Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category


Pages Turning

October 13, 2010

In reference to the post title; I can see where I’ve made some mental and emotional progress. I’m not where I was 3 months ago, or 2 or 1. Just not entirely sure how that happened is all. ‘Time heals all wounds…’, etc. Not to say I’m all better and everything is hunky-dory but I’m finally sleeping better, the nightmares are less frequent and not so vivid. Now if I could just regain the 10 – 15 lbs. that dropped off in nothing flat.

I’ve been back to work for 8 or 9 weeks now and have been averaging 55 to 65 hours per, with a day off here and there. Thankfully last week it landed on the best day for son Russ, his new bride Melissa and daughter Madison to visit. More on that later. Yesterday I was off and puttered about the yard raking leaves and cutting back all the flowers and shrubs in the front garden. Nice mindless labour on a sunny fall day. Back on the job later this evening for a couple of nights at least.

I’ve started taking pictures again – tah-dah!! For the longest time there everything was flat, shapeless and monotone. Gradually things have begun taking on colour, form and dimension again – I feel like I’m seeing the world again in the truest sense. The scales have fallen from my eyes, so to speak. Same with music – for a long time I was best with silence; then quieter, melodic sorts of stuff. Now I’m okay with occasional forays into louder more percussive headbangin’ tunes. My nerves must be coming around finally.

And I read!! Mainly because I’m not usually at home when the news is on I’ve become a daily reader of the Toronto Star newspaper… so I’m up on the news, lit, music and art scenes. Frequent trips to the library keep my mind fed with all sorts of topics that interest me and I’m finding it funny how one book will reference another that I’ve picked up on the same trip. (The list and review / recommendations are coming…. just haven’t had time as yet. I’m keeping track.)

That’s it for this quick installment. Many thanks to all of you who have kept in touch and offered kind words… it has helped knowing you’re out there.



June 21, 2010


Okay, so I got carried away when I said I’d be around here more frequently…. I lied, but with the best of intentions. Seems all I’ve done lately is work which, after all that time off, is a good thing. Trouble is I never know where I’ll wind up working, or when.

Lemme see – I’ve worked in a hospital, at a railroad siding, a retail store, had a few weeks at an office building which houses the project mgmt / engineering / design drafting facilities for a nuclear power plant (that was interesting), the last few nights at an EMS station. Mostly a mixture of afternoon shifts and nights with a day shift or two thrown at me to keep things spicy and off-balance. Am I coming or going? Who knows; not I for sure.

Mirrored Horizon

Lynda and I are mostly like ships passing in the night catching the occasional meal together or a couple of hours planted in front of the TV before one of us is off running again. Things have been busy. We had Milo back to the clinic in Toronto where he had his surgery for his final check-up and we’re told we’ve done an excellent job with him. There has been good bone growth around the plates and where the bone was cut. We can finally breathe a bit easier but have to introduce full activity levels incrementally.

Since I last wrote here I have finished Eric Clapton’s autobiography which managed to diminish my image of him…. a writer he ain’t. (but gutsy to have a stab at it and lay it all out there) I’ll continue to admire him for what it is he does best – write and play great music. Following that I read a really humourous book called “The Hypochondriac’s Guide To Life. And Death.” The author had me blowing pop out my nose with some of his lines. Shouldn’t drink and read at the same time, I guess – dangerous and messy.


Watch Out For That Curve

June 14, 2010

the straight and the curved

Funny – now that I have lots to talk about I have no time to share. I’m busy and relatively happy having worked the last 8 days in a row… had yesterday off but back at a new place tonight.

I’m becoming the crossword king once again. (I gave them up in early recovery) Reading some wonderful books of memoir – Caroline Knapp’s ‘Alcohol: A Love Story’ and Mary Karr’s ‘Liar’s Club’. Now I’ve just started Eric Clapton’s autobiography.

Had an appointment with my old employer today and have to decide on whether to take a severence package or extend my lay-off. Little rancor… all very business-like. I’m tending toward pocketing the loot and closing the door on any further dealing with them.

So endeth my quicky check-in. I’m okay – hope you are too. Bye.


Progressing Nicely….

March 23, 2010

Thanks for the check-ins gang…..

Milo is coming along pretty well and we’re confident we made the right choice regarding which sort of surgery he should have. This first week we’ve kept him as still as possible – one of us has been at his side at all times, virtually. He gets carried outside to attend to business and schlepped back in again. Meals served; water slung…. he’s quite enjoying being waited upon.

He will continue to be on pain and anti-inflammatory meds for another few days. We allow him brief walks under very tightly controlled conditions within the house. I do a few physio sessions with him each day and then lay cold packs on the leg afterward.

