All posts by Bridgesburning Chris

The older I get the more amazed I am at the simplicity of life and at the same time the complexity of it. I think sometimes we make the simplicity complicated by our own ingenuity and the insistence that something so wonderful cannot be simple. Perhaps our greatest failure is to make complex that which is not.

Five Days and It Feels Like a Year 5/366

I just thinking the other day – I wonder how long it will continue to feel like a new year.  You know, when your first morning thought is not, -Wow it’s a new year.  There is a certain deliciousness in the feeling.  Sort of how you feel when you get a brand new car.  A sense of awe.

But life intrudes, you know, with life things.  What is that saying? “Life gets in the way.”  Yeah I think that is it.

Conditions change, people get sick and get well. Some things you expect as you age.  As your friends age.  And sometimes the threat is to  younger people.

I was just saying not too long ago to a dear friend, Judith, that someone should write a book about cancer.  About something that never seems to be addressed.  I mean people discuss, write, argue about ‘fighting’, about “surviving’.  But there is one word that describes cancer perfectly.  Waiting.  Eternally waiting.  That’s what it all becomes about. The Sword of Damocles.  Hanging there.  Always.  Just try and live a normal life while you wait.  Hah.

No, it’s not me.  The Big C and I did our dance over a year ago and so far so good.  But it is someone.  And the thing is that for the next forever there is THE WAIT.

Wait – something may be wrong

Wait – we have to do some more tests

Wait – we have to do some MORE tests just to be sure

Wait – you have cancer

Wait- we have to do this bit of surgery to see how bad it could be.

Wait – we have to do more surgery

Wait – we have to do more tests

Wait- we have to do this treatment, that treatment

Wait – we have to do more tests


Your life and everyone who loves you waits.  No promises.  No conclusions.  Just wait. Suspended Animation.

LIMBO.  Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.  Imagine if you will.  That’s how he started each of his shows.  Imagine if you will…..

Or don’t imagine.  Just try not imagining. HAH

Well enough of my grumping for now.  I saw our Auntie Fran this morning as I do most days.  She was telling me that she was seventeen when she went into Nurses Training.  So that would have been 1951.  She said training lasted for four years and most of it was working on the units.  It was pretty much the same when I trained in 1966 and I still think it is a superior way to learn.  But for her it was six days a week, twelve hours a day when on the units.

To appreciate our love story you have to understand the two people involved.  I already told you Uncle Jack was a charmer.  Aunt Fran was the exact opposite.  Down to earth.  Her early years were spent during the second world war.  Her father gone into service, rationing and hardship for everyone not just for her.   Her father returned I think about 1945.  She was eleven when the war ended.  Hardly a year later when she was twelve her mother died.

Her parents and probably their parents were Salvation Army so they grew up with a solid foundation of faith.  Frances Alice never thought of herself as a dreamer.  There was too much harsh reality.

She told me a story that when she was about six she and her mother were walking along in town, and her mother was holding her hand.  The town was most upset because a young child had been abducted from the town, and I do not know if she was ever found.

Anyway Fran told me her mother said, “You should be happy you are not pretty. Because that means no one will ever steal you.”

Isn’t funny the things we remember from our childhood?  Fran told me this story because I had told her a few years ago that when I first met her I thought she was so beautiful.  She offered this information so that I would know she was not beautiful.  She was not even pretty.  I am sure her mother loved her and I think that she could not have known those words would stay with her young daughter forever.

You might think there would be a danger that if a smooth talking gent happened along and called her beautiful that she would succumb to his charms.  But don’t forget our lady was made of strong moral fiber.

More tomorrow my friends.


Oh by the way , the stamp about was issued by the Australian government in honour of nurses in 1955 the year Frannie graduated.


Book One and 4/366

I just finished reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  Every year I think I should keep track of what and how many books I read because I read a lot so am naturally curious.  Anyway it is the first book finished this year.  I tend to be very cautious about new hot sellers.  Often the book doesn’t live up to the hype.

I read the reviews that said things like, GRIPPING, and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  I get most of my books from my library which I download onto my tablet.  Very convenient.  It means I don’t get to the actual library very often and I do miss that.  There is something magical about being amongst books.

I remember a few years ago, in Canterbury England going into an old old bookstore and smelling something so intriguing I never wanted to leave.  Sort of like old ink and dust.  So I miss the library itself.

Oh yeah, about the book – OUTSTANDING.  An amazing story filled with suspense.  Truly GRIPPING. All the reviews were dead on.  At least all that I read.

I just came back from visiting Auntie Fran.  She is not doing quite so well today but perhaps tomorrow will be better.  I think I told you yesterday a bit about my Uncle Jack who became her husband back in 1969.

Jack was this charming gad about and Frances was a traveling nurse.  In those days it was not unusual for nurses to travel the world, usually in groups, working for a year or  so in a part of a country then moving on.  There are ‘traveling nurses’ today but it is not quite the same thing.

