Many Hands…..

I strongly suspect that many of us have never heard of John Heywood (c 1497 – 1580) yet he seems to have a continuing impact on modern conversations with some regularly used sayings. He was a well known playwright who attended four royal courts despite being a political activist and a Catholic. He eventually had to flee England but he left behind a legacy of words.In 1546 alone he wrote the following:

  • A penny for your thoughts
  • One good turn deserves another
  • I know on which side my bread is buttered
  • Two heads are better than one
  • When the sun shineth, make hay
  • Haste maketh waste
  • Look ere ye leap
  • Beggars should be no choosers
  • Better late than never
  • You cannot see the wood for the trees
  • This hitteth the nail on the head
  • Rome was not built in one day
  • All is well that ends well
  • The fat is in the fireepigrams:
  • The more the merrier
  • Many hands make light work

My mother used these words when it was time to weed the garden, pick raspberries, hang laundry out or do the dishes. They certainly had an impact on me and it is a saying that I have been known to utter.

Our hard working son Spencer and his wonderful girlfriend Alexis have responded to our requests for assistance for the past two Monday evenings. Last week we needed help to get our daughter and son-in-law moved out of their city house quickly. It wasn’t a fun task but with a little take out food and some beer we bribed them to work. They were superb despite the intense heat and the stairs and a bit of general chaos. Today we asked if they would come help us lay sod. It certainly wasn’t intense heat today that was an issue but the wind and the temperature sure made us miss the heat. We fed them home made chili and beer and they left with food for their lunches. We are grateful that we have these young willing hands who help lighten our load. Of course Spencer says that payback is going to be hell!

We are thankful that many hands made light work often in our lives.

 Bernie

Re-Set Your Life

I sat listening to a speaker and her words resonated inside my soul and became a measuring stick to look deep inside myself.

She spoke about overcoming your fear and living a life with no limitations. Going outside your comfort zone and giving 100% to whatever you do.

To do these things you must stay determined, focused and have self discipline. Ah yes — that trait! The one that’s so hard. But that’s an excuse and an easy way out so you have to Just Do It”. Whatever “it” is to you.

I find it hard to imagine a life with no limits but that’s because I’m probably not thinking outside the box. But perhaps I’m confusing limits with responsibilities. It’s hard to just forgo your commitments and focus on yourself. So I have to ask myself can I stretch my limits within where I am and what I am.

I believe that it is possible but it does come down to that equipoise equation that is so Illusive. I’ve pushed myself into a sport where fit but fleshy people aren’t the norm (triathlon). We’ve restored an old house and homesteaded land. I’ve spoken up and for patients who needed an advocate. I’ve butted heads with bureaucrats in my volunteer life until I felt blue in the face. I’ve got plans for the early stages of retirement that will push my envelope.

So perhaps despite of or because of the day to day of life I live I have pushed myself to go forward where sitting back would have been easier.

It’s all food for thought which is partly why I blog although I had originally thought I’d do more creative stuff on here. Ah well I still have 11 more months. Oh and yesterday’s missed entry — brought about by a missing in my head password late late at night. Oh the joys of passwords!!

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Bernie

Destiny

My mother said, and I quote “if you are stupid enough to be a nurse you had better be a good one”. Tonight’s story isn’t about what kind of nurse I turned out to be but rather the path it sent me on. My mother believed that good nurses came from hospital based programs and so I ended up at Foothills Hospital School of Nursing in Calgary.

Fourth floor of residence was made up of small town Sask and Alta girls — thrown into the big city at 17 or 18 years of age. We learned more than just nursing skills there. There were a few life lessons along the way. Tears and exams and an endless closet of someone else’s clothes to wear to the dance. There were some crazy times balanced out with sad days and in the end we were the best of friends.

Fast forward a lot of years. We are still together, bonded by a connection that goes bone deep. Like old married couples we can finish each other’s sentences and stories. Laughter is often and frequent but so are tears. We occasionally even have a drink or two and fit in some exercise.

We are twisted soul sisters and we love it that way.

