Bending, stretching, sweating and remembering to breathe


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I don’t like rushing into things.

Three weeks ago, the resident artiste provided me with five morning lessons of gentle sitting and stretching, gentle Yoga moves for Salute to the Sun. That was three months after she gifted me a “high-end” Yoga mat for Mother’s Day.

Like I said, I don’t like rushing into things.

On the first day, the Tabby cat took position on her living room perch in preparation to supervise. As we have seen in a previous post in another blog, she’s not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise.


On the sixth day, I proceeded to perform the sweaty, grunty feat in the privacy of my room. Soon the Old Boy wandered in to complain and rearrange my sweaty towel.


The Salute to the Sun routine goes something like this. With time and commitment, I shall be so graceful and poised. It has been two weeks during which I think I have succeeded in getting myself into a routine as part of a healthier lifestyle.

  • I aim to perform this sweaty morning ritual at least five days a week;
  • I time each session for 15 to 20 minutes;
  • These are small steps in supporting a healthy habit for body and mind;
  • As with most challenges in life, you just gotta remember to breathe – and repeat as necessary.

I am grateful for the resident artiste, bread baker, cook and cat sitter for persistently nudging and motivating me. It’s only a matter of time before she turns me into a vegetarian too.

What small steps do you take to keep yourself in good overall health?

Thanks for dropping by.

You might be interested in this book I wrote about a priest, his biological daughter and a retired exotic dancer dealing with family issues in a small Georgian Bay town during the 1970s.



Lighting up vs puckering up


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Come on Boomers, who didn’t get a thrill from striking matches or flicking cigarette lighters, experiencing that primal awe of having fire at your fingertips?

Who didn’t test their lungs out of curiosity and peer pressure with a prized pack of Du Mauriers or Old Port wine-tipped cigars? Who didn’t deeply inhale the aroma of a freshly opened pack of cigarettes?

Who didn’t get dizzy and nauseous their first time?

Why didn’t they stop there?

In my young adult years, smoking was part of dance bar outings and mostly a social crutch. It gave party-goers something to do with their hands while practicing conversation skills and courting rituals. That was so many years ago and before I carried my children.

From my caffeine-induced, Sunday morning Web research, I can see that smoking started as an experience of the spiritual, for Native Americans  to call upon and to give thanks for the six energies. The peace pipe was an important symbol to the indigenous people in the Ottawa Valley as well. Tobacco was used as an offering to the sacred waterfalls named after the pipe bowl.

This is one smoking symbol that I’d like to see spared from modernization.

So with smokers these days, does that mean people are trying to capture that inner reflection or reaching up to the divine? Do they want to meet their maker sooner than intended? How much of their earnings have gone up in smoke?

Sobering statistics and dry facts

Humour / satire

A clever, satirical film called Thank you for Smoking.

How dare you compare smoking to eating cheese! 

Quotes about smoking

Subconscious suckling desires?

I often wonder if smoking (and now vaping) are subconscious, primal desires for the comfort of suckling at our Mothers’ breast as well as reaching for the Divine. At least those who choose vaping are doing it to wean them off the death sticks. You can do it!

Social behaviour

I’d like to thank those public transportation users who walk a few meters away from the shelter to light up and begin your ritual of self-reflection while waiting for the next bus. Please complete your ritual by stomping out your cigarette instead of tossing it into the dry grass beside the bus shelter, and please completely exhale your sacred smoke before boarding the bus.

I will be sure to not sit close to you and experience the stench wafting from your hair, clothes and breath.

Be kissable

Another reason to quit smoking is to increase your attraction and possibilities for pleasurable mouth pressing activities.

Ah yes, pleasurable mouth pressing activities and making for romantic memories…

Thanks for dropping by. May your lip puckering activities be refreshing, memorable and sweet.


Millennial matters


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I am riding that Baby Boomer tail. 

I am also the caboose in one resilient and large Catholic family.

