished him a Merry Christmas, and explained that we could not get his neighbour to answer her door and could he look in on her and call our office if there was a problem or if he could not get in. He was very agreeable and wished me well in turn.

Perhaps I am a teensy bit prickly on this topic. It could possibly be because in job 2 I came across a frightenend co-worker who had been urgently paging this self same supervisor to advise her that the roads were impassable and that she could not finish her shift. Her shift that would take her out to rural roads, an address at the end of the road at 10pm. There are family on the property who will not risk life and limb to do a check in. This co-worker was terrified to go and more terrified not to. Having got my seniority in that exact same shift I know exactly where she was off to.

The supervisor never returned those multiple pages. But I got my coworked to call the clients to advise them that it was unsafe for her to risk the trip and she could not come. That, again, would be the supervisors job. Oh she would have gone if I had not told her repeatedly that we have the right to refuse unsafe work. And indeed last year another coworker who went out to be helpful in the ice to a client in a remote area, had her workers compensation claim denied as she "had untaken unnecessary risk where not indicated." The rules bite you coming and going.

Yes, I am happy to go more than my share, but please send me somewhere I can get in. Those who do not shovel their drives or live on unploughed streets will not be seeing me. Please God send us cleared roads for Christmas. Snow alert for the 24th. - - -


Proof of Dragons

Anytime people express doubts about the existance of dragons, point them my way.
The proof is within me. I house the pivotal DNA strands of dragonware or, dragonwere. There are wererabbits and werewolves so why not weredragons.

All the signs are here. I am capable of breathing fire, I sleep in the shadow and most telling of all, I hoard. Today whilst looking for the USB connector for my camera I found a Haida necklet my sister gave me at 12 years of age, sitting in the drawer besides the Sunday School attendance chart made by my Grampa for my mother. It is a symbol of the ties that bound the two families, so diverse in circumstance together. Grampa T. was the Sunday School superintendant of the Church mom's family were attending. Brethren, no doubt.

My father is definitly not the author of these genes. He is Mr. Clear and Clean. He is only happy when every surface is gleaming, bereft of anything resembling clutter. My mother, on the other hand, put the obsessive in OCD. She had closets of clothes in all sizes, hundreds of shoes all catalogued and sorted, every jewel ever given her in her Elisabeth Taylor mode, and money. Lots and lots of money cloistered away in shoeboxes and drawers and pockets. God only knows how much we gave to the Salvation Army before we caught on to the pockets.

It would be easy to blame a mental illness for the hoarding trait- except that Grama B, mom's mother, also hoarded. In her case it was good leather gloves. There were dozens of pairs in her drawers, all wrapped in scented tissue. She also had stashes of toiletries that never saw the bathroom shelf. They lived under the cupboards. As I was born when my Grama was 61, I saw only the residual hoards.

Now to me. Today being a snow day and me being stir crazy I decided to go through my bedroom drawers and declutter. It is almost 8pm and there is nothing in my donation box. When I find the connector cord for the camera I will take a picture of one of my drawers. The younger generation has inherited my dragon gene. If I am bad, she is worse. I console myself by reminding myself that I have always trained her to pay her own bills and live her own life. We who choose to be slightly a-typical must never rely on the kindness of strangers. Or husbands.

Like Smaug, a ray falls from my eye on the items removed. I know when my stash has been lessened. It is a strange thing this gene. Perhaps it explains more that just the shiny thing attraction.

Daughter of dragons? Daughter of daughter of.... hmm, more than just those Sinclair genes are perculating here. I wonder what ever happened to dragon spawn. Besides being burned at the stake that is.

Today in the Village!

Our likeness to a Thomas Kinkade postcard continues. The warm light shine out from beneath the snowy roofs. People wander the streets in colourful mufflers, and children frolic in the huge drifts still so pristine. Cars are few and far between. Trucks are more common.

The very nice man who dug my car out at 11pm last night was almost embarressed to take the small gratuity I was delighted to give. Afterall, how many people work those hours in the freezing cold and how many go back for a shovel when the plough alone cannot get my car out? Oh I was delighted to be able to show some appreciation. This morning when I went outside at 6am, my car had been de-snowed, and my parking spaces were completely cleaned of snow. My sidewalk as well was cleared from my door and ten feet in both directions. Now, who says these is no such thing as kindness? My neighbour, more jaded than I, asked me how much I gave him. Not enough, I replied with a smile.

Today I was unable to get to my first client without sliding dangerously, and this on the main roads. It is really only my neck of the woods that is so dangerous as we are technically on the outskirts of our fabulous resort town. The budget does not include tri-daily sanding which at this state is necessary.
All dressed in my scrubs, equipped with MRSI worthy equipment, I parked back in my perfectly ploughed parking space and came home for a nice long winter nap. Now, clearly I am not one of those who are happy to be snowbound for longer than a day or two, and so I felt the urgent need for some humanity. Across the street for a lunch of coffee, ginger ale, burger platter with sweet potato fries, and apple crisp. It was delicious.

The server was nice enough to get a newspaper for me that facilitated my lunch visit to the 90 minute mark. It was lovely.

Tonight I shall go to bed early and try HARD to will the roads less icey. Tomorrow I shall be driving UPhill in our Village where the tax dollars are spent.
If I can get up the hill all should be well. I will pack my outfit for job 2 as I cannot see myself getting home at midnite. Perhaps I shall pack 2 outfits.

Snowfall warning for Sunday. Unbelievable.


Wet, Slippery, and (sigh) Cold!

Land of sunshine and flowers. Most moderate climate in Canada. Lowest annual snowfall.... etc etc etc. Someone forgot to remind Mother Nature of these facts this December.

A week or so ago we of the Village rejoiced childlike in the beautiful snowfall showcasing our streets. Down the hill, along the waterfront where it is always warmer, icy winds heralded the unexpected guest. Old man winter came for dinner and stayed overnight. And overweek.

All season tires service my vehicle which is more sturdy than most of it's age and ilk, but definitly are NOT up to a heavy snowfall. It was a moot point in any case as my driveway had been sealed shut by a 12 foot snow wall courtesy of the highway clearing ploughs. Yes, 12 feet! It was whittled down to the 3 foot level by our own Strata hands but it took another plough to get it to the mountable level. A small footpath was the only exit from our lot for 2 days.
Snow removal is something so strange to this area that the local budget is reactionary, not presumptive. Local excavators work 24/7 in these strange times with their heavy equipment. Although we are a highway address we are no longer the MAIN highway and we are a cough away from the bypass. This may seem inconsequential however the reality makes for a lonely time these blustery days.

All week I have been saying I should take some pictures. My mood has not been the best and in protest against this strangeness, no photos have been taken from MY camera. The highlight of the week was opening my front door to four feet of snow. This is a wonder in paradise. But to have it stay unmelted for nigh on 8 days is yet more marvellous.


Birthday Brunch! Or, not!

Happy birthday to me! God bless Facebook for enabling greetings from near and far and making the day special.

The tasty brunch at the local hotspot on the water was a no go due to a sudden and unexpected heavy snowfall. I counted it a Godsend that we made it to my fathers at all. Almost no one else braved the roads, and upon arrival and cancellation of the official plans, our plan B of paying handsomely for delivery food failed absolutely. No one was foolhardy enough. And then a suggestion from the younger set: "Let's ask George! HE is coming for cake anyway."

By gosh and by golly if he didn't acquiesque. NO chocolate dipped strawberries, no 100 item brunch bar, but luncheon fare from Boston Pizza along with a tasty and delicious chocolate birthday cake from Thrifty foods saved the day.

Happy Birthday to ME!!
And God bless us all, everyone!


Paging Dr. Freud - !

Once again, I am in Vancouver and it is early morning just before sunrise. It is home I am headed for, garbed in an odd fur robe that does not cover my nakedness properly. Observing this, I try to get off the main road; possibly Oak and 14th or so but there is an obstacle. There is always an obstacle.

Impeding my path is a huge hedge that bars my way to the sidestreets. I cannot go through it as it is thick and girded with wire. Since I cannot jump it nor stumble through it I try to minimise myself under a shrub as a dark man with a possibly Jamaican accent walks his small white dog. Looking at my incredibly stupid fashion choice, I muse on the arts gala I have walked out on. Why did I walk out?

As always in such scenarios, no wisdom is gained from reflection. It makes no sense and is unlikely to morph into sensibleness through dissection. I got miffed and refused to compromise and naturally, had to leave. Since I did not have a car, I must walk home. And where is home? Why 49th and cambie of course. Therefor this must be the 80s. Since it is the 80s I must be loaded. If not why walk?

