Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Couplets for the cause

Toxic farts and poison pee
welcome to chemotherapy

Lots of drugs the day before
and then after, even more

Better to be up front cautious
than be puking, sick and nauseous

Helpful nurses, comfy chairs
and in three weeks I'll lose some hairs

Super-hydrate, no caffeine
 hands and skin stay squeaky clean

Days of unforgiving pain, days of unforgiving pain
days of unforgiving pain, days of unforgiving pain

Head is buzzing, quite a slog
walking through a chemical fog

Numbness in extremities
use a condom if you please

Drop the lid and flushing twice
splashing chemicals just ain't nice

Takes a week to get it through ya
then I'm singing halleluiah

Sorry for this awful poem
but I feel better now it's done

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Winter Solstice

Longest night 
lands like an astronaut 
coming home to a familiar moon
after months & hours 
of longing
bearing gifts
of twilight
mist & stone
smoke & bone
time to ponder
time to wonder
time to howl
wait for stillness

Thursday, December 20, 2012

... it's another thing....

it's one thing to be captured by the sweetness 
of a phrase
saying a feeling
honouring a moment
in ways that do the carnal justice  of poetry

it's another thing to be in that terrible 
moment itself
a shimmering 
wisp of being
on a slack wire 
over the ground of my certainties

feeling the truth and grit of sand

Friday, December 14, 2012

.....You're a curious one

Following the first round of radiation treatment I then returned for two more. Number two was swift with practically no audience at all. One very gentle and efficient nurse and the radiation therapist and the fella who checks our radioactivity. The oncologist drops in briefly. Number three was more like number one, but with a less efficient resident at the helm. He will learn. This is the blessing and curse of experiential education. Students have to learn on someone. And, he was good with feedback. His next venture will be smoother.
I was admonished about my head. HUH!! There are lots of intriguing objects and processes going on in that theatre. I like to take a look, even when I am obstructed by a large blanket covering my knees. So, I lift my head and peer over my knees and around the side for a better view and I do the same over on my right side. I get a "HEY" from the radiation therapist, followed by a " you're a curious one, aren't you?"
Well duh, yes I am.  This capacity has been a mainstay for me through my life. It has saved me from going crazy down the slide of morbid preoccupation and from my deeply inscribed cynicism.
But not here, no way no how!!  so, "you're a curious one, aren't you?" she asks me. "You bet" I say.
"Well be curious without moving your head..... we can't get anything done down here with all that muscle contraction. "
Excuse me, I think. But, my  developing aversion to the popsicle  allows me to keep my perspective. And I keep my head still. Far be it from me to prolong this joyous encounter.
It is two weeks since number three. Mostly I feel like I have been sitting on a pickle for a month and I am sore inside and out. But, as they say, tolerating it quite well.
Onto the next adventure: chemotherapy. More to say as there is more to tell.

Friday, December 7, 2012

..... I was a little spectacle.

