Category Archives: Blogs

Hunkering down and about to do the hardest thing in the world ….for me

Oh I look so forward to a real writing day.  No visits to make.  No chores to do (okay lots of chores just begging for my attention but none that I shall acknowledge.  I believe dust bunnies are my friends.)

A perfect day to write.  I got out for an early morning walk before the heat sets in.  We are facing a five day run, at the END of September of temperatures 29C (84.2F) to 31C (87.8F).  And that is not including the humidity factor which will make the actual temp feel to be in the 40’s.

Back to my real writing day.  I have discovered, rather uncomfortably, that I can sit down at my desk, phone shut off, doors closed, segregation complete, until I start the Beast.  First quick check of emails but don’t respond, too many.  I found out the hard way that just one click and my morning is gone, baby, gone.

I notice there are comments on WordPress to answer,  Well, that has set up a deadly train to Happy Land but also No Production Land.  And I am in severe danger of being lured into doing and an actual post, always pleasant but again not productive for my immediate needs.

World’s Best Selling and World Changing Book of Fiction aside, I have been working on a very special project and it must be done by the end of October so I can have it ready for Christmas.  That’s all I can say about that.

Oh yeah, The Hardest Thing in The World for Me To Do?  TURN THE INTERNET OFF because I have no will power not to peek. 

Not enough to turn the phone off and create arctic conditions of seclusion.  I have friends who are grown up enough to just sit and write.  Not me.

But clicking that icon to ‘off’  is the hardest worst gut wrenching feeling.

See here I am coffee to the left of me, water to the write…I mean right, and instead of just ‘clicking’ I am writing this to you.

Enough – here I go – leaping.  It will only hurt for a nano sec.  Have a good day everyone.  I shall return.  Say in 10 hours. No sooner I say!

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IN THE BEGINNING

 

Lately I have been kicking around the idea of reinstating one of my past series known as FITFS (Friday Following in the Footsteps).  Each week I would choose a blog that touched my heart, inspired me, or plain just made me think.  People I wanted to follow in the footsteps of.

footsteps

That got me thinking about postings of yore. Then I got a message from da-AL who you will find here that she was impressed with how long I had been blogging.

Well you know what happens when the grey matter starts to stir. Next thing I am thinking, exactly when was my first post, who was my first comment and like, and what was it about?

December 19, 2010 I posted DATING BY THE LIGHT…  I first became interested in blogging when a friend of my son’s suggested that I had such interesting stories about dating that I should write about them.  It did not take long to realize that might not be such a good idea.  What makes one chuckle in private does not do well in public.  But it got me blogging.

Chatter Master was there in the beginning and Darlene Foster and Kathryn McCullough and of course Judith Baxter and Joss Burnel and Princess Rosebud

There were also a lot of others who were all starting out the same time.  It’s a fun place to be and I encourage anyone who even half thinks about blogging to come to WordPress and have a look around.  Stay for awhile.  You just might find yourself feeling right at home.

 

The Ooopside of Senior Communication

There is much merriment in the world of geriatric graceful aging.  First and foremost, before you even get close post sixty you would do well to establish a grainy gritty sense of humor.

seniors communication funny-cartoons-comic

This is not the humor of your youth, or even middle age.  Like a fine wine that takes time to develop this is The Cadillac of humor, or I guess in this age, given the times, The Tesla of Humor.  Did I get that right?  That very question is becoming The Question of each and every day in some small way.  Did I get that right?  Does that sound right?  Good grief.

The object of your humor is nothing more than yourself.  Yup, better learn to laugh at yourself.  Start young.  It makes it easier in the dim lit of the top ten ( 70, 80, 90, 100).

A sound chuckle after an Oops achieves a lot of things; it saves those around you from gazing too long trying to make sense of what you have just done or said,  it gives same said audience a chance to chuckle (something they may not be doing much of these days. They can be a serious lot, these young’uns, can’t they?), it increases your ever slowing circulation (always a plus), and it gives you a moment to get your head on straight and try to figure out just what the hell  you were doing in the first place.