The sound assaulting my ears is "Fur Elise." I lurch up and vanish into the mists and back to my bed. Buggery dreams. If change is indicated, a variation of this dream occurs. Always I am lost or looking for home. Always my car, bus, train breaks down or I am walking hesitantly. Always I am thwarted in my journey.

--------- *

Now I am up and out the door and putting on medical stockings for those who cannot do it themselves. A few medications here, a catheter or two there and I am at the home of a very ill client where another worker awaits me. We are mystified as to how this person stays alive in a state where 99.9999% of others would be long and truly gone. A triumph of will I suppose. Soon I hope this will fades as the road from here on in is a black road. There will be no more comfort and there are no pleasant attractions. Bone on bone cracks as we position the client in the lift and transfer to the wheelchair. We do everything for this client but breathe. And it is not nearly enough.

Now I am out to the farthest arm of our area to a person in the endstages of cancer. There is no hospital bed, no transfer devices, no wheelchair but there are plenty of meds and an oxygen line that can circle the home 5 times. Another dominant spirit is residing in this client who is living every second until it is not possible. I hear that last night a tasty Galliano was enjoyed with the night dose of morphine. They look at me for a reaction.

Why the hell not? That's what I think. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that the client keels over from a drug interaction. Not a bad end considering what is the reality of their medical situation.

And so- home again ,home again where my doggie greets me royally. We walk up the hydro line and enjoy the crispness of the december day. A snack and a nap before another brief walk and I am off to the other job. It is a good life.


Drama drama Drama

and on it goes- the fall out from a meeting where one person vented an angry rant and another refused to take it.

I am the one who said: Hold the crap, thanks.

Workplace standards are usually just plain old common sense. Rules and written guidelines are for those rare instances when one employee does not recognise their behaviours as out of control. In a civilizaton we need to be civil.
A no-brainer you would think.



Carol Barker Remembrance Day

November 30th is the day I stop and remember my first very best friend who died a lonely death on Oak street one rainy November 30th, all those years ago.

Regular readers will know that some years my November 30th posts are sad and self-accusatory and some are whimsical and nostaglic. It is a hard thing to look back on a regret that may have caused a death. Because I did not honour my word, my very best friend walked home in the rain rather than accepting a ride from a man who she felt creepy about. She did not make it home. It was only 2 blocks but it was across a very busy main route and even at 11:45 pm traffic was an issue.

This year I realise that my daughter is the same age as Carol was when she was struck by that car. Is it any wonder I want to drive everyone home safely?

Carol Maureen Barker.
An artist, a character and a friend.
I still miss you.
I think of what you might have been. I remember what you were.
-------------- *

"Accept everything about yourself--I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end--no apologies, no regrets.”

--- Henry Kissinger


Workplace Update

Sadly, I have two new clients who are both in their last month.
In both cases the person was released from the hospital to come home to die.
In both cases the person is very independant and has trouble accepting help.

I know this one, having learned it from my mother who was the original difficult patient, bar none. My mother did not want anyone to mention cancer, (although she was terribly ill with it), death, (although it was imminent), or peri-care, (although it was necessary). My father told me that the one time she did mention death was at 3 in the morning on a night when he had taken a sleeping pill. He tried to calm her down and get her to just cuddly but she would have none of it. My father was a saint in those last months. Mom had him running around the Island for all kinds of things. When we, the kids, mentioned we were worried about dad she yelled: "Why are you worried about him? I am the one who is dying!" And that was the last time that word came from her lips.

I see my mother is so many people I do nursing for. In the determined woman who almost fell off her bed to prove she could "do it herself" and in the young woman whose hair is littered all along her hallways. We are all the same in these key ways. I see my mother and I utter a silence thank you to her.

My trainee is finding it hard to cope with all this death. She is definitly not going to choose palliative care as her speciality, but she is learning fast and doing well. Today she turned to me in the car and asked me when I learned that trick that works so well for difficult people. "Trick?" asked I.
"You know... where you go down on one knee to talk to them. I noticed you do that and I remember we read it somewhere that it works for difficult people..."

Having no idea about what she was referring to, I shook my head. Trick... hmm hmm hmm. Finally I realised she was talking about my habit of sitting lower than my client when at the first visit. I always take the passive position to give the show of control to the client. I do not think it through, I just do it. It works too. The prickliest people let me do almost anything where they send other people packing.
Again - thanks mother.

My trainee will be a free agent in the universe next week. It is doubtful she will miss my client load but she is capable of doing it, and doing it well. I was correct. Four days and she was confident and caring in an appropriate way. Do the job well, do the job at the client's pace, finish completely and leave quietly.

Job well done!


Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

... from Desiderata by Max Erhmann.



Workplace peril alert! Avoid staff meetings!
Sad. Sad. Sad.

On the positive side, it reminded me to be even kinder to the woman I am training on the job (the OTHER job). She is brand spanking new with a freshly minted diploma but very questionable skills that will come up to par quickly with the right hands-on training. I predict that in four days she will be FABULOUS.


As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

.... from the Desiderata by Max Erhmann, 1927



During one of my visits to our lady on the waters, I met a wonderful young man. He came delivering meals-on-wheels, and when he spoke, a beautiful parisienne accent issued forth. He was a treat.

He asked me my name and remembered it. Of course I asked his and promptly forgot it. Was is Rowan? Roland? --arg-- I could not get it. He told me again the next time I met him and he said it with two syllables. Ro-NAN. I remembered.
Our paths have crossed in other homes but I shall always associate him with our lady.

Ronan was there again today discussing spirituality with my dear lady. When he at last he had to leave, our lady told him she loved him. "What about you?" she asked turning to me. I smiled. "Yes Ro-NAN I love you too."

Poor young guy. He blushed furiously and then left at a brisk pace. As he passed the patio window he came back and waved at us. We both exhaled happily.

Ah Ro-NAN. What joy you bring two old ladies.


------- *
“The world is extremely interesting to a joyful soul.”
Alexandra Stoddard


A Call for Help

During my move of the last months, a strange number kept showing up on my call display. There was never a message. A week of so ago the number showed again on my missed calls. There was a message in my inbox that was almost unintelligible. All I caught was: "You of all people should get it." The rest was a mumbling rant.

There have been times in my life when I enjoyed the flavours of tasty scotches. Single malt was my favourite but a good blend was fine as well. Alas, I cannot drink. One tasty beverage is enough to send me to the land of the incohorent and so I choose not to drink. There are some friends from my long ago who never came to that conclusion and I never judge them as it could be me still singing lullabies to stuffed animals and taking cabs home. My assumption was that this was a friend from scotch drinking days.

Today I was sorting through my cellphone bill and saw this number. I called it.
"Who are you again?" a very stern and gruff voice demanded.
Once explained I heard a very sad story.

This was the number of a lovely woman I used to practise singing with back in the Starlite Lounge days when I played for my supper. Because my name is memorable, she remembered me and somehow tracked down friends of friends who eventually hooked her up with my cell number. She had experienced rather too much loss in the last years and was facing 40 with cracks in her foundations. She remembered me in my losses. She knew I had somehow triumphed and wanted to know HOW.

Farewell Sarah Slink. Farewell and God Bless.
Her partner told me she went to bed last week in a flush of scotch and lorazapam and woke up in the next world. What to say?

We spoke for about an hour. I do not know this man except for our shared grief over this, a preventable loss. November is a horrible month for loss. Of course there is part of me that wonders if I had called back last month would things be different?
I suspect not as I could barely understand the confused mumbles and likely would not have been able to get through the haze of numbing.

It could be me.

----- *

"The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering."

--Ben Okri

Mump and Smoot

Oh Facebook -- the truly all encompassing tool to remind one of one's life.
Whilst perusing a Fringe page, a memory of the chaotic clowns, Mump and Smoot came to mind. Discovering their Facebook page, I became a fan! In truth I have been a fan since at least 1987. Possibly prior.

The guys had a funny little tour bus-ette back then and toured with a woman who was part of their show (briefly) and were about to EXPLODE. I loved them, particularly Mr Mump. I had a kite for awhile in their honour.

One review that catches what I see in them completely is;
"They are a little bit Laurel and Hardy, a little bit David Cronenberg"
- Bob Remington, Edmonton Journal

On my list of things to do FOR SURE this year - see them again.

I still love you, Mr.


HILARIOUS quote from evilevilclown.com:


Not all Evil Clowns can be identified by the smell of cheap tobacco, booze, seamen and gunpowder.

Safeguard your mind and protect your loved ones from the menace that lurks beneath idylllic banality.



Tryin to make it through . . . .