A few years back, this phrase turned up in one of my student's papers.  I am a big advocate of "experiential learning"; since the students with whom I work will one day ply their craft with actual people, I think it's a good idea  for them to work with some real people before they graduate and are unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Anyway, one of my assignments is a journal of their placement and then an analysis of that journal. So, one of them writes: when I heard we had to do a placement, I was a little spectacle.
I think he meant he was a little skeptical.
Regardless, that "little spectacle" line came back to me full force a few weeks ago when I was in the midst of my first radiation treatment. Some context: my earlier posts give a bit of history on my surgery and its aftermath. Following an appropriate  amount of healing time post surgery, the other treatments for cancer kick in. I was slated for three radiation treatments, delivered internally. Brachytherapy is the medical term for this specifically targeted form of radiation delivery. What it does is minimize the area that is irradiated so the area affected is limited to the target area. Externally delivered radiation is much less focused and can  involve parts of the body that may not be the actual site of the cancer. There are also other forms of internal delivery that are longer and more intense duration. So on a grander scale, my type of radiation is the least nasty. That being said, radiation is still radiation.
I have to say, before I provide any pithy, absurd and/or humourous description, that my radiation team are amazing. Informative, supportive, professional (this will be more important as the description unfolds), engaged, nurturing, calm, efficient.... and I appreciate the skill and humanity they bring to an experience that has the potential to be quite unnerving.
So, to the description. Treatment #1. I arrive an hour early. It's a 45 minute drive from my house to the cancer center.  A friend drives me in. We get ourselves settled in the waiting room of the radiation theatre  and then I wait for my name to be called. My radiation oncologist calls me in for a little visit before the adventure begins. She asks if I have any questions or concerns. I tell her that I have heard some mixed reviews on the size  and discomfort of the applicator. She tells me that for other types of cancer there is often some discomfort  associated with getting the applicator positioned, but since I have nothing left  back there (full radical hysterectomy plus lymph nodes), my applicator  positioning will be relatively straight forward. I am not sure if she meant that literally or figuratively, but it works either way.
[ side bar: my brother in law, a surgical nurse, had described for me the process of brachytherapy for men with prostrate cancer and it sounded absolutely barbaric..... numerous needles have to be inserted so that the radiation catheters can then be threaded through them for delivery..... he said it looked like a porcupine hanging out of someone's ass..... of course, women have a delivery advantage in this regard, but the applicator must still be inserted before the catheters can be threaded through... I was expecting the worst]
Ok, enough of digression. I was much relieved following this conversation. I go to the next room where the nurse wraps me up in a nice warm blanket and does a prep interview and then I meet my radiation therapist, a real pro who has been doing this for decades and has seen treatments improve over time. She is quite a character and she describes what is going to happen in great detail without treating me like an object or minimizing the overall procedure. It is obvious that she has respect for the power and danger of radiation. I get changed out of my regular clothes and get into the typical hospital gown that covers everything except the body parts that I would like to have covered.  No matter, it is a short walk and then I am being helped up onto the bed and bundled in another warm blanket and introduced to the throng of people in the theatre with me. Understand that the cancer  centre is a research and teaching hospital so every treatment is a wonderful experiential learning opportunity. (BTW, this irony is not lost on me....) The oncologist greets me, she then introduces her resident, a tall nervous looking fella who will be mostly observing today but who will get a chance to try his hand at speculum measurement. Hooray. Then I meet the student nurse and the student radiation therapist, who are there to observe and participate as well as the two nurses who are already there and the radiation therapist who I had already met earlier. I meet the radiation assistant, another busy and quiet fella  and the physicist, a calm man who will monitor the levels and make sure no one is radioactive after the treatment.
The nurses and radiation therapists begin to attach the VERY large stirrups to the bed. Did I mention these suckers are BIG? not just for the feet, no sirree,  the whole leg is in there and they are nicely padded. I get my legs in there and then I am strapped in. I am a curious person by nature, so I am trying to lift my head to see what's going on, but the blankets are high and all I can see are heads and shoulders wandering around at the foot of the bed. Lots of action going on as other things are attached to the bed and the selection of the best sized applicator  begins. Resident tries his hand at a speculum, makes his suggestion to the oncologist and she says "hand me that other speculum over there... the one that looks like a duck."  Needless to say, I have to get a look at this thing and I have to admit, it does look like a duck's bill. Great,  I think,  an oncologist with a sense of metaphor. This gadget fits much tighter than the earlier one.  "Ok," she says " this one is better"  and then she chooses an applicator from the array of choices on the table beside the bed.  She holds up the applicator,  "kind of looks like a popsicle, doesn't it?" she asks. She is holding it by a long stick on one end and it kinda does look like a popsicle.  A really big popsicle. The metaphoric theme continues. Consistency is good. Speculum out, popsicle in. It needs to be as tight as possible without being too unbearably uncomfortable. We seem to have achieved that. Then an X-ray to make sure it is exactly where it is supposed to be. Then the radiation therapists thread the catheters through the three or four ports on the end of the applicator, attach the rest of the delivery machinery, and then make sure I am as still as possible. All the while, people are chatting with me and each other. It is not cavalier, but it is a comfort. I keep thinking that I cannot believe how many people are wandering around " down there" and I am laying there working on feeling like there is nothing terribly weird about this whole situation. It is a strange and necessary compartmentalization. That or feel completely mortified. That's when I think it.... I am a little spectacle.
Anyway, another digression. Forgive me.
Once everything is where it is supposed to be, I get a pat on the shoulder and  all hands leave the room. They can hear me and see me and they speak to me for the first few minutes while the machinery is warming up. OK. Here we go. I hear the machine and feel the surge of the radiation. This continues for about 7 minutes. And then it is done. People pour back into the room, taps are running, warm water is assured for a nice clean up after. Popsicle out, machine disconnected, straps released, legs out of the stirrups, clang, clang,  here 's a nice little wipe down, all done. Sit up, and good to go. Next time we will be faster because all the measuring has been done this time. I can't wait. 
Surprisingly, I manage quite well. I am slightly sore, but none the worse for wear. Radiation therapist tells me that I will not feel the effects of the radiation until after the last one. We will chat about that the next time. Thursday, Tuesday, Tuesday. Thursday, done.
My job after treatment is to get as hydrated as possible and stay that way. We drive home. I drink tea, water, cranberry juice.... as much liquid as I can stand.
This is not so bad, I think. I can do this.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Cannot wait to get to the next few posts that will offer  what I am hoping will be a mostly lighthearted account of the weird and whacky experience of Radiation Therapy. Happy to be done with that particular treat(ment) and happier to feel its effects gradually subsiding with each day. It is quite the trip, radiation. Thanks for the ongoing encouragement and the  kind words and thoughtful sentiments on the previous posts. I am hoping to deliver some good cathartic narrative over the next week or so.
Happy December !!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Through the looking glass.... part two

