Friday, February 27, 2009

red wine to gladden your heart.....

He calls me "Grace" with a tinge of sarcasm and I call him whenever i want to go out back for a good laugh and a smoke or whenever I needed to have someone rein me in from my over reaction to the latest bizarre happening in the world of work. He has always been my second sober thought tied in with being my comrade in arms when it came to grasping onto the absurdity and hilarity of the living script which unfolds everyday in the frontlines. My God, we have laughed out back together with a couple of other folks who knew how to see it from our angle. ....until the tears came.....until we had to drag ourselves back inside for another go at it. But, with a lighter bounce to our steps.

For years, he would leave articles he'd purposefully photocopied for me to read on my desk. I'd often stand there with my coat still on glancing it over wondering just exactly why he had chosen a particular article, especially the New Yorker pieces slathered in dark humour like it was a puzzle piece of the portrait of how he perceived me. But then it finally dawned on me that it was because he enjoyed both the literary talent and the message and knew I would to. A affirmation of respecting my need for food for hungry brain. He knew.

He also knew before I did that I was searching for something more meaningful to anchor me. Before I had picked up a pen again, before I started this blog.......before I was even cognizant of my own desire to be open to seeking God in my life again, he would leave me articles written by his dear friend he endearingly calls "the Pope." He knew. And from there, I began a winding path back to writing again, but this time with a purpose of trying to understand where my faith roots are and what meaning do they have. Since then, our conversations are spiced not only with politics, world events, music, literature, sports and jokes.....religion is on the table again too.

Have you ever met someone from the Miramichi? Luckily for me, I know a few of these unique folks and every single one of them is a big bold expressive character. I don't know what is in the water up there, or what it is that has made them so lyrically eccentric....I think it may be a combination of irish lunacy and growing up surrounded by the realities of hard work survival, with a whole lot of musical and literary influences. You just never know where the conversation will take you....

There are more unique "sayings" which spill out of the mouths of a Miramicher than from any other region in this country. Most are not ones you'd hear yourself saying in church. But, my God, they make you laugh. My friend has this market cornered and I shake my head wondering how he has managed to get away with some of the things he says. People expect it, and yet he still manages to shock and titilate even the crustiest non smilers. They LAUGH and shake their heads in wonder! And when he's managed to ZING someone, I often was the one to hear the full story regalia from the Zinger himself...laughing at his own bravado!

There is a serious side of this man which blooms from his big heart and sense of justice. We have shared many a story of someone in need, be it a mutual friend or a family in crisis. I've seen his compassion, his generosity, his quiet way of touching someone to let them know they matter. He gives of himself in ways that touch deeply.......a dozen cookies baked the night before....a book he knows you will for a friend....a phone call. Quietly. No fanfare. That's how he conducts his life. That's how he likes it. And for fuck's sake, don't be gushing about it or you'll piss him off!

Today he retires. I knew it would happen one day. We've talked about it. But, sweet Jesus! It happened overnight and I can't believe he won't be sauntering into my office next week. TOO quick for me! Too quick for many.....but just right for him and that's what matters. I'm not allowed to make a fuss. No one is. There will be no fanfare. No fuss. That's what he wants. That's how he likes it. After more years than we have fingers and toes, he will pack up his stuff and thats it. In fact, I may have just ended up on his shitlist for blogging this. Oh well, I'll take it like a woman and stand up to his fury!

He calls me "Grace" with a tinge of sarcasm, and what do I call him? My dear friend. I love you and will miss you more than you know, my friend....but I look forward to our gut busting laughing chatty coffee chats post Saturday market jaunts on your front porch. Just next time, will you please put some clothes on when you answer the door? You can't expect an innocent lady like me not to look away now can you? And for God's sake, quit asking about cabbage patches!

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat, my friend.....may the road rise with you....and may red wine always, always, always gladden your heart.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


it can
steal away focus,
create internal conflict
shrug off moral reasoning
taste like warm nectar
leave a bitterness
catch your breath
tantalize thoughts
launch impulsivity
cry freedom
frighten a grown man
start a new journey
tamper with dignity
strip down integrity
be gloriously sinful

stir a curious woman
shower you with shame

make you crave
break your spirit
harmonize two minds
be the answer to a great mystery
spark a lost soul
generate energy
kick you in the gut
leave you wanting more.

temptation entices a wandering unanchored passion in need of affirmation. it spins control on its side, wrapping it in an alluring flame with mesmerizing dreams. it chokes discipline leaving it bruised and unable to swallow.
acting on one may alleviate the trembling ache of emptiness with the heat of fulfillment or it can fuel the heart with an unrelenting desire for more.
aren't you curious to know where your temptations will lead? I wonder whats just beyond that door??

Charlie's Angel....

Yesterday, as I found myself stopped at an intersection on the way home from work, I could see the flashing lights of a parked police car just ahead of me. There had been a fender bender....a bus and a car bumped. Though it could've been a tragedy, it was just a really big scare for the driver I'm sure. How do I know this when I was only a passing person? Because my friend Charles, bloggerman extraordinaire was at the scene (of course) snapping photos, interviewing the car driver, asking questions.