The downside is laughing, depending on your circumstance and effectiveness of medications, may cause some urinary incontinence. (I never thought I would see the day when adult pull-ups were not only necessary but the subject of cocktail party conversation.  Now is that right?  If people still socialize in such groups are the groups even called cocktail parties anymore?)

I swear, I over heard a conversation last evening, note ‘over heard’ cause no way I would be a part of such a group, and it went like this. “Oh, I tried that brand of Pull-up and did not like it.  I get mine in bulk at….”  Honest.  I kid you not.

Anyway one of the joys of senior communication is making plans to speak to someone half a world away.  See?  Again, I kid you not.  She is literally half a world away.

She, of course if Judith Baxter whom you are, or if you are not, might want to be familiar with through her blog I choose how I will spend the rest of my life and Books&MoreBooks2017.

So we know she is a day ahead and seventeen hours or something.  But for me the easy way is that she is always, well most of the time, eight hours behind me (and one day ahead).  We did well over the last couple of years with our skyping EXCEPT when those damn clocks change.  She is the opposite of seasons so when I have summer, she had winter.  Except in winter the clocks go back an hour (you know, Fall back and Spring forward.)

Yes there are times we just plain get befuddled with what the other side of the world is doing.  And then there is Senior Logic where what is eight hours in our minds  becomes six hours.

Every tried to contact someone when you are two hours away from reality?  Uhuh. Not successful.  It has nothing to do with time zones or planet placement.  Now that is what I call the Oopside of Senior Communication.

Yesteryear: When it Really Was an Honour to Serve the Sick

Yesteryear: When it Really Was an Honour to Serve the Sick

congregation Sister's of St. Joseph

In 1978 I had the privilege of working for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brantford, Ontario where I remained for almost twenty years.  Then, as now, each workplace had its own ambiance, and culture, but the emphasis then had an awful lot to do with respect.  Not just in Healthcare but in business.  And not just for bosses but for everyone.

Those were the days when treating employees well, resulted in happier employees and happier results.  Employee retention was important indicating a well-trained, knowledgeable, productive and stable work environment.

In those days, at least in my world, one felt valued, and performed accordingly.  Doing a good job was self-rewarding.

The Sisters lived on the fifth floor of the hospital and were an intricate part of daily hospital life.  They had a vegetable garden and often cooked up wonderful soups for everyone.  It wasn’t unusual to come on the night shift at 11 pm and find a pot of soup simmering on the stove in the kitchen of each unit.

Our motto was simple: It’s an Honour to Serve the Sick

It was printed on the bottom of all our stationary and posted on walls.  I am sure not everyone felt the same way, but I believed in that motto.  I believed in the sentiment.  I felt it. Actually I felt it long before I even knew I was going to be a nurse.  I suppose that came from years of reading books when I was younger; Dr. Tom Dooley, Florence Nightingale.

I wasn’t a young naïve child when I went to work there.  In 1978 I was thirty-one.  It was just part of my nature to embrace the core value of nursing, as I saw it.

Now they weren’t true Halcion days, with constant joy, but looking at today’s work environments and standards of care it, they were the best of years.

Pretty soon some dim bulb decided that our faith based care had to become more businesslike.  The nuns were ousted to residence at the Mother House in Hamilton, and the fifth floor became offices.

The motto was thrown out, and ridiculous lengthy pretend words were posted denoting, Mission, Vision, and Values. (All of which took meetings on meetings on meetings to create).  The energy that was spent in delivering care to patients, staff, and families, and community was now spent in – yup you guessed it – in meetings.

The Ministry of Health changed funding and doctors and patient conditions no longer determined length of stay.  The running joke was, ‘It’s an Honour to Serve the Sick in five days or less’.

In any healthcare facility today you will see all kinds of information posted.  How many falls occurred per unit, per month, per year – interventions of the same.  Charts on infections, use of antibiotics – information ad nauseum.