I am a white woman, a parent and a survivor. As a woman over 50 I feel invisible to most eligible men. I do not have a reliable partner, don’t own my home nor can I afford to travel to tropical locations every winter. I will be lucky if I can retire in comfort by the time I turn 60 years old.

Whenever discussing retirement plans with friends or colleagues, I joke that my insurance was to be extra patient with and kind to my children so that they will take care of me in my old age.

My beautiful adult children are Millennials. They are testing out their respective paths, life purpose and independence. Some are taking a little longer than others due to childhood trauma or the ridiculous limitations of the economy.

My Millennials were not handed everything on a platter. We were barely scraping by in the early years while surviving home life with an unstable, controlling individual.

It saddens and frustrates me when the older generations and entertainers poke fun at Millennials.

You’ve Gotta Love Millennials – Micah Tyler

A few weeks ago, my oldest Millennial and I watched a documentary on TVO (TV Ontario).  It was interesting but discouraging.

My Millennial Life

“Millennials are getting dumped on from all sides – from parents, employers and the economy. “My Millennial Life” takes a look through the eyes of a group of resourceful, charming and talented 20-somethings and the obstacles and opportunities they face in getting launched and making their mark on the world.”

Then there was this article on CBC News:

Still living with mom and dad? You are not alone, and the numbers prove it
Almost a third of 18- to 34-year-olds still live at home, data shows

I love my Millennial room-mate who cooks healthy meals, cleans the humble apartment once a week, and looks after the cats while I am away – all the while using artistic skills to earn a modest income.

On a related, rippling note I am sad to acknowledge recent violent events south of the border. Some parental concerns and human rights issues catch your interest even more so if your Millennials are also dark-skinned, dealing with social anxieties or are gay.

They would seem to be fncked whichever way they turn. I know they can overcome challenges with courage, intelligence and strength of character.

I believe in them.


Support for Chaudière Falls Area


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During the winter of 2016 I sat beside a woman on the city bus on my way home after a long day’s work. We talked about the recent heavy snowfall, the little plastic shovel I purchased at the dollar store, apartments, balconies and our cats. I found another kindred spirit!

The conversation turned to the purpose of her evening bus ride to attend a meeting for an important cause. She introduced herself as one of the Indigenous Grandmothers. She shared the history and the sacred importance of the Chaudière Falls then handed me some literature containing more information and site links.

I have been following the issue since, mentioning it to others who might listen. On Wednesday evening, I attended the information session, panel discussion on saving the Chaudière Falls from further commercial development and planning for the June 17th walk.

Although I do not like being in the middle of noisy crowds, I am willing to join them and to invite others along. With good conscience and spiritual respect, I feel I must.

Grandmother Christine’s story:

With a collective conscience, we must ask if Ottawa really needs more condos, if the federal government has the political will, compassion to repair damage by the former governments and flawed development approval processes at all levels. Ask if it is finally time to return this sacred land to our indigenous people, a place for sharing with all people.

Thank you.


Green Living Ottawa

Posted by Denise Deby.

It is sacred poster

Three Four upcoming events are focused on protecting the area around Chaudière Falls in the Ottawa River.

They’re prompted by concerns about development proposals for the area, which is considered sacred by many Indigenous peoples.

On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, a panel discussion will take a critical look at the “Zibi” development project. “Reconcilation Needs Justice – Stop Windmill’s ‘Zibi’ Condos on Sacred Algonquin Land” will be at 7 p.m. at the Ottawa Public Library’s Main Branch (120 Metcalfe St.) Speakers are Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont, former Ottawa city councilor Clive Doucet, and Stop Windmill group co-founder Cathy Remus.

On Monday, June 13, 2016, Albert Dumont will talk about the protection and restoration of the Sacred Site at Chaudière Falls and the Islands, through the lens of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s at 7 p.m. at…

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Alone in a crowd


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Do you enjoy your solitude? Do you find it conducive to navel-gazing and existential contemplations?

