It snowed the other day, or so I am told.
I was confined to my room for the duration of a brainstorm. This time around was not as bad as last time. Although, I could not stand the light, nor intelligent speech around me, I could most definitly stand my doggie boy who stayed most valiantly and loyally by my side, except for his brief appointment with the back yard.

While pulling on a sweater, I caught one of my many reflections and did not recognise the person I perceived as entering my room with their hands up. For one thing, the person was ALOT BIGGER than little old me.

My GOD the carnage from brain meds. It's enough to make a person go back to bed.


This is my darling Mr. Fluffy-pajamas, Tuckerkinz, sniffing each and every blade of grass along the trail behind the railroad track. Oh what delight!
And at the big beach with his step brother Rocky, the terror of tiny town.

Nobody loves you like your doggie does.


Ahhhh at last Si senor the Hairy Grill

Never one to accept failure without a whimper or five, I have spent a RIDICULOUS amount of time over the years looking for a legal way to embed my favourite song: Si senor the Hairy Grill.

Ok I cant completely vouch for the absolute pristeeness of this operation but DAMN it works good.

Now if you cannot see what I see in this song picture this:

My punkette dance days/nights at the Love Affair on Seymour street in Vancouver. This song would come on and like lemmings, the girls left the dancefloor and the most colourful mohawked guys came out to play. Its the primal scream. Its just the coolest. Now I had already seen Yello and knew what kind of men they were. Quirky. Eccentric. Complete sonic adventurers but not punks, no not really. A little too wealthy a little too fun. okay, alot too fun. But the scream. I loved it. So I danced and danced and danced to it and every time he screamed I would laugh thinking about how cool we all thought we were and how cool they really were. Rather effortlessly.

Fast forward to the days of kite festivals-
there I am on the big beach at Long beach Washington with my custom kite. It was a GORGEOUS blue with graffiti scriggles all over it. I had made it with Ray Bethel under the Official Secrets Act. "DONT TELL ANYONE WHERE YOU GOT THE TEMPLATE"
It was before free trade with China and our kites were alot heavier than todays versions. We used graphite for the rods. It was a bitch sometimes. But in the Long Beach winds we never had to haul ass like we did in //www.discovervancouver.com/vancouver-canada/vanier-park.asp. Our motto at the time was: A good kiteflier doesnt NEED any wind. And by golly I could do it just as well as anyone. Better than most.

So on the beach with my groovy kite. And my tunz. And the music person comes over and says to me: "We cant play this! Its too.... punk" (Most of the competitors for stunt ballet flew to Celine Dion ...etc)

I laughed at the sheer synchronicity of things. Of course I did have blue and black hair at the time and I was wearing a rather interesting outfit with my trademark "Still Sane" tee shirt. I never got to compete but it was worth it.

I could go back now with the same tune and a modern kite and noone would look askance. WSIKF is big business for stunt kitefliers now. We were in the first wave. And I was on my own wave. Anyway, picture me on the beach with my kite ready for my stunt ballet. Oh btw- I didnt get to compete but for revenge I put my stake about 100 yards from the competition area and my walkman with speakers and BLARED my music and did my routine anyway. The best revenge is a good life.

SO now I am much younger than I was back then - and when I listen to this song I think: ooo sex. This song is like a really good f**k. A spectacular one. I rather suspect this is what was in my head all along. and no wonder every guy I met at the Love Affair on the dancefloor professed undying and very horny love.

So click.
And laugh
And scream - yeah - scream like you mean it.


NOT Si senor . . . but close

- - AND:

ok this link works SOMETIMES:


and uhm lemme try this one:

Whatever you do, DONT mention the War. (marriage & Mausers)

John Cleese as Basil Fawlty comes to mind but this little story involves a person who lived in Vancouver. Yes, really.

Today whilst scarfing down my morning eggs and coffee at ye A & W in the company of my father, a few stories were being exchanged in the background. Naturally, I was doing the Province crossword as I politely pretended to listen. and then....

