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Saturday, April 29, 2017

In the Shadows

In the shadows 
Sits a woman
A child woman
Her heart held tight
Her throat closed

Arrow straight and rigid
One tear slides past control
Shoulders shudder with
A deep, deep breath
Searching for satisfaction and ease.

In the shadows
A child woman
holds still and quiet
Her heart held tight
her voice banished.

“Your nightmares follow you like. a shadow, forever.”
~ Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project

Friday, April 28, 2017

Strolling with Danger

I decided to do something dangerous. Risky. The night was cool and soft. The grass moist with dew. The grand old trees reached up to the stars disappearing into the darkness. We had all been told as kids that walking in the park at night was risky. There were boogie men hiding in the bushes, trampling the gardens. As a kid, I believed all the stories. Tonight, the stories were just that. Stories to scare us and get us home before dark. I had been warned of many dangers and risks. People that roamed the night. People who were finally free of the day eyes. But just for tonight, I could breath easily. The weeks of heavy humidity slid away into the cool midnight air. Those people that were so scary? We all kept our distance from one another, enjoying the space and freedom to breathe. Walking home in the dark, I smiled. I was satisfied that my journey into danger and risk had ended safely.

“All it takes is rumour…the danger itself is irrelevant. 
It’s the perception of danger we’re selling.”
~ Sharon Weil, Donny and Ursula Save the World


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Satisfying Schedules

While the sun’s still asleep 
Eyes ease open
Digital clock flashes 
green in time to musical alarm signalling good morning
Electric lights click on

While the sun edges silently over roof tops
Electric fireplace whirrs and warms
The chill morning air in the living room
Stove top clicks on 
Tea kettle whistles time for coffee or tea

While the sun silently climbs into the clouds
Front doors open, keys lock with a click
Buses whoosh up and stop with a sigh
On schedules set for briefcases, meetings and classes
Delivery vans trundle with goods for shops and stores

While the sun silently shines through grey misty shreds
Coins rattle and funnel fare for the ride
Good mornings and early morning conversation rustles 
Computer voice announces streets passing by
Ding! Stop Requested in digital red

While the sun silently rises high in the sky
Work and school days begin 
At the turn of the clock til
work and school days end 
While the sun settles silently to sleep.

“In the history of the earth, the sun remains still.”
~ Lailah Gifty Akita

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In the Midst of Turmoil

In a world of many dangers 
on the street
in our homes
in our communities
in our wider global world

We are beset with many demands
inside our busy lives
Many should do’s
Many musts
Many speak outs

When we feel so vulnerable
When our lives are shaken inadvertently
Our choices are narrowed
Our choices are finite
Out choices must satisfy the moment

When we take control of our choices
within unexpected chaos
We can settle our minds
We can support our own lives
We can begin again.

“We make choices and are in turn made by them.”
~ Sheena Iyengar, The Art of Choosing


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nothing Like It!

Nothing like it!  I’ve been nursing for five decades. I’ve been nursing in withdrawal management since 1989. I was asked last week what sort of changes I’ve seen since I started working in detox facilities.

And there has been nothing like it. From Saskatchewan to Texas to British Columbia there has always been alcohol abuse at the top of the list. The list of the substances that kill has grown longer and more deadly.  Cocaine, crystal meth, heroin and all their many forms. Smoking, snorting, IV drug use and just plain pills. Pills. Pills like oxycodone, hydromorphone and now fentanyl. Did I forget to mention all the benzodiazipines?

Everyone of these drugs, and in whatever form they are presented have a certain withdrawal syndrome. When they’re mixed, the withdrawal syndrome is confusing and more dangerous. Some people actually survive. Some may have their lives saved, but their bodies and brains are damaged. Damage that is reversible or damage with long lasting consequences. And too many people of any age die. They just die.

Controlling drugs and alcohol has not stopped the use and development of more refined drugs and alcohols. In all of this mess, where are the studies, research and treatment for addiction and the medical effects of substance abuse? Short stay in a detox is barely a bandaid. Long stays to give the body, psyche and brain a chance to heal are what is really needed. My only satisfaction as a detox nurse is to help someone survive to live another day whether the services are out there or not. I depend on each individual to navigate our myriad of inadequate systems.

There has been nothing like it. Who do I blame? All of us. Our health care systems, our pharmaceutical companies, our families, our very cultures. Am I angry? I don’t have time to be angry when I am shepherding a youngster, a mom or a dad, or sometimes even a grandparent through a complex withdrawal. At some point, these dangerous, toxic substances trump survival.

“We’d stared into the face of Death, and Death blinked first. 
You’d think that would make us feel brave and invincible. It didn’t.”
~ Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Smack at the Belfry Theatre

Opportunity bounces and bounds through life, sometimes in the blink of an eye. At a writer’s meeting earlier this month, a ‘book smack’ was introduced. I had never been to one, nor even heard of a book smack, so I said I would go. I entered it on my cell phone so I wouldn’t forget. Today, at coffee with the walking group, it was finalized. Tonight was the night for this ‘book smack’

Tonight I heard librarians, Victoria’s poet laureate, staff of the Greater Victoria Public Library and an employee of the Belfry Theatre speak eloquently and rapidly about their best loved choices. They introduced DVD’s, children and teen books, fiction and non-fiction. Their challenge? Talk fast about as many as possible.

The first session started with a lightning round about books by Alice Munro. Not all had read Alice Munro, but knew of her and  had to wing it.  After that each speaker had two minutes, then one minute then 30 seconds. The speakers spoke clearly and quickly about their choices. 

At the beginning of the night, we were told there would be a test at intermission. The 2 winners of the test would get a gift. After a twenty minute intermission, there was a draw for the bag of swag. I did not win either of the colourful bags with books, art supplies and trinkets within. Then the next round of Book Smack began. This time there were four timed book smack-downs. One two minute, two one minutes and one 30 second challenge.  

Audience members shot up their hands to claim the book being proposed - an automatic library withdrawal. (I came away with the Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro. I have it for 21 days.) Those of us with a library card were good. Anyone that didn’t have a library card could get one there - the miracles of technology win the day once more.

It was a fun and satisfying evening and I’m so glad that I took advantage of this opportunity with friends. (We went out for supper first.)




“[Librarians] are subversive. You think they’re just 
sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. 
They’re plotting the revolution, man. 
I wouldn’t mess with them.”
~ Michael Moore

The Belfry Theatre is hosting Alice Munro short stories 
from April 18 to May 14, 2017
Tickets at:  tickets@belfry.bc.ca


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Shared Favours


Intention favours 
vision and determination.


Vision clear and sharp ~
soul designed solutions. 

Determination ~ steady steps
forward and back and forward again.

Intention satisfies any goal
when vision and determination are shared.



“With or without our knowledge, we are all alchemists”
~ Eric Michael Leventhal