Do you alternately feel a sense of inclusion and connectedness when in a crowd of like-minded strangers?

I do.

One way I experience the latter is to treat myself to a personal adventure on the Doors Open Ottawa tours. This was the third year that I explored the city on my own, learned new things, admired architecture and met other interesting humans.

Yesterday’s weather was perfect for being in the sun, walking, busing, touring around Ottawa.

My first stop was a disappointment. It seems that arriving at noon is too late to get on the guided tour list for the temple of online commerce, Shopify.

Still determined for urban exercise and discovery, I walked from Elgin Street all the way to my next desired stop, The Temple of Science.

ScienceApologies for this ear worm coming at you.

I arrived tired and sweaty at the National Research Council Canada (NRC) – Temple of Science on Sussex Drive. After freshening up in the ladies room and refilling my water bottle, I unwittingly jumped the queue, ignoring protocol by inserting myself into the next guided tour group. I blame it on the heat.

It was a very interesting, fast-paced walking tour. Kudos to the staff and volunteers.


The wait on Sussex Drive for the OC Transpo bus downtown was very long. The buses were not obeying the GPS offerings according to various smart phone apps shared by me and my random companions. At least we had a bench in the shade of nearby trees. People came and sat. Some gave up and started walking.

It wasn’t the first time I used a park bench for deep thinking activities. I had plenty of time for people-watching, casual conversation, contemplating the Universe, and … catching up on some reading.  I really hope to finish Masters of Time this weekend!

comic speech bubbles of black cat critiquing human reading efforts


Waiting for another bus on construction-cramped Rideau Street provided a different lens into humanity, social interactions of ragtag gangs rallying back and forth in some loud, shared purpose. I was relieved when the next bus finally arrived.

Next stop was the Saint-François d’Assise Church, another temple of sorts. It was cool and quiet except when someone was demonstrating the organ (!). I admired the wooden pews, the statues and all those candles.

Presque tous les panneaux d’information et de la littérature était en français! 

Les gens sympathiques à la réception m’a remis le seul pamphlet anglais. Heureusement pour moi, je continue avec l’apprentissage de la langue de ma mère

Now resting and reflecting on a rainy Sunday morning, I plan to head out for another educational tour. I think I convinced one of the young people to join me.

On a parting note, here is something else to contemplate:

The odds are overwhelming that we’re characters in an advanced civilization’s computer simulation.  See:

Thanks for stopping by.


From the journals of a stubborn Survivor


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This post is not typical of my light-hearted thoughts and tongue-in-cheek observations. 

This is a serious one about getting results through persistence and respectful dialogue with those who help to initiate change in Canada’s criminal justice system.

Over the past three years, I experienced stress and heightened anxieties while enduring glaring flaws and gaps in our system that seemed to favour offenders’ preferences, privacy and rights over their victims’. Each time and after expressing a “what the fnck?” reaction with family and friends, I embraced patience and politeness.

I converted my frustration and anger into a stubborn strength to express my concerns and offer recommendations to those who maintain the criminal justice system.

I pulled out pen and paper and made notes. I took to my trusty QWERTY keyboard and tapped away.

pen and paper

I wrote about the sequence of events, the government agencies I contacted, the circles I had to retrace then break through in order to ensure my personal safety. Although I allowed myself some emotional expression, I stuck to the facts when communicating with officials.

For the past six months I managed my stress and struggled to carry on with the love of my family, support of friends and a professional listener. I like to think I maintained a professional persona as a productive member of my community, of a civil society.

It hasn’t been easy.

I am thankful for the first responders and individuals in the justice systems who helped us get through tough periods since 2003. Yes, that long ago. If I did not personally thank you during the emotional times shortly after, please accept this delayed expression of gratitude.

I feel vindicated that my concerns and recommendations since 2012 have been heard by the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC), documented, verified, then communicated to those who can make changes.