It has been two months since my surgery. Here are  my remaining "making some kind of  sense of the whole  crazy thing" vignettes.

I cannot believe it is still Thursday, but it must be. Partner is sitting and then standing at the side of my bed. I am having conversations, but then dropping off to sleep in the middle of a sentence or a thought. I am so happy to see Partner, I could cry, so you'd think I could manage to stay present for  a sentence or a thought .... but, I feel myself ebbing and flowing. Partner is happy that I am speaking and more or less with it. I have no idea how long we engage in this in and out form of  conversation, but it feels good to come back to the sentence or the thought and see that I am not alone. Since I was unceremoniously transferred to this bed on the ward earlier in the day, I have felt the weirdness of time ..... an endless day with moments that are too swift and fleeting to hold onto. Partner lets me know that visiting hours are over and it is time to leave. I am staying, of course, I think. We have tender words and light touches. Tomorrow, I think, I will be better able to hold onto my moments.... my sentences , my thoughts.

During the night, I pee 5 times. This means that I had to get myself up and drag my IV sentinel with me to the in -ward bathroom, not fall over with pain, dizziness or disorientation in the process, do my business, and return to a reclining position in bed. Sometimes a nurse will check, but mostly, I am on my own. My ward mates look out for me. My first time is bloody awful. I cannot seem to get the door closed all the way, but this is not as important as not falling over. I keep telling myself that it is important to get up and move around as soon as possible after surgery ( this is the mantra in the hospital..... for me, it is not quite 12 hours..... I am feeling quite heroic and simultaneously resentful ) and so no matter how bad it feels, it is still a good thing. Terrible how quickly I have succumbed to the hospital script. The next time, I get the door closed, but when I am finished my business, I discover that I cannot get the doorknob to work. It will not turn. I cannot believe this. I pound on the door and ask the fella in the bed next to the bathroom to ask for someone to come and help me get out. He buzzes for a nurse. One arrives and opens the door.
" What was the trouble?" she asks me.
" Doorknob wouldn't turn, " I say " I think it's broken".
She gives me the gaze. "you just have to turn it" she says.
I am not at the top of my game, so my typical sarcastic rejoinder of "Gee, I never would have thought of that"  does not fall from my lips. But I am not so far gone that I do not think that my sarcasm would be wasted..... it's hard to insult the stupid ones.
The next two  pees are uneventful. A nurse unplugs me from the wall, I get to the bathroom, leave the door ajar, get it all done and get back to bed without too much mishap. I am getting pretty good at this, I think.
Then, it is pee number 5. Nurse comes to unplug the apparatus, I get myself over to the bathroom. I leave the door ajar and get myself settled, and then..... the nurse closes the door.  "Hey," I yell ( it is not much of a yell, because I cannot enlist any stomach muscles or my diaphragm ) ... but it is to no avail. I get my business finished and attempt to open the door, but guess what, the damn doorknob still will not turn. I pound on the door again to get my ward mate's attention, but he is asleep. Here I am, trapped. At least I am sitting down. Finally after being in there for long enough without anyone coming back to check, I go for my last resort: I pull the big red handle  on the wall. That gets lots of quick attention and more unhappy gazes. I seem to have peed my way to morning, because soon enough  there is lots of activity signifying the start of the next morning. Nurses coming in taking " vitals" and breakfast trays  being placed  on the tables next to the bed. I am on liquids until I manage to "pass gas" which is tougher than you'd think. It sure as hell was tougher than I thought!! The nurse who has been giving me the glare through the night finishes up with another one of my ward mates and goes into the bathroom. I am thrilled to see that she closes the door after her. And to my utter delight, she is locked in there.  The fella who has been helping me out and I  call out to her " all you have to do is turn the knob".
But, who knew, the door knob will not turn.
Another nurse lets her out. She announces to all in hearing distance: "this doorknob is broken!! I am putting in  a work order" . It was fixed within the hour.
The perverse joy in the ward was palpable. Apparently ward mates bond quickly.

