Tuesday, 31 December 2013

I'm cranky this morning.  I fell asleep finally around eleven last night.  The cat woke me up at midnight and then the big guy at three.  The cat woke me up again at four and I woke up at five.  I am fucking tired and grumpy.  I dreamed about Betty Crocker gunning down 63 dignitaries in a third world country, because she was pissed.  I dreamed about making kitten soup, the secret being you must first cut the tail off of the kitten, and the beak.  Needless to say I do not feel rested. 

And it's snowing.  Again.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


It was too cold today to go for a walk down by the river.  Last week was a good walk though.  In the winter I have to hang onto those good walks, remember them, they help me make it through the cold, dark season.  Yesterday was the solstice so the days will be getting longer now, something I need and appreciate. 

We took KT out today.  She was happy when we picked her up, laughing, signing, making lists and requesting songs.  She makes the big guy sing O Canada, my singing doesn't cut it anymore.  He does have a lovely deep voice.  We went bowling but she didn't enjoy it much.  Her nose was running and she started to look so tired.  We bought her some lunch and she wanted to see Santa but when I took her over to where Santa was, she started crying and shaking her head.

As we waited for the big guy to bring the car up to the mall door, Katie laid her head against me and just cried.  I had no idea what's wrong.  I wrapped my arms around her and let her cry.  We got her in the car and her nose was running with green snot.  She kept signing all the way home that she wanted to go for a bus ride.  I told her it was too cold today.  She wasn't happy with the answer but she didn't cry either.

We dropped her off at home with her staff.  I felt so bad leaving her.  Her staff take wonderful care of her but part of me wanted to sit with her on the couch and feed her ice cream, give her a hot bath and put her to bed.  But I know that if I stayed I would be pinched and abused.  The hot bath would turn into a wrestling match with me soaking wet and her crying as she got out of the tub. 

She's not my baby anymore.  Our old ways, old habits, they no longer work, are no longer possible.  I miss them and I don't.  When KT lived at home I was beyond tired, ALL THE TIME.  She abuses me, though that wasn't always the case.  The abuse of me has gotten worse over time.  I know where it comes from, from her anxiety, but it still hurts, still leaves marks, still leaves me shaking.

But I am the kind of person who wants things how I want them to be, not how they are.  A trait I share with my mother, god rest her.  She taught me well. 

Note to self, accept things as they are.   Yeah, I've never been any good at that.  Fortunately the universe gives me many, many, many chances to learn this lesson. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013



I was at work yesterday afternoon, standing in the hallway, trying to start an IV on a patient, when I looked up and saw an old friend.  I smiled and hugged him and asked him what he was doing in my hospital.  His wife, my friend, has cancer he told me and I promptly burst into tears.  I asked him how bad it was and he said stage four.

I work with cancer patients all day long.  I love my job.  My patients remind me everyday how precious life is, how random life is and for the most part I'm okay with that.  Occasionally I cry with a patient, but it doesn't tear me up inside.  I understand that we all die.  I'm a nurse.  I've taken care of many, many dying patients.  It think it's an honour to be with someone when their soul slips away from their body.

But all that seems to disappear when it's someone I know and care about.  My friend and I spent many hours together, talking, shopping, laughing, crying.  I missed her when I got divorced.  We drifted apart.  Why did I let that happen?

I sat and talked with my friend a bit yesterday.  We cried, just a little, got caught up.  I showed her photos of my kids, we talked about her kids.

I don't know what will happen to her but I hope for the best.  Mostly I want to make sure I keep in touch with my friends, those people who cared for me and supported me during some very difficult times.

Note to self.  Tell my friends how much they mean to me, keep in touch. 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A walk in the woods.



Things I'm grateful for today.

I finally believe that I am worthy.  Why now, I don't know.  I believe we all possess a spark of the divine within us.  The fact that we are born, that we live, means that we are all worthy, worthwhile, that we matter, even if others have convinced us otherwise, we still matter.  Every one of us.  Me too.

Even if I make mistakes (it's how I learn, how we all learn), I am worthy.

Even if I hurt others, sadly I do this, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose, often because I'm hurt and want to lash out at others or because I am selfish and want what I want, when I want, or because I'm tired or hungry or in pain.  But I hurt others, I know this.  I am still worthy, although this one gives me a hard time.