Just starting yesterday I’ve begun putting him in his crate for brief periods of time. He feels secure in there and the danger of him licking the wound open is passing. Aahh, back at the computer a wee bit. I’ve seen umpteen movies during the last week and have done some reading. Finished ‘Late Nights on Air’ – very good; and might re-read the first 100 or so pages as I started the book in fits and starts months ago. Now I’m into the ‘Story of Edgar Sawtelle’ – a novel.

I’ve missed getting out to a few meetings including two that I was supposed to chair but managed to attend my home group meeting last night. Lynda is holding up well, generally, but is stressed to the max with all that is going wrong. There is other stuff happening besides the dog…… life continues unabated.

Me…. cabin fever in a nutshell although this forced inactivity is a respite from the stress of job hunting when there are no jobs. I’m trying to focus on the positives. I’ve begun watching a TV evangelist by the name of Joyce Meyers and find her messages very positive – I like the way she ties everyday life to scripture. She’s on each morning.

Maybe I’ll have a chance to catch up on friends blogs in the days to come; I will try.

Liberty comforting Milo


A Truly Unmerited Gift

February 11, 2010

….. and certainly a welcome, surprising one. Without divulging a great many details let me just say a certain long-time online friend singled me out for a wonderful gift; one which I am unlikely to be able to repay anytime soon. It will require some time, thought, effort, commitment and energy on my part in order to fully benefit from this gift. Without even having started to participate in it it has already begun to affect me – it’s really a ‘feel good’ place to be right now; connected, excited, anticipating the process, learning and growing… some creative stretching. Aaahhh!

What did I ever do to deserve such grace??


Spot the dog


I haven’t been around here much so you might be wondering what exactly I’ve been up to. Well, hours and hours spent at the computer drumming up new sites to search for work and covering off all my usual ones for updates. Normally 2 hours each morning and afternoon. Lots of running around town on errands – yesterday I ran into a few A.A. guys I know and spent a half hour visiting with them before carrying on with my day. I’ve been hitting some meeting places that I don’t normally go to or have never been to before.

I wrote awhile ago about the impacts of ongoing stress on health and associated perceptions regarding health. Turns out some of my imaginings weren’t phantom symptoms after all – I finally went to the Dr to get checked out and I have a pending referral for a specialist and some tests. AHA!! It wasn’t all in my mind like I thought.


At the local Goodwill shop I picked up a book that looked promising as it won the Giller Prize – Elizabeth Hay’s ‘Late Nights On Air’. I’m about 80 pages into it and thoroughly enjoying it.

Yesterday as I worked around the house I kept the music system cranking out a variety of music. I started out with Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording of J.S.Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’. I’m not really a big classical music fan but I feel like a dose of it every once in awhile. This is supposed to be the definitive recording of this peice.

From there I went to one I borrowed from the library – a compilation album from Allison Moorer’s career in country music. (AKA – Mrs. Steve Earle… now) A beautiful, talented singer / songwriter – good stuff.

Then it was on to George Harrison’s posthumous release ‘Brainwashed’. I love how the spirit of the man comes through in his recordings; especially on ‘Rising Sun’ and ‘Marwa Blues’.

From the soundtrack of ‘Cold Mountain’ I enjoyed a rich dose of bluegrass / early American music / and blues. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Alison Krauss’ haunting rendition of ‘The Scarlet Tide’; written by Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett.

… on and on it went…. the ‘Unplugged Collection’, some Jeff Beck, yadda, yadda…

Which reminds me…. Beck and Clapton are playing here in a couple of weeks and I will miss them due to financial constraints. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!! What a show to see; such a show to MISS!!   for your aural enjoyment.

Anyway, must go and DO. Peace out.


Chief Cook….

November 25, 2009

… and bottlewasher.

fractured vision

I’m doing a pretty good job at staying away from blog cruising and have only indulged briefly a couple of times this week. Mostly I have set aside a couple of blocks of time in the late morning and late afternoon devoting myself to the job search. I find I need a break from the computer screen…. and also the frustration and associated anxiety at the paucity of jobs. I have sent out a fair number of CV’s but without any resulting invitations for interviews.

Besides that, it is me that largely takes care of things here on the homefront; hence the title of this post. Laundry, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, looking after the animals…. I’m your guy. Yesterday I threw together a nice beef stew in the slow-cooker and that’ll be tonight’s dinner; beef, potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, sherry, a little tomato soup and browning sauce. Mmmm, mmmmmm…. good.