I dragged my butt through a double shift yesterday on a statutory holiday.
The second part of the shift was really hard to get through.

This morning I woke up and rolled over. A day off to sleep. Then shop for groceries. Then taxi me.

Now I am about to go to bed. Zero energy. So tired.
Not sure I can do the double shifts. Arg.

I am using the lite book every day and making sure I eat properly. It is just the whole flu thing. I have not got my energies back.



So, I make friends with the tiredness, the occasional impatience, the moments of anxiety and distraction, the hours of not-knowing. I welcome them, knowing they do not interfere with but in fact are part of what is longed for and needed. I let go of wanting to be anyone in particular, or any way in particular, and for an instant, I am free.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer


Supernucleur Palsy

What a name! "Supernuclear" Palsy. In my mind I see a flowing cape enblazened with SNP. Of course it is not really "super", it is "supra", meaning above. The disease affects the part of the brain above the nuclei (“supranuclear”), which are pea-sized structures in the part of the nervous system that controls eye movements. Palsy means weakness. The best info I found on it is contained in this succinct page here.

This disease is comparatively rare with 20,000 people in the United States suffering from it. There is no effective treatment yet. Now you know all I knew when I walked in the door of my client's home. He was sitting in a lift chair with a transfer belt on a table behind him. Without the belt, and his walker, he goes nowhere. Even with the belt he must be guided from behind.

As we prepared to get him up, I was looking at him sitting there and trying to access how heavy this man might be. He was a bear of a fellow, big and burly. As we progressed through the visit and the tasks at hand he had difficulty with many movements. At one point he was frozen in his moment saying: "OHNO OHNO OHNO" over and over again. "What can I do to help?" I asked. "Move my leg." It wasn't pretty but we got it done.

The disease was very much like Parkinson's in presentation. The eye movements were the main give-away that is was PSP.

Here in Paradise, we have alot of retirees, especially in the Village. With an older crowd comes age-related complications. In my ten years in this area, I have seen more rare disorders and diseases than I ever believed I would see in my entire career. We are a small population, but we are greyer than most.

Nothing much surprises me anymore.
But I can still be shocked.

================= *

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, it is the fear of being unwanted." Mother Teresa

In which I growl....

This is my safe spot to growl.


Tonight I have issues with the cook. He is behaving in a poor manner and being a blamer. I am displeased.


=========== *

"The only disability in life is a bad
--Scott Hamilton

Meow Meow Meow

Every now and then, I meet someone on the job that delights me in ways so unexpected, I take the joy with me for days. Such was this week when I found myself in the home of a woman who appeared to be mystified as to why I was there.

It was the correct time, but I was not the expected person, so the excuses were flying fast and furious. She really did not need anything at all. Did I want to hear about her son who was trying to move her into a facility where she would get full care? Did I agree that he should ask her before he decided to majke such decisions? Did I have anyone in my family like that? And, once this topic was exhausted, 25 minutes later, did I want to see her condo?

I ooohed and aaahed in all the appropriate spots and when we were admiring the bathroom I closed the door and allowed as how since we were already in there....

At the end of bathing a person, I offer them a soapy cloth and ask them if they would like to clean their personal area. I do not use any other term be it man or woman - I just say "personal area." Most people appreciate the choice even if they cannot do it themselves. This particular woman looked at me with her eyebrows arched. "Hmm? What did you say?" I repeated myself with accompanying hand gestures to the area in question.

"OOooooh," she said. "You mean my pussycat. Okay dear, I will wash the kitty."

This from an 89 year old woman.
First time for everything.


Sundry Happenings in the Beach Area.

The economic crisis continues. House sales grind to a halt.
My condo remains on the market with nary a bite. I am the proud owner of two properties - median price $160k per. One of them I live in, the other sits spotlessly empty awaiting new owners. Please God let it sell.

I do have an alternative. I can rent it to a family member. In my case this would mean an ex-husband who historically is not the most reliable in the financial department. The other alternative is to rent it to a family member of someone in my complex. I may opt for this.

In my new place, I have installed heavy curtains in my living room to keep prying eyes and the cold winter winds out. Summertime is great for huge windows. Winter, not so much. I am loving the extra space. Is it worth 80k more than my last place? As long as that 80k costs me $500 a month it's cool. Otherwise - can you say: *ouch!

Each evening when I go to bed, I sigh happily as I nestle down into my cozy blankies. My room is excellent. My brother was going to come over and help me plan the adjacent patio , but that may be some time in fruitition. He is wonderful at intentions but poor in execution. I understand completely as I am exactly the same. In my life I have missed many many important events that I wished to attend due to various and sundry happenstances. All of them preventable, and, yes, inevitable.

Alas alas.

The buggery flu has come and gone, thank goodness. It was much fiercer than I remember other flus as being. The hard part was not having the flu, it was getting the damned flu to leave. Although my worst days were two weeks ago, I still have not got my energy level completely back. It completely incapitated me. How the resident elders of our community cope with it is a mystery to me. The flu is a killer.
============ *
(In which I prove HTML is not my second language) :
The following table can help you determine whether you have influenza or a cold.

(the flu)
Fever Rare Usual, sudden onset 39º-40º, lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Usual, can be severe
Aches and Pains Sometimes mild Usual, often severe
Fatigue and weakness Sometimes mild Usual, may last 2-3 weeks or more
Extreme fatigue Unusual Usual, early onset, can be severe
Runny, stuffy nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Common Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, coughing Sometimes mild to moderate Usual, can be severe
Complications Can lead to sinus congestion or earache Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, and more complications
in persons with chronic diseases
Prevention Frequent hand-washing Yearly influenza vaccine and frequent hand-washing
Treatment No specific treatment is available; symptom relief only Anti-viral drugs by prescription, which can reduce symptoms.


Living La Vida Murphy

True to form, I booked my flu shot for Friday, October 17th, and thus inevitably came down with the flu on Thursday, October 16th.

The flu with all its' attendant aches and pains seems like a preview of what life will be like at age 100. Fortunately, each new day brought a new symptom and left the previous days' somewhen else. Day 1 = disorientation. Day 2 = Body aches. Day 3 = fever& chills. Day 4 = Ear ache. and now Day 5 = weak as a kitten.

Meow meow.

Sadly, these were my holidays from the usual job and job 2 = no work for no pay. Luckily, they had my back and my lovelies had their service uninterrupted.

So a little Nick Drake and some chai tea and everything will be all right.
A shower and fresh bedding helped tons too.


Tempest in a Teacup

A little bit of the Mercury retrograde thing happening in second job ville.
Oh dear but there was a tiny miscommunication....

I am somewhat notorious for my bluntness. I try, really I do, to be kinder than necessary. The bluntness seems to shine through like a beacon. What I meant to do was write a little note in the communication book asking the other night managers if they review the work the serving staff do before they, the managers, go off shift. I always do. If things are not done I do them myself since I am the one responsible in the end. A whole ton of things were not done the other night; far too many to overlook. I meant to write a little note but it ended up being a long one that was open to interpretation. I ended up pasting over it the next day when the cook took it wrong.

The moral of the story is the same as always:
Do not write anything down after 10pm.

I really should know better.


Three Life-changing Letters - ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:
A = absence of
myo = muscle
trophic = nourishment
Lateral = side (of spine)
Sclerosis = hardening

OH how my heart hurts when I read these three letters on a case file.
For a disease that is said to strike 6 in 100,000 Canadians, we sure seem to have a high proportion of afflicted in this Paradise of ours. Naturally, because we live in the best spot in all of Canada, we do get retirees from all over and everyone gets some sort of thing that slows them down. Some of us just get Old Age and all it's attendants, but others are felled by such as ALS.

In the last 2 years, I have attended 7 different people in this area of approximately 20,000 residents, and that is just the ones I know. Statistically, we should have a much higher popluation for these kinds of numbers. What is even freakier is that three of those people live within 1/2 mile of each other. In this case I am aware it is coincidental but it is still weird.

I was called into our sister town a few months ago to assist a gentleman who was about to go in and get a feeding tube installed. He still had the power of speech, and spent a lot of our time thanking me and complimenting all our team on their professionalism, compassion and skills. I recall thinking at the time: "Hmm, the last person who complimented me so profusely passed away not long after." These kind of people who see the good in all, and try to be the best they can in all ways in all times, make even their own deaths easier on others. I stand in awe of this.
This gentleman did indeed pass away not long after our meeting.

Now I am in another home, with another family, helping another person who is trying to live his best life under ALS's oppression. He also has an amazing wife who does everything she can to make things flow smoothly. My concern is always that these superwomen wear their bodies out caring for their spouses and do not realise it until after the fact when they too are clients. Still, you cannot ask the Sun not to shine nor command the Wind not to blow. She will do as she wishes until she cannot.