I feel a sense of pride that my persistence is paying off to speak up for victims of crime whose anxieties have likely caused them to walk away from the confusing processes, and not wanting to be victimized again.

Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2016

“Victims and Survivors of Crime Week is an annual outreach initiative of the Justice Canada Policy Centre for Victim Issues.

The goal of Victims and Survivors of Crime Week is to raise awareness about the issues facing victims and survivors of crime and the services and laws in place to help victims, survivors and their families. It is also about acknowledging the dedicated work of service providers who assist victims and survivors of crime and their families.

Victims and Survivors of Crime Week will take place from May 29 to June 4, 2016. The theme for the Week is “The Power of Our Voices.” The Week will include projects and events in communities across the country and a federal symposium in the National Capital Region on Friday, June 3, 2016.

Victims and Survivors of Crime Week evolved out of the annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. Survivors of crime are now included in the name of the week to acknowledge the many individuals who, having been victims of crime, overcome their victimization and identify themselves more affirmatively as survivors. ”


I am a survivor.

I am in the middle of being alive




Segmented sleep and creativity


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I think there may be benefits to waking in the middle of the night with hot flashes and a damp nightgown. 

A vigilant type can tour the humble abode, check the perimeters and be satisfied that all is secure.  A creative type can take a few minutes to write down in her dream journal, jot journal or make a crude illustration.

According to an article I recently read, there are benefits to segmented sleep and due to our modern habits and lighting, we may be losing out on times for reflection.

“But though we may feel perfectly happy with our modern consolidated sleep, we’ve now lost that midnight hour between sleeps, a time when we can be awake and alone with our thoughts.

“I think we’re missing out on a time of intimacy and privacy, a time of self-reflection,” says Ekirch. “We’ve lost a traditional avenue to our dreams, our subconscious.””

Read the full article here:

Black cat in front of Mac computer

Snuggles the cat justifies his early morning wakeup calls

This prompted me to pull out my copy of Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day, to revisit and appreciate the Night Watch and Dawn segments without fighting the realities of hormonal changes and asshole cats.

book seven sacred pauses

Book: Seven Sacred Pauses…

I wonder if I can train my body to practise segmented sleep. Will I remember to drink more water before retiring so my body will force me to get up once or twice during the night? In a few years, my bladder will likely perform that task for me anyway!

I also wonder if segmented sleep can help me train my body and mind to embrace Hypnogogia, to capture, remember the dreams and visions, to record them for later inspection and creative expansion.

“In the borderlands between wakefulness and rest is a strange and fascinating state of consciousness characterized by dream-like visions and strange sensory occurrences. Psychologists call this stage “hypnagogia,” but centuries before they created a term for it, artists were using the hypnagogic state to tap into some of their best ideas. “

Full article:

I am intrigued by the bridging of sleep and awakening, of the subconscious and consciousness. I also have an appreciation for afternoon naps.

Thanks for dropping by and staying alert while reading this entry.  You can also see what my pen name Flo is offering at her blog. She has so many ideas about more Seguin Sound childhood stories but needs more free time during our waking and working hours to transcribe them.





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There has been a bridge theme occupying my mind for many months. 

A few weeks ago, we Canadians were surprised to hear of structural damage to a bridge in Northern Ontario that joined the east to the west. People were concerned that our vast, beautiful country seemed split in half if only for a couple of days.

This weekend, one of the artistic young adults and I visited Monet, A Bridge to Modernity an exhibit at the National Gallery.  It was beautiful and inspirational. I was glad to have splurged the extra $6 for the audio tour. I also spent a little more money to bring some of the exhibit back to le petit apartment.

Monet art work and book

A little Monet display in our home

The prints and poster were an appropriate addition to the bare walls in the new dining corner setup.  They dissolve the winter blues, fitting the recommended Feng Shui arrangement and colour pallet to welcome the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Monkey.

The felines are still getting used to some of the recent changes.