I puke most of the day on Friday, the day after my surgery. Not fun at all. I am also quite nauseous and dizzy. I am walking, but precariously, and not wanting to puke while I am walking. I hate puking, I'm funny like that, so I am also a bit weepy. Still no progress on the gas passing goal....
turns out the morphine which has been dandy for pain is not so great for other functions. Surgeon agrees to take me off it completely by next morning ( Saturday)  and begins to roll back the dose once he sees how much I have been puking. By late afternoon, I have thrown up everything I have managed to drink all day, and I am walking without staggering. By the way, puking is really painful with an eight inch incision in one's abdomen. I know I know, boo fucking hoo, you big baby..... but it was an awful day. I was sustained by my Partner, my sponsor, and one very thoughtful nurse. She suggested starting me on drinking hot water. This was the beginning of getting lots of stuff going in the right direction.
Saturday,  I am off the morphine, on an antiflammatory,  and feeling much better. I do about 50 laps of the corridor, making up for lost time. Sometime after 5:00pm, I achieve a fart. This means I can  begin to move up from liquids only and that I will go home on Sunday. I am terrified and grateful.
During that last night, one of my ward mates is going through profound delirium and is wailing and moaning and thrashing and groaning..... one of the other ward mates, an older woman, is yelling at him to shut up. It is quite unsettling ..... I get no sleep but console myself that at least I can continue to work on my gas passing project through the night. Small mercies. Around 3:00 am, the wailing and thrashing fella is moved to a single room to ride out the storm. The older lady promptly falls asleep and  snores like a  truck driver. I manage to sleep once she is awakened at  6:00 am for her vitals. No one takes my vitals..... a sure sign that I will indeed be going home sometime .... today.
I am glad to go home, but it is scary at first. Sheesh, even the car ride home was painful because of how I have to brace for bumps and turns.  I am aware of my own vulnerability. All the familiar places and spaces now are more risky than they were four days ago. I am ready to be necessarily cautious. I am ready to ask for help and receive it.
I like the quiet. Time to dwell in it for awhile.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Through the looking glass...

I suppose this should rightfully be titled " through MY looking glass...."
but, whatever.
It is one month since my last post. I have been recovering from a surgery that was necessary in response to a cancer diagnosis I received on July 25. There is lots of stuff to make sense of.... emotional, embodied, relational, intellectual.Writing about and through is one of the best ways for me to make sense of things,  so I am going to work through a series of vignettes, some absurd, some evocative, some just plain vexing. And so,  here goes.....

