What I Learned Today

It can be fun to cope with an aging brain.

These days, I find myself distracted by so many interests. It’s a real job to refocus.

I concentrate better by spending less time on Twitter.

However, I’m still a spinning head on a toothbrush.

An elderly friend of mine has been so sick. I hurried to her home yesterday, after picking up Boost, Ensure, Pedialyte, and more at Safeway.

When I arrived, we exchanged several hugs. She draped one arm over me while I set the brown bag on the counter. Ann pulled out the nutritional shakes. “Can you take this back then?”

My mouth fell open. I wasn’t taking anything back. I tried to cover a frustrated sigh, while tears welled at the back of my eyes. Without enough calories and nutrition, she was in big trouble.

Dealing with this stubborn friend is a feat and a half.

“Would you like a cuppa tea, Terry?”

“You bet I would,” I said smiling.

“You know I only have Tetley. I’ve gone off Red Rose completely now.”

She plugged in the kettle, while I opened the cupboard door. There was a soft clanging of saucers against their cups.

A few minutes later, we sat at opposite ends of the lumpy brown sofa. We sipped our hot drinks and chatted. I loved this part, listening intently, connecting lost tangents, and ensuring I spoke loudly enough. I felt the corners of my eyes crease as she told me all the details.

“So finally I asked my doctor, what about a mammogram? Aren’t I due for one by now?”

Ann’s eyes went wild with joy. “He reminded me that I am 80!” She burst out laughing. “Today I learned that when a woman turns 74, there are NO MORE mammograms. Isn’t that wonderful?”

I exaggerated a tantrum and stomped my feet, “I want to be 74 NOW!”

We laughed like school girls.

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#MondayBlogs – Cats and Writers

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” Robertson Davies

“A catless writer is almost inconceivable; even Ernest Hemingway, manly follower of the hunting trophy and bullfight, lived waist-deep in cats. It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.” Barbara Holland

“If a fish is the movement of water embodied, green shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.” Doris Lessing

“Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there. There were a great many of them who never grew old by the fire.” Stephen King

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” Edgar Allen Poe

“I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” Joyce Carol Oates

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A New Year to Give Thanks

Happy New Year, Dear Friends.

Like the last two years, 2018 was another tough one for many of us. I haven’t said much about that for me and had fallen silent of late.  I guess that’s because I have a tendency to close off when I’m deeply troubled. Aren’t we supposed to stay positive, feign anything but the sadness and fear we might feel?


I can’t afford to do that at all. Nor can I hold back my gratitude and love.

For this reason, I’m giving thanks today. My gratitude for life is lodged in my chest cavity. It’s a bit of a tight fit but I’m coping.  LOL.

Winter in Vancouver is a gorgeous time to walk. The evening cold snaps like green beans between my thumb and forefinger during dinner preparations. My steps are carpeted with soggy or snow-covered maple, beech, and birch leaves and my breath hangs in the air. These moments are exhilarating and spark hope in me.

Unfortunately, those walks are shorter now. Often they don’t happen at all. They cause me pain that’s excruciating. My body has the gall to yell at me day and night.

That situation has become scary. Apparently, I don’t take my health seriously enough. What a strange thing to see myself writing given I’m always looking for ways to partake in and explore all paths that might improve my well-being. I drive my room mate batty with my chats about health and exercise. I won’t say more about that right now.

It’s foggy today, which creates a mood of mystery and intrigue. When I was a kid, I watched lots of  vampire shows, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. I love suspense so much, I’m content to ride out this time, even when I feel incredibly alone.

My chest still feels tight, but I have a suspicion dehydrating and an infusion of endorphins will be the winning combo tonight. Exercise and a good sweat will help a lot.

Did you know Vancouver had a rainbow in the fog today on my grandmother’s 107th birthday? A fogbow? Fascinating.

PS: Suddenly my insecurity is wrestling with me. I’m not wanting to publish this. However, freshly inspired by @RachelintheOC’s #MondayBlogs post this morning, I won’t let it go. Here it is then, thorns, warts and all.

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The Holidays are Coming

Hi Everyone,

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.

I hope you had a great weekend and holiday.

I decided that no matter how late it is on any given Monday,
I would always send at least a message.

Being accountable to myself has become so important. I realized that
time can send me flying and then I wake up and find it is six months
or a year later.

I cannot let that happen anymore. These days are vital to me, as
is documenting them.