You'd think there were 12 Charles Leblanc's in this city moving about snooping, prying, celebrating, promoting, ranting, youtubing, talking, walking, politicing, blogging.....the man is EVERYWHERE! Yes, right in the thick of the accident scene up pops ADHD Charles wearing his bright blue and white winter jacket with BLOGGER embroidered on the back getting the dirt on the situation and before you know, zap....zoom....he jig jags through the traffic to get to the other side of the street while lighting a smoke.
My God, Charles you make me laugh! How do you do it???? You've got radar bits in that baseball cap of yours. honest to God, you don't miss a damn thing around here! And you know what??? Thank God for YOU. You keep things hopping and you stir up big pots of bullshit to make sure people can smell the rank of it. You make sure people know the beauty of this province, especially this city and you make sure people from all walks of life are recognized and applauded because they matter!! You have no qualms about showing off the warts and wounds of the ugly side of this community and because you do that, you make people THINK, and ask WHY!
One of the things I miss the most since my office moved to Siberia away from downtown is that every once in a while I would get a knock on my window from crazy man Charles to meet him out back for a chat....a la blogger style. Good conversations we had eh? Ah, but all off record. I miss the window knock...or just bumping into Charles and being introduce to an Irving, or a Cabinet Minister, or a local community member, outreach worker, journalist.....he knows them all...and they know him.....and sometimes....well OFTEN it seems, Charles and I know many of the same people and don't even know it until something serendipitous happens.

Tonight, Charles asked me to post this Youtube of a woman from Fredericton who composes and sings her own songs. He wants you lovely and talented people who read my blog to have a looksee and listen. The video was composed in one take off of Charles' trusty camera, so its a bit rough around the edges, but I do believe the song and the singer have some talent. But, I'm a bit biased. You see.....Charles didn't know this, but I know the woman. It was at least 3 years ago I think when we met and what happened during our conversation which last a couple of hours was a magical moment when grace lightly floated into my office. Right beautiful Sharon? I remember....and I think you do too. YOU are an angel.

It was a pleasure to hear her voice....I knew she was trying to find it again....... So, have a listen and let US know what you think. And Charles??? Thank you for asking me. It's my pleasure. You do much for many, besides drive people crazy. lol!
I highly recommend a trip to Monsieur Leblanc's busy blog to check out the photos and commentary which streams along like a current of activity. The link is on my sidebar......

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I spent the majority of my morning in a meeting. Normally meetings make my toes curl in my highcut go-go boots and my bum shapely ensconced in my power suit skirt wiggle in the chair. I rarely get comfortable sitting through a litany of items and believe it or not (big surprise here) I can't keep silent. Sometimes to stay focused, I write erotic poetry and draw penises on the printed agenda. Today, however, I was at a monthly meeting I enjoy attending. Why? Because it is outside of the ho-hum bureaucracy, right in the middle of community where life happens right in your face. I didn't draw a single do-hickey and i somehow stayed clear of words that rhyme with stuck....
ok...i'll get serious now.....

Once a month for the past few years, I have been involved with a group of women who work in the frontlines with individuals and families who are living in domestic abuse situations. This network of community based organizations and a few representatives from a couple of appropriate government departments and the university formed after we were invited to attend a workshop on the topic and realized we were all doing good work, but doing it in separate silos. When we began to consider how complicated and convoluted the maze of services must seem to someone who needs to access them and access them quickly, we decided to form a network in order to learn more about one another thereby being able to help someone in need more effectively. And it is working. If a person "enters" into the convoluted myriad of services through one agency but needs to access another, we now know who to call and how to help that person.

Two of us co-chaired the first two and a wonderful woman I got to know through this process who has run the Sexual Assault Centre in town....and for many years the only one in the province. Like any new group, we scrambled and stumbled a bit at the beginning before we could figure out a first year gameplan and some guidelines. The first bullshit. We meet for two hours once a month, the minutes are roughly taken by whoever pulls the short straw and not all anal retentively compiled and collated and sprayed with perfume. Key stuff is documented and distributed through email. No big whoop. The second guideline....keep the atmosphere relaxed in order to comfortably share feelings, concerns, ideas and information. Simple stuff, but warmly embraced by a group of women who just wanted to get to know one another in order to make sure the people in crisis who need the services are getting what they need.

Interestingly, the gameplan came out of the guidelines. The first order of business....sharing. For a year an a half, we all had a turn presenting information about ourselves, our career roles and backgrounds and the services our organizations provide. Because it was an open forum, we all felt comfortable speaking up, asking questions, gathering more information, offering suggestions and cleary, VERY clearly seeing the gaps in what our community was providing. And whenever we saw one, we tried to rectify it by inviting others to our network. For example, we realized very early that services for people living with mental illnesses weren't adequate for their needs when they found themselves in abusive situations and that many in the frontlines didn't know how to help them. We also realized that women and children of immigrant families, whose cultures and languages may be barriers to understanding the legal system, their rights in this country and then how to access the services when everything in the telephone book is written in English.

Since it's inception, we have created a directory for others to use and a flyer small enough to slip into a pocket or wallet with all the phone numbers of services needed for anyone who is being abused....everything from legal aid to safe housing.....from individual and family counselling to victim services. All of our offices and colleagues have copies of this to hand out. We've arranged for funding to begin providing outreach counselling and intervention services to rural areas in the region. We've shared the responsibility of facilitating various workshops to one another. My knowledge of the legal system is much more thorough than it was a few years ago, and it helps when I'm counselling someone who has just confessed to a life in hell and needs to escape it FAST. This spring, we are piloting group workshops for which will run in tandem....for Moms and their children....helping the Moms learn how to help their children process the violent experiences they have all endured.

All good stuff....
All good stuff.....

Our next project as we continue to spend two hours a month with one another (and doing much of the work in between.....) begins in May when we meet for a full morning to brainstorm the creation of a speakers bureau. Because one of the key aspects we have learned is that around the table sipping tea and coffee and swapping thoughts feelings and ideas is an amazing group of women who have a multitude of gifts and knowledge to offer to others. All ages, all backgrounds, all political and philosophical angles....are both official languages of this province and then some.

