Tag Archives: challenges

Last Call

Weird is a word,

In a wacky old way.

Whimsy is fun,

But not every day.


Laugh when it tickles,

And let yourself be.

Take flight with your fancy,

There’s so much to see.


No planes and no boats,

No trains hurtling far.

The wings of your mind,

Go beyond with no car.


I want to go crazy,

Be the person I am.

I’ll see it and do it,

Into living I’ll cram.


Never be sorry,

For living it all.

Cuz one day it comes,

The final last call.


86,400 (2.0)

I originally wrote this nine years ago but my focus has changed in the ensuing time and I have, I think, improved it. I hope you enjoy.


I was once sent an e-mail that likened the 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour day to money. It went on to ask if you were given that amount of money every morning knowing that you would lose any you did not spend, would you endeavour to spend every cent.  Of course you would!  It attempts to remind us that we need to use every second of every day to its fullest.  That is so true, except . . . . I spend approximately 5 hours out of every 24 sleeping or 18,000 seconds (or $18.000).  Does that mean I have squandered that time?  No, I am recharging.

How much time do you spend preparing the food that fuels your body? Or any of the other activities that are vital in the running of said body. One works to afford the food to fuel the body as well as the clothes we wear and the roof over our head. We must also clean and exercise to maintain and… And then there are the activities for the mind which is part of the package. We need to stimulate, educate and entertain … I think it is a very costly activity to maintain one’s self. And I’m not talking about the frivolous, decorative activities. Just to simply maintain. When we get into the area of improvement. There is schooling and physical activities … Yep, there is a lot to do and none of it is squandering. I wonder how much I just spent writing this post. I probably shouldn’t add it up.

Now this brings up another problem.  How you speak and how you are understood.  I could say that I am not responsible for what you hear, only for what I say. But that is not quite accurate. I am a big believer that it is not how well you speak that is important but how well you are understood.  One may speak correctly and still be misunderstood.  Why?  The person or persons you are speaking to may not speak exactly the same way you do.  Their comprehension may be at a different place than yours.  For example – the word rug – it has different meanings depending on where you live.  In England a rug is a blanket. In Canada a rug is a carpet.  My point is that if you are going to chastise someone for squandering time then make sure it is the appropriate amount.  We all need some down time. And I am worth it!


Paper clips

Today is overcast and cold. We had a snow storm yesterday and there is a significant amount of snow on the ground. I live in a downtown area so it isn’t a pretty, white, pristine snow, it’s the ‘cars just drove over me and spewed exhaust that made me brown’ snow. The last few weeks have been… unsettling. It’s cold but not really cold, it’s not exactly sunny or cloudy, it just seems to be in between everything.  meh.  It’s January and it’s not acting like it. It has made me… unsettled. So, I thought that I would write a post for today that was uplifting and inspiring and… I got nothin’. Plan B: I wondered what the most innocuous thing was that I could write about and I came up with the paper clip. Yep. The ubiquitous and yet rarely noticed device that has been used for hundreds of years to clip paper together. The paper clip.

According to Wikipedia:

The most common type of wire paper clip still in use, the Gem paper clip, was never patented, but it was most likely in production in Britain in the early 1870s by “The Gem Manufacturing Company”,

Nowadays the shape has changed in some. Gotten bigger, gotten smaller. Sometimes they are made of plastic. But I would bet that for the most part there are trillions of small bent wire clips in every office. Years ago, we talked about going paperless in our society but I don’t believe that’s actually a possibility and therefore we will always need to be able to clip paper together. Because we like control. And then I started to wonder about how much like life is that lowly little paper clip.

In order to become useful, little pieces of wire are bent into shapes that function. Aren’t we? We are born into a world knowing nothing and we are shaped by our education and later by our experiences into people that are functional and can contribute to society. Just like that paper clip. There are also those who are perhaps overworked and therefore become useless. Have you ever unbent a paper clip? Of course, then it is great for sticking in teeny tiny holes in our computers to make things reset. So, not all bad. How many times have you taken a handful of paper clips and clipped them together to make a chain or a strange creature. It’s amazing what we can do when we’re bored.