This is what I call CYA.  Cover Your Ass with the Ministry.  Remember in Harry Potter that some Ministries were evil?  My thoughts exactly on our ‘Ministries’.

Have you any idea the professional dollars wasted on the positions putting together this information in a deemed acceptable fashion that could be used to give direct care?

STOP THE JUSTIFICATIONS I want to yell. You are not convincing anybody.  Least of all me.

I believed in Care and Caring.  And don’t let anyone tell you it is the same thing.  Care is something you deliver to those in need.  Caring is the way you do it.

I believed a good employer cares for and looks after his clients AND his employees.

I believed It’s an Honour to Serve the Sick.

I guess I still do.

*Sadly this hospital closed in the 90’s at a time when Ontario shut down many hospitals across the province.  I was actually sitting on a committee in Queen’s Park before that happened and when discussion came up about closures it never occurred to me that my hospital would be on the list.

** Of course I was also the one who said in 1970 that the new coffee shop, known as Tim Horton’s would never succeed.  It just never occurred to me that anyone would leave home to pay for coffee.

Oh well….

****Throughout writing this my mind has sifted through many memories of my Nun friends and what they taught me, but mostly my mind had been on Sister Patricia Valeriote, so this is a shout out to her.

 

 

 

Emotional Bankruptcy

Emotional Bankruptcy

emotions-globe-with-different-association-terms-wordcloud-vector-illustration

This is a difficult subject for me to address for one main reason. I fear I do not have the words to adequately address it and worry that I may trivialize it.

Now this is NOT earth shaking life changing. It is merely an observation and was triggered by something I saw in passing the other day.

I was reading on line about the celebrity deaths publicized in headlines in the last couple of weeks. You know, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Rene Angelil, Kitty Kallen. Some names more familiar than others. Any way I glimpsed a quote from some actor – no I don’t know who, it all happened as I was clicking to another page, a quote that said something about our displaying emotion or something like that. I cannot remember the quote but it did trigger a remembrance of back thoughts. Those thoughts that pass through our brain, not staying, but not going so far away that they cannot be recalled in an instant.

I have always been impressed by the British, and not because fifty percent of my heritage hails from Scotland. I have always viewed them as being strong in character. I remember watching a film when I was a child. In the scene were three men, one of whom left the room suddenly. The second fellow looked at the other who said, “Personal problems.”

“Oh, I see.”

Nothing more needed to be said. There was just an understanding. No further explanation needed. No sobbing dragging out of the innards for all the world to see.

You see, a few decades ago, when it became acceptable, nay, desirable, to give expression to personal feelings something changed forever in our society.

There is something strong about the whole ‘stiff upper lip’ thing. There is strength of character.

Now please do not get me wrong and assume I mean that we should never discuss that which is very personal. What I mean is that the discussion takes place between two people. The object of our sharing is very selective. I guess a lot has to do with media – this very public sharing of every aspect of every emotion.

Secretly I have this fear that by baring it all to everyone that we are creating emotional bankruptcy although how is very difficult to explain. There is, I think, an inner secret part of us that is strengthened when we stiffen that upper lip.

VERY IMPORTANT! I am in no way suggesting that everyone does this. I personally know a lot of folk that share a bit with us and carry on. And I would never suggest keeping it all in when it would be detrimental to our health.

Not at all, but I think society as a whole is poorer. As I write this I think I may appear way off base on this. Maybe this is one of those times when I should suck it up and stiffen that upper lip. Which by the way I think many still do.

But I have to ask: is it necessary to bare all to have some understanding or kindness for another? Is it possible to support someone, with personal problems without knowing every painful iota of that person’s suffering?

I like to think it is. I fear I have missed the point I wanted to make.

Who and Why

Who I Am and Why I am Here – Daily Post

It’s about time I was up for a challenge, having not been for what seems a very long time.  Have you ever found that when you are unwell that everything around you also seems impaired in some way?