Anyway Frannie and some nursing friends had saved some money in Australia and they decided it was time to travel.  They headed first for Europe, and worked in England.  After a year or so they headed off for Canada where they planned a few stops across country.

They went to work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto.  The girls shared apartments together and saved money toward the next leg of the trip.  Whilst there, (Fran being a well spoken Aussie often says things like ‘whilst’) a friend encouraged Fran to meet a male friend of hers.  Fran was rather rigid in standards and would not date just anyone.  She refused more than once to meet this gent.  Now as Fran tells it, one day this woman said, “I really think you should meet this fellow.  He is divorced, he is short and he stutters but I think you will like him.”

I guess that was the statement that sold her.  Perhaps curiosity.  Of course it was not an easy sell at all.  Which of course is part of the charm of their love story.  He truly had to woo her.

Well I must dash off.  More on our love birds tomorrow.

Surprisingly It’s Winter 3/366

Here in the supposed frozen north, as anyone south of Canada thinks of it, it is winter.  White flakes falling, and roads plowed to allow traffic flow.  El Nino winters are always milder than the norm but this year we saw no snow until New Year.  Frequently we wore lighter jackets.  But now we are truly into winter.  The question is what kind of winter will it be?

Today I had the last of the turkey dinner left overs.  It’s a meal I truly enjoy so I am not sure why I don’t have it more often.  And I am now just finishing the last of my holiday wine.

I quit smoking this past year in October.  It is something I really enjoyed but there were enough reasons to do it so I did.  I miss it sometimes but not enough to light up again.  I worried about my weight more than anything.  Back in ’97 I quit for eighteen months and gained thirty pounds.  I am quite happy with my weight and have no desire to gain.   Anyway, in almost three months I have actually lost a few pounds so I suppose that is good.  I decided sometime last year to stop worrying about gains and losses.  Well mostly gains.  I put it out of my mind and ate and drank pretty much what I wanted.  No fuss.  No muss as they say.  It seems to have worked.  The only change I have made is that I try to be more active.  Not working out active.  Just more active.

I went to see my auntie today again as I do most days.  She is somewhat confused but not too bad.  She still knows who I am.  I know yesterday I mentioned her a promised to tell you about  her.

She is originally from Sidney Australia, born in 1934.  She is not an ‘immediate’ aunt but a great aunt.  She was married to my great uncle John, or Jack as we all knew him.  Now Jack was my fathers uncle but he was two years younger than my dad.  So that means that when my dad was two years old, his mothers mother gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  Actually Jack’s mother, Annie White had something like twenty-eight pregnancies, fourteen of which survived.  One of whom was my grandmother Elsie and many years later her brother, my uncle Jack.  Jack and my dad grew up more like brothers than anything else.

Jack was quite the charmer who liked to describe himself as the black sheep of the family.  He was viewed as something of an adventurer.  He had already had two wives by the time he met Fran in the sixties.  But more of that another time.

For now I must get on with other things.  Fran and I coloured today.  I had gotten her one of those ‘adult colouring books’ for Christmas.  Not ADULT as is restricted but books designed for adults.  The newest kick seems to be that coloring is rather meditative and good for one’s stress and ability to focus.  In truth Fran colours only for a short time then we chat merrily while she watches me and gives me some advice about colours. I just wish I had been the one to think of calling a colouring book “for adults”, charging ten or twenty times the going rate of a child’s book and getting rich.





Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs Day 2

This year continues to feel like it will be exciting and wonderful though I have no grounds to suspect this except for a gut feeling.  It doesn’t mean  nothing is going wrong, because lots is, but there is a prevailing belief that whatever the problem it will be dealt with.

3 great whites by Tom Barwell
3 great whites by Tom Barwell

******I will download a pic of Miss Bree our yellow lab  for tomorrow

The family returned from Hawaii arriving on the doorstep at seven something a.m.  Pretty much as expected.  The three felines and one incorrigible canine seemed to sense their impending arrival about twenty four hours previously – their behaviour changed though I cannot really explain how.  They entered nicely tanned – my family not the animals-, happy and very tired after too many hours in the air.  It may have been seven a.m. but their body clocks said no no, it is two a.m.

They insisted on taking me out for breakfast brunch after which I hit the road, allowing them time to rest, rest and rest some more.  Yesterday I prepared a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and had it on trays ready to easily heat up.  I had the tree lights on and a few presents under the tree, since they missed that whole thing in Maui.