Broken

I wished she had broken her leg or suffered from a heart attack. For I’m a nurse and I help people. We could have made a plan and implemented it, making adjustments as necessary.
But what was attacking her was insulating, insidious and invisible. “It” was mental illness. She started out as a nurse, a loving wife, a strong mother with educationally challenged children and a fabulous funny caring friend. But one day a straw in the camels back broke when her own mother died and she coped poorly for a time while she grieved. That lead to mild depression and a bit of time away from work to rebalance. Only mental health doesn’t respond the way a broken leg does to treatment. It starts snaking away and soon it is in control. Gone is the vibrant woman you knew and instead it is a shell with a mask that is donned for “company”. The thoughts mumbled and the panic attacks spiralling so that answering the phone or sending an email is almost impossible. And then the real worry sets in for you and her — Suicide.
Those of us on the outside looking in don’t understand what it is like in that well with dirt pouring in and how you can’t hear or feel the outside world. So time is spent inside hospital walls — meds adjusted and coping skills of being alone and away from those you need and that need you is mandatory.
Life slowly resumes but the once strong nurse can’t walk the halls and care for people — she is broken and learns slowly to manage the basics of life. Normal really is a setting on the dryer and every every every day is a challenge.
Today this friend of mine turns 55and I took her flowers. The face has aged, the smile isn’t as regular and the famously loud crazy laugh only happens sporadically but the hugs still rock your world. Her grace under fire is still there. She is the glue of her family and is revered by her twisted soul sister friends for having walked to hell and back.

There is a picture of birthday flowers with this post but the real “picture” is just a message to appreciate truly what each day brings to you and what you bring to the world.

Bernie

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Nature’s window dressing

Lucky me to frolic along in the magnificent weather enjoying the window dressing nature puts on as I sauntered across the bridge into down town. It’s not just the land of living skies but of a kaleidoscope of colours that are ever changing. The contrast between the blue of today’s sky and the fall finery along the river was intense. Added to that were a few flowering beauties, a statue and an old house. On the way back I took an unusual route through the University of Saskatchewan and wove my way through a central bowl full of students soaking up the sunshine. It was a very pleasant hour and was a great way to rediscover some Saskatoon land marks.
Without further words here are some pictures to illustrate my story.

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Sunday Stillness

When I thought about having a second blog I was thinking quite structured and that, if I ever had followers, they would know that on Sunday’s it was Stillness and Wednesdays’ were wacky day etc. But so far I have just randomly picked thoughts up, written and hit publish.

So if I was writing about Sunday’s stillness it wouldn’t have been evident in my life today except when I first woke up and spent a few minutes in bed enjoying the sunshine and the quiet. Then it was full tilt ahead for the entire day. I helped my daughter and son-in-law move from the city to a new house out in the country. I also cleaned our house in the am and did my usual weekend financial updates.

Late afternoon was the enjoyable Sunday stillness except that it was in motion. I always take the dogs for a good walk on Sunday. Today was a stellar day — blue skies, warm temps and no wind so it was a great day for the four dogs to have a swim. Today was the last day with Alyssa and Taylor’s dogs so walks will be a lot quieter in the future.

I’m posting from my lap top so not sure if I can do pictures or not.

Bernie

Nighttime of Haiku’s

They dance through the sky
Aurora borealis
Welcome back my friends

A kazillion stars
Surrounding our focal point
Dazzling bright light

Marvels of nature
Compete against human stage
Sometimes we forgot

There are no pictures to accompany this posting — I have never mastered night time photography. In fact I would love to take a photography class to increase my knowledge and skills.

We are so blessed to live where we do — it makes night time sky watching such a pleasure. Sitting by the fire or out on the new stone step is a “smelling the roses” kind of moment for me.

Bernie

One Friend Can Change Your Whole Life

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Sept 19, 1959 — I was 9 months old and my life changed forever that day.

There are several predispositions in your life that you can’t change like where you were born and to whom. I wouldn’t change those factors if I could as that’s what shaped the fabric of my soul.

One huge factor is my oldest and dearest friend. She is actually younger than I am so usually corrects me when I call her my oldest friend. How about my forever friend?

IMG_6274.JPGGosh we were cute!

I am occasionally surprised that we made it through childhood and adolescence as friends. We were both rather bossy although we prefer “determined” as a more fitting word. She was a born teacher. Her early math skills, I believe, lead to a lot of lopsided monopoly games! Although that might have been levelled out by the fact that I occasionally bent the rules when she wasn’t looking. We spent birthdays together and even shared houses when we were both sick. We were always in the same class, we curled together and were both in band (she could play and I went along), we wore our CGIT uniforms with pride. We didn’t actually get into many shenanigans together as teenagers as her beau David was older and wiser and so she behaved. She is the reason I made it to nursing as she taught me grade 12 chemistry — imagine being smart enough to teach your friend as you learned it yourself!

Our paths split when we left small town Sask to further our educations. But we never grew apart despite living apart since 1977. Our connection is “hard wired” and instantly reconnected by being together, texting, writing or calling.

Truly she is one of my best blessings and I’m so pleased to share our story here on her 55th birthday. Best wishes for today and for many more years. Cathy — One friend who changed my life.

Bernie

— I had several more great pictures but just couldn’t upload them tonight for some reason that I can’t decipher. Ah tried one last time and bingo!!

IMG_6267-0.JPGWedding day smiles.