Not only physical, mental, and emotional health but everything included in your reality?  Electronics seem to be a problem, the computer fights my every attempt to post, and nothing,-  absolutely nothing – feels right.  It doesn’t matter which area started to decline first, one thing leads to another.

In the course of my annoyingly sad descent from creativity I have become somewhat dislocated and am not sure even to handle the questions put forward by our WordPress team.

Perhaps it is enough to say that by struggling to post this year I will find the answers to the questions posed because right now I honestly could not adequately respond.

This is not a moany groany whine session, it is more like a sigh.  My life has been fun and fun filled, but somewhere along the way my-rose-colored-glasses protection disappeared and I do not like it, not one bit.

I continue to read my blog buddies posts every day and marvel at their creativity, well anyone’s creativity because I cannot remember what it felt like.  Whoa!

But try I will.  Heaven knows I have enough raw materials to work with thanks to human kind

Burning Bridges the Canadian Way eh?

The honor of the Media has disappeared in Canada. If in truth it ever existed.

There are plenty of ways to burn your bridges and this I know from personal experience, but it would seem that Canada is putting on a pretty good show of its own on the world stage.

You know our reputation; quiet, unassuming, excruciatingly polite, and mild mannered. We walk quietly and carry no sticks at all, mostly seen as peace keepers, until Afghanistan of course. We are never the main character but excel in supporting roles. I think this stereotypical view has been changing for some time and given the scandals of the world I figure we are still pretty mild.

We have a mayor in Toronto that made Jay Leno headlines. He has been attacked by the press for many months for alleged criminal activity and associations which went from reporting the news to ‘rabid’ attacks by the media. In my mind the guy is probably guilty but until it is so proven Canadian media has come off looking like crazed zombies out for blood, for his carcass and soul. Want to know why he appears so maligned and denigrated? Ego – One big enough to encompass the Grand Canyon, or possibly the western hemisphere. The media apparently cannot withhold its bile when faced with ego. The attacks shown on TV and in the press may actually start garnering some sympathy for Rob Ford. The guy, acting like a spoiled brat had the nerve to give digital direction to his accusers more than once, and in more than one way. Whether he just isn’t bright enough – limited by ego or intelligence – to understand the position he is in, or holds the rest of the world in such low regard doesn’t matter. The press has become the bad guy and shame on them.

We apparently have three evil senators in Ottawa who the media are out to hang prior to due course of justice. Now you have to understand that our senators are appointed and this has been viewed by many to be a reward for service to a particular Prime Minister. Nice job for life with admirable income and tax benefits. It seems Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau, and Mike Duffy have made illegal claims for expenses. This has gone from newsworthy to blood sport in a few weeks. And why? You guessed it. Ego. Wallin in particular has been disliked because she treats everyone around her as less than human. She apparently has attained self-imposed Royal status and made some mighty big enemies in doing so. The facts seem to be in and in my opinion are guilty but the conduct of the media make them look like salivating dogs of hell taking bite after bite.

Senators as a whole probably in my view see themselves above all others and certainly these are not the only three, but they are going down in a most undignified way.

We have a Prime Minister I personally have never cared for. He is also about ego but has the smarts to manipulate and control. He is coming off rather badly because he has been caught in more than one lie. Now how surprising is that? A politician that lies. Coverups. Meanwhile there are bigger more costly political sins from which this whole country will suffer.

That fact never changes. The mighty pen, the media message, brings shame to this country and its people. We have never been able to trust the slant of reporting entirely and there is no such thing as blatant truth telling, but the Canadian media has been busy burning some bridges called Ethical Reporting and they should be ashamed. The problem is, they carry the message and there is little you and I can do to affect the honesty of the message. They not only deal in mob mentality, they feed it.

EGO has become the greatest crime of all which should make humble appearing criminals feel good.

Oh my why can’t we just have a good old sex scandal in government?

Ironing Out the Wrinkles of Life In a Wash and Wear World

മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes
മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ironing Out the Wrinkles of Life In a Wash and Wear World

I did something today I have not done for years.  I ironed.  Most people I know stopped ironing clothes when wash and wear made our lives easier, although I am not sure where the easier comes in as we have a tendency to fill the time with some other activity and the general pace of life itself has been accelerated so that it occurs to me that ironing in some way might just slow it down.