Me, I get to go home at the end of the day to my doggie and my beautiful new condo.
MMMmmmMMM! That could change in a heartbeat, as well I know. I enjoy every minute.

--------- *

It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. ~Robert Southey


*-* Severe Auto-immune Disorders *-*

What a thing to have happen to you in the sunset years of life, when all you want is to dandle your grandchildren over your knee and take vacations around the world in your own good time at your own speed. Your leisure time, now that you have it aplenty, is earmarked for just that: Leisure. Instead, you awaken one day to blisters forming all over your body. At first you think it is some weird virus, and perhaps your Doctor thinks so as well. Sometimes the Medical Practitioners are convinced you are severely allergic to a medication or food you recently ingested. As the weeks roll into months, it may happen that you are diagnosed with something like this.

My client of the moment who is experiencing this horrid disorder, has developed a sensitivy to touch of any kind. Although he is struggling to immerse himself in the oatmealed waters that provide his only solace of the day, he insists on doing it himself in the most unsafe manner you can imagine. As my Nursing instructor told me long long ago, "People have the right to fall if they so choose."

Being of the Matrix religion, ("You have to choose, Neo") this is all good with me although I find it frustrating to not render the assistance I can. Where I come in handy is to cut off the bandages covering his lesions. Some days this goes like a charm. Some days his fear of being touched is magnified to such an extent that he shakes badly making the removals very difficult. Hours of this man's day are consumed with Health Care needs. One hour to remove bandages and to bathe. 2 to 2.5 hours to rebandage the lesions. Each time I leave that home I am struck by the quiet fortitude of this man's wife. She chooses to be gracious and helpful in a situation of high stress. She is a true heroine.

Can it be that some of us flower most magnificently in the rain?

========= *
“Those who are firm, enduring, simple and unpretentious are the nearest to virtue”. Confucius


Credit where due

Likely I am the last in the buyer group that purchased the same machine as I did two years ago, to upgrade my computer's RAM. My poor little 512k just did not cut it for the programs I like to use, so off I hied to Staples for 1 GIG of DDR RAM. It cost a mere $60 and for ten dollars LESS I could have put in a 2 shot. Being unclear on whether my computer could be upgraded to that extent I stuck with what I knew. What a difference in performance!! My little Acer is humming now.

On the way through the store, the clean clear displays of the flat screen televisions called out in my direction …… *buy me * buy me.* I have my huge and heavy Sony Trinitron in the extra bedroom/den and it aint moving anytime soon. It has a great picture but it weighs about 100 pounds and is very bulky. The living room here in the new place houses my computer with that stunning tiltable widescreen monitor that my father bought me but my computer, although great for watching DVDs, is not really up to broadcast standards. I could sense the wisdom of having a television in the space formerly sacrosanct. Despite these delusions, I assure you that my brain had not completely stopped working. I took the time to tour a few other stores in the area that sell flat screen LCD televisions. Best Buy and WalMart and Future Shop had deals but I was satisfied that my original choice of a 32” Sharp Aquos was best. Thus justified, out came my Staples card to instantly gratified my whim. (Yes, I admit to it being a whim and yes, I bought it on credit.)

About that justification thing: My reasoning for the purchase went something like this: With the economy at the start of the big dump, now is the time to indulge in these last few higher ticket items. Someone has to keep the economy going. Right? And there is the thing - it was not all that higher ticket, It was $699 plus taxes. Quite a change from 2 years ago when dad's behemoth wall mounted flatscreen cost 6k.

Now I am watching television with the best of 'em. More often I am reminding the replicant that the den contains a perfectly good tv for viewing teletoons.
======== *

“Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like.” - -Adrienne Gusoff


Weights and Measures

Every year at the same times my energies ebb. A calendar is not necessary for this observation - I could be on the Moon and it would come a-visitin'. October is one of my bad months. Too late I remember my Lite Book (tm), too early I remember my troubles. The Octoberness has fallen upon me.

Part of this years troubles are of my own makings and a testament to my frugality, (cheapness, my child would say). PAY a painter to patch, sand and wash walls? UNTHINKABLE. In my fervour to complete the job in a timely manner, I managed to upset both my shoulders and hands - especially my right hand. Repetitive strain injuries, to be sure. Live through this I must as mortgages times two must be paid. I cannot be anything less than spot on. This morning I awakened to below spot, considerably below.

The reasoning of September in which the perfect solution to debt and want was a second job that involved a few days of 18/24 seems to elude my Octoberness. Not factored into my Septembering equation was the obvious danger of working in a building with seniors loathe to open windows and willing to sit in the crowded dining hall coughing into the air delicately, (and not so). Working with Teens who come down with the inevitable school colds and flus, my exposure is doubled. Table by table, week after week, I see the ranks wane as residents catch the early Autumn bug. One week it is the husband, the next the wife and everyone else who sat near him staying upstairs for dinner only because of the logisitics of making a bathroom visit during the supper hour. Last nite as I leaned in to speak with a little lady profoundly deaf, she put her face right next to mine so I could hear her whisper that she had been feeling poorly all week but today was the worst. ---arg---

I suppose I rant about these things because I cannot speak about them and sound anything less than ungrateful. I am not. I am profoundly grateful to be working in the building I most enjoy visiting. It is me that needs to change, not the building. Perhaps I must revise the notion of working 18/4 to something less depleting. The work part is easy. The winding down part is hard. It is usually about 2:30 am before I am asleep these days on a double shift day. Six am comes early. Perhaps I should take an evening posting with the Health Authority and work Monday to Friday. Hmm unlikely to see such a posting. The perfect solution would be to have a posting that saw me work Thursday to Sunday, thus reducing the impact of one job on the other. Truth be told, if not for the pension I will likely never see, I would rather work 5 nights in the building and 2 days for the Health Authority. Whether in a Facility or in the Community, it matters not to me as long as my benefits stay intact. This seems more fairytale like every month.

The beauty of my job with the Government is that I am a regular Part-time employee with Medical and Dental benefits and a pension. I am going to need that pension all too soon. Because of my move to pricier digs, I require more funds than I make at that job. Traditionally my second jobs have been contract labour Hospice work providing end-of-life care for those who choose to die at home. I still treasure my work with the dying, but choose to insert something else for my second work now. My choice was a good one, of that I am convinced. What is surprizing to me is to find that I may prefer the second job to the first.

Change. Weights and measures.
I bend, but never, ever break.

“"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, ideas, predjudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, predjudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. A thoughtless, freightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all it's own for the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, is that these things can not be confined to the Twilight Zone.”
-- Rod Serling


Healthy Health Care

Still smarting from the indignity of having the Contract shredded and the Pension revoked, I remain skeptical as to whether my Union will survive after 2010 when the eye of the world is no longer fixed on British Columbia. Sure, we got some renumeration (all taxed at the lump sum rate, thanks Gordo) and sure we got our pensions reinstated ( starting date of the legal victory, not the original paid from date, thanks again Gordo) but not many of us believe that if he gets in again, and recession hits hard, Gordo won't pick on us again.

Predominantly a female work force, we work hard for you, the public, without judgement. We do things you do not want to. We see things that no human can witness without wincing so that you, the families and friends do not have to. We work for you. Present and accountable, we go everywhere, in our own vehicles, to provide one high standard of Health Care for all, rich and poor, young and elderly. This is the beauty of Government Health Care - we believe that it is every Canadian's right to access free Health Care.

We in Community Health are paid less than our fellows who work in Hospitals. We work at considerable risk because of our passionate beliefs. I have never met a Community Health Nurse or Worker that did not have this passion. I have never met a Community Health Nurse or Worker that I would not want in my own home providing care for me.

---- * *

“Compassion, forgiveness, these are the real, ultimate sources of power for peace and success in life.” Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama


Tradesmen, spoiled Tradesmen!

Not so many years ago,before the housing boom in our resort area that changed the market forever, I chanced to have a conversation with a car salesman who had changed to that career after a failed one as a painter. He was bitter about the lack of work for tradespeople and told me that in his opinion Nurses were grossly overpaid for what they do and that painters are undervalued. I asked him if, when was needing emergency services he would call a painter or a Nurse. He remained non-plussed. I remember him well as the degree of annoyance in him was so strong.

Here we are 5 years later. Waterfront property here has gone from affordable to a working couple to out of reach to all but the very rich. The big boom has brought tradesman from all over, cashing in on high end clients and all the fancy things they need/want/desire. It is almost impossible these days to find a simple handyman to do light repairs. The waiting lists for small jobs are frightful as mega-projects take most of the skilled workers. It is even worse to find a painter.
How do I know?