Even if I disappoint others, don't do as they want, have different ideas, beliefs, wants, needs, I am still worthy.  What I need still matters, it may not be what you want or need but it is what I want or need now.  I am worthy.

What I see, what I hold dear, what I love, what I believe, these things are all worthy simply because they are mine. 


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Dear Mum,

I called your sister today.  When she answered the phone she sounded a lot like you, only more English.  I told Fran that I missed you.  She misses you as well.  You guys hadn't seen each other for four or five years but I know you guys talked for hours on the phone every couple of weeks.  Fran said that sometimes she thinks of something and wants to ask you about it, something from growing up, and then she realizes she can't ask you anymore.  I get that too.  The other day I wanted to ask you something and then I realized that I couldn't ever ask you and I wondered why I never bothered to ask you while you were alive.

It's getting close to Christmas and it will be my first Christmas without you.  I feel like such a child but I'm missing you a lot.  I was at Safeway today, buying some groceries and I thought of you.  We shopped together at Safeway every weekend.  I was going to buy myself an orchid but I couldn't, they reminded me too much of you.  You were always trying to get those orchids in the plant room to bloom.

The African violet that you bought not long before you died is sitting on my dining room table, in full bloom.  You would have loved it.  The flowers are a pinkish-purple with white edges.  I'll never look at an African violet, or an orchid, without thinking of you.

I was down at the dog park a couple of weeks ago and somebody had hung up homemade bird feeders for the chickadees;  they were flitting about, enjoying the sunflower seeds.  I tried holding some seeds in my hand, hoping that they would eat out of my hand but that didn't happen.   I'm glad we were able to take you down to the river for a weiner roast last fall, so thankful that you got to feed the chickadees out of your hand.  I know you enjoyed that day a great deal.  I think it was your last good day.

I wish I had been more patient with you, not gotten so irritated with waiting for you to put on your gloves or do up your zipper or "quickly" go to the bathroom.  It seems I was always in a hurry, why I don't know.  We are a long time dead and now I have no way of saying "I'm sorry."   I may have been impatient but I never considered you a burden mum, nor did I consider taking care of you a duty.  You were my mum.  What I did for you, I did out of love.

I miss you and I will be thinking of you this Christmas.

Love, D.



Saturday, 23 November 2013

 I'm reading a book right now, "Bodies of Water" by T.  Greenwood.  It is a beautiful love story set in the sixties that includes lesbians, alcoholism, abuse and sisters.  It's the sister that got me.  The main character Billie has a sister who listens to her, loves her and accepts her, just as she is.  The sister filled me with longing.

I have two sisters.  They're twins and a fair bit older than me.  One sister has a brain injury and she pretty much lives her life filter free.  She's often thoughtless but never mean.  My other sister I guess would be considered the eldest.  I've never been really close to either of my sisters.  They married and left home when I was six years old.  The oldest moved in with us when I was about twelve and stayed for about a year.  I often babysat for her when I was a teenager.  I cooked and cleaned and cared for her kids because her husband was not reliable, a polite way of saying that he was often drunk.

But I do remember looking up to my sisters, thinking they were all that.  I wanted to be a part of their world, wanted to be included by them, wanted them to like me.  I imagine that I wanted them to give me what my own parents could not, love and acceptance.  I wanted to feel like I belonged.

My oldest sister did try to be an older sister sometimes but when I got pregnant at twenty that all changed.  She was beyond angry, although how my pregnancy affected her life, I'm not really sure.  I know that she wanted to adopt my son.  She took her family and moved far away by the time my son was a year old.

I didn't see her for six years.  She refused to come to my wedding and I didn't see her again until my middle daughter was born.  Since then we have had an uneasy truce, negotiated and maintained by my mother.

Shortly before my mother died, my oldest sister told my mum that she should move into a nursing home, something that my mum was dead set against.  It was one of her biggest fears, of being dependent.  Six days later my mum died, feeling like she was a burden, knowing that most of her children thought she would be better off in a nursing home.  I disagreed but then I'm the black sheep, the pain in the ass, the rebel, the difficult one.