I get to lead this one. Can't wait to have a go at pulling out the ideas sitting quietly in everyone's noggins.....engaging them in a productive brainstorm that will include some serious talk interspersed with some good laughs to lighten it up. A speakers bureau......all having to do with Awareness.

good stuff....and it came out of a meeting. who knew THAT could happen.
ps.....just so you know...i don't own a power suit. i dress like a gypsy. it's much more fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

winter's dewdrops

"Etched as they are against the stillness, shapes that dance can evoke great beauty. Yet the stillness is never absolute: in waves and particles of light is the continual dance which adorns the countenance of the earth with colour. Music too breaks the silence and stillness through waves of sound. These are the vital thresholds where the wonders of beauty arise. The angel of these thresholds is the imagination."
John O'Donahue, Beauty, The Invisible Embrace
The fluency of icicles, formed in a moment of time when the temperature leans in melting limbo, capture our attention with their dangling defiance and their ever altering pointed tip shape. Surprised, caught off guard by flash freeze motion, these light catching shards decorate our staid architecture like frosting designs a cermonial cake. The difference? Ice art never remains the same. Like it's counterpart, the free flowing waterfalls, icicles continue to move. It's all in how we understand the concept of time.

In a place where white envelopes the landscape, where colour fades from existance under the stillness of February's death rattle, winter's dewdrops hang from our eaves daring us to smile again. Still life beauty behaves within the rich timeless stretch of eternity. It is my belief the winter faeries, with their frost wing tips and delicate touch have a hand in teaching us this otherwordly lesson of looking at time and beauty with more fluidity.

Or, is it just in my imagination?

Monday, February 23, 2009

faeries and river ghosts...

The valley slumbered through the snowiest night
Their reveries courting romance
Faeries gathered with giggly delight
Commencing their wintry dance.

Tiny wings sheened in a shivering icy glow
Frosting the land as they swayed
Fiddle strains emanated below
River music softly played.

Faeries flitted with flurry to dust the bare trees
Haunting sounds the river does swoon
Twirling and swirling together with glee
Under the cloudy absence of the moon.

Ice grew thick on the river below
Impressing with it's appearance of sleep
Blanketed by the fresh fallen snow
Stopped in its tracks, slumbering so deep.

With peace and tranquility they dusted the land
Faeries are content little things
But the river ghosts sent out their command
To listen to the words they ring.

Wake up! Be aware of the stories we share
You people who live by the shore
Fear not our dear friends, don't carry despair
We bring you warm tidings of comforting lore.

Poem written a couple of years ago and tweaked today...seemed appropos to accompany a few photos taken today....the snowiest day of the year.

grace in contemplation

This is the view from the hallway looking out the front door. Canada is no place to raise a wee lassie lapdog. oh, no.....not when one has to venture out through a snowdrift like this one... wee little purse dogs best be hangin' in warmer climes. If one has to tunnel through just to find relief....well one needs to be a brave and fearless dog from Labrador. Gracie is still out prancing and tunnelling....she has the street to herself. Ah, freedom from leashes!

both shots were taken a few minutes ago.... 40 cm of snow since last night and it's still coming down. More photos to come....just have to find the snowshoes....oh wait a minute! they are in the back of the VAN! maybe I'll just go put the kettle on and wait a bit.

looking in the window instead of out....

Our mind's eye,
captured by earthly hues of tangible landscapes,
stuck on skeptical yearnings
binded by ribbons of muted colours
never reaches the realm beyond intellect....
where wonder reflects streaking possibilities
where enlightenment relieves tired wisdom.

Our mind's eye,
sensitive to the image of awakening dreams
desirous of leaping elysian light
filtered through a prism of
peace, calm, divine silence....
thirsts for clarity from a parched soul
fatigued by the constant barrage of unresolved anxieties

Light does not end. It does not sleep.
It rests, held hostage by mortal angst....
by worry, distress...
by hardened sensibility...
It awaits illuminance,
ignored by an unsettled conscience.
It glows within the darkness of the mind's eye
like hypnotic sirens languishing in a lullaby

Light's humility wants to shine its spectral rays onto new ways of knowing, feeling, seeing. Images remain faded and aged, unless we learn to untie ourselves from our old ways of doing. Ironically, the key is to stop trying so damn hard.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


A little over a year ago, 7 players from the Bathurst High School basketball team were killed in an accident on the way home from a game. The were riding in the van driven by their coach who survived. His wife did not. His daughter did. These are the bare boned facts of a tragedy which threw loved ones, friends into a pit of despair and mourning so soulfelt that every single person in this province and many across the country weeped for them.

The province of New Brunswick is a small community. There are only 700,000 or so people who call it home. That's the population of a medium sized city on a global scale. Even though the city of Bathurst, located on the north shore is 250 km away from Fredericton, it's nothing for one team to play another. If you want the competition, you've got to submit to doing a lot of driving on the weekends.

Consequently, the boys who played on the Bathurst High School Phantom basketball team were known by their peers in almost every single high school in the province. Not only that, many of them played against one another on the soccer pitch or the baseball field too. Our kids took this to heart. Our kids last winter hurt deeply over the tragedy, as did the coaches, the parents, the siblings, the friends. We lost 8 beautiful people who somehow, despite the distance felt like they lived on our own street. The Phantom basketball team shut down after the tragedy. It was too painful to even consider carrying on.