In my ignorance, I called for a painter to come and start painting my ceilings as I was still patching and sanding most walls. This was, apparantly, a bad thing I was doing. Imagine my foolishness, saving someone else work of the grunt variety. The first painter told me he would not consider starting the job until the house was completely clean. No ceilings, no nothing. He was pretty shirty about the whole thing, causing me to loose my cool and tell him that in my work, I work within the client's parameters, and try to be as flexible as possible. Since my home was 99% empty and the downstairs was ready to go, I failed to see the wisdom of his argument.

The second painter was delighted to tell me that he was available at very short notice. He would charge me $1.50 a square foot for my ceilings, and $1.00 a square foot for each coat on the walls. Naturally, my walls required a minimum of two coats. I was willing to give it a try but wanted a better price, so I asked him to come by and see things. I sent my father to deal with him. This, was a grievous error. The two of them spent the visit horrified by the state of things. They spent alot of time in the junior members bedroom comparing horrified looks over the number of holes being patched and the basic injustice of anyone requiring a closet the size of hers. Bad bad move on my part. Once my father called me with the details of their shock and disappointment and how he had to talk the painter round to even wanting to paint..... I lost my cool once again. I am doing the patching, sanding and washing of walls. All the painter has to do is paint. Is this too much to ask? For 954 square feet of square rooms, and only the living room and dining room ceiling to do, it still would come to over $2600 for about 2.5 days work.

My father was very clear. The cleaning had to take precedence. I was even clearer. I am working night and day, spending all my off hours cleaning and sanding. Of course it's a mess with all that dust flying around. Once I finish it magically people will notice. In the meantime my hundred hours of work go unsung.

After my little hissy fit my father called me again to tell me that Joe, the very kind man who has been of great help to me over the move, would paint for me. Did I hiss moan or act up? No. I was delighted. I am very happy to pay Joe whatever he wants for painting my little condo. He at least works and does his work uncomplainingly.

My flooring installer was laughing at me when I made a face aa painters were mentioned. "Spoiled rotten tradesmen", he said, "They only want the gravy jobs, not the actual work."

Amen, brother Al. Amen.

Al, the flooring installer, not only removed the old dance floor, but cleaned and cleared and reinstalled the high end laminate in 2 and a bit days. He even cut a remnant for that massive closet and matched up my parquet in an alcove. He is not just any flooring installer. Al is the best. I am so grateful. Good people still exist. Al does the same job for me as he does on millionaires row. He is an excellent man indeed. When times are good and when times are bad, Al is steady and constant. Thank you Al.

==== *
“Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only to our own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Peter Farquharson


Details. Pesky, annoying details....

Ohhh moving is not for the faint of heart. It isn't even for the stout of heart. It is a necessary evil. Alas alas.

I am the third of three girls in my family of birth. My eldest sister shares only one trait with my second sister- a distain for silver, crystal and china. Being the third, I expected nothing at all from my mother in the way of heirlooms. Mother was always very vocal about lines of succession. It wasn't me. Naturally, I took a job at Canada's finest retailer of all things high-end and got myself possessed of the best I could afford, and even alot I could not afford of sterling silver dinnerware, teasets and fine bone china.

After my Mother passed away, my father remarried in a fit of loneliness. He was taken for a ride by the biggest poser I ever had the misfortune to meet. The only person she fooled was my father, and that for a mere year. As this person slowly but surely displaced my father from his waterfront home, every single thing that reminded her of the prior resident was removed or relegated to storage. Imagine my surprize when my father showed up at my door with two huge tubs on a dolly.
In the tubs was my mothers entire set of Royal Albert China in the "Brigadoon" pattern. 16 place settings and every other service piece available. My father told me that he had indulged my mother in this purchase as it reflected her pride in her scottish heritage. He had ordered and paid for all the china, and now that his new wife was installed with her own china, he had to pass it on. "Your sisters don't care about this sort of thing" he said "And I know you will use it and enjoy it."
Damned straight Dad.

My younger brother had received our Grandmother's Royal Worchester china which was her "good set." In a moment of self-reflection he called me to say that he would never use it and wanted it to go down the family line. He then told me that he was sending it, and the oak china cabinet it was displayed in over to my place. 954 square feet with a dining room 9 by 9. Around the same time Lady Di called me to say that much as she had appreciated using my Heintzmann piano, it was time for it to return to my nest. 9 by 9 dining room - upright grand piano, and china for days.
I had a floor to ceiling china cabinet installed. It was made to match my floor to ceiling bookcases that took up the entire living room long wall. I absolutely adored my cozy condo. It looked like a million dollars to me. Alas we do not all share the same tastes.

To sell my condo, it seems it was necessary to remove all the dark wood built-ins. Cabinets went the way of the dodo. This is where Joe came in. He removed the 8 foot highh book shelves. I had no way to transport them anywhere and Joe very kindly offered to give them to his son-in-law. This was a true kindness as I had no usable wall in the new place for them, and was going to call a removal service. In return for the book shelves, his son-in-law wired in my washer/dryer in the new place, adding a fuse to the breaker panel. A good trade. Joe also found someone to transport my beautiful washer/drier combo to the new place and swap over the ones resident there. This cost $100. My father tipped the guys $40 for the inconvenience of having to navigate two steep flights of stairs. A very good deal.

Now all that I loved was gone from my olde home. Next up was the dance floor which apparantly would stop any sensible buyer from buying. No one but us dances I suppose. And my colourful halls and bathroom had to be beige-i-fied. All traces of me have been expunged. This clearly means that my condo will sell instantly.

Please God.

===== *
“There is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory.”
Marcel Proust


A Shocker!

It was over my morning breakfast at ye A & W that I spied in the local paper an obituary for a fellow that I once knew rather well.

Rob Slater was in the crowd I hung with around the turn of the century. (Does that not sound like ancient times?) He was very cute and cuddly and incredibly funny. I had a bit of a crush on him and I thought he had one on me as well. Turned out he had pegged me for his father who was in his later 80s..... Rob Senior was a hell of a man as well, but 40 years too old for me. I still remember sitting in their home, polishing trophies that once belonged to Rob Sr.'s wife, and, thinking I misheard, asked him to repeat himself. No, I had not misheard. Later the same day, Rob Jr. asked me if he could call me Mom. I was not insulted, just blown away, as it was outside of my realm of probability. Rob Jr. took after his father- he was interested in 20 somethings not 30 and 40 somethings.

Aside from that awkward moment, I enjoyed alot of happy times in Rob's company. I knew he had suffered from some inner turmoils and had demons that were not yet tamed, but I believed he had conquered the main ones. Rob went into a welding program and became a very proficient tradesman, but never quite got past whatever demon lingered. Now that is all moot as he is gone from the body.

It is never a good time to hear of the death of a friend.
I wish you well in the sweet hereafter friend.
Rest in peace.

==== *
“Anyone desperate enough for suicide...should be desperate enough to go to creative extremes to solve problems: elope at midnight, stow away on the boat to New Zealand and start over, do what they always wanted to do but were afraid to try.”
Richard Bach


Blessed am I.

My oh my what a difference a week makes.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the minutae of the endstages of moving, I found myself hoping for easier work on the regular job. To my sorrow, I got my wish. Sorrow, because it has come at the price of many farewells from people I was not yet ready to let go.

My dear Danish lady is on the waitlist in the supersonic fast lane. It is not her desire, but in truth she has met all criteria for extended care placement for over 2 years. Keeping her independant in her own home has been difficult for her children. They are tired, she is tired, and it is time for a change. I know that she will not thrive in the facility atmosphere and likely will sicken and die within the year. Still, what other option is there?

Two more of my regular clients have been sent to extended care on a permanent placement and a third is being re-assessed this coming week. -sigh- My hours will filled in with newer long-term clients and one or two palliative care clients. One gentleman in particular bears special mention as he most definitly allowed me in his home on sufferance. Grace, grace, I am always striving for grace.

How wonderful it was to have one of my clients tell me that her feedback from the residents of the building where I do my second job are happy with my appearance on the scene. "They love you" she said. As long as they tolerate me with a modicum of decorum I am happy. I get to dress up and wear jewellry, and make-up. I get to assume the title of Manageress. I get to zip around with the teenage servers inhaling their energy and enjoying their company.

I am truly blessed by all these things.
It is a good life.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”
Mahatma Gandhi


Almost done.... almost almost

It seems to me that I have said this before: "I am almost done."
Who knew that once stripped of it's furniture, my cozy condo would look so darned drab and dowdy. Not only do I have to repaint the whole thing, which I had counted on, but I also have to replace the floors downstairs. yes, REPLACE.