Now there are still lots of daily and weekly ironers out there.  In fact my cousin in Scotland and her peeps do it all the time.  My SIL here in Canada still irons.

I had the ironing board out to finish off a project when it occurred to me that I might just press a few articles of clothing likes blouses, sport tops etc just for the heck of it, and I found myself seized by the need to organize drawers and closets.  This is a common urge when large projects are completed.  Why? I don’t know.  Common sense tells me a better celebratory activity might be taking a cruise, or vacation, or even just out for a lovely dinner.  Maybe it is reactionary to spending time focused on one thing and neglecting a hundred other things.  For instance, IF I had put the board and iron away when I finished with it, the thought to do anything else probably would not have drifted through my grey matter.

Anyway, there stood board and iron.  Emptying drawers and a pile of fresh laundry from yesterday – because I did not put it away then – beckoned me on.

As I was pressing lace and designs I realized that by accepting wash and wear I was missing intricate beauty brought by a little heat and pressure and at that moment when I removed the iron did I see the fine stitching, the ivory sheen.

My mind started to wander a bit as I considered how much of our own lives do we just wash and wear?  A large part of the world I see figures that all they have to do is ‘put it out there’, believe and it will be, without realizing that it takes some heat and pressure and persistence to make it so.  Didn’t someone say that luck is 90% hard work?  Or something like that.  The idea being that verbalizing and thinking something is just the first step.  Then come the actions, the work; the energy to make it happen.

A positive frame of mind and spirit is invaluable but unless we use it to iron out the wrinkles in our lives we are forever stuck in a wash and wear existence.  And really, is the fabric of our existence not the quality material we want to show and display?

Discovering Aberration Part 2!*

scbarrusvintage_medium

I am very proud to present to you, my wonderful and generous hearted readers, the second part of my guest host’s presentation about his exciting new novel.  Thank you thank you all for being so wonderful in reposting and spreading the word.

It started with a dream

Over the course of the last two and a half years I’ve been working late nights and lunch breaks on a novel entitled Discovering Aberration.

But it didn’t begin as a simple idea for a novel. It began as a dream.

In this dream I was a part of an expedition on a remote island with my cousin searching for a lost  civilization. Through the thick jungle we trekked, pressing through walls of great leaves and hanging vines. We pressed on and eventually hacked our way through the foliage. The world opened up around us, and before us was revealed a great lake; a crater with a  shimmering light submerged deep below the surface.

We rejoiced at finding the light below the water, it was the first sign of our discovery. But as we peered into the depths of the lake, our hearts sank as we saw a horrific sight. Within the lake was a massive beast, a dragon like creature which  swam about our discovery, protecting it over the centuries.

Immediately we set to work, building a device, a rocket strung to the ground with massive rubber bands. We climbed inside and the strange device shot us up into the air, and then, when we reached the point at which the rubber bands were stretched to their limit, we were hurled back down towards the lake to speed past the great and terrible beast.

It was a silly, adventurous dream. Most of it didn’t end up in the  novel other than as a little inspiration, but something about this dream stuck with me and eventually a novel only just barely related was created.

About Discovering Aberration

Discovering Aberration is a character driven steampunk adventure story taking place in  the era of budding steam and clockwork technology. The country of Victoria is in the  midst of a socio-economic divide, and in this divide, crime and villainy has festered. In this world lives our protagonists.

Freddy Fitzgerald is an esteemed adventurer/travel writer. His good friend, Thaddeus Lumpen approaches him on cold spring day with the discovery of a life time, an ancient map he’s stolen from under the nose of a notorious gangster.

Convinced this map will lead them to a long lost  civilization, they immediately build a rag tag team of explorers and archeologists and set out on a dangerous expedition. But in this world of villainy, news of the map leaks and suddenly they are up against a small army of competition.

