Day 55. So Soothing

The other day I posted about how badly I need some TLC, specifically a facial and a massage.  Well, I am booked, but my appointment’s not until next Friday.  In the meantime, my neck is killing me.

That’s a slight exaggeration.  It is stiff.  Turning my head to the right hurts.  But mostly, it feels tired, like my head is too heavy for my neck.  It’s nothing life threatening.  Just uncomfortable and annoying, because it’s ‘there’, all the time.  My neck and shoulders are my ‘weak spot’, so this is something I’ve experienced before.  It happens often.

I’m doing what I can to alleviate the discomfort, until a professional masseuse gets her hands on it.  Or at least, I’ve been trying.  All kinds of stretches.  Rolling my neck over a tennis ball (not the most fun I’ve ever had, by the way), to unknot the muscles.  Long, hot showers.  A heating pad.

Sleeping with no pillow.  Sleeping with one pillow.  Sleeping with two pillows.  A water Continue reading

Day 54. Repeating Cycles

At the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), I saw a movie that was so visually stunning it literally took my breath away.  As I sat there, totally mesmerized, I had three thoughts:  One, I didn’t want the movie to ever end.  Two, I was so lucky to be seeing it, because I was sure it would never make it into a mainstream theatre.  Three, if I could have, I would have stayed right there, and watched it all over again.

For that matter, if I’d been told, right there and then, that I couldn’t see any of the other movies I had tickets for, I would have gone home more than happy.  That’s how sated I was.

Well it’s been a little over a year since that incredible evening and yesterday, in the Toronto Globe & Mail Arts Section, I read that Samsara will be playing in Toronto, beginning next Friday, October 5.

If you’re looking for me, that’s where I’ll be.  Maybe more than once, too.

Before I say another word about the film, here’s what Wikipedia says about what its name, Continue reading

Day 53. More Grey

Well, you’re partly right. I did spend some time last night in Seattle. Figuratively speaking, that is. Now you really don’t know what I’m talking about, do you? Or do you?

Come on, ‘fess up. You’re not alone. There’s more than forty million of us.

Grey is no longer just a colour. Probably never will be again. Not since those books took the world by storm. And I don’t mean, just the women folk, either. There may not be a lot of men reading them, but trust me, a whole lot of them are the beneficiaries of their wives and girlfriends reading them. That’s all I’m saying. You figure it out.

So back to last night. My Thursday evening may have taken me to Seattle, but Christian Grey was nowhere in sight. I am not talking about the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Gotcha!

Last night was the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy.

It is definitely one of my weaknesses. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I have been known to refuse invitations to go out on Thursday nights, because Grey’s is on. Please try to not hold it against me. We all need to relax and give our brains a rest, from

Continue reading

Day 52. Need Pampering

I’m tired.  Actually, it’s more than that.  I’m weary.  I’ve been working hard; and haven’t taken any time off, in a long time.  And I’m beginning to feel it.  And so is my body.  I’ve been feeling this way for a while, but haven’t wanted to give in to it.

My neck is sore.  I have knots in my shoulders.  My wrists hurt from all the hours I’m spending on my computer.  So do my hands.  My lower back is tight, as are my hamstrings and IT bands.  Again, it’s from sitting at the computer for long hours.  Even my daily stretches don’t seem to be helping.  And neither, of course, is the dramatically cooler weather.

It feels wimpy to complain, so I haven’t.  But the constant, nagging, discomfort is beginning to get on my nerves.  Like a toothache, that just won’t go away.  It’s with me, all Continue reading

Day 51. Solemn Holiday

“And this shall be a law to you for all time:  in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall pain yourself and do no work at all…For on that day atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you of all that you have done wrong — before God you will be clean.”  Leviticus 16:29030

So it is described in the Torah. 

Today is Yom Kippur.  Actually it began last night, at sunset; and it continues until nightfall, tonight.  For Jews the world over, it is the holiest day of the year.

Yom Kippur is the day when we are supposed to fast, and spend most of the day in synagogue, in intensive prayer.  The day we atone and ask for forgiveness, for all the wrongs we have committed against God, and each other, during the past year.  The hope, at the end of the day, is that we’ve been forgiven.

For many, Yom Kippur is the only holiday they observe, the only time they go to synagogue.  It is that significant. In fact, fasting and abstaining from work of any kind, are only a part of what it means to observe Yom Kippur.  We are also not supposed to wash, bathe, use cosmetics, deodorants, perfume, etc. Technically, we’re not even supposed to wear leather shoes.  And, needless to say, sex is on the forbidden list, as well.

Why?  So nothing distracts us from ‘contemplation’.  This is a day of contemplation, thinking of and acknowledging our wrong-doing; and praying for forgiveness.  To truly ‘reflect’ we have to Continue reading

Day 50. Getting Chilly

Can’t deny it any longer.  There has been a pretty dramatic change in the temperature.  And it is damn cold out there.  After a summer of mid- thirty degree weather (mid-nineties) practically everyday, I am getting up every morning now, to temperatures that hover around the 8 degree (48) mark.  And it’s not been getting much past 12 (56), even at midday.