I arrived home to Waterloo and left an hour later to go off and visit my auntie.  Since a group of us are determined to blog everyday for a year I think you will get to know Auntie Fran pretty well.  She was admitted to a nursing home in November and prior to my stay in Hamilton over the Christmas New Years Season I had seen her pretty much every day and I worried about her while I was gone.  But of course she was fine.  I had printed off a large sign and taped it up in her room saying Christine (that’s me) is in Hamilton for two weeks and will return on January 3rd.  I did get up to see her once on the 24th and seeing her one day early – to day – was for me at least a treat.  She has a most interesting story and you will hear it bit by bit.

Today I am also missing the wedding of a dear friend’s son.  I knew I would miss it since the wedding is in Winnipeg and I am in Ontario, but my thoughts are sure with them.


Eighteen Minutes

2016 Happy New Year     I swear it was eighteen minutes but it is quickly changing.  Time is up in four minutes now.  That is how long it has taken me to start this post.

Getting used to things again. You know.  Keyboards. Trying to add stuff/         WAIT     HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Geez almost missed it.   After all I if I was going to stay awake for it I sure wouldn’t want to miss it fooling around  trying to get the old lap top working.

Truth – the old lap top works fine I am sure.  Tis the user getting back into posting form that seems to screw things up.  I mean take some time.

I wish that I could tell you every wonderful exciting thing that is going to happen this year.  But other than making this wee bit of information numero uno of the next 365 I could not possibly let you know everything that is going to happen.  It would take way too long. Really.  Think about it.  I would spend all day and night trying to explain it  and you would be intently reading every word trying to figure out when I will get to the point, meanwhile you have families and jobs who would suffer mightily while you wait.

Last year at this moment I was exactly half way through my radiation treatments.  They had not yet found the cavernoma in my left temporal region so it was of no concern.

Unbeknownst the future held a move to the area I grew  in reconnecting with friends and family.

There are so many exciting things to tell you about this year.  Then my friend Joss had a great idea.  Lets get together, do a logo and let us move mountains. Several of us started 5 years ago and became a cohesive group.

Joss have invited us to come together for a day post.  A challenge.

There are so many more I can only ask you to watch for us.






The Problem with Giving Birth then Creative Freedom

I am thinking new exciting starts for the New Year.

You know, assessing, doing less of this more of that.

If there are any humans left out there in The Land of Facebook I fear we are few and that means I must bid adieu to Facebook.

A perusal of content reeks of animation, repetition and pathos. Soppy sayings about death, loss and love, puppies, puking and purchases, factory generated and clicked on to reflect true love and loss, and Lord help us, that ancient relic the chain letter, that if you do not pass on in minutes to at least half the world you will receive neither blessings nor bounty.

Smart ass snippets of wisdom, amusing the first time but pretty quickly pathetic. Very little human to human communication, but what is there is buried deep and takes too long to ferret out.

Honesty of opinion cannot be expressed without vile backlash. I miss expressing my opinion and I miss having someone disagree with my opinion openly and both of us respecting the other and walking away emotionally and intellectually intact.

I have a group of friends I meet with for coffee a few mornings a week at a lovely café. Opinions are diverse, expressed, discussed. There is nothing wrong with differing opinions. By considering others’ thoughts we grow, we consider, we think. We learn. We may learn something new or we may discover a little bit more about how and why we feel what we do.

How and when did we start thinking everyone must agree with us? Truth and perception are very personal and seldom exactly the same for any two.

And whoever came up with the idea of political correctness?

Pure puppet mastery, no longer amusing and painful to watch. Unfortunately this forum has been reduced from a luxurious banquet of prime rib thought exchange to the pablum consistency only suitable for infant minded consumption.

I love my contact with my real peeps but continuing contact this way is like having to read every one of the 156 flyers that come each week with the newspaper. And I love Mark Z. He did not make this what it has become. We did. ADIEU



My New Venture

That Patrecia! What a girl!

God's Creatures

My Goodness it is a long time since I wrote on here..everything has changed and I could not find out where I was….so hopefully I am on the right page for a new tale to tell.

Thank you for asking..I am keeping very well, and I hope that you all are too…I have been very busy organizing my holidays for 2016.

In the beginning I did say that we would not be going cruising and so I booked a week in Bulgaria and 10 days in Romania. The idea being to see a bit more of the country that we live in as well as going to find Dracula’s castle…All booked..all signed and  all delivered….sorted!

Neville wanted to go to the Arctic but all the ships I looked at either started from Southampton and did not venture very far up the Norwegian coast or else it was a long flight…

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That Reminds Me

My long time blogging buddy Colleen posted today about her experience with a homeless man.  It brought to mind my own experience.

Way back in the fall of 1996 I was living in McAllen Texas.  I loved Texas.  Palm trees lined the streets and southern living was pleasant.

There were few homeless people that I saw.  It wasn’t like Toronto where pedestrians walk along busy streets sidestepping and ignoring the humanity who sleep right on the very walks, usually over heat grates.