When someone in the household was a career dancer it made sense to have a sprung living room floor. Perhaps it was not installed to perfection, but it was serviceable. Well, it has to go before we can resell.


Otherwise - my library shelves, the custom made floor to ceiling, room long ones, were yesterday's casualty. Gone gone gone.

-- sigh
---------- *

“How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Almost done.

Almost done is like almost pregnant.



Not about work ---

This last week I was completely honest with someone I love.
It was misinterpreted and brought pain. Sadly, as it turns out, I was better at hiding my thoughts and emotions back then than I ever would have believed.

My life has been charmed. I have had alot of loss and more than my share of humbling circumstance, but it all served to make me strong. I know my limitations and work within them - no exceptions. When I was a young woman I would eat nails before I would admit defeat. I flailed and raged against life with the usual result.
In my case, only time could help me. I learned, eventually, and it was age bringing wisdom, nothing else.

My life is a happy one. I am very content. I have all that I desire and more. The sole chink in my armour is romance. It has not been my forte. I have loved and been loved in return, enjoyed happy relationships and had a child, the source of my endless joy, but a life partner has eluded me.

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

The heart is the place where we live our passions. It is frail and easily broken, but wonderfully resilient. There is no point in trying to deceive the heart. It depends upon our honesty for its survival.

~ by Leo Buscaglia (Born For Love) ~

There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.
~ by George Sand ~

Love is an act of endless forgiveness
A tender look which becomes a habit.

~ by Peter Ustinov ~

Once long ago, I met the man who was my soul mate. At the time, my latest romance had ground to a weird chaotic halt when my boyfriend was arrested in another province. The nature of the crime was drugs, and the number and seriousness of the charges were staggering. This was mind-boggling to such as me, who never successfully did drugs, nor knew that my boyfriend did. To find out he was not merely a user, which was shocking enough, but a dealer, was such a blow to my system, my mind literally shut down. I found I could not process this event. I too was halted.

During this time, my soul mate was available. He was there and willing, and I, I was at an utter loss over where I was going and what I was doing. I was stuck. I told him to go out and date and get dating out of his system. He met a woman who was in the market for a man and they were living together within months. I gave up on him.

It went on in this dysfunctional manner culminating in my pregnancy. I never admitted to anything but sheer joy where that was concerned. In truth, I cried for 2 weeks on the shoulder of a wiser woman. I put down my guitar, and took up motherhood. I did it well. It is one of the two things of true importance that I have done in my life.

As to romance:
Carnage everywhere.
I completely stink at romance.

-and- Even Better!

Here we are in week 2 of my new job.

Better and better, as it unfolds. I have all the names down, and I am getting better at the portion sizes and the "specials." Last night was hard as I was focused on what I had to do today. Really stupid, I know, but there it is. Tonight was overbooked, and I had 43 people to serve. The servers are high school students who are twice as fast and ten times as knowlegable as I am, but that ratio will change as I improve. Tonight I bargained away their vacuuming for extra help serving. I think I got the better end of the stick as it flowed beautifully. Without them, I would sink like the Titanic - break in two and descend to the inky depths. It is integral during a learning period that your staff move and flow strengthening you. I am strong. They are strong. All is well.

The other part of my life, the move part is almost at an end. Come hell or high water my cozy condo must go on the market this Friday. This week will be one of cleaning and painting. I can do it.



Even Better - - -

OH happy day!
Tonight went yet more smoothly and easily on job 2.
I absolutely love it.

Job 1 is wonderful and job 2 is so different, complementing each other perfectly.

I have almost all the names done now and most of the substitutions.


I've Got to Admit I'm Getting Better...

Today marked shift #2 on the new job. It was decidedly better than shift #1.
This would be mostly due to my trainer who is most excellent at leading by example.
This most excellent woman has been kind and correct and even "taught me how to google". I was mildly amused but t'was meant in the best of ways.

It is a source of minor irritation to me that I was unable to perform at maximum capacity. In my mind and the moment, I was rather hot and somewhat slower than necessary. In actual fact it was hellaciously hot in the dining room and everyone on staff felt it, including the teenage servers.

The thing that slows me down is the substitution list and the list of people who take various portion sizes. It is not rocket science but the delay in my brain recognition of a new pattern is substantial. Humbling how we learn, but deeply appreciable. I loved the moment when I realized I had almost got one of the big huge things down.

A woman like me who can tend the dying, brave wind and weather on behalf of my clients, meet pyschosis eye to eye and come out alive, hold hands with those meeting eternity and share both the calm and the exciting, daunted by a dining room. Kind of silly, huh.

But damned fun. I love this new job.


Happy First Shift

Today dawned rather too early for me as I had worked until 11pm and had to get up at 7am. It was a good kind of tired. My very first shift at my new second job is in the past now. It was really great. (superlative superlative superlative)!

The first indication that things were going to be wonderful was upon meeting the woman who was training me. She was a little dynamo with a great spirit that shone out from her like a beacon. When working with the elderly this is a huge asset, and this lady had it in spades. She is from MY tribe.

Somewhat less exhuberant was the brain misfire I endured in the middle of serving dinner. I was moving and groovin and right on the money until --=*wham*=-- I lost my momentum and fizzled to a halt. It was not catastrophic as my trainer was there and two servers were buzy zipping about, but it was very humbling. I just have to learn the names to associate with the faces of the 35 residents who come down for dinner. Once I have that down it will be much easier.

The other perk is that I get to have dinner at my job when I work the evening shift!
Last night was salmon with dill sauce, rice and veggies and a parfait for dessert. It was delish! (yum)

Life is wonderful when things lock into place. Click click click.

My piano moves on Friday morning and I clean out my home completely on Monday.
Look out resort town, I am officially there in 5 days.


===== *

Men with secrets tend to be drawn to each other, not becausethey wanttosharewhatthey know but because they need the company of the like-minded, the fellow- afflicted.
—DeLillo, Don



What you think about, you bring about. I have always believed this to be true. My life seems evidence of same. Currently I have what I wished for and am wondering where my brain was when my thoughts were made manifest.

Currently, house 1 is in a shambles - not painted nor packed, but in a complete state of disorder. House 2 is empty-ish except for the very few things I have moved over. The lovely card from the realtor, a few kitchen items, some clothes belonging to the younger version- a towel or three and some soap, that is about it. Now I must plot the ---really--- big move. In the words of the Bubbles Julian & Ricky: Its a shitstorm boys.

Tomorrow I start orientation on job #2. This looks to be pretty much perfect. I love the idea of working in the Village. Excellent!!

Me boyo Nigel was in town again this weekend, hopefully without a certain other person, and I missed him again. Crossed stars.

And now, to pack.

===== *

“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”
Dave Mustaine


Timeline of the Next Month

This should be filed under: "reasons I am not blogging" with a subheading for "Arda my love I am busy..."

Can I finally be nearing maturity? Not MUDding??
That is tantamount to heresy. Arda lovely Arda where the digital winds sooth my furrowed elven brow, how I shall grieve our absences. I leave you Telvorn in my stead, who can outMUD anyone while recoding the world. In all my digital years, I have yet to meet someone I respect more than Telvorn. We share similar air and many common beliefs. It is a stranger's familiarity that only other MUDders understand.

But I digress....

So firstly, the deed comes my way in 4 days. First up is the mighty mighty piano that must not be moved unless by expert movers. Luckily I have one living in my neck of paradise. Once the piano has exited the cozy condo I must look at the floor under it that cracked when it was moved in. 1400 POUNDS tends to do that sort of thing. I am moving my bed and some chairs in first so I can hang out in my new pricey digs without feeling orphanded.
It is going to be obnoxious in the beginning as I know very well my father will get any and everyone to come visit me. (oif)

All righty!
Next up it will be time to move the kitchen and dining room.... I have way too much china and silver for one lifetime. This is due to alot of it coming from other people's lifetimes. Nothing in my possession is unused or unwanted. I will have to purchase a new china cabinet for the items I have stowed in crates. One of the things I love about my new place is that it has a STORAGE ROOM in another building in addition to whatever that 1250 square feet has to offer. Alot of my papers are not yet digitised and must be transcribed. Until then, they live in bins, hopefully awaiting my keystrokes.

The cozy kitchen must then be repainted as it is shabby as hell. Since I am lazy and in a rush, I plan to only paint the surrounds of the cabinets and let the next fellas work their magicks. The dining room has about 65 holes to patch before I can paint due to the clock fetish. The second bedroom has to be painted after similar patching due to young people having their way with the walls. It must be heredity.