My oldest sister was my mum's favourite, I know that.  I also know how much it hurt my mum that her daughter would not come out and care for her when she needed help.  My mum would not ask for help.  I think she thought having to ask for your own children to help you was degrading, or maybe that's just my own bias.  My mother helped all of us growing up, caring for grandchildren, providing loans, taking us all in as adults for periods of time.  Until she was no longer able to, she was the family cook and organizer.  And when she needed the most help, at the end of her life, her children did not come, did not help, stayed far away.  Except for me, the difficult one.

I was angry for a long time after mum died.  I told my sister this one day and she was deeply offended.  I guess don't ask unless you honestly want to know.  But I've been thinking about this while I've been reading this book.  I know it's a book, I know it's not real but I also know that there are families where daughters talk to their fathers and where sisters support each other.  That part is real.  And I think I'm angry with my sister for not being the big sister I wanted and needed.

As an adult I realize that my sister did the best she could.  She was raised in the same family as me.  She never got unconditional love or acceptance either, she does not have that to give.  But not all of my anger is because she hurt my mum, it's also because I hurt.     

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Things I'm thankful for today.

I'm playing with my photos, changing them, making them mine, making them look like how I see the world.
The snow, and there is a lot of it.
I bought snowshoes today so I'm looking forward to trying them out and mother nature was kind enough to dump shitload of snow on us this weekend.
Girlfriends, who are coming over tonight to eat and drink and talk and listen.
All the laundry is done and the condo is clean.
A fireplace that turns on with the flick of a switch.
I sold my first photo.

What are you thankful for today?


Monday, 11 November 2013


I saw this on Denise's blog today and it made me want to weep and pray.

Pray for Peace

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.

If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.

By Ellen Bass

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Winter is upon us here.  The snow has come, the dark, the cold.  It's not forever, I know that but winter is still long here.  I miss being outside, wandering through the river valley, petting strange dogs.  I do miss my dogs.

I have photos to look at and I do.  I print off my photos and hang them up at work for my patients.  The mountains and flowers and waterfalls surround me all day long at work, which helps.

I'm going to replace my kitchen flooring, paint my kitchen, replace the back splash in my kitchen.  All in an effort to get through the cold, dark days. 

This will be the new back splash, 4x4 tiles.


This is the flooring.






I'm not looking forward to Christmas this year, not that I ever do but this year will be the first Christmas, in my entire life, fifty-one years, without my mum.  I'm good most days and I can talk about my mum now without crying.  I'm thankful that she's not suffering anymore but I still miss her.  Just the other day I wanted to ask her something about one of her aunts and then realized I can't ask her, ever.  She took all of her memories with her.

So I do what I normally do when I'm sad, I do.  I keep busy.  Probably not the best way to deal with my loss but there are worse things I could do I suppose.  I can see now why so many cultures have a year of mourning. 

And yesterday my good friend Daphne lost her father to cancer, may he rest in peace.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

i walk beside the river
sky gray, trees bare
the ground littered
with leaves

but today the river is green

snow begins to fall
the flakes melting
as they touch the ground

but today the river is green

next week
or next month
the river will be
frozen over, white

but today the river is green



Thursday, 31 October 2013


Miss KT is having a hard time. Actually, she's been having a hard time since she turned eleven, ten years ago.  Puberty grabbed hold of my little girl and made her more fearful and more aggressive.  When Katie was fifteen and a half, we could no longer care for her and she moved into a group home.  When she was seventeen she was evicted from her group home because of her behavior;  my ex-husband and I brought her home to live, against his wishes.  Six months after that, we found an agency that would care for her.




For the most part, the agency has done very well in dealing with Katie's difficult behaviors.  But Katie's life is smaller now than it was when she lived at home.  It continues to shrink because of her behaviors.  She is now in a wheelchair, to keep those around her safe.  She also has to wear a cape around her and the wheelchair, to keep her from pinching people or pulling their hair.




We received a warning from horseback riding a few weeks ago that Katie would not be allowed to continue riding unless we supplied the volunteers to walk with her, because of her behaviors.  I don't like visiting Katie much either.  She has so much anxiety and with it, the behaviors.  She can be happy and a second later, scared and unhappy.  I walked beside her on Sunday while she rode, she pulled my hair, she scratched me, she screamed, she cried, she slapped her head and finally started hurting the horse.  We pulled her off the horse.