Tabby cat inspecting a Feng Shui water fountain

Geneva Tabby Cat inspects the new water fountain

The Monet experience makes me want to try my hand at water colour painting again and in the impressionist style “en plain air“. Maybe when the weather is more agreeable, yes? Perhaps during the summer, along a river bank.  

Ah, river banks.  

I grew up near a river that fed into the refreshing Georgian Bay. There were many different bridges that crossed the Seguin River. One was the Canadian Pacific Rail (CPR) bridge that rose above our neighbourhood, spanning the river to the richer side of town. It also marked the division of our side bordering on the Townies from that of the Harbour Bums.

CP rail bridge over the Seguin River, Parry Sound

CP rail bridge over the Seguin River, Parry Sound 2015

During a journey to the home town last summer, I got to revisit the bridge’s domain and witness much rebuilding activity along the rails.

repair truck on railway bridge

Reparation activities along the CPR trestle

These experiences reinforced the theme of building, capturing the beauty of and repairing bridges in the corporeal world.

We can also explore bridges between the past and the present. It can be exciting and emotionally draining when you have reached back to the murky past, bravely transit the present and reach into the fogginess of the future.

Some bridges are worth the risk and energy to cross.

Some bridges (relationships, experiences, etc.) are not worth the toll on one’s health, psyche and sense of self-worth.

When you encounter those that seem cracked and unsupportive, you can choose a different route or tread lightly and keep a safety net handy.

Thanks for dropping by. May all of your bridges be sturdy, lead you to auspicious experiences and destinations. May they join and not divide.

bridge one dictionary definition




In the middle of BEiNG ALiVE


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We have not yet entered mid-winter in the northern hemisphere and I’m already me-deep in thought.

It’s a combination of effects from the winter blahs and the desire for self-preservation. 

Winter Forest Rabbit ballpoint pen drawing

Winter Forest Rabbit ballpoint pen drawing TAJ circa 1984

I enjoyed many small gatherings over the Christmas holidays. The colourful lights, good food and companionship helped brighten the drabness. This past week has brought us much snow, packed into a very short time span.

My playful poetic plea may be to blame.

I like to think that writing can support one’s goals and dreams, help calm irrational fears while providing a form of therapy. Sometimes you wish you could write harmful influences and memories out of existence, then compose works that inspire and help reunite you with others.

Those in the know are familiar with our family’s history, the struggles due to one disturbed individual. I am very thankful for past and recent support from family, friends and protective agencies. I am curious about the deafening silence from others. 

This winter break has also provided opportunities to putter around le petit apartment when venturing outdoors is not an option – nor a necessity :-) 

black cat looking out window comic bubble i'm bored

The cats are bored

The cats are starting to get cabin fever, not being able to visit the balcony. At least they can watch the critters from inside the windows.

These furry roommates have provided me with comfort and welcomed distractions over the years through photography and comic bubble inserts while being unwitting channels for my quirky sense of humour.

Black cat beside Egyptian tree of life print with birds

Snuggles and the Tree of Life print (2012)

I really like my Tree of Life print on Egyptian papyrus. The Tree of Life is a symbol that has come up frequently over the years. It is present in my novel, was the title of an odd, artsy movie in 2011, and has been recorded in different mythologies for thousands of years.

Tree of Life Egyptian print

Tree of Life Egyptian print

I am intrigued by the Egyptian Tree of Life myth and the explanations for the illustration with birds perched on branches, representing different stages of human life.

Spreading my wings and chirping politely, I celebrate new life and the milestones shared with family and friends. I welcome the promise this new year brings. I admire how some Parisians chose to celebrate the new year’s arrival in defiance of fears, and without the unnecessary explosions from fireworks.

To sum up: One can be vigilant while not letting fears sour the enjoyment of life. 

I am in the middle of being alive artistic play on words

I am in the middle of being alive  TAJ

Thanks for dropping by and… Happy New Year!