So busy .... lots more to do no time to discuss it but prolly will moan about it on here.

I love my new place!!

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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank



So many balls in the air, and still only two hands.
Which ball drops this time? Prolly the one marked: "Achieving balance and well-being" --again--

All the plans are in place and now I must only move paint and sell, in that order. This is going to cost me a whole lot of money and likely will be the last move I make this side of the soil. It also is a huge gamble on my part and one that I am undertaking with the attitude that every BIG dime I made got swept away in a sea of parenthood and ill-advised partnerships. This current gamble is built on an initial investment of 10k which has blossumed to 100k, all in equity. To keep my sanity in place, I am regarding it as 10k.

The balance that was absolutely integral to the last few years is going out the window as well. This I am doing as I am no longer paying a huge amount of tuition nor am I having to pay for dance related expenses and injuries. Sounds minor but after 12 physio visits they all ring up at $75 per.

The whole operation hinges on my second job. After a lot of belly button glimpses and much discarded lint, I have jetted the second hospice job. Not that my heart is not there, more that I need a second income that is not generated by health-care. It is a decision made after thinking long and hard. Far less money, but no attachment.

The new second income job starts next week and involves being responsible for the evening shift at an independant living apartment building. It is a very well run establishment that I have always viewed with respect. I also am one of those people who can be polite and pleasant to all and come off as halfway sincere. This is because I genuinely enjoy people and their stories. I enjoy interacting outside the home. My own home is sacred. No, you cannot come visit. No, I am not mad at you, I just do not like sharing my sacred space.

Besides, I have some auring to do. This whole December 21st 2012 thing has me thinking. The glass bowl is calling. And no, I do not care to explain that one.

While watching this Discovery Channel theme afternoon on the end of the world at Dec21st 2012 thing, it was mentioned that Nostradamus firmly believed that his was a gift of prophecy that had come down the family. My sister was looking amused. It is funny that she can be in our family, and not understand this part of it. It is not really a gift, it is a predeliction towards intuitiveness. My brother and I both have it. My mother fought against it. Our Sinclair great grandmother believed she had it and spoke of her own grandmother recognising the gift in her. Of course I do not really believe this but it is an interesting premise.

Are we all nuts? Sure we are. Assorted nuts. We also tend to be right in our assumptions on things far more times than most. I don't really have a bowl to gaze into. I do use cards....

===== *

“The world thinks eccentricity in great things is genius, but in small things, only crazy”
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton


The Winds of Change are Blowin...

Living in Paradise is a matter of lifestyle enrichment. No matter what your address is in this area, it is good. Great. Fabulous. Outstanding.
So - why are we moving?

The cozy condo which I have customized and made my own is my haven and sanctuary. It is a little estate with 14 units. When I first moved in, I was saddened to learn that the woman in the home behind me had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Alot of prayer and even more surgery left her on permanent long-term disability, but alive. It stuck in my mind as a very cruel and strange twist of fate as she was in her early 40's. Since then, I have watched as person after person on my estate is felled with varying forms of cancer. Even I had a nasty bout of a treatable cancer a couple of years ago. It was debilitating but I recovered well and am clean and cancer free as of this date.

My immediate neighbour had a breast cancer recurrance in the time she lived here. The woman two doors over has been told she has 2 years to live as a stealth cancer ravages her insides. The woman 5 doors to the other side passed away early this year from ovarian cancer. She was 28 years old. After her death I vowed that if one more person announced a cancer I was going to run not walk to a realtor. Last week our little street man who lived in a condo his brother bought him moved into a full care facility as he has, no suprise, cancer.

Yesterday I bought another condo in the resort community where I do most of my work. It was almost 50 thousand more than I was willing to spend and I will be paying a mortgage off well into my late 60s but I DON"T CARE. No one in this newer place has been ailing and the seller was a vibrant 60 year old who had renovated the place for herself using all the same type of wonderful things I use. Now all I must do is to remove all my chandeliers and get packing. I am moving into the new place in 12 days. Then I plan to paint out my condo and leave minimal furnishings and sell the bugger.


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“The only objects of practical reason are therefore those of good and evil. For by the former is meant an object necessarily desired according to a principle of reason; by the latter one necessarily shunned, also according to a principle of reason.”
Immanuel Kant


Gabrielle Cilmi

This is one of my newest favourite artists.

I hope you enjoy this. She reminds me of me (attitude wise). Especially in the official video for this song with the guys tied up and hanging upside down...

(Sorry about the quality - all the good copies of the official video were taken down)
I posted the above link because it shows how good this girl is LIVE and as you all know, I support music LIVE AND LOCAL and you should too!!! Art is life!

If, however, you want to see a cleaned up version, visit her website:
http://www.gabriellacilmi.com/ (go figure)


A Little Wisdom (from Zeezee)

Some days she speaks in **soundbits - today was such a day.
We were discussing the nature of truth.

ZeeZee: "Truth is like yeast.
--- (big pause) ---
"But who the hell bakes bread these days?"

-@- -@- -@- -@- -@- -@-

** - similar to soundBITES but smaller, and more polite. (ie: Canadian version)


Thinking Back to ----

Posting about Joseph Iorio, made me think about all the characters I met while I was in his employ. No television mini-series could do justice to all these amazing people.

A few years ago, I posted about one since departed: Padriac Kennedy. He was a bit quirky but in a benign way. He was too brainy for this world. I hope the next is more rewarding for him. Another person that was worthy of mention was Darren, who loved to wear a deer stalker and cape, and bravely took public transit to work. Elisabeth, the saboteur, who was capable of great kindness and equal intrigue. She was a complicated person who was not so kind in retrospect. Ernie, who helmed the ship was an anchor. Hemet who always wanted to be out front - (he was stuck in the backroom shipping for years) and now is. I am so pleased for that, as if ever a person deserved a sizable promotion, it is Hemet. He was and remains the most loyal of Joe's crew.

The rest of the staff in those turbulant years came and went, mostly went. I worked in dangerous times for Joseph. The stories I could tell.... (but not yet).
Some of the folk that I was friendly with were legitimate small time dealers, but some of them were definitly a little on the iffy side. I was too naive at the time to see it. Not now though. Joe always ran a reputable ship. He abided by every city statue and law, and sometimes got grief from the authorities where none was warranted. He is a straight shooter.

There was Roy, the guy from Chilliwak who couldnt date or appraise anything but had a supersharp instinct for valuables and an amazing ability to get things cheap. There was Bill, the British Coin expert who turned out to be a tad shady. There was Paul who left in a fit of pique because I was there, and who went on to do what he should have all along - run his own outfit. On Saturdays, the little dealers would come in with their week's worth of trade, and alot of them knew that I was a sucker for rhinestones. Now of course the store did not buy rhinestones unless they were housed in a truly show-stopping vintage extravaganza and even then, it was not a surety. I, on the other hand, was happy to go out for a coffee and relieve the boys of the glitz. It was a few years before one of my assistants pointed out to me that these transactions had a sexual undertone. I was once more, alas, too naive to see this. It pains me to say this as I always thought of myself as one of the boys. One of the boys in high heels and glitzies, but still, one of the boys.

Silly silly me.
It is a good thing that the enthusiasm of youth keeps us from being too introspective. That comes later. -heh

In Scale

The 3 items I purchased at the Thrift are picture on a chair cushion.
That should give you some scale to judge by.

So Beautiful - At Home in Paradise

Recovering from my helldays was easy this week as the winds are warm and the tides friendly. Even the Thrift was user-friendly, as miraculously some vintage silver was put out as I wandered past. The gleanings were a small sterling match case with a crest on it and a crystal perfume bottle with a sterling rim, hallmarked Birmingham, 1916. I also snatched up a very Art Noveau trinket box, crystal with a gold-plate top. Grande total = $18.50

-@ go me! @-

Other people have different hobbies. Me, I like to sift through junk for treasures. I honed my skills working for Joseph Iorio, the King of Canadian Coins (stamps and jewellery.) Standing at his counter going through sacks of stuff looking for precious metals to melt down gave me a razor sharp instinct and a fast eye. I absolutely loved my job there and I believe that I learned more from Joe than from any other single individual. Joe is an overcomer. Joe is a man who takes life and bends it to his will. Joe is a man who tranformed himself. Thank you Joe, for everything.