My Bucket List

This is a blast from my past. It was originally written in June 2014 but I think it is still as pertinent today as it was almost 10 years ago.

‘The Bucket List’ was a movie that came out in 2007 with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It tells the story of two terminally ill men who take a road trip to fulfill their final wishes:  their Bucket List.

It has become quite popular for people to create their own bucket list.  It is a list of things they want to accomplish before they kicked the bucket.  My list, my bucket, is a little different.

In my bucket I’m holding tight to the memories, the emotions, the ideas that made my life as rich as it has been.  When I approach St. Peter at the gates of eternity (hopefully many years from now) I want my bucket to be overflowing with love, with smiles, with humour and yes with remembered tears of sadness that I have journeyed with throughout my life.

I don’t want to complete things and then strike them off the list to move on.  I want the pictures in my mind to be retained until my last breath.  I want to be able to recall my first kiss.  Okay maybe not the first kiss as we were young and stupid.  But I definitely got much better.  I want to remember what it felt like when my father picked me up as a sleeping child to take me to my room.  I want to remember what it felt like when I got my first praise for a short story I had written.  To know that my words could touch another was intoxicating.

I want to remember puppy dog kisses and a kitten’s purr.  I once watched a cow giving birth and many years later I watched the same process with our family dog.  Five incredibly beautiful puppies took their first breath while I watched!  It was exhilarating.  I have watched whales playing a few feet from my boat.  I have caught fish and seen bears in the wild.  I have been to other countries and have experienced a warm welcome.  I have driven through mind numbing storms and joked about it afterwards.  I have been deep in caves hoping that my guide knew the way out.  I have done so much in my life and all of those experiences are in my bucket.  I’m not done yet so I think I’d better get a bigger bucket!






Many, many years ago I had the opportunity to take a vacation whale watching off the east coast of Canada. I didn’t know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised and amazed at what I was able to experience. I saw several different kinds of whales and dolphins but my most poignant one was the several times I saw the Northern Right Whale. They had been considered extinct but were discovered by a Professor from my old university.

Every day we would go out on the boat and hope to see . . . something. One day we were approached by two whales, a mother and a juvenile. By law we have to stop our engines when whales are near and so we did and what happened over the next several hours was incredible. I don’t know the dimensions of the wooden boat we were on but Mama was bigger. Junior was almost the same size. And he (I don’t know what sex it was) was fascinated. He particularly liked the zodiac that we had attached to the stern. He kept coming up underneath it and forcing it into the air. Our captain was not well pleased. He would run out onto the deck of the boat yelling at the whale. Like it made any difference at all. Ha ha ha ha.

The next thing Junior would do was circle the boat waving his fins. Think of his arms. If mine had been slightly longer I could have touched his fin. He was that close. And Mama? She kept her distance but she kept going around and around and around the boat. Not the least bit intimidating!

A few nights ago, I saw a documentary on these Northern Right Whales and I realized how exceptional it was for me to have that experience. They are so endangered right now that they may not survive as a species. There are less than 350 individuals left and of those, less than 100 are breeding females. In my lifetime I could witness their extinction. Because of us.

The majority of the deaths, actually the only deaths on record lately are due to the fishing lines they get entangled in and propeller cuts. Their backs are sliced by the propellers of boats. Shipping lanes are too close to the Whales. And we do a lot of shipping. This saddens me. How many species have been lost in the last hundred years? I don’t want to look it up. I’m afraid it will be too many. Not just animals but plants as well. As a species we take what we want, use it up and then discard what we don’t want. We are selfish. I know people are trying to change this, trying to save what is left but is it too little, too late?


The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species; the latest preliminary estimate suggests there are fewer than 350 remaining. Right whales are baleen whales, feeding on copepods (tiny crustaceans) by straining huge volumes of ocean water through their baleen plates, which act like a sieve.

By the early 1890s, commercial whalers had hunted North Atlantic right whales to the brink of extinction. (They got their name from being the “right” whales to hunt because they floated when they were killed.) Whaling is no longer a threat, but they have never recovered to pre-whaling numbers, and human interactions still present the greatest danger to this species.