What else?? The weather has been unseasonably mild (daytime highs around 8 or 10C) but lots of grey skies with some drizzle and rain. On the bright side…. I prefer this to below zero temps and snow. The trees are completely bare and all the songbirds have flown off south for the winter. The last of the migrators – Canada Geese – have been over flying the house in continuous, enormous flying Vee’s.

With Lynda on afternoon shift this week I’ve had a few hours out of the house in the mornings to run around town. Yesterday I blew a wad of cash on a new set of tires as the old set had little tread left and were beginning to show some cracks. No way they’d have been of any use in heavy weather. There have been some problems with the documents regarding my unemployed status which is holding up my benefits. Lots of phone calls between me and my former employer; then to the employment benefits outfit. It’d be nice if things could go smoothly especially at times like this… but no.

Generally Lynda has been pretty good about it all but had a couple of off days where she was pretty snappy and strange. Likely because she spent a couple of hours talking with her #2 son, C. He is what we refer to here as a ‘shit-disturber’ and he’s damned good at it, too. We aren’t one another’s biggest fans, he and I.

Lynda’s brother has now been living with us for 6 or 7 weeks and everything is going really well. Well, except for one minor complaint (natch). Ed is a really big fan of all the low-brow shows on the Fox Network and will plunk himself down in the living room and watch all these crappy shows back-to-back, by the hour. Lord, give me strength. I have to leave the room and find somewhere else to be else I’d be in full rant about Judge Judy, Family Court or Jerry Springer. Ed quite enjoys them and laughs like a loon at all the foolishness he sees. Me… can’t stand any of it. Patience, tolerance, understanding…. it’s an exercise, right?

Otherwise; the kid’s mother flew Sarah and Zeph to Calgary last weekend so that Zeph could meet his cousin Madison. Sounds like a good time was had by all. My Mom is good – spoke to her this afternoon. Mother Mary is still a concern and is waiting for more diagnostic tests. Freedom is coming along slowly and we’re concerned about how she will fare once the snow starts falling. Will she blow out her leg? Hope not. Milo and I have been having some fun in the yard as I’ve spent some time training him to do a few things… and burn off a little energy at the same time.

Having some difficulty focussing on reading these days; can’t seem to get into an Anne Lamott novel I borrowed; same with the Vonnegut compilation of early short stories. Listening to a lot more music lately as a way of moderating moods. Today’s ‘ear-worm’ is Billie Holiday’s ‘Willow Weep For Me’. Not the most upbeat tune but better than ‘I Wish I was an Oscar Myer Weiner…’, fer sure. 

Time for dinner and the news. Later…..

shadow and flare



November 18, 2009

I’m coming up for air…. a little re-emergence today. Thought I’d do a bit of catching up here and maybe roam around the blogs a bit.

I see colour again

 Things have been looking pretty dark and dim for these last few weeks but I’m feeling a bit of a turn-around. It’s been a ‘good days – bad days’ scenario; trying to appreciate those spare good moments and so much as possible ignore or downplay the bad. A few points:

– although I’m still suffering with some chest congestion and coughing it seems my virus / chest infection is largely gone. I’m going to try another smoking quit and see if that doesn’t make the difference.

– Mother Mary has one major test behind her but will have to wait a couple of weeks for the next one and probably more waiting for the results. Lynda whipped up to spend the day with her on Sunday. The fear is that she has bone cancer and she is waiting on a biopsy. She has had a catscan.

– I attended that Town Hall meeting last Thursday night which was very interesting and had a wide range of presenters from various area agencies and institutions. I delivered my resume into the hands of the Director of Services of the local detox and mental health and addictions facility…. had a good 15 minute chat. I also met our regional Chief of Police and one of his officers who runs a youth engagement program. 

-Yesterday I got out of the house for a few hours to do some running around. (Lynda’s brother was here to look after the dogs.) I squeezed in an hour long visit with my Mom and got caught up on a bunch of family news. On my way to the door she pressed a cheque into my hand and told me it ought to keep the wolves from the door for a while. Wow, what would I do without you, Ma? My expenses are covered for about a month and that relieves a lot of uncertainty because I don’t know when my benefits will kick in.

crystals everywhere

99% of Lynda’s money goes toward keeping this house going and groceries in the cupboards. One evening she spied these sets of crystals on The Shopping Channel and couldn’t resisit ordering them. We used to have a short curtain across this window but now there are a dozen crystals draped across it which catch the morning sun. Well worth the money, I’d say. (and of course, one of these produced the spectrum of colour in the picture above.)

our big girl - Freedom

It has been six months since Freedom’s original surgery on her knee; 4 months since the second one. One of us is still with her 24/7 because she is still at risk of tearing it up with any quick, vigorous movement. Most days she moves pretty well but when she strains it, she feels it and starts gimping around not wanting to bear weight on that leg. I think she feels changes in the weather, too. I know I used to in the years following breaking my ankle. 