Now, one trait I acquired in Joseph Iorio's employ was thrift. I am very loath to part with large sums of cash. Somehow paying the retail price defeats the purpose of thrifting. Working at Joe's, I saw beautiful one of a kind items melted down for scrap price. It killed me at first, but I got used to it. The true value of a material good is what someone is willing to pay for it. That's all. Every now and then, when Joe was in an exceptionally good mood he would let me go through the huge bucket of scrap sterling and pick out stuff for myself. He thought it was a strange quirk I had, as he has no attachment to things. I got some amazing treasures from those days.

Today, I felt a whiff of my own past as I scooped up my little trinkets. I was very fortunate and I know it. I am delighted.



During the drugged and prone aspect of my little weekend drama, I not only missed a kite festival in my neighbourhood (and a personal appearance by Nigel on his Motoguzzi) but also a visit by Randy and Laust. The boyos stayed in my home overnight and not only did I not wake up, I did not know they were there until after they left. Thank GOD I caught Randy and Laust on the flip side. Barely, mind you but catch them I did. Now they are off to Vancouver for the Festival of Fire and the view from Randy's balcony.

I am once more alone in my abode so should I somniloquize tonight there shall be no witnesses, other than my doggie and he is the soul of discretion.

So.... She who drugs and sleeps away, lives to to fight another day.

I am not really promoting pharmaceuticals as a remedy for life, but they work and work well for brain-busting a broken brain. You are totally useless, but the body repairs as you zombie away. It has taken me years to admit this. I can now say it and mean it. Broken brains need drugging sometimes. And pain, the great equalizer, can change even the most stubborn mind.
After being told what I was shouting about last week, I have been very tempted to set up a voice activated tape recorder, but perhaps I am more scared..... than curious.
I am not sure I want to know.


The Snoozle Factor

There can be pesky side effects to life with a TBI. This week's blue light special was migraines. BAH -

The first day I suspected I had been in the land of pavor nocturnus,( and perhaps I was there without any recall) when the crush of nerve on brain got my full and complete attention. Dark room and solitude produced a few hours of complicated sleep and visits from concerned roommates and guests. It was the sleep shouting thing again. "Get away from me, get that thing off me, get out get out!" Why is it I never shout happy things? Why are sleep terrors not balanced by sleep blissies?

It was a long haul this time and somewhat discouraging. The migraine lasted almost 3 days, a record for me. The terrors were in accompaniment. Only the words of a Neurologist who told me not to consider surgery until I was screaming in pain all day every day held me together. Once my brain was functional once again I decided to see what other people are posting about the sleep terror aspect of this phenomena.

Thanks to global communication and the Internet, freaked out people are able to connect with others who experience similar things. In my past I have been told and told off by people with the letters PHD after their names - told that I am making it up, told that it is impossible for sleep paralysis to last more than 20 to 30 seconds, - yadda yadda - The great strength of being me is that I never once believed that it was not really happening. I refused to accept that I was the only person in the world with such things going on. In the Internet age, it is obvious that not only does it go on, it is positively rampant.

I had a good laugh at Dion McGregor, who talked even more than I do - and oh dear, what a potty mouth! Listen to him here - (""Brown it, brown it...") His sleep narratives invariably ended with his shrieking in terror. I believe that as long as your night terrors stay in the night, it is bearable. When they interfer with your days, its difficult. When you can no longer fall asleep at all, its dire.

Most of the sleep chatters who also have night terrors just want to understand what it all means. I like the way this fellow approached the problem, by recording himself in the night, and posting it to a website.
If you cannot sleep soundly, it is unlikely your days will be full of sunshine and roses - that you would notice at least.

So another round of horror, and another set ceded to Pavor Nocturnus. --sigh-- I took all my medications three days in a row..... and let us hope they do their work.


Happy Birthday Nigel

Black jeans.
Leather jacket.
Happy heart.

What's not to love?


Best Deals - *Thrift-wise*

Some deals are good, some deals are great and some are priceless.
Some of my better deals, (as requested)-

The leather chairs - yummy yummy - I was happy to pay $100 each
The Solid Oak 5 pc. bedroom suite - $450
The Garnet necklace - $3.99
The 5 pc. Sterling teaset - $125
The Apple G3- $9.99
The Diamond Stud Earrings (VS2/G Colour) (.45ct each) $5.00
The 9ct. Gold Bracelet - $3.99
The Sterling Dresser Set- Mirror, Comb and Hairbrush- $25.00
4 Pairs of Doc Martens, green, brown, black and red - $3.99 pair
The Sterling Candlabra - $5.00
2 x Waterford "Alana" Tumblers - 50 cents each

A Perfect Day

This week, my day off happened to be the same day a very interesting meeting took place on. Never one to eschew educational components to the job, I naturally attended. Next day I awakened and knew before my eyes opened that is was not going to be a great day. Remembering what Dr. L. said about such things, I dutifully took my medication and after walking the doggie-boy, went back to bed.

Today, I awakened to happiness and well-being. The temperature is slightly lower and the winds slightly higher resulting in a beautiful day. The whitecaps show even in the shallows and the tide is way way out there. I found an iron-framed daybed in pretty much wonderous condition and put it on hold. After consulting the moneyman, it is being delivered on Tuesday. -swoon-

I saw an original Robert Wood canvas, signed even, for 7.00 but you have to leave something for the dealers. If it is still there tomorrow after work it is coming home with me. Somehow, I suspect not.

Eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation!

Now I am digesting after a delicious meal, awaiting the family bonding experience. Yes, it is the multi-generational moment happening around "So You Think You Can Dance." I admit to enjoying it on Dad's big screen.

The dog is happy, the kids are all right and I, too am swathed in an aura of contentment. A perfect day pretty much.


An Otherwise Pleasant Day

Stepping out into the morning, so warm it was like a hug, I viewed the promise of Canada Day of an exceptionally fine quality. Looking to my client list, I realised the person in the 7am slot was unknown to me, nor did I have a telephone number for them. I decided to go to a lady who I knew would be up and willing to receive an early visit and bump the gent to the 7:30 slot. The two people lived rather close so it was actually 7:15 when I entered. As it turned out, he had been expecting 7 but a quarter of an hour later was acceptable. And so ended the predictable portion of my work day as Murphy got into my car and travelled alongside me, spreading chaos.

Protocal demands that if no reply is given at the door, I must continue to try to gain entry for 15 minutes and call the person on the telephone before notifying the on-call supervisor whose duty it is to make the decision whether to overlook the absence or call the contact numbers. As we know our clients rather well, this person's judgement is right on the money 99 times out of 100. No answer at the door in this case put me 45 minutes ahead of schedule as I had completed my first two assignments 30 minutes early, due to competancy AND no need for use of the build-in travel time. What to do what to do? I was not able to go early to the next place as it was a 2 person assignment. I cruised past my ten am client and saw the front door open and a family member outside. It was 8:10 - but I opted to stop and check in to see if I could buzz through early. I could.

Once in, it was obvious that the heat had taken it's toil on the older lady. Her husband, was busy telling me nothing at all was wrong, but in fact, she was difficult to rouse and once her eyes opened she complained of a bad stomach. I went back to the gentleman who shook his head and told me that she was fine. Nothing at all wrong. She had been up earlier and they had enjoyed their tea and porridge and now she was just resting. I had a bad feeling.

One advantage of attending to a person with poor short term memory is that you can leave the room for a moment and come back in with a similar approach that might succeed. Like the filme Groundhog Day, I tried it over and over until I found the formula that worked. I got her up and dressed and walked her out to her living room where she sat down. Suddenly her eyes rolled back into her head and she lay down on the couch unresponsive. It was very warm and she did not look well hydrated. It is always a worry in the elderly at this time of year, that they will not increase their fluid intakes to compensate for the heat. But when you are in your 90s, it could be almost anything. Age brings friends that most of us would rather not invite to our parties.

By the time the ambulance arrived, the other half of this sweet couple was in distress as well. The first responders were excellent and had him stabilised quickly. His wife on the other hand was taken away to be rehydrated, and checked over. And I was now very late for my assignment. It was just a few moments more until someone arrived to stay with the gent, and by the time I arrived to my next place, I was delighted to see one of the better co-workers already engaged in the tasks at hand. Not that I dont like everyone else but indeed we are not all created equally and in some environs, certain personalities fade, fail and crumple. In this place where we work, all the tools are there, all supplies well stocked, but the client is not going gently into that dark night. The client has a whip of a tongue and even in a diminished state is quite capable of reducing suseptible folk to jellies. My co-worker was rather aware of his dislike for her but seemingly impervious. It did not affect her care and we completed our tasks easily.

The remainder of my day had glitches and some downright errors. One of my clients had already received service by someone who misread the schedule. Another was out on the links and I was running behind the cart to get his attention. All in all it was fairly typical of a holiday work day in our world. Pleasant but chaotic.