Vengeful  archeologist, dangerous mercenaries, manipulating scarlets, and more  seek to head them off seeking the fame, the fortune  this discovery can offer them.

When they get to the island, all is not as it should be. People  are going mad, and what’s more, the island hides a deep, dark secret,  lurking in its heart.

Writing Discovering  Aberration has been perhaps the most rewarding work I’ve ever been a part of. I’m  so pleased with how it’s turned out. The novel has become so much more  than the dream ever was.

Indie Publishing

I’ve decided to publish Discovering Aberration myself, so I’ve become not only a  writer, but a publisher, an entrepreneur, a publicist and a marketer.

It’s a strange and competitive world I’ve stepped into. But unlike the  violent competition in my novel, my competition is other writers who  have proven to be some of the most helpful, supportive people in the  world.

I am taking the first step towards publishing  Discovering Aberration by launching a Kickstarter campaign. For those  of you who haven’t heard of Kickstarter, it’s a crowd-funding platform that enables artists like me to bypass  traditional corporations by seeking out funding from everyday people like  you who want to contribute and support.

For as little as $5, you can pledge your support for my novel and in return you’ll receive a professionally edited and  designed copy of the novel before it’s released to the general public. The more you can pledge, the  greater your rewards, including having a character named after you at  the $500 level, and even more in between.

If you’re interested, or want to learn more, please visit my  Kickstarter page which explains the process in detail.

But before you invest in my project, take some time to read the novel itself.  The first 28 chapters  is currently free to read on Wattpad.com.

If you enjoy reading Discovering Aberration as much as I enjoyed writing it, then please consider a small pledge, and be a very real part of this project.

Finally, I’d like to thank Chris for giving me this opportunity to share my  story and my project with you. She has been incredibly gracious and an  early supporter of mine (perhaps the earliest). And I look forward to  meeting and thanking every single one of you who choose to back my  novel.

Cheers,
S.C. Barrus

About S.C. Barrus

S.C. Barrus writes strange and thrilling literary adventures. He’s published short stories, essays and poems in print and online. Born in Canada,  S.C. Barrus grew up near Seattle in the pacific north west where he  lives to this day. He received his degree in creative writing from the  University of Washington.  You can learn more about him at his website Away and Away

Links:

Visit the Discovering Aberration Kickstarter

Read Discovering Aberration on Wattpad

The Question on at least 1280 Minds This Morning Is: Where is Miss C

Miss C as most of you know is Celi or Cecilia is a petite, tiny enough thing so you’d think the wind would knock her over, never mind those animals, who lives an exciting life on the prairies creating a self sustaining life in the most remarkable way.

We find her every morning at The Kitchen’s Garden and she always gets there first because while we mere mortals languish in our beds soaking up several hours sleep, this wee lady and already done a day’s work.

She paints the drama and comedy of her life daily and much like the readers of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers series in the eighteen hundreds, we wait, breath held, fingers crossed, for news.  We cheer successes, lament losses all the while persevering and all the while giving thanks for every moment of life; the Good, the Bad… well you know what I mean.

News of what you may ask?   Is there sustaining dramatic entertainment anywhere in this world to keep folk interested in events, in lives?

You betcha!  And if Miss C’s stories sold even for a penny as Dickens’  did one hundred and fifty years ago she would no doubt have great monetary wealth, for once you find her it is pretty hard to let her go.

But this drama, this suspense can hardly be tolerated, and it began on July 1st, just a few short days ago.  The link above will take you to the start of this tale for I am overcome at the very thought of each step along the way to even try to relate to you the surprise, the angst, the trepidation, the hopes for welcome resolution.

The last word I had yesterday was from FB in which it seemed successful resolution had once more escaped.  Where or where are you Miss C?

It isn’t just me and The Cast, and 1280 others, …okay wait …maybe it is just us, but probably many more who need to know:

DID YOU MAKE THAT PLANE?  Our hearts and minds are in a suspension until we know!!

Cecilia G