I never wrote about this story. Many did. But, for some reason I didn't feel that it was my story to write. It felt like an intrusion on their privacy? I don't know, but something stopped me. However it didn't stop me from thinking about the survivors, the mourners, the city of Bathurst many times over the year, wondering how they were managing to heal, to move remember without it suffocating. I thought long and hard about them last Sunday when I was driving home from my own son's basketball game in Sussex on a highway thick with slushy snow and freezing rain.

Basketball is a big sport in a country where indoor pursuits are needed in the middle of winter. Like hockey, basketball is quite organized....many kids play through the YMCA system like my son and continue on with school teams. The University is big in the sport. Hoops are found on most streets right alongside the nets for road hockey. This is the time of year when tournaments kick in as does the travel.

Just down the road from where I live, the Provincial championships were played yesterday. Turns out the Bathurst High School Phantoms were there, including a young lad named Brad Arseneau who had survived the crash. It was decided last fall to get a team together at the school to complete at the AA level. Most of the starters are only in Grade 10....15 and 16 years old. Turns out this Phantom team despite the odds, and all the emotions tied into the still fresh history of the school managed to win 26 games in a row in order to make it to the provincial finals.

A bit of a miracle, the media has called it. No doubt....resiliency, love, support and determination made this miracle happen....

Just last week, another crisis hit home. Their head coach collapsed during a practise and was sent to Montreal for tests. Other staff took over with the support of the team and family. And for moral support, hundreds of classmates, family, teachers and friends made the trip from the north shore, 250 kms to Fredericton to cheer them on. The gym must've been a sea of black and red, the Phantom colours. The air was most definately filled with familiar sounds of the game, the songs, the shouts, the clapping and encouraging chants.....the hearts and minds of everyone on both the game being played yesterday and the unbelievable loss.

They won. They beat the Campobello Vikings 82-50. Wearing his friend Nathan's number 7 on his jersey to honour him, Brad Arseneau scored 25 points in the winning game. He was named Most Valuable Player. Sometimes the right thing happens......God bless him. God bless them all.

Shiny happy faces on this never felt this way before.
***My good friend, Charles was there LIVE and in person covering the event as he does many events in this a crazy man blogger. He took many wonderful pictures throughout the b-ball game. I welcome you to check it out and while you're at it, please say hi to him. I promise he won't bite back. *****

Thursday, February 19, 2009


the view from inside......

The snow is swirling like a wailing banshee in flight and we're all tucked in for the night in this corner of the world. I've got a dog by my feet, a cup of tea within reach and Steve Martin playing bluegrass banjo tunes with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is in the background. How much more could I want? It was that wild and crazy guy who once suggested we give every depressed person a banjo to play because you can't stay depressed if you're playing a happy travelling tune. It sets the atmosphere for some lighter writing........

My new blog friend, Irish Heather, aka "mouthy irish woman," who wears her honest feelings right out on her sleeve, tagged me to answer a few here i sit ready to tackle ready to read them?

1. What are you wearing right now? The outfit I wear when I'm blogging of course.... My black tight fitting mini dress, midnight sheer nylons, high heeled shiny leather boots.... sure eh? I do own those things but I ain't wearing them. What I'm really wearing? my red plaid flannels and my crocs with fake jewels on them....and a bright green and pink tulip quilt covering me. 'right cozysexy!

2. What is your biggest fear? Drowning, followed by painting my toenails. That scares the shit out of me.

3. Who is the last person you hugged? Believe it or not, my boss!

4. What was the last item you bought? a small bouquet of flowers for a client I met with in the hospital this afternoon. He's been an in-patient for over 4 months now and I wanted to bring him a little bit of spring for his room. My God, he is so ill! Send him a little prayer will you??

5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Here, there and everywhere! My number one choice right now though is to attend the Greenbelt festival in the UK in August. I'd like to go to Alaska too.

6. If you woke up tomorrow and were a boy, what is the first thing you would do and why? I would SCREAM! Then, I'd adjust myself and go drink milk from the container.

7. Has a celebrity haircut ever influenced your own hairstyle? hmmmm....yes...Billy Ray Cyrus? noooo.... ...Dorothy Hamel comes to mind....she's that Olympic skater from WAY back? I actually change my hairstyle quite often though it hasn't been long for a while.

8. Last movie I watched? Happy Go Lucky....oh, wait a minute...I fell asleep on the couch.... oh, I know it was that Brad Pitt starting old and getting younger movie. It totally creeped me out.

9. If you had a whole day to yourself, with no work, commitments or interuptions what would you do? Without hesitation.............I'd go shopping, to the dentist and then spend the rest of the day cleaning the bathroom. If I had time, I'd throw in a couple of loads of laundry, make dinner and mop the floors. After that, I'd head out to a karaoke bar to drink margaritas and sing Beyonce tunes....."All the single ladies, all the single ladies...."

10. If you were to win the lottery what would you do with the money. BLOW IT on cosmetics and sex toys...wouldn't everybody?

11. What was the last gift you received? When I got home from work last night a package from Paris was sitting in the hallway waiting for me (the contents in the picture below). It was from my friend Tara over at Paris Parfait. It appears I won a draw she held. It made me smile all over..... And if you are looking for an insightful, creative, colourful, thought provoking blog, may I highly recommend you visit Tara's blog. She's a gem.