Life matters so much. I do not dare miss out.

I am so thankful for this gift and every other blessing that
sits before me.

I promise to make the best of them.

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This Week’s List

Spend at least an hour reading each day.

Choose and enjoy books and articles first as a reader.

Make notes on the second read if writing a book review.

Write like a fiend. Let the words spill out like coffee all over my papers.

Every 90 minutes, get up and move.

Walk. Dance. Row. Dust.

Brush Meeco. Get out of her path before she severs an artery in my leg. (Yes. She nips. I rescued her from a terrible home and she came away with this problem. I love her dearly and keep working with her daily on this problem.)

Fight negativity when it crops up. Don’t let the bastards win or jeopardize my well-being.

Remind people about glyphosate and share the story about DeWayne Johnson, the man dying of cancer who won a $289M award against Monsanto, and its deadly pesticide, Roundup. This is vital because it is in our food as well.

Share my thoughts any place they are welcome.

Listen carefully to everyone whose goal is to improve matters in the world–for women, children, all sex assault victims, and those alienated in society by economic and other disadvantages.

Some people will think I have a huge ego but I can’t control that. These points are simply what I must do and express each day. With that said, I will be able to fall asleep each night happy and satisfied that I put in a good day. I did my best.

Send love and support to Puerto Rico.

Keep watch over a dear friend’s posts. She is so near to receiving her Phd., she must feel exhausted, exhilarated, and occasionally wondering why she took on this task. Support her in any way I can.

Support all authors nationally and globally, especially the newbies with few connections and potentially little resources.

Express gratitude and thanks to every single person who is kind to me or others.

Be honest and fair.

Stay on my path and keep sending messages of care for my niece and her boys. I don’t know my other two nieces or sister.

Wish harm on no one.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Never Say, “Sh*t happens,” to a Survivor.

It is rude, insensitive, and totally offensive.

It negates the impact of brutal systemic crime on the lives of a child, adolescent or adult.

Anyone who minimizes criminal violence depicts the height of desensitization or compassion burnout. This is usually the reality for social workers, not average citizens.

It is like telling someone whose spouse, child or parent was murdered, “Get over it.”

It can take a multiple-trauma victim or survivor from zero stress to 100 in a few short seconds.

The last reason is why I cannot say more right now.

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When Sickness Prevails

. . . we have quotes.

“Everyone has his own story, and everyone could arouse interest in the romance of his life if he but comprehended it.” George Sand

“You have a responsibility to tell history because people forget history.”
Leslie Brody

“History is nothing more than a thin bread of what is remembered stretched out over an ocean of what has been forgotten.” Milan Kundera

“I go out of my way; but rather by license than carelessness. My ideas follow one another; but sometimes it is from a distance, and look at each; but with a sidelong glance … I love the poetic, by leaps and gambols ….” Michel de Montaigne

“Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?” William Stafford.

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Grrrl Chillin

Grrrl Chilling Studio by J.A. Kauppinen

As I sit down to write this #MondayBlog today, I realize I am late. However, I won’t worry about that. I’m getting one in long before Tuesday, which makes me happy.

Speaking of joy, I feel good today. Why am I happy, you ask? Especially when:

There are 540 fires burning in my province and, even in Vancouver, the air quality is BC’s worst in history and the worst in the world.

I am stuck indoors in hot temperatures (no air con) because I don’t want to risk endangering my health any more than it already is.

I would love a long walk in fresh air so much, I could exclamation mark my dear readers to death.

I wish I was younger and stronger and I could help those in distress.

I’ve hurt my back again. Ouch.

Our PM is keen on killing us with more disturbed earth by drilling here–even as peoples’ homes are being burnt to rubble and others struggle to breathe.

My rent has taken a $140 jump for September. Food prices are thru the roof and nobody else seems to talk about it.

Darling Meeco, my beloved feline, is freaking out because I won’t let her out in that dangerous air.

I’m happy because:

I got my hair cut. It was past my shoulders for the first time since I was a little girl. The cooling effect is amazing.

I’ll be a fan whisperer tonight, which is fun. For anyone who didn’t see my tweet yesterday, this is it:

“Right now, I am a fan whisperer. Nope. Not going crazy. My fan needs coaxing to get it spinning. I even hugged it, making sure to keep my perky bosoms out of its way (as Blanche Devereaux of #GoldenGirls would say). Aha! It works again! My hugs work miracles!”
10:19 PM – 19 Aug 2018

I feel hopeful. Except for my resources at the moment, I still feel as if I can change my life.

