Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slam Dunk

If there was one thing in the world that Joseph loved, it was basketball. If there was one thing he loved more, it was a girl named Rachael. Jospeh promised Rachael the moon and he believed he loved her enough to get it for her. Joseph always practiced basketball on his court out in the country. Surrounded by farm fields Joseph would practice as the sun would set and the moon was rising. He would often reach for the moon and pretend to slam dunk it. Rachael was always on his mind.

In the years that Joseph pursued Rachael, he had a part time job at Wendy's. He worked hard at his job, and on the court but he always worked overtime when it came to his promise to Rachael. Joseph's promises to Rachael included.

  1. He promised to one day build her a house on her Grandmother's property
  2. He promised to build her an ice castle every winter once they married
  3. He promised her the honeymoon of her dreams
  4. He promised to buy her a jet plane so they could travel the world
  5. He promised he would build their children a huge playground with underground tunnels and waterslides
  6. Of course he always promised her the moon

Rachael always turned Joseph away, telling him to be more realistic. She would get annoyed every time he offered her the moon. She called him a dreamer and told him he was trying to achieve the impossible. When it came to basketball she told him he wasn't even any good. Joseph was devastated!

Time passed and Joseph and Rachael parted ways. Joseph moved to Louisville where he got a scholarship playing basketball and eventually the made the Toronto Raptors. Rachael stayed home and started dating Joseph's arch rival, Calvin.

A year had passed and Calvin had secured a decent job. For their anniversary, he decided to take Rachael on a surprise date. There was a limo, roses, champagne, and of course game 7 tickets to the NBA finals in Toronto. Joseph did not see them during the game, but he ended up posting a 33 point night along with a 3 point buzzer beater that won them the NBA championship. For the first time, Rachael found Joseph attractive and appealing. She waved and tried to get his attention as he held the prize trophy over his head. Rachael hoped that maybe he still loved her.

After flexing for the cameras, Joseph did notice Rachael in the crowd, screaming his name. Joseph crossed the rose-petaled, Gatorade drenched floor, and said hello. With a big smile on his face he brought Rachael over and introduced her to his fiancee.... Jennifer Lopez :)

Of course in my version of this tale, Rachael and Joseph would end up together and J-Lo would not even feature, but compromises must be made in artistic collaberations.

Kahil Gibran on Love

Kahlil Gibran on Love 

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

This has to be my favourite poem right now. I don't know much about the poet, but I will be reading more of his work, you can be sure.

Mother Goose

Mother GOOSE

My Mom
thinks me perfection
only slightly marred
by my depression

She wants me to mind
My "P's and Q's"
but I can't give her
Any clues!

She has no guile
Only a smile,
I only wish
She would kiss

Away my hurt
And make me some dessert
Lemon meriangue
or Chocolate mousse

If only...
she wasn't
Such a goose!

I wrote this poem after being angry with my mother for most of one night. I think I forgave her?

Teddy and the Moon Walka Walka's

Ok. I definitely contributed to this story. Co creators Frank (N Stein) and Jesse. A volunteer drafted it and I made one last edit. More stories to come involving time travel, super heroes, and cheaters.... stay tuned.

Deep in the wilderness of Croatia there lived a bear named Teddy and his friend Beyonce. From a young age all Teddy wanted to do was dance. Beyonce used to sit for hours and watch him practice. Beyonce taught him a few simple moves. She always believed in him. She gave confidence and inspired him very much.

Teddy was known as a prankster. He would often sneak up on unsuspecting campers and scare them, then quickly bust into a dance, leaving some campers feeling better and laughing, and some just getting more scared. He would then disappear into the woods.

One day some people from Barnum and Bailey's circus captured Teddy and forced him to wear disco clothes and dance in their circus. Teddy went from an exuberant prankster, who was always happy, to feeling depressed, and wishing he could once again hang out at the many dumps and garbage bins of his youth, where the food was, to be frank, much better. He was so mortified that he no longer wanted to dance. After a few months in captivity Teddy seized an opportunity to escape. With his huge paws he managed to break free from his cage. On his way to freedom, he grabbed the cash box and headed home.

As soon as Teddy reached home he jumped into the lake and took a bath. Feeling refreshed, and dripping wet, he danced on the beach. Performing each move to perfection, Teddy danced every one of Michael Jackson's famous moves, but without the white glove. He thrust his hips, threw his arms upwards, and moon walked the beach. The Jackson five and disco music filled the air.