Would one of my posts be complete without a shot of the clouds?? I thought not! Here ’tis:

last evening at sunset

When I get a chance to read I’m into a new (posthumous) compilation of Kurt Vonnegut short stories. For music – I’ve borrowed a half dozen CD’s from the library which include a couple of Diana Krall’s recent releases. I’m in a piano sort of mood.

Thanks all for continuing to check in – that’s what life looks like these days.



Catch-Up / Catch-All

October 20, 2009

Since I got off work Sunday morning things have been pretty much a blur. After that lengthy stint – 130 hours over 11 days and nights – there’s a long, long list of things to catch up on.

Sunday afternoon I was to chair that district meeting at 1:30. I sorta, kinda came to in bed knowing I was supposed to be somewhere and wondering what time it was. Roll over to see the clock and it is 1:05!!! SHIT!! Threw some clothes on, ran a brush through my hair, crammed a stick of gum in my mouth and I was off. I broke a few speeding laws on the way but made it across town by 1:25. The meeting itself went well; nothing contentious but we ran almost a half hour long. I walked in the door at home and Lynda loaded up her car and left for her Mom’s place. This ‘hi & bye’ existence is wearing thin, I tell ya. Too soon to tell completely but it seems her Mom is doing pretty well.

Monday was a sleep-in, slow to wake day. Lots of calls to make and arrangements sorted out for this out-of-town trip Friday, S & S. Today, Tuesday, I finally made it to get my hair cut. If it had got much longer I’d have had the full retro early 70’s look happening – not good. A trip to the library for more book and music – found a book that cousin BJ recommended; ‘Water For Elephants’ by Sara Gruen. I got into the first chapter while I waited for my oil change to be done.

Dinner looked like it was going to be complicated but because I’m ‘batching’ it I decided to keep it simple. Instead of dirtying a bunch of dishes I baked chicken pieces, hot Italian sausage and spicy fries all on the same baking sheet (on foil for a quick clean-up.) My evening is mapped out – there’s a re-broadcast of Steve Earle’s appearance showcasing songs from ‘Washington Square Serenade’; followed by ‘Hank Williams – The Show He Never Gave’ featuring Sneezy Waters in the lead role. Time to grab some dessert and park it in front of the TV. See ya…..


The End Is Nigh…

October 18, 2009

(Night #9; the end of a long stretch. Looking forward to some down time.)

Seems I’m among the last to find out… the end of days is coming. It is within sight. It’s all over the internet so IT MUST BE TRUE!! Mark December 21, 2012 on your planner and don’t bother buying Xmas presents that year.


Now I’m kicking myself in the butt for contributing to retirement savings plans when I should have been living the highlife and playing the lotteries. Damn! I hate it when that happens.

I had better start working on that pesky ‘to-do’ list though. Wouldn’t want to leave things in a mess.

dusky treescape avec underlit cloud

dusky treescape avec underlit cloud


I’ve just finished Jeannette Walls ‘The Glass Castle’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. A wonderfully detailed and engaging memoir. Thanks Amuirin for the recommendation.


Dashboard Views

October 10, 2009

During a rain storm the other night I reluctantly hauled my ass off the couch and drove a friend on an errand. While waiting in the car I snagged a few shots of the dash and through the windhield.

cold rain

cold rain

running rivulets

running rivulets

ol' shakey at the controls

ol' shakey at the controls

osatc 2

osatc 2

Oh, and guess what, Am? I’m sick (not seriously so) and working. I’m almost ashamed to say I was in bed around 9 p.m. last night and stayed there until about 8:30 a.m. Mind you I spent the first hour reading more of Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle which I started a couple of days ago. Eminently readable; very interesting. Previously I ditched The Shipping News after about 100 pages. I rarely leave a book unfinished once I start reading it but never did get drawn in – had no interest in the characters or where the plotline was taking them. Just not my cuppa tea, I suppose, despite it’s recommendation. (Sorry SueYM.)

So, tons of water and tea for me. Picked up some honey on the way to work tonight for my throat. Sensitive creature that I am, I don’t medicate myself for colds as my system is so damned pure now that just about everything throws me off kilter. (Whereas before I’d take enough meds to choke a horse, wash ’em down with an ocean of booze so that I’d be unaware that I was sick….. funny how things change.) Lots of liquids and as much time in bed as possible – that’s the Rx for me. (and maybe a little oil of oregano)