Vignette 1: Walking into surgery
that's how it happens now.  i arrive at the appointed time, having done the pre-op stuff several days previous. i change into two ridiculous gowns, one of which must drape off the shoulder to make room for the IV. and then there is an even more ridiculous hat, and booties that go over my shoes. so, in i walk, my blue booties covering my lovely lavender trimmed running shoes and the nurse who is the best with the needle gets the IV line in. this is important for all the goodies that will be poured in there later.....
i have " rolling " veins. this means that when one of them feels a needle coming close, it rolls away from the point. seriously. i get poked and stuck a few times before i get the line into a vein near my wrist. then, it's a waiting game in a waiting room filled with other similarly attired people all of us  guiding our IV sentinels and trying to avoid getting tangled up with each other on the frequent bathroom trips.
i am delayed about an hour. then i am called. the surgical nurse confirms i am who i say i am and i can tell her what i am having done today and who is doing it. apparently this means i am in my right mind ( !?).
then we, the nurse and i, literally walk into the surgical theatre.  i feel slightly incongruous in my booties and my hat, inexpertly dragging my IV pole. the table looks like a cross in the middle of the room, a long cocoon with arms outstretched to the sides. an odd letter T. i walk to it and place myself upon it. the lights are huge, and it is cold, so cold. i hear instruments clicking and soft voices. i realize fully, suddenly that this IS a theatre.  Everyone knows my name. i tell the story of who i am and why i am here again and again. it's a weird comfort, but i am also quite frightened. i stare up at the lights and almost feel like crying, but i don't. then, once the major players are all assembled..... they offer me the slow black buzz of sleep, and i take it.

Vignette 2: Waking up
the suddenness of the noise is startling.... i feel like i am emerging up out of a sea of ashes.....voices, lights, curtains, faces.... one voice closer than the others telling me that the surgery is over and i am alright and they will be taking me to the ward in a while.  all i see is shades of white... scrubs, curtains. blankets, masks.... then i am sharply aware of how cold i am..... i begin shivering.... i say " i am so cold"  and the voices around me say "oh my god she's shivering"  and then i get bundled, gently, in a soft warm blanket. they handle me carefully.  now it is safe to sleep again.

Vignette 3: A not so careful slide....
then i am awake again and a voice is telling me that i am going to be moved to the bed in the ward [ that's a big room with three other people in it.....]  in fact, here i am!! there is a blanket to be used and i somehow have to get myself onto it. roll this way, push push push, ok now roll the other way, push push push ..... every movement is organized around the screaming seam of agony in the middle of my pelvis. i cannot believe i am actually moving and being moved ..... ok, now we will just slide you over, brace your self. and then the slide. very fast. efficient and business like.  horrible. i lie there and feel myself actually on the beginnings of a whimper. but i don't. then the shivers start up again, and some thoughtful person  bundles me in another warm blanket.  i get the mini tutorial in how to work my morphine pump.  the red button stays with me. more important than the call button, which has mysteriously vanished down the side of the bed.  the last words i hear before i begin to fall asleep again are : you might want to give yourself a dose of that since your anaesthetic is just about worn off. good advice, i think, in that totally stupid way the mind works when one has no idea what one is actually feeling, thinking or doing. but, i manage to push the red button.

to be continued......

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On the other side of it......

On the other side of my surgery and working on healing and resting. "Cancer" is an emotionally charged word.... it cuts a swath through all kinds of petty bullshit and bureaucracy .... except when it doesn't!! So far, I  am quite amazed at what a powerful  semiotic it is.

But all this is for future blog posts as I am able to spend more time at a keyboard .....

For now, I am grateful for the gifts of a  loving partner,  a loving son, a loving family; supportive and nurturing friends, and amazing ( and I mean freakin' amazing) students. My history does not dispose me to turn my care over to others.....but my experiences over the past few weeks have allowed me  to trust all of these folks to carry me. And carry me, they most certainly have. Yielding is my greatest challenge and my deepest well. I continue to learn. There is much to learn.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the Big C/Sea/See

the Big C
an uninvited guest who insinuated itself into a nice hiding
hung around until its bread crumbs got noticed
well after it had eaten way too much

the Big Sea
cradles my home and soothes me
its crash and dash and silence
calls on the deep
tethered to the moon
teaching me to yield

the Big See
opens up that crack
follows the zig zag beacon
into the space/place/time
when stillness is a sound
a touch
a moment well lived
thoughtfully given
the only thing that matters

Monday, August 20, 2012

Living life deeply

A visit to the Rock [that would be Newfoundland, for all the CFA's and wannabe's] reminds me that family is precious, that time spent is precious, that loved ones are precious, that tenderness has many forms and that love is lived in moments both profound and mundane.