This information and picture are from the NOAA fisheries website. Their mission is the protection of our oceans.

A Felonious Fetish

I am here to confess,

To a serious crime.

I am planning it out,

It may take some time.


But wicked and evil,

And nasty, I’m sure.

A felonious act,

Will soon now occur.


I have thought it all through,

And I am going to commit.

An act so depraved,

You will deem me unfit.


But things now are rough,

In these desperate times.

I just may be crazy,

But still, it all rhymes!


I will stop using commas

And my meaning may slip.

Confusion a constant

But still sharp as a whip!


Now I know you are thinking

That woman is mad.

But I’ll bet you did smile

At least just a tad?


Then my work here is done

For the moment at least

Til the next time perhaps

When I surprise a wee beast

People Don’t Change!

I recently heard this statement while I was watching TV and it was said so vehemently that I had to chuckle. Of course we change! I am not the person I was when I was six years old nor I am the person I was when I was 36 years old. Hell, I’m not the same person I was yesterday. People evolve. Hopefully. There are a few Cro-Magnons amongst us. But I digress.

I’ve always believed that people change depending on their situation. There is work mode, friend mode and lover mode. And probably several in between. But we are constantly changing. Education, experience and trauma are just a few of the ways that we can change as people. When my life was changed by an incurable disease, I had to find a way to accept it. I had to change to accommodate all the paraphernalia that went with it. It is that adaptation that has allowed me to continue to be a viable person. Did I change? If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here. Change is inevitable and it should also be welcomed.

However, not all change is for the better. But that must also be embraced. We must find a way to live with the negativity or redirect it. These are easy words to say but so difficult to do. When my life was altered, it did not happen overnight. I was able to foresee what could happen. Of course, I did not believe it. They say to be forewarned is to be forearmed. I was. Mostly. I eventually allowed myself to become who I was meant to be under those circumstances. And I like who I became.

As a child I was afraid of everything, convinced I was an idiot. (The jury is still out on that.) I was also insatiably curious and trusting to a fault. I’m sometimes surprised that I made it to puberty. In my teens I developed ways to deal with my insecurities. I joined the drama department and became someone else when I needed to. Invaluable skills. In my 30s and 40s I perfected those skills and I became comfortable in my skin. But that shy child was always lurking in the background. As I have continued to age, I have discovered a person that I really like. She’s smart, she’s funny and she is fiercely loyal. I like her, I respect her and I enjoy her company. It took me a long time to accept who I am but I got there in the end. That wouldn’t have happened without a great deal of change.



A New Year

And so it begins,

A New Year is born.

A chance to make changes,

An Old Year to mourn.


We take up the mantle,

To plan a direction,

So much is amiss,

And needs a correction.


The future is ours,

To mold, to make fit.

The question of course,

Is can we admit?


Mistakes have been made.

And evil has been done.

But we have the strength,

To approach it as one.


Together and wise,

Let our will be conceived.

And just as we’d hoped,

A bright future achieved.



Once More into the Breach Dear Friends…

Once again we are at the beginning. We have 364 days ahead of us. What to do? What to do? I’ve always liked new. A new year, a new car, a new idea. There is something titillating and anticipatory about it. A new romance can cause flutters in your stomach and pulsating behind your heart. A new job can be stimulating and terrifying in equal measures and that is exciting. New is thrilling. It can also be distressing. We don’t know what the future holds but we do have a hand in forming it. If we are so inclined.

I wanted my first post of the new year to be uplifting and inspiring and yet those two words only happen if we can get past the apathy. Yes, apathy. I think it is one of the greatest dangers that faces the world today. We have become apathetic. It’s not happening to us, so why should we be concerned? If it’s happening to someone else, it’s happening to us. Why don’t people see that?

At the beginning of every new year I make the same declaration. This will be a good year. And I say it confident that it will be. Sometimes it just takes a little extra looking to find the good but it is there. We still have a little blue planet to inhabit because of good people and generations past that have stood the test of time. People today are working to correct the so very many problems that exist. They don’t make the best news stories because, well, people like to look at train wrecks. And we could become that but I am a believer in the strength of community and togetherness. I believe we will survive. It might not always be pretty but then few things start out pretty. However, they can become beautiful, if we allow it.