Katie has been riding for close to ten years.  She loves horseback riding but even that causes her anxiety now.  I don't know what to do.  She sees a new psychiatrist in two weeks.  This doctors deals with people with mental disabilities and behavioral problems.  I'm hoping she can help because right now I see a bleak future for KT and I don't want that.  KT is an amazing young woman and I want her to have a good life, not just an existence.


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Things I'm thankful for today.

Helped out a patient yesterday, didn't make him feel stupid for doing what he did (even though it was a stupid thing to do), saved him hours in emergency at a different hospital.  He's dying, he has better things to do than ricochet between hospitals.

Tried to practice my assertiveness skills with my co-worker but was only marginally successful.  But I did try and I protected my patient which was the important part.

Spoke with another young patient, a nurse, just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  We spoke about the randomness of life.  I couldn't have faced my own death with such equanimity when I was her age.

Our lovely fall weather continues to hold.  The windows are all open and I can hear a magpie talking outside.

Homemade Thai coconut curry chicken soup.  OMG!

Hugs from the big guy.

The week, a rather difficult week, is over. 

Read a wonderful book, "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I enjoyed it immensely.

Slept for eleven hours last night.  I do love to sleep.

Get to see Miss KT tomorrow.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, 21 October 2013


My mother would be horrified by my previous post.  I know my mum loved me and I loved my mum.  She was deeply imperfect, as am I.  For all of the negatives, there were positives as well.  It seems I forget that so easily, part of my nature sadly, or just part of being human. 

My mother taught me to laugh and to find humor in most everything.  When she was child she was often sent out of the room for laughing.

She was the black sheep of the family, leaving England to follow a Canadian she fell in love with.  She didn't fit in anymore after she left England.  In Canada, she was English and in England, she was Canadian.   We have that in common, being the misfit in our families.

She loved animals, especially dogs and had a dog until she couldn't live in her own home anymore.

She taught me not just to garden but to love gardening.  I never did love roses the way she did though.  I think they reminded her of home in England and to me they're just thorny bushes, although I do love the smell of rugosa roses.

Mum taught me to love walking as well, probably part of being English as well.  She was a great believer in the health benefits of fresh air and walks.  She hated not being able to walk like she used to. 

Mum also taught me that family is everything, that you take care of each other.    All of mum's kids moved back home at some time in our adult lives, sometimes bringing with us children, husbands or girlfriends.  When Mum was my age she had a thirteen year old and an eleven year old at home as well as her grown daughter and her three year old grandson.  She wanted to keep her family close to her, maybe because her own family was so far away.

Mum taught me to bake, to knit, to sew and to can.  I helped her make jams, jellies, pickled beets and pickled onions.  I could never knit as well as she could.  When I was a child I thought that all women could knit like my mother but I was wrong.  She was an amazing knitter.  When she died she still had a toque on her needles that I finished up for her. 

So she gave me the good with the bad, that's how it works I guess.  It's like our own bodies.  Our cells have the ability to mutate, which is a good thing because that has allowed human beings to evolve over time.  However, the ability to mutate also means that cancer cells can form.  But we can't have it both ways, one comes with the other.  The good with bad, inseparable, human, imperfect, loving and lovable. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013



Things my mother taught me.

Don't ask for what you want, hint, allude, whisper or insinuate.
When you don't receive what you didn't ask for, don't get angry,
at least not outwardly, instead slam doors, snap dish towels,
or yell at the dog.

You must always look your best, appearances matter, far more
than broken hearts or dreams.  Stand up straight, don't make
that face, smile, stop fidgeting, comb your hair.

Always be nice, avoid conflict, don't give opinions, lest you
be wrong.  Don't make decisions either because then you
will be responsible for what happens to you.  Instead, defer
to others and when things come crashing down, you can
blame others.

You can make others happy, or more precisely, you can kill
yourself trying to make others happy.  You can feel terribly
guilty when you fail to make others happy because of
course, it is your fault after all.

The truth is overrated.  Believe what you like and if you
believe it long enough and hard enough, well, then it will
be true.  Ignorance is bliss.  See what you want to see, not
what really is.

Don't ask questions, don't be yourself and when you are fifty
and you don't know who the fuck you are, don't complain to
me about it.  And don't say fuck. 