Serious medical stuff, my own and my mother's, has kept me occupied with living life deeply.  Methinks it will assist in some thoughtful writing and some much needed reading of others'  expressive work once there is more time to devote to it.
 Soon, I hope.....

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hate is getting easier

Hate is getting easier
regrets are feeling breezier
and slime-balls seem less sleezier
these seeds are scattered wide

Hate is now acceptable
its strategies adaptable
to contexts deemed amenable
with bosses choosing sides

Hate sits in a La-Z-Boy
directing traffic, feeling coy
and modestly protests the joy 
accompanying every ploy
that thickens human hide
dismissing all that's died
forgetting those who cried
let's focus on the ride

Friday, July 13, 2012

updates, mundane and otherwise

ON the other side of a ( relatively ) unspectacular surgery, working on being mature and sensible during this week or so of recovery. HAH! In the words of Dr. Phil ( who I cannot believe I am quoting): How's that workin' for ya?!

JUST nearing the end of a wonderful intensive class session in American Sign Language ( ASL). Partner and I are nearing a milestone-finishing up Level 2. Fluency better; appreciation for the language and for DEAF culture..... off the charts.
IN class today ( which we do in a small group in the instructor's home) I brought a large carton of creamy Iced Coffee--mocha flavour. Mm Mm Mm. I'm lactose intolerant, but I threw caution to the winds ( note the mature and sensible reference, above) and drank a good glass full. Even though I'll likely pay big time ( and actually have paid big time already.....no more details needed on that...), I have to say that it's a good feeling for a (recovering) alcoholic like me to regard a milk -based drink as a bit of risky, edgy behaviour.
Talk about a shift in perspective!!

HOPE you all are thriving on the myriad triggers for expressive outpouring in your respective expressive lives.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Pilgrim she was, and a witness

Behold a tale of meta-cognitive woe
Told to me by a menopausal minstrel
a pilgrim she was,
and a witness
with a wildness in her eyes
oh, yes

I'm telling you because she told me to....
pass it on, that is...
Who knows where her madness has taken her since
or if it will get her back
Regardless, she left a beast waiting for her
and a boat
so it's only a matter of time

The tale is harmless enough in its mundane particulars
She was on the move, scouting a site of next looking
Following the signs of an other's making
and poor signs they were, too.The typical
forgetting of what's necessary by insiders
 who shouldn't be allowed to give directions at all

So, she wandered and wondered and pondered and blundered
and asked and asked
and asked again.
Finally finding, yet laid low by the utter exhaustion
of banal floundering.
Being lost many times before, she had learned to dwell in the delight of quest
and was gutted by her tears in the wake of this sad instance of just too much

She told me to tell you that it can happen
when you least expect it, no matter your armour
no matter your shameless embrace of all your dark places
there it is
you'll be walking away from a finding
and wondering why you're crying
how you got to this place....
and then
it will pass
sinking into that deep well
where you hold your tears

now I've told you
this tale, told to me by a menopausal minstrel
a pilgrim she was
and a witness
with a wildness in her eyes
oh, yes

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An owl will slash the seam

and then
when it seems 
that a look could not be any more
or a stillness any more
or a moment any more
an owl will slash the seam
 all those any mores 
with the piercing silence

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chapter 15

..... Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

Tao Te Ching
trans, Stephen Mitchell
excerpt from Ch. 15

Saturday, May 26, 2012

because I'm here....

Dear Twilight Fans,
Thank you for making us look sane and well-adjusted.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faulty logic

Only an alcoholic would believe that the cure for loneliness is isolation. So I read in a Grapevine the other day.

Well, I am one ( an alcoholic, albeit clean and sober for 22 years). And, sure enough, the past couple of weeks when work has been overwhelming and deadlines have been unreasonable and so many people need so  much done and it is genuine need...... what do I do??  I work to the exclusion of pretty much everything else, including meaningful interpersonal and expressive engagement....
I seem to have put my head down and got on with it.
 Ok, so I suppose I could be overstating this a bit. .

Anyway, I am happy that this period of treading water is done.

I actually like solitude; isolation, not so much. 