Pretty soon wild animals appeared from everywhere to watch Teddy dance. First some coyotes, then a few deer, next some robins. Finally some escaped lions, tigers and zebras appeared. Last of all potato bugs and cockroaches watched the famous moves of the skilled dancer with something approaching awe.

And, yes, Beyonce, was also there. The hit song Single Ladies found Beyonce and Teddy dancing together, as Sleazy Bear watched from the sidelines. Sleazy was a slightly forward bear, and endlessly whipped her hair in an attempt to draw Teddy's attention. This hair whipping was slightly tempting to a bear of Teddy's sensibilities; however Beyonce had him in raptures, unknown to him until this point.

In the years that followed Teddy and Beyonce taught the other bears how to dance. They formed a group called "Teddy and the Moon Walka Walkas" and hit the bigtime. They held a show in Maple Leaf Gardens that sold out in one day. With their progeny, they relaxed together in Florida, Bora Bora, and Hawaii, with resplendent homes at each extensive property. Teddy still visited the dumps too, but they happily lived in the beauty of their world, dancing for the rest of their days.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

May 5, 1945 and May 5, 2015: A Story Seventy Years in the Making

Well, the story I intended to post here, has yet to be found. There are at least three stories I have never found back, one about cheating and laundry, written up by the recreation therapist with content mainly from Frank and myself, and one about a time-travelling GI that was written on May 5, 2015 in honour of V-day. It was inspired by Frank, who was from Croatia (before it was called Croatia), and had been in the military; the Recreation therapist wrote it up so splendidly I can never hope to duplicate it, and actually would not want to. Also I am not allowed to return to that particular ward, ever. The head nurse was very explicit that she only wants to see me again in the grocery store.

However May 5th, 1945 was a momentous day in the history of the world. It is the date for the liberation of the Netherlands, known as V day, in these parts. There are so many different V days though. On May 5th, the Germans surrendered and the Dutch people welcomed the Canadian soldiers with great joy and celebration.

Around this time, my Opa and Oma den Boer met, while on parade, and of course Grandpa and Grandma Beekman, having met and corresponded in the war, were now free to make wedding plans and soon immigrated to Canada. Opa and Oma den Boer ended up in France for a number of years, before making their way to Canada, having four of their five children on a primitive farm, somewhere close enough to Paris that my father was eventually born there, a number of weeks premature. As I have written before, he was fed sea water by the nurses, and did not see his mother very often. My Opa pretended to be a doctor just to see him, and was rather disappointed in his tiny size. None of the nurses were fooled, however, by his supposed lab coat.

Grandpa and Grandma Beekman began life in Canada on a farm somewhere in the heartland of Ontario, where, as Grandma related later, she was required to live in a shack, and also bring the blankets for the night, back to the main house every morning. They were called Displaced Persons or D.P. 's and would move around quite a bit as their young family grew to five. My mother was the only girl and second in line. Her older brother was a good sort of boy, but at first had difficulty with English. My grandma was to learn English so well, in her later years she was a champion Scrabble player. Around the time I was born, Grandpa and Grandma were living in Florida, where Grandpa worked for one of his bosses, building a golf course and maintaining it. So I did go to Florida, but have very little recollection of it. My earliest memory is of my baby brother in the air plane. I demanded that my father open the window of the air plane for me, as I must have felt somewhat confined. John had a bassinet where he actually got to sleep.... Not sure if I did or not.

Anyways, I digress. On May 5, 2015 I walked around the Labyrinth at Saint Joseph's hospital and top of my mind was V-day. It had just been painted, and I probably was one of the first to make that trek. It was dedicated recently on the September 22nd, I believe. I had done the Labyrinth before, when it used to be hedges, a couple of times, before the new hospital was built, when I was a patient in 2005 and afterwards with a good friend.

The story we wrote that day, involving time travel, and rescuing of people in a factory in the Netherlands, and an epic celebration complete with chocolate, dancing, and jazz hands following the War, and after the rebuilding of the decimated country, was very inspirational. Frank was quite an amazing guy, and could be depended upon for good advice. He was pretending he was in a first class hotel, so naturally I pretended I was in a spa, in between feeling like I was in a monastery or prison. He had his own issues, but I never for a minute doubted his story or his integrity. I met a number of fabulous people at the hospital, and Frank was one about half a dozen patients I will never forget!

Monday, May 04, 2015


Joshua Blowing His Trumpet....

And the walls falling down!

As Rahab hangs her Scarlett Thread......