In fact, I do it every single day in ways I haven’t documented yet and that’s okay. Everything’s just fine.

I know in my heart that we are changing the world–through Rachel’s Thompson’s #sexabusechat on Tuesdays at 6 pm Pacific time, and #sayftychat, which I was invited to join this morning. I’m sure there are many chats and groups I don’t have knowledge of but will later.

Bit by bit, we move on and create new lives and realities for ourselves. I am never more certain of that than at this very moment.

Here’s to it, my friends! Never give up.

Signed, this
grrrl chilling

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In Honour of My Friend Who Is In Stage Four – One of Her Favourite Poets


Fear of seeing a police car pull into the drive.
Fear of falling asleep at night.
Fear of not falling asleep.
Fear of the past rising up.
Fear of the present taking flight.
Fear of the telephone that rings in the dead of night.
Fear of electrical storms.
Fear of the cleaning woman who has a spot on her cheek!
Fear of dogs I’ve been told won’t bite.
Fear of anxiety!
Fear of having to identify the body of a dead friend.
Fear of running out of money.
Fear of having too much, though people will not believe this.
Fear of psychological profiles.
Fear of being late and fear of arriving before anyone else.
Fear of my children’s handwriting on envelopes.
Fear they’ll die before I do, and I’ll feel guilty.
Fear of having to live with my mother in her old age, and mine.
Fear of confusion.
Fear this day will end on an unhappy note.
Fear of waking up to find you gone.
Fear of not loving and fear of not loving enough.
Fear that what I love will prove lethal to those I love.
Fear of death.
Fear of living too long.
Fear of death.

I’ve said that.

Raymond Carver.

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Woman on the Verge of a Meltdown

Four Savannah Kittens at Play. Photo: Michael Broad https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-broad/

I’m a woman on the verge because two seven-year-old cats rule my home, Paco, the half-Siamese below, and Teika in the second photo. In addition, my assertive move to combat this fiasco was to add four kittens to shift the power balance, to infuse some clear thinking on the subject. More cats will shift the impasse when the house votes on its grocery list each month. Less power to the presiding queens!

I’m a woman on the verge because I’m going to let that feline six-pack thread its way through my whole world. I will spend much of my day exhausted while chasing down their catnip toys, and untying the maze of yarn they dragged around and thru every chair and table leg, and extended to include three lamps and even my ankles. Frustrating. Still, if those beasts are out of my sight for two minutes, I will moan and wonder, “Just how DID the criminal get in and why would he or she steal my growing family?”

I’m a woman on the verge because, usually by that point, it would be snack time and I would shake a little catnip on my egg. This is to feign acceptance of my kids’ palate–who pay no rent, mind you–and to research the power of this trending green and vice, which sends hundreds to CatNippers Anonymous each year. Soon AETV will air its first show with a feline-trained therapist. Cheers, my fellow interventionists. We are all worthy trailblazers.

I’m a woman on the verge because I am a word lover. I am a writer who is enamored with language, yet I condemned myself to a persistent headache by never reacquainting myself with the word ‘assertive.’ It jumped at me yesterday when I fell on it courtesy of my obsolete Webster’s fifteen pound dictionary. I landed on the ‘a’ page and my right elbow was the compass guiding me. I read the definition aloud and my fur companions chortled at me. Loudly. I must say that the lack of respect in today’s pets is so disconcerting. Still, I must forge ahead to fulfill my journey.

I’m a woman on the verge because, since making mistakes like bathing my sweeties together, I’m fighting for any scrap of dignity and attention they throw at me. Wha-at? Only two bits of kibble? I’ll take it. I’ve been running on fumes for so many years that even a raised eyebrow is well worth it. You’re right. I don’t like liver and chicken delight. Never did. Wait. I don’t like catnip either.

I’m a woman on the verge because I never need the absolute certainty of things to make me act. When I’m busy hoovering up all that hair and scooping litter, I think and do whatever strikes my fancy without apology. This rule stands even if the object of my intrigue is a box of Meow Mix for the queens’ amuse bouche du jour. That is, unless I am trying to re-assume control of the bridge, so to speak. Okay. Okay. Fancy Feast it is then.

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