Our table for two had split like a cell. First two, then four, and when I looked up, eight. Most of the guys were closer to 80 than 50 and all of them were vying for my father's attention. I am unsure how he does it, but the charm factor is high. One of the fellows who had moved in beside dad was knee-deep in a lengthy anecdote about a WW2 vet who never forgave the other side. Not the countries alone, oh no, this was a personal vendetta against anyone with a German/Italian/Japanese appearance or last name. It was so extreme the stories resembled high farce. Well, I said, I got one for you.

Long ago, I met a man with a Scottish last name who had the same brand of unforgiveness happening. Alas, noone warned prospective property owners and a family of Italians moved in right next door to Jock. THE EFFRONTERY!

The new guy on the block tried everything to break the ice but our Scot would thaw not a cube nor a crack. The common property line overnight became home to a 15 foot hedge. Things stabilized to an uncomfortable halt. The war was not over, just on siesta. The neighbour had the block on his side, in fact the entire neighbourhood was on his side but Jock was immovable. No *I*talians welcome. The safest course was to never ever mention the war - or anything resembling it.

One of Jock's peccadilloes and hidden passions was for WW2 paraphernalia. As a returning Officer, he had loaded crates of confiscated armnaments and weaponry, and shipped them to his home address. The entire basement of his 3 bedroom bungalow displayed every item he had with typewritten description cards alongside. Jock's was one of Canada's largest personal collection of Nazi/Axis collectibles. Also one of Canada's most illegal I suspect.

And now the two tangents merge-

The Italian neighbour's eldest was getting married and the wedding was to be held in his beautiful back yard where his dedication, time and love made it the envy of many a lesser gardener. Jock, hearing of the impending nuptials was fit to be tied. His wife, his friends, in fact everyone who knew him begged him to overlook this occasion- perhaps go on a wee holiday. "I'll be damned if I'll let those barbarians think they can good time charlie under MY nose." The world held its collective breath as the great day dawned.

Nothing much happened in the morning. The curtains fluttered up and down the block as nervous neighbours tried not to stare obviously. And then, just as the first car pulled up, a figure appeared along the front sidewalk. A figure dressed in full SS Officer dress uniform including Mauser, goose-stepped back and forth along the sidewalk in front of Jocks, from property line to property line. Back and forth. Click heels, repeat.

To the credit of the wedding party, each and every guest pretended he was invisible. And Jock, with one very loud HEIL HITLER went inside just before the vows.

Wish I had a picture to share.


Go get yer own...

Lady Fortune the Absurd of Greater Internetshire presents your opportunity to receive your very own eccentric British aristocratic title.

Snippets from a wee netcruise

Your Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Eminence the Very Viscountess Pepperkinz the Subversive of Larkhill under Porton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot." - Dream, The Sandman (Neil Gaiman).


Why wilt thou examine every little fibre of my soul,

spreading them out before the sun like stalks of flax to dry?

..... naught shalt thou find in it but Death, Despair & Everlasting brooding Melancholy.

thou wilt go mad with horror if thou dost examine thus every moment of my secret hours.

William Blake : English poet, painter, engraver & mystic
William Blake (1757 - 1827)

Well said Mr. Blake and so relevant!

Today I was speaking to he-who-is-in-Iraq and asked what he was most looking forward to doing when he got home. Now, bearing in mind that I have feelings.... read then, this his list.
He prefaced it with: " IF I get home...."

A bottle of Tequila and a 24 hr drunk.
A thick juicy steak.
A 42"LCD television at the foot of his bed.

I dont have to think such things. I hate tequila and would never want a mega television in my personal sanctuary. No wonder I am not in that list!

Here then is what I come home to- mr fluffypajamas lying on the bed and watching me with a wondering eye.


A beautiful day

Driving to work with the full moon setting behind the Islands - I pulled over to take a picture.
My camera did not see what I saw. It saw it differently.