The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence of things given to us by a bountiful Creator, and not until the shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love, do we see its worth and beauty. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm of nature. While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. Beauty lurks in all the dim old aisles of nature, and we discover it at last. ~Northern Advocate

Saturday, 12 October 2013

I found this lovely sunflower down in the river valley about a month ago.  People, myself included, leave sunflower seeds for the chickadees down there.  The birds will eat right our of your hand.  A year ago the big guy and I took my mum down there for a wiener roast, her first and last wiener roast as it turned out.  Mum loved the wiener roast but she especially loved feeding the little chickadees right out of her hand. 

It's Thanksgiving weekend and I do feel thankful this weekend.  My daughter and her boyfriend are arriving from Vancouver today to spend the weekend with us.  She wants to cook with me.  There is a free range turkey, her request, sitting in the fridge as I write this, waiting to be cooked.  I never thought I would be cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter.  I will teach her my mum's recipe for stuffing tomorrow. 

I work in cancer care which sounds like an awful place to work but it is the opposite.  Although I work with an awful co-worker, it's my patients that keep me there.   Everyday I see people who have had the worst news they can imagine and everyday they get on with their lives.  They laugh, they cry, they work, they love but most importantly, they live. 

Just last week I had a patient, thirty-five, with two young children and metastatic melanoma.  She will die and she knows this but she is alive right now and the vibrancy of that life shimmers around her.

I am thankful that I love and I am loved.

What are you thankful for this weekend?




Friday, 4 October 2013


I went to Miss KT's yesterday morning to pick up coats that she had destroyed.  Two staff were there but not her regular staff yet.  When I walked in I could smell poop and when I asked the ladies, they said Katie was up but still in her room.

I went up to her room and said good morning.  I took her to the bathroom to clean her up;  she still likes to poop in her diaper.  As I cleaned her up, she asked for a bath.  I had time, didn't have to start work for over an hour so I ran a bath for her and gave her a bath.

I can't believe how much I enjoyed bathing my daughter.  I washed her hair, washed her body, checked to see if she was too thin or just regular thin and sang her songs.  She's not too thin, just regular thin.  Her favorite song is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer but she also likes the Wheels on the Bus and O Canada.  I dried her off and helped her get dressed.  I remembered to give her two choices and made her choose.  She ended up with orange jeans, a turquoise t-shirt and a red sweatshirt.

We went back downstairs and I brushed her hair out and gave her morning pills to her.  Then when it was time for me to leave, I strapped her into her wheelchair, to keep the two ladies safe.  Just as I was ready to leave, her regular caregiver, Joseph, came in.

It was such a simply thing, bathing KT but I felt reconnected to her.  She hasn't lived with me in almost four years and there are things I miss.  I don't feel like her mum sometimes but rather an administrator.  She's still my baby girl, even at twenty-one.

When her and her roommate were evicted in June they ended up moving much closer to my hospital.  I see her more often now, can just pop in before or after work without having to drive across the city.  I think I'll make an effort to stop by and give her a bath when I work the late shift.  I need to touch people for them to be real to me.  I spent sixteen years bathing, dressing and feeding KT, it's part of how we connect to each other.  I want that back.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


Random thoughts on a Sunday morning.

I had a patient last week, in her late thirties, early forties.  She had a brain tumor that was just discovered last month.  She had felt sick for a month and then had a massive headache.  When she had a CT scan they found a brain tumor and emergency surgery.  She says people tell her "how awful" and she tells them, "No, I woke up.  Everyday is amazing."

I miss Miss KT, miss seeing her sleeping at night, miss sitting with her before she goes to bed, her head in my lap which she eats a bowl of popcorn.  I miss listening to her sing, a strange sound that she makes when she is contented and happy.

I don't miss everyday starting with her feet hitting the floor of her bedroom and me having to be "on".  I don't miss having to be constantly vigilant while she is awake.  I don't miss being assaulted by my beautiful, anxious daughter.

I know Miss KT is safe and happy enough where she is but I still worry.

I am beyond tired of dealing with a passive-aggressive co-worker.  She makes work miserable, all the time.  When she starts work I can feel a dark cloud descend upon the department and it's not just me, we all feel it.