12. What do you want written on your tombstone? My, how she loved to dance.....

Thanks for askin' Irish Heather. That was fun and timely....I needed to flip on the silly switch. BTW, if you havent noticed? I changed a couple of the questions....hope that was kosher. Oh, and here are some flowers just for you. They are part of my Valentine's bouquet....have a sniff!

blown to bits

When trust is missing, intent is assumed to be negative.
Can two people ever return to a place of trust when it goes missing or will there always be residue? How does one let go of the negative feelings and thinking in order to move away from the festering soreness? Is it possible to forget? We may be able to forgive on one level, but do we ever forget? The scars run deep especially if the betrayal pushes the boundaries of what we hold dear....of what we value.
As someone who seems to trust quickly and then gets burned, this is one of the more painful processes I experience. I don't think I'm alone though. I think we've all been punctured by that barbed wire.
The photography theme this week at Carmi's Written Inc is "busted".... I can't think of anything more painful than a busted friendship. It is also the theme this weekend for Sunday timely is that prompt!! For more trust related posts, check out the can trust them...cross my heart!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

worship is living life

An unchartered path on the frozen water of Grand Lake
Faith takes us to a place
where we stake our destiny
on the truth of invisible reality,
Abraham Heschel

Not just for an hour each week sitting on a hard pew.....the stakes are too important to leave the rest of the week an uncharted destiny. Faith is in the worship of living life surrounded by others in the communities we where we live.

Most of the time, we rarely think about what our personal faith looks and feels like or how our destiny is going to play out. We're busy living out loud performing tasks, running errands, paying bills, working, engaging with others, getting stuff done. Thank God for that because if we were to be drawn into the rhythm of the traditional meditative process of reflecting on seeking truth and enlightenment, we'd all be behind on our bills. We may be able to come closer to a truer blissful state of "eternal conciousness" .....yes, we'd have that going for us as Bill Murray states in Caddyshack, but this planet only needs a few greenskeepers. The rest of us have other responsibilities to tackle.

Veiled as we live out our everyday ordinary days, enlightenment pokes through as doubt and affirmation, dismissal and confirmation, addition and elimination. It is found in the doing. It is felt in the multitude of emotions we experience every single day. To lift a line from Van Morrison's songbook, it's revealed while "making your own reality." We just have to believe in taking a leap every now and then that our faith will be there as the invisible hand there to guide us along.

Faith is the earth and clay we walk on, in the air we breathe, in the apparitions which seep down from the storm clouds. Faith is found in the face of a friend, and in the colour of the creeping landscape. It sits in the corner of an alleyway we walk by every single day. It hovers in the cavalry of broken dreams and in the hopes of newly formed ones. It sits as the silent sniper before daybreak, and dances with you in the blur of success.

Most of what happens in life will not make logical sense. So often we throw out the "WHY" question into the cosmos and it echos like footsteps in a desserted cavern. It may sound really cool, but it never returns with a solid reply. Instead, the echo lingers like the end of the piper's last note and it leaves us wondering........what next?

what next indeed.....let's hope it's a really brilliant new tune.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

no longer waiting....

I will be more than grateful to see the sorry ass of this particular day and its only half over. Hoping and wishing on a star, I was for the past couple of weeks to hear the sweet smiling words..."I'm calling to offer you the position........" The signs were all there to feed my hope. Good energy in the interview and a mutual feeling that I fit in with this crew. Unbelievable positive feedback after many of my answers (that's never happened before...usually interviewers are so anal that they keep their heads down and write like crazy people to capture every flipping word you express so as to cover their butts come decision time....oh, and to compare them afterwards once the candidate has left the building...SPENT) I heard things like

"wow, you nailed it"
"great answer. you were able to pinpoint the specific issue"
"yes, that's a counselling theory we rely on here too...great!"

I had them smiling, laughing, engaged.......lots of nodding in agreement. When I shared my secret as to why I love counselling so much (the counsellor always seems to gain insight and new learning just as much or even more than the client....) I received 4 smiling nodding responses because it was their secret too!!!

After the interview, I was invited to have a tour of the office. I was introduced to all the other staff....chatted with them for a bit. Twice when being introduced, they told their colleague that I had just completed an "amazing" interview.

One of my references was contacted and was so wonderful and excited for me....he gave me a glowing reference. I received an email explaining that the selection process was taking longer than anticipated and "thank you for my patience..." can see why I thought........this may unfold as I would like. I just may find a new home where I could ply my two two gifts I have to offer this crazy planet.....counselling and facilitating.

Ring, ring........."unfortunately we have decided to go in another direction and have offered the position to someone else....."

And what direction might that be? And could I get some feedback on why I wasn't chosen? WELL, these questions made them very uncomfortable. I was told I caught them off guard with my questions. I was told to email any questions I had and they would be more than happy to respond. You call someone who was obviously in the running right until the end when some kind of twist was thrown into the mix with a generically packaged "good news/bad news" bullshit and don't expect to hear that the unlucky candidate has some questions??? Of course I want to know why I didn't get the job!! Of course I want an explanation as to how I could've read the whole process wrongly! I want to know where I screwed up, so I can learn from it and move on!!

So...the waiting is over. I flooded my office with gulping angry tears and burbling face is all patchy and red and puffy. But, I'm fine. Why? Because the waiting is over. I'm not in stall mode anymore. I HATE stall mode. My creative brain is NOW open again to take a few other ideas off the shelf and continue on.
But, more importantly....much more importantly,......a wonderful group of colleagues and my caring supportive supervisor rushed into my office and hugged me and listened to me try to burble things out.....and shed a few tears with me because they felt so badly. I was told I was loved and valued. And in the middle of my little personal crisis, a beautiful friend held my hand and said a prayer for me....asking God to help me figure out how to settle and how to recognize how valued I am.

In a government office........not typically one envisions an office eh? I love it.