Friday, May 4, 2012


pink bells 
pealing in all 
a delicate sway
leaning  into velvet
almost touching

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bird for a Day

your fantasy, courtesy of mine...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Basic Step

Every dancer knows the way into a dance
is through
the basic step
a pattern that repeats and sustains
rhythm, posture, motion
the space(s) in between

a habit of body 
as impossible to resist 
even now
when I feel its call
I can fall into the sweet forgetting 
that deep attentiveness
my feet seem to move of their own

even though I know that's not how it works
(I know) how mercurial an effortless agility can be
and now merciless

is it any wonder
 I crave and cherish 
my moments of rebirth and return

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Your words

Your words found me
set in motion
stone & water
your words
found a heartbeat
sound in seashells
blood & bone & memory
whispering tethered 
your words

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kids are funny

I sit on a board of directors of a non profit recycling plant. it's a great gig..... we do good community service and the plant employs several persons with disabilities in addition to supporting many projects in our region that provide programming for persons with disabilities. One of the fun things we do is offer tours for elementary school groups. the kids arrive and get the grand walkabout of the place and see how things work and then when they leave they get a goodie bag of swag that we put together from donations from other partners in the region. nice all around cooperation. one of the fellas who does the tours told us this little gem at the board meeting the other night.....

a group of 8 year olds are finishing up their tour and getting their goodie bags. in this particular collection of loot, among other items, was a calculator. the kids were poking around in their bags, getting a feel for their bounty, and one little guy takes out one of these calculators and begins to experiment with it.... and not a minute has passed when he declares: " all it does is math!"

out of the mouths.....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ask a busy person

a beckoning 
can't faze a razor's 

no matter how
the play's the thing
she stays
hackles raised
just a phase
weighs almost nothing 
in the larger scheme of things
the best of days....
feel the blaze

Sunday, March 4, 2012


roots reach into earth
deeper than any shovel
no matter the strength of the back
wielding it
seeking anchorage in an underground
feeding teeming, ceaseless movement

branches reach into sky
intricate twist, turn  and shiver
upwards, outwards
shocking impossible symmetry
deeper than any blue
no matter the heat or  cold of  sun
 greeting their thirst
 seeking fire
as definite and safe 
as its necessary distance

trunks hover
with bark the only skin they know
their precious ache
keeping earth and sky
rings of ages listen and wonder at the threshold 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Saga, storm, silence

not to go on about the mundane craziness of a water damage renovation, but that saga is drawing to a close, finally. the house still smells like fresh paint, there are still a few light fixtures and two door knobs to install, and most of our possessions are in boxes or are piled in the middle of a room ... but it appears that we (partner and i ) have weathered this storm and are on the other side of an open ceiling  and a leaking bathroom. hooray.
during this chaos, our weather has been remarkably, unseasonably warm, with a few snow commercials (what qualifies as a storm here in neo-con civilized southern ontario).... but apparently there is a bad one coming this weekend, just in time for partner and i to drive into it as we head north to attend a silent sign language winter retreat weekend.
that's where i will be for the next few days. i must say, i am looking forward to the north, to the trees in winter, to the open spaces and sky, and to the silence.
whatever you all are doing to feel your own version of trees, sky and silence,  i hope you dwell in it deeply.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Go ahead.... make my day

Not to glorify Clint or Chrysler, but "the commercial" triggered such a shitstorm  of absurdity that I decided to play around with some intriguing juxtaposed one syllable words.

Clint does the squint
makes a mint
with a hint
says he di'n't
but his stint
winter sprint
still got print
since its glint
had the tint
of flint... 

what's next? a splint?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Missed Opportunity

Yesterday, February 1, was my dry date. 22 years of living clean and sober. Why, you ask, am I making note of it today?? Hmmm??
By some strange gestural quirk I accidentally clicked the minus key on my keyboard,thereby reducing my blog working screens to the size of a postage stamp. Well, maybe not quite that small, but pretty damn close. I then agonized for most of last evening and today ( in the glorious spare time I was able to find) over how this could possibly have happened. I am a grand ignorer of the obvious, apparently. Anyhow, partner graciously assisted me this evening in adjusting the plus key, and ta da, back to workable size. Please, no metaphoric innuendo here.....