My son and is girlfriend are coming over for supper tonight, they won't be here for Thanksgiving so I'm making a big meal tonight.  My son is growing up and I'm so proud of him.  He's going to school and doing well.  He's supporting himself, taking care of himself, he's clean and straight and he has the love of a good woman.  I got pregnant with my son when I was only twenty years old, far too young to be a mother, especially me.  We survived though, he and I.

And the photo above, Tangle Creek Falls on the Parkway Highway between Jasper and Banff.  It's one of my favourite waterfalls.  We always stop here.  The big guy watches as I scramble around on the hill.  I love climbing this hill and one day want to make it all the way to the top.  I feel like a kid again as I climb.  I think he knows this and that's why we always stop there. 


Tuesday, 24 September 2013


We ran away to the mountains this past weekend.  I like to imagine living here, where this photo was taken.  It's an old homestead and it's so peaceful there.  Except life is never really peaceful for long.

I work with a woman who is passive-aggressive.  She drives me crazy because I am like her in some  ways.  I cannot change her, I cannot even reason with her.  Dealing with her terrifies me, my heart pounds, my palms sweat.  She does not like me and anything I do will not make this any worse than it already is, so what's the problem?

The real problem is that I dislike her because of what she represents to me, my own worst nasty bits.  The judging, critical, dogmatic, passive-aggressive bits that I would like to pretend don't exist.  Except they do and because she makes me look at myself and see these nasty bits within, I dislike her.  I feel like a bitch around her and I probably am to her.  

But there is another side to this.  She is passive-aggressive and by working with her daily I can see how destructive passive-aggressive behavior is.  She is a chance for me to change how I behave.  She is a constant reminder to do better, to practice speaking up assertively, to tell others what I need and what I want.  

Change is so hard.  It's scary and I hate scary.  I like nice, I prefer nice.  Conflict makes me very anxious, it reminds me of growing up, it reminds me of being a little girl and being scared because my dad was yelling and I didn't know why.  Which makes me cry.  

So I need to be scared and keep going.  I'm not a child anymore, I can chose to behave differently.  I want to behave differently.


Saturday, 21 September 2013




“It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear . . . . It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.” Marilyn Ferguson

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mount Edith Cavell




Random thoughts when I should be in bed.

I figured out why September was getting me down.  My dad's birthday, my parent's anniversary and my first birthday without my mum.

My patients at work always help to remind me to drag my head out of my ass.

I'm excited about my middle daughter and her boyfriend coming out to visit for Thanksgiving.  My daughter and I didn't talk for almost six months last year, both of us to angry and stubborn to give in.

I miss my dogs.  Before I left my ex-husband I had two beagles.  I love dogs.  We have a cat but it's just not the same as dog love.

I really should be in bed.

Monday, 9 September 2013


This is part of the harbour where my parents' ashes are scattered. Last night I went for a walk and went by my mum's old apartment. There is someone else living there now. I haven't been back inside the building since I turned in her keys. I can't. Everything brings back memories.

Last night when I went to bed, I started crying. I still miss my mum. Not the sick mum who was suffering so much but the mum who would go for walks with me, who liked a dirty joke, who had such a wonderful sense of humor. I thought I was okay but I'm not. The black dog is back. I hate depression. It is a soul sucker.

I took myself down to the dog park this morning for an early morning walk.  I listened to the birds, spotted a procrastinating robin who has not yet left, watched the mist slowly evaporate as the sun rose.  Part of the river bank collapsed with the flooding we had this summer and there is now a sandbank part way out into the river where there was none before.  The leaves are turning color, gently falling to the ground. 

Even with all this beauty around me, I still miss her. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Tangle Creek Falls
I took down my previous blog a few weeks ago when my niece and nephew contacted me and accused me of cyber shaming their mother, my sister.  I regret that action now which is not unusual for me.  When I'm hurt I act impulsively to protect myself, like many I suppose.  What they wrote to me hurt me deeply.  My nephew in particular shocked me with the depth of his anger towards me.  At the end of their letters they assured me that they loved me.  Really?

They love me, but only if I act they way they want me to.  They love me but I must behave.  They love me but I am not allowed to say what I feel.  The story of my life I realized this morning.

