Saturday, April 18, 2015

Purposeful Synchronicity

My house and car keys
Two empty egg cartons
All in a handy canvas tote bag

All in the possession of the ‘egg lady’
Me ~ about to leave work
She ~ across town.

The purpose of cell phone technology is clear.
Call for help and hope the call doesn’t get dropped

Synchronicity in timing, location and the kindness of my friend 
re-united me with my keys and let me into my home.
(I at least had a spare car key in my purse - so I could get home!)

“Synchronicitymeans a ‘meaningful coincidence of 
outer and inner events that are not themselves causally 
connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’. 
~ Marie Louise von Franz

Friday, April 17, 2015

Natural Designs

The scene from this digital window is lovely. 
Wide blue waterfront, 
gauzy clouds draped over distant mountains. 
Daffodils, budding branches reaching for spring and high in the sky a lone seagull. 

Blue upon blue
Reflections of cloud drift
Slate gray piney crags

Natural architecture suited to any form of life 
Whether in the watery deep
Soaring treetop to treetop
Creeping through the land beneath our feet

Humankind’s architecture ~ 
merely humble or grand redesigns of what has already been.

“I don’t divide architecture, landscape and gardening; to me they are one.”
~ Luis Barragan

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Ordinary. It was just the very ordinary look of her face, her hairstyle, the way she walked. Well maybe not her walk. Her shoulder’s bowed, she didn’t quite shuffle but walked stiffly, head down and even from the back she looked beaten and sad. Even her name was ordinary. Jane. Not Jane Doe at least, but Jane Brown. An ordinary Jane. Sad and yet hopeful. So very hopeful. It was her daughter that called to her. Not literally, but in her look when she saw her mother ‘in her cups’ again, or trembling so badly she couldn’t even hold her cup of coffee to her lips. The pained and worried look on her husband’s face. Her own mother’s set jaw to see her daughter sliding far too quickly down a slippery, rocky slope. And there was the new grandchild to be born. Her son and daughter kept hinting that as long as she was not ‘clean and sober’ - how she hated that phrase - she would be unable to see her first grandchild.

This was her second, or was it her third, attempt to find sanity and purpose in sobriety. It didn’t matter. She was going to stop this time and for good. She didn’t really have much of a plan, but she had a team of people supporting her, and friends that would be honest with her, take her by the hand and lead her carefully over the rocks.  Jane Brown wanted to answer her family’s call - and the call of her own heart. Jane wanted to belong again, to live again. As she walked away from me, I saw her straighten, her head up and her step become stronger.

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, 
but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”
~ Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Across the Water

As colourful and restless as butterflies, bright float homes on Fisherman’s Wharf 
decorated with whimsy, are moored on wide boardwalks while delicious aroma of hamburgers and enchiladas wrap round laughter and visiting.

On a windy, sunny afternoon across the water 
at the entrance way to Victoria’s Inner Harbour
miles high clouds dwarf graceful and structured condominiums. 
Neighbourhoods built with purpose and design.

“Home is any four walls that enclose the right person.”
~ Helen Rowland

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review - The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris

Ouch!! Many reviews on this book by Tilar Mazzeo are not particularly favourable. I rather enjoyed reading this bit of history, while being disappointed in the rather open handed manner of writing. If the purpose of reading this book is to find accurate history, I can't recommend this book. If the purpose is to see inside Paris, and specifically the Hotel Ritz, and for a light read, then I could recommend it.

In discussion at the book group I belong to this afternoon, I learned of some rather sloppy editing errors - the location of Ernest Hemingway’s death is not accurate, Diaghilev, the ballet dancer who was not a ballet dancer and who died in 1929, long before Hitler could have ‘encouraged’ him, Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor were sent to the Bahamas and not Bermuda - and more. Surprisingly, at the front of the book there is a 'Cast of Characters' and at the back, there are extensive notes and bibliography which suggest poor editing.

Reading without closely examining the details of this book, I found it a light and enjoyable read. It is a part of history that shows a side of Paris, specifically the going’s on at the Hotel Ritz, in World War II. The rich and famous gathered there and had for many years. An attempt to keep white glove and crystal service was made, and continued for the Nazi officers who took over the Hotel Ritz. Hermann Goering and Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust, Bob Capa and Martha Gellhorn - war correspondents, photographers, journalists, politicians and celebrities. This small space in history, filled with decadence, and not a little alcohol, may not be well known but to the participants. 

“Luxury stains eveyone it touches.”
~ Charles Ritz

Title: The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris
Author: Tilar Mazzeo
Copyright: 2014 
Publisher: Harper, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.
Publication Date: 2014 (Hard cover)
Format:  Soft Cover (2014)
First Harper Perennial edition published 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-179104-8 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-06-232334-7 (International Edition)
Type:  Historical non-fiction

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Under the Bed - An Essay

I have written many books.  Most of them - well, actually all of them - are unpublished.  This is not unusual when most of those books are personal journals filled with self-talk and plans over many years. And then there are the stories and poems that are neatly tucked away in a digital junk drawer. Well, maybe not so neatly. And then there is 'the book'. 'The book' I have been working on for the past possibly ten years.

This book has gone through several revisions and refocuses with changes to audience and approach. You can’t even imagine how many words have poured out of my head and through my pen or keyboard. But it has been important. In fact the issue I would like to address - the importance of withdrawal management in the continuum of substance abuse recovery care - is still a critical issue to me.  There is actually another issue - the value of nurses and the health teaching they can provide during that short spell that is detoxification or withdrawal.

Last week, I decided, with many tears and great angst to take a break. The book I wanted to write and the knowledge that I have do not match.  As one author put it, when you know what you’ve written isn’t acceptable to you, put it under the bed and let it rest. (I can’t remember which of the many authors I read provided me with that insight.)

For any or all of you, family, friends, nurses and other health care professionals, that have heard me expounding ad nauseum on this topic, that have been encouraged (?guilted) into reading some incarnation of my writing - Thank you and Thank you.

For those of you that have believed in me and my passion for this very interesting and challenging nursing specialty - I thank you as well from the bottom of my heart. 

I will continue to write this blog and my journals while expanding my knowledge of writing and the world past my writing desk. I continue to believe passionately in the effective, solid nursing care that this health condition requires, that the slender time in withdrawal management has not been utilized effectively, and that our clients deserve to be cared for as any other patient with any other acute or chronic disease receives.

“Thanks are justly due for boons unbought.”
~ Ovid

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Movie Review - 'Still Alice'

This movie was incredibly powerful. 

Julianne Moore beautifully and poignantly protrays Alice Howland, a linguist professor at the top of her career, who is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers. As it rapidly destroys her career, her memories and her belief in living, her husband, John Howland sensitively played by Alec Baldwin, supports and cares for her throughout her decline while maintaining his own career. Her children, all of them grown with their own careers, put aside sibling rivalries and begin to share in the care giving as their mother forgets who they are. An interesting twist is the birth of twins to one of her daughters and the genetics that become potential threats.

This interesting story played out not only the decline of Alzheimer’s Disease, but the family dynamics involved during the progression of this dreadful disease.

Cast (family members only):
Julianne Moore - Alice Howland
Alec Baldwin - John Howland (husband)
Kate Bosworth - Anne Howland-Jones (daughter)
Shane McRae - Charlie Howland-Jones (son-in-law)
Hunter Parrish - Tom Howland (son)
Kristen Stewart - Lydia Howland (daughter, actor)

“What ‘Philadelphia’ did for AIDS, ‘Still Alice’ may do for Alzheimer’s.”
~ Maria Shriver

**From the novel Still Alice by Lisa Genova