The last few years have been difficult on so many levels. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Over 6 million people have died. We might have 8 billion people in the world but 6 million is a lot. And it’s still with us. The pandemic, Covid is still active. It is still killing people. Not in the same numbers that it was but it is not gone. And yet people are acting like it is. Yes, we have vaccines now but there are still those people who are vulnerable through no fault of their own. I am one of them. So, I am still embracing my hermit mode. I don’t feel that I’m suffering. But in my way, I am. I am a social person by nature. I love people. I miss hugs. But I know that one day we will all look back and be proud that we survived. Relatively intact.

I will stand behind my declaration: 2023 will be a good year! So dear friends, once more into the breach…


The Last Christmas Gift

Elsie looked around the room. There was carnage everywhere. A tornado passing through would have left less damage. Bodies were strewn throughout the mayhem. She chuckled. Just another Christmas morning with children.

One of the bodies stirred. A little fist came up from beneath the wrapping paper it had been curled up under. A pile of boxes sneezed. Another child was stirring. Elsie thought perhaps there were a few more to come. But she knew the fresh smell of coffee would probably wake all the adults up. Sure enough, the love of her life wandered into the room, his hands wrapped around a hot steamy mug. With no hesitation he handed it to Elsie and returned from whence he came to get another.

A few more adults showed up with coffee at hand and a tray of hot chocolate for the children. It was Christmas morning. It was after the frenzy of opening gifts. After breakfast. Everyone had been up so early for the main event that the naps became inevitable. The children slept curled around their newfound bounty while the adults found more comfortable settings. Elsie didn’t need a nap. She wanted to watch her charges. There is nothing more spiritual then the breath of a sleeping child, safe and secure in their surroundings.

There was a different feeling in the room as everyone gathered once again. They all knew what was coming. Except for one. Malcolm was new to the group, to the family. He was still getting used to the Western dynamic. He had been born into soul crushing poverty in another country. His family had been killed in a local war that no one understood.  He was alone. But he had been found by people who cared and so began his journey to this moment.

“Malcolm,” send Elsie, “There is one more Christmas gift for the family. That includes you. But you don’t know the history so I’m going to tell you how this all started.”

Malcolm set up straighter, he was interested to know how things worked here and he was curious about his new family. So, he listened very carefully.

Elsie continued: “When my Great, Great, Great Grandfather came to this country he was very poor. But his parents believed they could find a better life, a better future in the New World. They risked everything. The first few years were hard but they were a hard-working family. That first Christmas looked like it was going to be pretty bleak. There was barely enough money for food let alone presents. But there was a wise patriarch and he refused to be sad. He said the goose had wandered across the street and died. His beloved wife said nothing as she picked the buck shot out of the breast of their Christmas goose.

They said grace and gave thanks for their bounty. The light was dim and the curtains were thin but they knew that others were worse off so they gave thanks. And that’s when my ancestor brought out the Last Christmas Gift.”

Elsie sat back in her chair and smiled.  She looked at the faces around her beaming with anticipation. She loved this part of Christmas.

“Ever since then we have honoured the tradition that was started so many years ago.”

As if by magic a small beautifully wrapped package appeared in her lap. There were many ooohs and aaaahs from her audience. And not just the children!

With studied patience Elsie peeled back the wrapping paper. And then with a flick of her wrist a small wooden carving appeared in the palm of her hand. It was a little drummer boy.

Elsie smiled. “Would anyone like to tell me what gift this is?”

Malcolm looked confused. He didn’t know the story of the Little Drummer Boy. And then something miraculous happened. A little tow-hair girl stood up and walked to Malcolm. She wrapped her little arms around him and said:

“His gift is to us all. He was a little drummer boy who had no presents to give the newborn King, Jesus Christ so he played his drum. He gave all he had in his heart and it was the most precious gift of all. That’s what we all need to do. And it will be precious.”