So like it or not, it’s time to put the summer clothes away.  No more sandals.  No more bare legs.  No more lightweight, summer dresses.  No more jeans and T-shirts.  No more cropped pants.  No more straw hats and canvas summer bags.

I finally had to give in the other day, and grab a shawl to wrap up in.  I love this shawl, actually.  It’s black, fringed, and queen-sized bed, size.  It’s a blanket and an evening wrap.  Doubled it’s really, really warm.  If I leave it as is, it’s so big I can wrap myself up in it, like Continue reading

Day 49. Pink Poison

I’m not a big sweet eater.  My mother couldn’t get enough.  She had chocolate bars stashed everywhere.  But not me.  Even as a child I preferred olives and spicy food to chocolate, cake and candy.

And I still do.  Except when it comes to tea and coffee.  To sweeten my tea I prefer honey.  For coffee it’s Sweet ‘n Low (pink packets).  Yes, I know it’s bad for me.

Or at least it’s purported to be.  I say that, because Sweet ‘n Low is made primarily from granulated saccharin; and in the early seventies there were studies done that showed that lab rats who were given saccharin, got cancer.

Because of this study, saccharin was banned in Canada, where I live.  And here, Sweet ‘n Low is made with sodium cyclamate instead.  But now Canada is Continue reading

Day 48. Low Tech

(sigh). (big sigh).

Every time I think I’m finally getting the hang of it, there’s some kind of a glitch; and I find myself right back where I started: Confused.

I am speaking, of course, about all things technical. Specifically, anything to do with my computer, my router, my printer, the Internet and social media. And, for the purposes of today’s story, make that the trials and tribulations of blogging. Technologically speaking.

If you’re reading my blog for the first time, you may not yet know that my objective is to post something new, every day, for three hundred and sixty-five days. A year, in other words. Some days I find have a lot of ideas. So I write them all up, save them, and publish them sequentially, each new day. This is really helpful for those days when I know I will be too busy to carve off a few hours, to write a post.

This has never been a problem.

Until yesterday.

I wrote and posted Friday’s story, first thing Friday morning. Just as I was about to shut down my computer and have breakfast, an idea came to me. So I wrote it up and saved it, for yesterday. When I was done, I remembered that there was something I wanted to check on LinkedIn. Once there, I noticed that the post I had

Continue reading

Day 47. Polishing Work

Chris Martin Writes is one of the many WordPress blogs I follow.  Yesterday he wrote about editing one’s work, and how it’s not one of his favourite things to do.  He also wrote about some tools he uses, successfully, to help him make it a more enjoyable process.

I, on the other hand, love it.  In fact, I have to perfect as I go.  Every couple of paragraphs I have to stop, re-read, tweak, polish, change, edit; otherwise I can’t go on. Every writer I’ve ever met, or worked with, has his or her own style.  I had a writer, who once worked for me, who was all about stream of consciousness.  He just had to get it all out and down on paper, without worrying about spelling, grammar, punctuation, flow or anything else.  He  knew it would be all right, in the end.

He’d always give me his first draft to look over.  He wanted to know if he was on the right track, before he invested a whole lot more time and effort.  Fair enough, I suppose.  But as much as I liked him, and his work, every time I’d see him headed for my office, with sheets of paper in his hand, I’d groan.  Because I’d have to read and re-read and re-read his work just to make enough sense of it — before I could figure out if it answered the brief, or not.  And, as a result, for the first fifteen or twenty minutes I’d spend all my time correcting the errors, instead of evaluating the work.

It’s just the way I am.  I get distracted by the imperfections.  I can only read objectively and give thoughtful feedback when I’m looking at a really good draft.  Even when it’s my own work.  I love perfecting work, whether it’s mine or another writer’s.

But I’m lucky.

Very, very early in my career, when I was just starting out, I was given an opportunity to learn a wonderful lesson.  One that has stayed with me, to this day.  I was Continue reading

Day 46. Helping Others

A friend posted a wonderful Mohandas K. Gandhi quote on Facebook yesterday morning:  “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  It  made me think of the volunteer work I do; and how fortunate I am.

Every Tuesday you can find me, in my blue lab coat, at Mt. Sinai Hospital, in downtown Toronto.  With a program that includes about 1,000 volunteers, there is virtually no area of the hospital where you won’t find at least one of us.

We’re there seven days a week, even holidays.  We’re men and women.  Students, middle-aged and seniors.  Rich and poor. Canadians and immigrants.  Married, single, divorced and widowed/widowers.  We have families.  We have friends.  And some, have no one.  We’re in the pharmacies, labs, recovery rooms, waiting rooms, clinics, doctors’ offices, on every floor, in emergency, diagnostic imaging, and even at home, knitting warm hats for premature babies.  We’re visiting the elderly, feeding, filing, documenting, delivering, translating, organizing, making appointments, providing information, answering questions, giving directions and, mostly, assisting —  wherever, whenever and however we can.

What unites us, is why we’re there.  To help others.  To make strangers’ lives a little easier, a little better, a little less lonely, a little less frightening, a little less daunting; even if it’s just for a moment.  And by strangers I mean patients, families and staff.

I work mainly in an out-patient surgical recovery room, where patients come for minor surgery.  Typically they just need Continue reading