It wasn't meant to be...for whatever reason it wasn't meant to be.....

To everyone out there who had the fingers, eyes, toes and legs crossed for me I want to thank you for that. I can't tell you how wonderful it made me feel..... Today, when I emailed my blogger friend, breadbox....aka....."N." who has been with me everyday asking and wondering and sending me upbeat encouragement, he suggested I listen to a favourite anthem of his I too love as well. My husband sent me the link to the following youtube version of Stan Rogers' inspiring song, The Mary Ellen Carter.... I watched the video which includes a terrific story at the beginning told by a sailor whose ship turned over in a storm and how he survived it....and I could FEEL the zip, zap and bouncy buzz fill back into me again..... Oh my God! How can you not feel the energy return listening to lyrics like these.....

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
And life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend.
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Enjoy Stan Rogers....Canada's beloved singer/storyteller who died tragically in 1983 in a plane crash..... his big booming voice and inspirational lyrics carry on..


thank you Neil for suggesting I revisit this. thank you Jamie for sending it to me.

Is it happy hour yet?

Monday, February 16, 2009


thirst quenching....

human touch
a caring voice
an answered prayer


new learning
loving like you've never been hurt
music and lullabies
peace of mind
human touch
creative expression
a prayer acknowledged

physical fulfillment.......

a safe haven
a good nights sleep
human touch
stress alleviated
physical and spiritual connectiveness
unconditional love
dancing like no ones watching
a pair of shoes
peace of mind
the sound of music
meditative prayer

What needs are essential in your quality world?

Where does beauty fit in?
Is it a need?

What happens when our needs are not met?

Is what you are doing, thinking, and feeling
getting your needs met?


To Be























left alone



to be loved.

what do YOU want?
Is what you're doing getting you what you want?

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Your ship to come in

The tides to roll out

The winds to change

The sky to turn blue

A change of scenery awaits...

For .....

a full moon

precious time

a dashing rescuer

a clean break

the right moment

a rainbow to appear

a wink from the cosmos

springtime anew

an escape hatch

more money

less stress

a clear head

a sign from above

an omen

a friend

a flip of a coin

the right words

luck to change

a new job

the phone to ring.

For the stars to align.....

What are YOU waiting for?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

song for a winter's night

Gordon Lightfoot's musical repetoire spans forty years and includes many brilliant songs of love and longing. Also known for his social activism and love of the history and terrain of this country, Lightfoot is Canada's version of Pete Seeger. His roots are folk. His songs have been sung by many legendary artists including Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Sylvia and Ian Tyson.

His timeless lyrics and melodies are woven into the fabric of this vast country. Many many people who learned how to play the guitar were inspired by a song, a melody, a story Lightfoot had penned. Sung around campfires, listened to in the warmth of our homes, embraced as the Canadian troubadour, his songs express emotions we sometimes have a tough time finding the words to attach to them....

As a child, I recall many late afternoon drives home from the ski hills after a day of skiing listening to "If you could read my mind...." or Canadian Railroad Trilogy or Sundown....or Early Morning Rain, his beautiful song of yearning for a love. Memories and pictures fill my head whenever I hear him on the radio, or someone else singing one of his classics. A new generation of Canadian musicians have embraced the songs.....I heard Sam Roberts today singing Early Morning Rain and fell in love with the song all over again.

We almost lost him a couple of years ago......very ill and in a coma for 5 weeks, he somehow managed to rally and recover. Since then, he put out his 20th album and toured across Canada....His voice is not as strong. He has mellowed with age too. But, he continues to do what his loves.....and we are all the more inspired by his gutsy determination to carry on sharing his gifts and creative genius.

Song for a Winter's Night, sung here by the ethereal Sarah McLaughlin, is to me the most beautiful Canadian love song Gordon Lightfoot every wrote. It captures the essence of this time of year in the desire to feel the warm intimacy of love.


Happy Valentines Day, even to the miserable f***s out there in blogland.....oh, you know who you are.

ps...please excuse the corny pictures on the video. they are enough to make me gag. It was the clearest version of the, listen with your eyes closed. :)

in spite of ourselves.....

Hands down, the ultimate love song. Happy Valentine's Day to my big door prize. May we end up sitting on a rainbow kicking back and howling at the moon.


love and music

love always has a personalized soundtrack which heightens the thin air intimacy felt in the pinnacle of its beauty.
music feeds the efflorescence of romance by enhancing emotions with tripping heartbeats.
a shared song stops a moment in time.
it is the static woven in the electricity of two.
it paints love with soft sensual strokes of tenderness.
its melody threads desire with the dance.
and, as the years go by, one song can embrace shared nostalgic joy like nothing else can.
can love ever be without the accompanied seductive harmony?

on this, the day of all things lovely.......i wonder which songs are on your love playlist?
which song seduces the sparkling romantic in you?
what do you consider to be the greatest love song?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

emotional manipulation disguised as.....

"One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. But, an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome." (pulled off a cyber-conversation thread on emotional abuse happening on the net tonight)

We are more apt to be clear about our physical boundaries, but for some reason we are tentative to put forth the emotional ones. Why is that? By the time we figure out we're dealing with someone who initially makes you feel needed, wanted, loved but really has ulterior reasons in developing a relationship with you, you've lost the chance to set the boundaries. The process seems so straightforward, but it is far from that.

Dealing with someone who uses the vulnerability card confuses and smears the lines. Interacting with a human being who plays with your feelings is like taking part in a mind blowing game of russian roulette. You try to get out of it, and the finger pointing anger reveals itself....anger which simmers with revenge as well as a complete refusal to take any ownership in the breakdown of the relationship. Sometimes the act is disguised as the silent treatment.