My Mondays are very special to me for the type of people I engage with. Each of my Monday clients is over 90 years of age. All of them are living semi - independently and living well.
This morning I had two or three instances where I was tempted to get my pen and jot down a few key words to remind me of precious moments. I decided to trust my memory, reasoning that it was only going to be a matter of hours til I could blog.

I remember nothing but the smiles.
- not the worst thing ever.

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

"When glory comes, loss of memory follows


Hard at work . . .

Things to do, people to see, promises to keep - and so on. The list goes ever on.
I have found that the more I need done the less time I have to do it. The closet renovation, so nicely started by he-who-is in-Iraq, will never be finished unless I find a way to do it myself. Amazingly, a daughter of someone I know professionally offered to help me out.

I was so looking forward to learning some carpentry but I confess my role in the whole enterprise was that of the cleaner-upper.

Thus it was always.


I remain puzzled about relationships.
Serves me right for getting my hearts desire.

Be careful what you wish for.


A Common Complaint

Today I made the acquaintence of an older couple who live in a small apartment here in Paradise.
The gentleman was released after a series of radium treatments into the care of his arthritic wife. She is 86. He is 88. He cannot walk without assistance. In fact. he has no balance.

What on earth is our HealthCare system coming to?
On what planet does this scenario make sense?


Poster Boy

A young man in his 30s sits at the table perusing the latest copy of Time magazine. He is a very good looking man with bright eyes and a ready smile. When he speaks, he is articulate - very well spoken. He is also, by the way, schizophrenic. Let us call him Ron.

Ron and I are sitting in a house funded by Mental Health where a variety of programs are offered for the consumers - all people suffering with Mental Illnesses. Currently, some funding has come their way to make a series of videos on living with a Mental Illness.

One of the staff is trying to get Ron interested in appearing in the video. Another is leaning close to me whispering: "See what you can do to get Ron to be in the movie. He would be perfect!" They already have 5 or 6 *actors* who are very eager to appear. They are not among the highest functioning clients but they have great enthusiasm for this project. Ron is looking uncomfortable and asks me to go for a walk with him.

As we amble down the lane he tells me that every time he goes to this place it is the same story.
He is feeling pressured.

"I don't want to be in a movie. I don't want people labeling me. I am more than my illness. I don't want to be the Poster boy for schizophrenia."

In that moment I realize his assessment is right on the money.
They want a Poster boy; especially one as eye-pleasing and charismatic as Ron is.
They want him so badly that they are forgetting one of their own tenets: to let the client be who they are and allow them to express themselves as they wish.

As I drop Ron off he thanks me and says he does not want to go there anymore.
Later, a volunteer for this Society tells me that most of the high functioning clients do not find a peer within the House. Most of them stop coming after a few visits. The people at the top of the food chain view it as them expressing their recovery.

I view it as another pothole in the Health Care system.
Preaching to the converted.


What is TBI ?

This is for the emailers.
Those who found this blog by chance or by keyword.

What is TBI, you ask?
And why is it a problem in one who seems so capable?

TBI is short for Traumatic Brain Injury.
There is more stuff online about it than you could read in ten lifetimes.
This is a good start here - the Mayo Clinic's guide.

Why is TBI a problem?

Like many with brain injurys my memory is impaired, in fact completely unreliable. My specialty seems to be taking two or three similar events and cobbling them together into one false memory with true details. It is...... something very humbling.

My life is lived by lists and reminders.
Things that I have planned and looked forward to, frequently go by without comment.
One of the reasons I blog stories and little remembrances that elders tell me is precisely because of the forgetting. We are nothing without our memories. When someone gifts me with one of theirs I wish to treasure it. Some of my clients know that I have an impairment. Some of my management and supervisors know.. most do not. It is not who I am - it is just something that affects me.

It was very difficult to get my life in order to a point where I could manage my own affairs. My bills are auto-debited, my paycheques direct deposited and a whole lot of clocks and timers help me not get lost in my head. Because I do. If I do not keep on track hours bleed by without my realising. And yes, I drive a car. Not at night and rarely on the Highway and only because I get yearly brain scans.