Joshua Blowing His Horn


I Will Change Your Name
By D.J. Butler

I will change your name
You shall no longer by called
Wounded, out cast Lonely or afraid
I will change your name

Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness
Overcoming One

Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My Face

Change is... important in life because without it you
          can't grow
... without it there would be no seaside castles
     nestled in the midst of gardens
... no secret hideaways bursting with life
... no glorious resurrections, no brightly coloured
     eggs hidden in secret
           dark corners
               beneath a sea shell...
            in some seaside resort
          as the sun rises
              on a beautiful new day....

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great & small
All things wise & wonderful
The LORD God Made Them All!

After a long barren winter I am a garden bursting
in bloom .... a lily of the Valley
     Suzanne Allison
           I will become myself

              As I really Am!

Some Ponderings

100 More Aprons?

Awhile ago I ran out of disposable one time use aprons for my foot care job I have been doing for over a year, extremely part-time. I wondered if I should order any more. Proper nursing standards would indicate you should have a fresh one for each client. I had ordered them more than a year ago online from a place that sold them for food industry purposes and they weren't individually packed like the ones I had split with the two other nurses who were doing the course of studies with me back in the summer of 2013. I think there were probably a hundred of them, but I couldn't be sure, as I had never counted them. So when they were all gone I wondered if that meant I had done over one hundred visits.

I really didn't want to order any more somehow. Maybe it was realizing how little I had made there in black and white on my T4 and how much energy I had poured into the job. It could have been the fact I was paying half what I made on gas and other car expenses, and spending twice what I made in tools and supplies, or so it seemed. There was so much prep time preparing documents and tools, phoning clients, rescheduling appointments, and then there was the half hour or more it took to clean your tools at the end of the day, all that travel time, the extra documentation you did at home for no pay, the insurance you had to fork out due to the high risk of something going terribly wrong. The inconvenient truth was I could make twice as much with my other home care job for six hour shift that involved far less driving and ended when the visit was over and you signed off on your phone, instead of so much later in the day. One day seeing three clients in one day as well as attending a CPR class kept me busy until
11 pm before all the work was done.  Far more than I would like I have had to decline last minute shift opportunities for my other job in order to keep my foot care appointments I was committed to completing.

 Foot care in the home is not a very profitable business, for any one, and you have to be willing to take a loss in order to build up any kind of business. Unfortunately it felt like I was taking the brunt of the losses while my company struggled to collect the bills and clients came and went. Sometimes I have had to wrestle for over an hour to get a client's neglected feet into some semblance of proper order. At times I haven't known if my clients even have a firm grasp on their personal history, let alone their health conditions. Sometimes as I am wearing my mask, knowing they probably can't hear a word I am saying, struggling to give them some advice about caring for their feet they can't even manage to rub cream on by themselves any more, I wonder if I am really helping them as much as I would like to. Somehow the sensation test seems a little pointless when you are not sure they even understand your instructions.  And there are the feet that haunt you a little, because you know something is a little off, but you can't diagnose what exactly is wrong... As a nurse it is not really your job to diagnose, but when should you tell them to see a doctor?

 So I had kind of decided to quit. I could get into something like palliative care or some other area. Some other nurse could take over my clients. Then a nagging thought came to me that there were very few nurses who were sticking with this rather demanding, financially unrewarding work. Sure I did joke with one client I should be paying him as he patiently showed me some helpful tips for dealing with his chronic ingrown toenail. But I felt a little taken advantage of, a lowly foot care nurse, making a different rate than the other nurses, and seeing my bank account slowly descend rather than grow.

But a couple of days I ago I had a realization. I actually would do this job without any remuneration. Please don't tell my company. I love it! I love the clients I have gradually gotten to know, being a visitor in their homes whether in a cluttered dingy place smelling of cigarette smoke or a beautiful well appointed apartment.  I even love the satisfaction of cutting really really long toenails and realizing you have just made a difference to your client's mobility and health. Some of my clients have been palliative; I get to care for their feet and maybe help a little by my kindness as they are facing death. I have grown so much in my confidence that I no longer even dread the first visit, the unknowns of what I will face. One client in
Oakville I often complained lived too far away for me to be earning anything at all with the one hour visit, I miss the most, and wonder whether she is okay after her fall. I know many of my clients have few other options when they are housebound, rejected by other companies due to liability issues since they are diabetic or on blood thinners, and completely unable to care for their own feet any longer, ashamed at how long their toe nails have grown.

Yesterday, I came to a definite decision and emailed the person who had hired me that I had decided to stay. That I would make a complete reversal within the same day and today be ready to write my resignation letter is another story. Thankfully a very capable administrator talked me down and made a couple of important phone calls to clarify some issues that had made continuing seem an utter impossibility. In this season of my life, it may be time to order another hundred aprons.