When things begin to unravel in one of these unhealthy soul destroying relationships, the emotional manipulator with bend and twist and try to pull others into the foray. They will avoid taking any ownership by denying, lying and turning the tables onto the other person....they will try to lay the blame anywhere but on their own laps by playing the guilt and shame cards. WHY? What are the unmet needs of a person who acts this way?


Love and Belonging?

Empowerment and control of life?

Displaced revenge?

Unhealthy coping mechanisms?

Poor self esteem...?

Doesn't know any better because they grew up in a co-dependent emotionally abusive environment?

It really depends on the individual's personal unresolved conflicts, past relationships, and heavy baggage that is brought into new relationships. The goal to fulfill unmet needs always depend on the crap from the past. And you know what, these people are vulnerable and its the last feeling they want to feel....they seem to do everything in their power not to feel vulnerable, not to be ignored, forgotten, offended, or manipulated themselves. Like a bully, the manipulator hates to have it applied to them. Manipulators are bullies. They just look and feel differently than the traditionally accepted view of a bully.

When I was in high school, I dated an emotional manipulator. After a year of dating, he fell ill with anxiety and depression. It wasn't the first time, though it was the first time since I had been around. His mental health decline was so debilitating he couldn't attend school. He could hardly get out of bed. Medication and counselling intervention kicked in again and this reality sent him reeling into a deep sense of failure. His parents, especially his mother was desperate to pull him out of the spiralling and turned to me to help him. I was 16 years old.

Everyday after school, I walked to his house to spend time with him, and to complete both my homework and his. And everyday, I was met at the door by his mother who shook with fear and anxiety....who would share her relief with me......and say things like...."thank God, you're here. Maybe you can pull him out of this." For two hours every day for months, I sat by his bed and listened to him describe to me how suicidal he he thinks of killing he had dreamt about shooting himself in the head. Then, the emotional swing of the axe would fall.

"I don't know what I'd do if you broke up with me." He said this over and over....sometimes packaged in different wording, but always the same message.

I felt like I was responsible for making sure he survived. I was trapped...pulled in....a mess. Thank God at the time I was able to get away for the summers to work at a children's summer camp. It saved my sanity.

It continued for a whole year until one day when my father saw me crying on the phone trying to break it off, he took the phone from me and hung it up. Then he asked me what i wanted to do. I told him I wanted to break up with him, to get away from him. And in three magic words, my burden of keeping this person alive was taken away from me...."Then do it." This of course came after my family and my friends supporting me, listening and worrying about how it was impacting me. I was blind to most of it, though I ended up with gastritis and other ailments.

He's still alive. He never married, never had children. He works and runs marathons. I think he has a motorcycle. Every once in a while I hear about him through my high school friends and it always makes me feel kind of sick. I had an update just last week. Even though its been years and years and I live far away from where I grew up, I was still completely creeped out.

He was the first of several people I've encountered since whom I seem to gravitate towards. By no means are they all male. In fact, some of the "best" emotional manipulators are female. It doesn't happen as intense as the very first time.

I learned a lot from it and I think some of the reasons why I went into the field of counselling can be linked to this intense experience. However, every once in a while, I get caught in a web. The boundaries aren't in place, and all of a sudden the vulnerable "whoa is me" messages begin to be layered with manipulative messages. It always hurts when I recognize that it has happened again, but by then I'm in the web and it's a messy pull out.

There's not much I can do about the other person. I can't change them. Like anyone in this situation, I can only change how I respond, on how I handle myself by reflecting on what it is in ME which leads me to fall into these type of relationships. Unfortunately there is always a lot of messy fallout where guilt and shame based stuff gets tossed about.

I've got a lot to learn because obviously i'm getting some of my own twisted needs met as I actively play a role in these unhealthy friendships.

It makes every male feel small.....

I don't know what it says about Canadians, but our greatest landmark just happens to be one major phallic symbol. Yes, we are not ones to hide our national family jewels. Standing tall and er, er erect, the CN tower looms largely dominant on the horizon of Hogtown, aka Toronto the good. In fact, wherever you go in the city all you have to do is look UP and there it is, uncovered and kind of boasty.
The above shot I took on the ferry heading to Toronto Island last summer.....To the left of it, the white humpy thing? That's the home of the mighty Toronto Blue Jays......the Skydome. Silly name really given that it looks shrimpy beside the mighty warrior. In actuality, it is quite a large stadium, holding 60,000 people or so (I'm guessing because it rarely sells out these days.)

One of my all time favourite things to do is to attend a baseball game when we're back in the big city. Of all of my accumulated passions, it is the longest running. I was weaned on the game. The first song I learned was "Take me out to the ballgame..." My earliest memories are sitting in the stands with my Mom eating Crackjack and watching my Dad play third base.

For years, I played first base and hit first in the line-up. I can still throw hard, catch about anything and hit it into the outfield. As for my knowledge of the intricasies of the game many call a religion? Try me. It most certainly helps to know a thing or two about knuckleballs, sliders, line drives, golden glovers, pine tar, suicide squeezes and the infield fly rule when you want to have a chat with the boys at work.
It most certainly impressed my husband when we were doing the courting dance.....that and the fact that my Dad had Blue Jays season's tickets! One of the first presents he bought me was a new glove. Honest to God. First were the flowers bloomingly beautiful and delivered after our first date, then a copy of The Idiot by some famous Russian guy (I never managed to get through that one!!) and the third gift.....the one that lasted? A supple leather glove for his little southpaw (me). Ah, love......
Anyways.....the above and below shots of the mighty phallus we lovingly call the CN Tower were taken in between the unfolding action on the field at a Jays game last summer.
As soon as the sun started to head south, the national colours appeared, outlining it's best bits. There's no getting around the intrusive thoughts on what the lovely red glow conjured up. Remnants of from Canada Day of course.
Yes, what more could a gal want.....base running, homeruns, men in uniforms swingin' and a slidin', a view of a perpendicular structure standing tall up into the heavens and the constant cry of "Hot Dogs, popcorn....get your penis here!" I was hearing it right wasn't I? oh.....I've just been informed that it's peanuts.....hmmm....peanuts.