....and taking up the theme of glorious spare time ( or inglorious, as the case may be.... and it is, in my case), I have had precious little these past 7-10 days. Sigh. Actually, that should be SIGH (!!). The water damage crisis I wrote about in my last post has been an adventure in consulting, choosing, purchasing, packing up things in the house, and more things and more things..... working with some really neat people, completely surrendering our house and its familiar spaces and arrangements.... but mostly it has allowed me to sit in complete awe of the contractor who is working on our house. And not only him, but the several other fellas who work with him. Amazing. I am fascinated by the craft of this practical intelligence, the ability to see pattern, distinguishing features, systemic coherences, integrated systems..... it's made this whole soggy episode a delight in ways I had not anticipated. So, here's to craft, however it is practiced.

My apologies for the break in visiting and writing. Can't wait to see what you're all up to.  ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spelling is important.....

so, here's the latest.
i return from a great visit to newfoundland early in the new year. partner and i had been noticing some weird stuff about the upstairs bathroom  for a week or so before i left for the trip, but what the heck.... probably nothing to worry about.....
about a week after my return, i am up in my study working away, grading, doing email, whatever. i head down for a last cup of screaming hot tea before i turn out the lights and head off to sleep. i'm noodling around in the dining room, poking at the mail and other stuff i have on my table, and i hear this TAP TAP TAP  sound, although it's almost a  WET sounding tap, if you know what i mean.... kind of a  SLAP SLAP SLAP. or a  SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT..... so, i look left and right and finally ( !! ) up and there in all its soaking glory is a large flap of my dining room ceiling hanging in a surprisingly  symmetrical triangle ( tell me, how does this happen?? the triangle shape i mean.... i have a clue about the soaking part) and dripping with a remarkably regular rhythm. i gasp and curse and run to grab towels and buckets and plastic.....  first,  get a bucket under the damn leak and get the water that has accumulated  on the hardwood floor cleaned up asap..... then put a towel in the bucket because the SPLAT sound is even louder now..... sheesh.  i then go and  fill many containers with water and hurry downstairs to turn off the water valve in the basement. then i get plastic down under the bucket.... it's a good thing i am a flexible gal because i had to call on my best contortionist skills to get this task done without adding more water to the floor.

ok, immediate crisis averted, i settle down to sleep downstairs to monitor the situation after i have given the quick and dirty version to partner who has long since gone off to bed...... 

in the morning we call the plumber and i go to work.  partner and i text through the day.  plumber arrives and puts a new seal under the commode. flushes s dozen or so times and pronounces it ok.
i get home, the triangle is dripping again. partner is quite hard of hearing and cannot hear the SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT. we repeat the ritual of water containers and then turn off the valve again.
luckily, we left all the buckets and plastic in place..... aren't we proactive??
next day, plumber returns,  so, i guess it wasn't the seal on the toilet, heh heh heh..... 
he proceeds to go up through the ceiling and check out the bathtub drain. yup, that's it. he wrestles with that for an hour or so, replaces the gasket and now all is well again.
he does suggest that we make sure we have checked the bath for any leak areas.....
partner texts me.... "on your way home pick up some caulk ( spelling is important)"
funny. i text back and say i'd be happy to bring home some caulk. ha ha. i spend the evening caulking the seals on the tub. so far so good, although i have to say that this piecemeal approach to repair really vexes me....
i go to the basement and notice that the handle on the valve is now leaking. SIGH.
call again the next say. i decide to go with the distraught spouse routine which gets us a different plumber who tightens and adjusts the water shut off valve and says it's fine. no charge, thanks to  my distraught spouse performance on the phone before i left for work.

now, we await estimates from contractors both of whom have told us that the bathroom  floor is spongy and uneven,  the fan is not working, hence the mould on the celing in the bathroom, the vent will need to be replaced and redirected, obviously the  dining room ceiling will have to be fixed, and, oh by the way, that shut off valve?? that needs replacing too.
i am embracing this  as an opportunity for a long overdue bathroom renovation.
and i am hoping that i can learn to trust the wisdom of the specialists who do the job.
quite the intriguing beginning to this new year.
time to bow to the absurd.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


or the colour of your eyelids 
that first hour after you came
into the world
or the colour of the sky
that moment before
or the colour of that
and so many