My ex-husband loved me, if I behaved a certain way.  My parents loved me, if I would only do as they asked.  My family apparently loves me, with the above stipulations.  Fuck that!

Almost two years I met and fell in love with the big guy.  I don't know if I've ever explained why I call him the big guy.  He's six foot five.  He loves me.  He loves all of me, even the nasty bits, even the stupid bits, even the jiggly bits.  It's not easy being loved wholly.  I have no experience with it and I find it difficult at times.  I'm sure he does as well.  I can be prickly, moody, impatient, a drama queen and I often push him very hard because I am scared.  But I never doubt that he loves me.  Ever.

I was raised to not make waves, be nice, behave, shut up, sit down, stuff everything down deep inside.  Except I leak a fair bit.  All that stuffing tends to either explode out of me as anger or as tears.  But I don't want to live like that anymore.

Right now at work I am faced with a morally distressing situation.  A co-worker abandoned a patient, left the patient on the table and walked out on the patient and the doctor near the end of a procedure because she wanted to prove a point to management.  She was reprimanded by our manager but I still feel that it is my responsibility to report it to our college.  This has bothered me all summer.  What she did was wrong, it was inexcusable.  And the thought of reporting her, of putting my name of the complaint terrifies me because it will make waves, it will make work difficult, because she will be angry with me and her anger scares me.  She is a passive-aggressive bully and she scares me. 

I am so tired of being scared.  Is it really wrong to say something when somebody doesn't do their job?  Is it wrong to have standards? 

As for my family, is it wrong to say what I think and feel?  Am I not allowed to feel anger towards siblings who didn't want to help care for their mother?  Who wanted to put their mother in a nursing home rather than make their lives difficult for awhile?  They don't have to agree with me but I am allowed to feel my feelings dammit!

Monday, 2 September 2013


I am always in awe while in the mountains.  Water falls everywhere, rushing downhill towards the sea. The very same sea that we scattered my parents ashes in only two weeks ago.  It feels like the end of a chapter in my life.  Both of my parents are now dead, my duty towards them fulfilled.  And now?

Last week I walked beside a river and thought about my life.  I am more than mid-way through it which brought to mind a book I had read, although not finished, awhile ago.  "Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life" by James Hollis.  I picked the book up a couple of nights ago and started reading it again, determined this time to finish it.

I just read a bit about midlife crisis.

There are reasons why these disturbances frequently manifest at what we typically consider "midlife."  One has to have separated from the parents long enough to be in the world, to make choices, to see what works, what does not, and to experience the collapse, or at least erosion, of one's projections.  By this age, the ego strength necessary for self-examination may have reached a level where it can reflect upon itself, critique itself, and risk altering choices, and thereby values as well...To engage with the summons of our souls is to step into the deepest ocean, uncertain whether we will be able to swim to some new, distant shore.  And yet, until we have consented to swim beyond the familiar lights of the port left behind, we will never arrive at a newer shore.  For some the entry is gradual; others are pushed suddenly into deep waters. ( Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, James Hollis, Pg. 25)

I often wonder why it is that I am fifty years old and questioning everything I believe and think and do.  Why did I do the things I did?  Why did I believe what I did?  Why didn't I question things before now? 

It's time, once again, to start looking at myself.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Things I'm thankful for today.

We're home.
My parents have been laid to rest.
A lovely, long walk along the Athabasca River yesterday in Jasper.
I not only saw Angel Glacier at Mount Edith Cavell yesterday, I also saw a piece of the glacier fall.
Hiking in the mountains.
Homemade supper - portobello mushrooms, spinach, garlic and chicken in a cream and white wine sauce, served with pasta.
Time spent with my middle daughter, my son and his girlfriend.
Taking photos with the big guy.
Love.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, 15 August 2013




My sisters found my old blog, so I took it down.  To be honest, I didn't want them trolling through my life.  It's not like they've ever been interested before.

Things I'm thankful for today.

A glass of wine after work.
A holiday come Saturday.
Being ok with my mum's death, finally.  I've mostly stopped crying when I think about her.  Now I can remember good times.
My middle daughter is back in Canada, safe and sound.
I didn't respond in anger to some very angry emails from relatives.
A very good book, "The Mouse Proof Kitchen" by Saira Shah.
Warm weather.
And air conditioning.

What are you thankful for today?