See the red ring? Just above that is the revolving restaurant. I've never had dinner up there, but have travelled up the side in the whooshing elevator several times to the lookout level just below. It's both an amazing experience (albeit really overpriced) and an amazing view of the city and of Lake Ontario. There's nothing like being way UP there looking down at the world in motion. Yeah, it's a bit of a rush....a 'right sexy turn on you could say.

or not....

This week's theme at Carmi's place is UP! Carmi, I couldn't help myself....had to take a Tower swipe at it. Check out other photo themes by heading HERE..........

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

whiskey soaked ancient peace

A deep baritone lament hung in the hollow of his silence. It reverberated through the timbre of his confused thoughts as he lifted the glass of whiskey to his lips. Alone, sitting soundly in his leather chair at a time when the rest of the world seemed fast asleep, he wondered where his life was going to take him. So many pressures, so many complications piled up all around him that he found it almost impossible to drive a wedge through to sunlight.

Today, he closed his shop for good. He never thought he'd see the day. Today, he left his passion on top of the last pile he swept up off the floor and when he walked through the door for the last time, he felt beaten down. Left without a map, he knew he was stepping into what felt like an abyss. Or maybe it was perdition......his soul felt detached from his body. Where had he gone wrong, he wondered for the thousandth time as he swallowed deeply? How had this happened?

He felt numb. His only wish was to soften the numbness drink enough to drive his anger, his grief, his sorrow far enough away so that there was room to find a resting place where that ever elusive tranquility hung. But, it seemed like that blue water tranquility was only a mirage.

He hadn't felt relief in months and it showed in the dark circles under his eyes, in the haunting settled in his eyes. Others relied on him to be the provider, to be the anchor and here he was adrift, floating aimlessly in swift currents. Failure....failure.....he felt like a complete and utterly broken man. And the only thing he could think of were his desire to escape. He wanted to run away. Rock bottom and alone, he had to shore himself up to stay and face the music.

As he grabbed the bottle and poured himself another full tumbler, the night began to swallow him whole. His thoughts rushed together like a head on train crash. The sound, a combination of clashing cymbals and the high pitched of metal on metal brakes felt like it hit the front of the inside of his head with a wild cacophony of fear. Tinnitus of the spirit. It made him feel sick to his stomach. The only thing he could think of was to sit in the silent soaked in regret. There was nothing to look forward to in the morning.....nothing that couldn't be done on any other day. He felt so far removed from the rest of the world. The thought of seeing himself sitting on the sidelines while everyone else got up and went to work, school....destinations.....made him feel so shivery alone.

Lost in complete self-absorbed mourning, he neglected to hear anyone enter the room to turn on the stereo. All of a sudden, music was playing softly through the dark tunnel he was sitting in. It was a melodic comforting hymn which instead of disrupting his thoughts, fell into them with a soothing balm.....he recognized the voice and the song....and could feel it's aural massage lifting him out of himself. He could hear his breathing deepen in a calm. Instead of thinking of his situation, he began to pull himself into the tune.

Beside the garden walls,
We walk in haunts of ancient peace.
At night we rest and go to sleep
In haunts of ancient peace.

The love and light we seek,
The words we do not need to speak,
Here in this wondrous way we keep
These haunts of ancient peace.
Let us go there again
When we need some relief
Oh, when I can't find my feet
When I need rest and sleep.

The Sunday bells they chime
Around the countryside and towns
A song of harmony and rhyme
In haunts of ancient peace.
The holy grail we seek
On down by haunts of ancient peace.
We see the new Jerusalem
In haunts of ancient peace.

Oh, when I can't find my feet
Oh, when I need some relief
One more time again.
You know I want to go there one more time again.
Be still in haunts of ancient peace.

"Be still," whispered the voice in the room. "Be still and let me sit with you. Let's share a glass of whiskey friend. You are not alone....."

The broken man leaned over and poured the stranger a glass and handed it to him in silence. When he looked up at him however, even through the darknight, he could see the man's face.....saw a friendly smile, felt his calmness, saw the familiarity in his caring eyes. He took in the soft light which seemed to emanate kindness and love all around the stranger. Strangely, the encounter seemed like a natural happening, not an invasion of his home. Rather, it felt like a meeting between two old friends.

The man invited the stranger to sit down in the chair next to him, but the stranger chose to sit quietly on the rug in front of the man. As the music played on like soothing bathwater pouring in the background, the stranger whispered....

"Tell me your sorrows.....let me help you carry them."

Within the loving trust between two, the man sat and wept. Jesus, leaned forward, put his hand on the man's knee and wept too.

The words we do not need to speak,
Here in this wondrous way we keep
These haunts of ancient peace.
Let us go there again
When we need some relief
Oh, when I can't find my feet
When I need rest and sleep

be still........

the night will soon turn to dawn.

ps. the lyrics and song by Van Morrison...a hymn which always helps me find my own stillness