There was one fellow in particular that I would see occasionally  standing on street corners holding a sign.  I never stopped to make a donation but something about him stayed with me.  He had an open face, intelligent eyes, a bearing of dignity.  Have you ever seen or met anyone and somehow you know you are linked or have a link to that person?  It was the strangest feeling but after a few seconds my mind would shift to the real world.

One evening I found I had some winning tickets, probably scratch not lottery, and headed out to a local store to claim my funds.  As I was entering the store this fellow was coming out.  I suddenly felt an urgency but it was ill defined.

I quickly got my money, probably about fifty dollars, and clutching the bills in my left hand got in my car and found myself searching for this gent.  I drove around blocks looking for him.  Honestly it felt like I had no choice. Finally I saw him sitting on the ground with his back to a brick wall.  I pulled over, parked my car and approached him.  His jaw fell open as I quickly mumbled something like, ‘I just won this.”  I handed him the bills, got in my car and drove away, almost immediately forgetting the whole thing.

I was driven, what I had to do was clear.  I actually forgot about that incident until I read Colleen’s post.  I don’t think I ever thought of it again.  I could really have used that money at the time, but it was never a consideration.  The message was clear, it wasn’t mine anyway, it was his.

I don’t know what ever happened to him or what difference it made in his life if any.  Somehow, beyond my role, it was none of my business.

The only time it came to mind was about six months later.  By then I was back in Canada and I had bought a scratch ticket. I won ten thousand dollars.  A memory flash somehow connected both events.  Probably conjecture on my part.  But I just can’t get rid of the feeling…..

Fall Falls

colorful-autumn-trees-lake-23247662It’s a new season and time to change the header and turn thoughts to the cozy and colorful.  My new header is actually an old one I have used before featuring G1 and G2 a few years ago.  The photo still warms my heart.

My outlook today is optimistic at best.  As I look out my window the skies are gray and sunless and the oak and maple and elm trees just hinting at the future beauty we associate with Autumn.

Of course there are places in full color, just not here right now.  Rain is coming very soon, a distant effect of hurricane Joaquin, with accompanying winds.  Though nothing like those in the direct path are experiencing.

The beginning of Fall makes me want to gambol about like a lamb.  Or at least how I think a lamb would gambol.  But I have discovered it is the ‘idea’ of Fall that makes me feel that way.  I always say, “Oh Fall is my favorite time of year.”

If I really look at how I feel when Fall comes I have to admit to a certain sluggishness, a desire to follow the bear into the cave to hibernate.  Hmm now that thought is somewhat appealing.  And of course all that eating to prepare for a winter of sleep.  I could do it!

Our bursts of color and the crispness of the air, is I think nature’s way of apologizing for what will follow.  I am very careful not to bad mouth winter.  As a Canadian subject to clearly defined seasons I make it a practice to never complain about the ‘white’ months.  I really feel anyone who cannot embrace that season really ought to take up residence somewhere else.  I try to respond positively to complainers without being rude and succeed mostly all the time.

But back to Fall.  Color, crispness, calm.  There is nothing better than a walk on a typical day.  I have been trying to walk everyday and last week found myself in a warm down pour that soaked every part of me.  It was a lovely warm day and I felt like a child walking in the rain.  I wanted to gambol about then too, but the neighbours were about so I restrained myself.

In a few days the rain will pass, the sun will shine and I will find myself thinking delicious thoughts about Autumn again.  Our Canadian Thanksgiving is in a week and it is my favorite holiday, one with companionship, a holiday feeling without having to buy gifts.

Giving thanks for what we do have no matter how great or small is so important.

Permanent Press in the Dryer of Life

Are you in control of your life? Really can any of us be in control ever or is it an illusion? That we have control of anything I mean.

Everyday things come up and we deal. Sometimes events occur that are so huge all we can do is hang on and sometimes we are not even aware of hanging on. We just are. I am not sure how we survive sometimes, but survive we do.

Faith helps but it doesn’t necessarily spare us the pain. It does give us strength. I guess sometimes the pain is the only thing that lets us know we still exist.

I have been tumbling about my own dryer of life and it seems to be settling for a bit at least, but the pain I speak about is of loss. I have a friend who lives on the other side of the world whose loss has been extreme and while my pain is not hers, it hurts to think of her hurting and struggling.

I feel like she and I are surviving the tumble but not yet able to see what the future will bring. Neither of us has control but we are blessed by love and people who care about us.

I have another friend half way across the country who came within a hair’s breadth of the most terrible loss, that of a son. Fortunately that situation worked out okay but there were hours that seemed like days or years when it seemed the worst would occur.

We have no control except over our selves. We are being buffeted by the winds of change – now how cliché is that – and some have no idea what the next step will be. We can only wait. Breathe. And wait some more.

It seems to me that love is the answer. To love and to be loved is permanent press in the fabric of life.  Okay that last bit was a little in the extreme but you get the idea.