The great struggles, the soul wrenches, are things other people take for granted. I was in my 20s before I found out that other people did not *see* sound, nor have nonstop adrenilin 24/7.
On bad days my brain physically hurts. Bright light sears and sound looks like a mass of jumble and feels worse. On bad days my legs move a little awkwardly and my feet kick out involuntarily every now and then. My eyes rolls my jaw sets in a grimace and I am told I just look incredibly annoyed. Imperiously so. Doesn't it figure that it would settle on me with a mantle of delusional grandeur?

All that I can deal with. Perhaps not always well.
What is contentious for me is the medication. S.
Alas my scrambled brain has forgotten how to shut down for sleep. It does shut off for an hour or so but never more unless I am completely exhausted. This means I have to take medications or within 3 weeks I become unable to function. --Medication--- see the rants I post every time I have troubles. Medication is a curse and a blessing in one. Without it --- if you are not financially independant you could very quickly become homeless. With it, you can manage to function within societal norms but at great cost. (!!!!!) Brain meds are pricey in all ways.

THAT is my world of TBI.
It's all I have.


Knowing the Demon's Name

There is power in naming something. To claim it is tricky.
Today I feel up to a fight.

So named one - mirrorme - let us dance once more.



Finally the brainstorm has abated.

This horror was one of the worst ones of my entire life. It took 9 days to depart. The last 4 were pretty much unbearable. But thank goodness it is gone. And I did manage to keep it pretty much for myself. No inconveniencing or scaring others apart from my long suffering neighbour who shares a common wall along our bedrooms. She hears me shouting in my sleep.
I woke myself up last night shouting ENOUGH! And by golly, it stopped whatever it was in it's tracks. I rolled over and slept soundly to wake up to a cozy background mayhem in my mind. Doable.

One thing about having a brain injury - you have a friend for life. You are never alone in your total aloneness.
One third of the way along for my cancer-fighting friend. She has lost the thick mane of hair atop her head. It just fell out in 2 days.

Lady Di stopped by wearing a bright orange scarf. It looked fabulous of course.
I try to stay positive always in her presence. She is so fragile just now.

Today,10 boxes of collectables exited my home on their way to the thrift. Deeply suspicious after this last horror's visit as to what lies ahead, it seemed prudent to get a little more organized. My friends and family would not recognize the valuables in my sea of stuff. REALLY COOL stuff but stuff nonetheless.

The long stretch of despair and darkness that settled upon me made me aware that if that is what my future is to be I do not want it. Being currently human I have limitations of what I can bear. And my friends, this week was as close as it gets.

Today is good. So all's well in Pepperland.


Bad day 2

I am so tired.


Bad days

They come in packs, slathering at my heels.
Sometimes in my darkest hours, I wish I could either dispel them, or wake up elsewhen, elseself.

The worst of it is now.


-nick drake

Please give me a second grace
Please give me a second face
I’ve fallen far down the first time around
Now I just sit on the ground in your way

Now if it’s time for recompense for what’s done
Come, come sit down on the fence in the sun
And the clouds will roll by
And we’ll never deny
It’s really too hard
For to fly

Please tell me your second name
Please play me your second game
I’ve fallen so far for the people you are
I just need your star for a day

So come, come ride in my street-car by the bay
For now I must know how fine you are in your way
And the sea sure as I
But she won’t need to cry
For it’s really too hard
For to fly


Fun and Linguistics in the Workplace

One of my very favourite places to go during work hours is the home of a lovely woman of danish descent who requires assistance to stay in her own home. She has a daughter who is a treasure beyond measure, who keeps the fridge full of pre-cooked tasty home meals that will appeal to her gourmet cook mother. The daughter keeps the garden in bloom and flowers on the table in even the darkest months. All things cheery and nice appears to be her mantra.

Frequently I will find myself grinning in that home from sheer delight in the job. This week it was laugh out loud at myself. Here is what happened.

I dropped in around the lunch hour and asked my dear client if the single portion of homemade macaroni and cheese was what she wanted. "Yes, and please heat in on the stove in butter", she replied. Done.

I put the tasty slice on a plate and handed it to her.
She said (or so I thought) : "You misunderstood me. I wanted this heated on the stove."
Puzzled, I replied: "Yes. I did that."
She said: "No no, I wanted it mushed up."
I said, handing her a fork and knife: "You can do that now that it's hot. Ok?"
--- silence--

She smiled at me and said: "No, I dont think you know what I mean. Can you bring me the curry sauce? It is in a jar in the fridge."

Curry and macaroni is a new one on me, but not the first strange combination she has requested. I brought over the jar to a very strange reaction.

She enunciated carefully for me: "Not CURRY - CHERRY."
Ok. I did just that.

and she lovingly spooned cherries and cherry sauce over her portion of pasta.
I suppose I was still standing there looking bemused, so she looked up at me questioningly.

"Pasta and Cherries isnt something I have ever tried", I ventured.

"Pasta?" She looked horrified. "I thought this was rice pudding."


hee hee
I guess you had to be there.
Looking in the fridge I found a bowl of homemade rice pudding and yes, she ate that with the cherry sauce. The pasta, alas, went down the drain.


Hands and Heart. And Happy birthday on the 7th.

My dear friend and favourite fruit Randy is having a birthday bash this weekend.
Alas for work.
I will make it for your 50th my dear. Just give me a few years to get organised.

Randy and I met when he was China Stock and I was Assist. Mgr for H.B.& Sons Ltd.
That was a million trillion years ago. Randy and I both had our issues with that company although we both LOVED our jobs. Don't you hate it when that happens?

In the course of taking an order from my store, we could dish on everything from politics to the Booker Prize all the while continuing our work. We were both excellent workers wasted on bosses who were more interested in their wardrobes than actually making money for the store.

Randy made it his business to know more about Fine China and Crystal than most of his bosses put together and times ten. Instead of mentoring him and advancing him he too was constantly criticized as others advanced. But sometimes life gives you little moments to carry you through adversity. One such event was during a promotion for Hummel figurines. A Million Dollar event with a priceless life-size Hummel accompanying it. A one of a kind priceless 7 foot Hummel which was on display in the China Department.

An audacious very brave pirate sort picked up the display, and departed through an underground mall exit. All this in clear view of thousands. Brilliant, if devious. Jobs and heads on the line, the highly paid managment all went on the hunt. Happily, they got the giant Hummel back safely and then -oopsies- Randy's boss accidently knocked it over and broke it. I think that event was kept top secret until now. (sorry Danny H. for outing you)

We were mainstays of the Vancouver after midnite club for a few years until I reformed and he went on to Higher Things in Other Realms. I sure miss those 4am breakfasts at Doll & Penny's. I sure miss Doll & Penny's! Randy and I almost got married about this time for reasons that will remain shrouded in mystery. (don't you wish you knew!)

Randy's B.Sc. has an Archeology discipline on it, but don't look for him in excavations. His mind so orderly took him to Management with a large chain here in the West until he took himself to Denmark where his amazing diversity led to a career as a highly paid and very respected Technical Writer for a multinational software company. (the bugger!)

In his current incarnation, Randy E. No**an is a Government Employee working for some top secret division or something.....
Or is it a Crown Corporation? It is definitly not China Stock! Randy has a plethora of his very own minions and every time he threatens to quit they give him a vacation and a raise.
Well done!!

SO happiest of happy birthdays Randy dear, and raise a bottle of Bollie for me.

I loves ya handsome!
Happy Birthday! (on the 7th)

**I am posting this on the 3rd so as not to forget.
That is to say, I never forget my dear friend, but I tend to muddle dates and show up at the wrong times.


Events & Passages

The very engaging Martin Sikes died suddenly and very unexpectedly on Christmas eve.
What a loss! -- to so many communities - gaming, engineering and programmers, the DJ-in, HAPPY people and so many, so much more.
Those who know, mourn.
Those who didn't - bend your heads a moment.

Far too soon.