Category Archives: Friday reminder for SOCS

Dear Emma, Friday 13th Nov 2020

 

Dear Emma,

It has been months since I have written on a regular basis.  Many respond to sudden changes in their lives to comments like “Life happened” with all the busyness one may be exposed to.  But like the entire world, my only excuse is “Covid-19 happened” and it just took me a little longer to react.

Sure I was stressed and scared in the beginning but I was so busy putting out fires working on the crisis line three days a week, I would take four days to stay busy…distracted with still settling in my new condo since February…and yet every midday there was a press conference and I would freak out in my own little home.

I would rarely show my concerns with family or friends because they had enough to deal with.  At that time I was worried for my future and the unknown but like I said, I was also busy trying to reassure, comfort and listen to those calling our youth line that, that kept me focussed.  It reminded me a bit of a mom who is trying to tend to the family when they have an illness that is contagious.  Chicken Pox comes to mind as I had to stay quarantined for three weeks with my son and THEN on the third week, my daughter caught it…so six weeks quarantined.  Wow! I thought that was pretty tough then!  How naïve I was!!

In March and April and early May I was still counting the days since our lockdown and now, I have given up counting.  What used to be days, has turned to weeks and now turned to months.  Actually now the thought of counting any amount of time has a bad ring to it…yep, when you start hearing that things will get back to normal…or sort of normal in 3 to 4 years…I dread even thinking about that…my future is much shorter than my clients and my peers, working in an environment where the average age is 25.  So yeah, I’m probably the age of their grandparents.  I wonder how my last decades will be.  I had hoped to travel the first three to five years,  while I was healthy enough and still working to afford the expense…now I don’t know anymore.

In the beginning I mourned the future of youths and anyone 20 years younger than me; I felt so bad for them.  I was worried about my son and his wife and wondered if my son would be allowed to assist in the birth of his baby due in mid September.  I worried about his return to teaching elementary school and putting his family at risk.  I worried for my daughter and her three boys who were 12, 14 and 16, living in dullsville and wishing they could be with at least ONE friend other than each other.  I worried about the sanity of my daughter and her partner working from home with extremely stressful jobs that has increased since the pandemic. 

In May, George Floyd’s murder hit me more than Covid-19…one was a virus and difficult to contain, the other was an act of malice that could have been prevented.  And so I mourned for his family and friends, I mourned for past, present and future people who have died maliciously. It took George Floyd’s death to finally have the entire world acknowledge and listen to people protesting in the streets about systemic racism for black , racially marginalized and indigenous people  ALL over the world.  The finger was first pointed at America and finally we all looked humbly in our own back yards at the injustices that have been going on for decades if not centuries.  White privilege is finally being understood slowly…systemic racism is being acknowledged and recognized…notwithstanding our stubborn premier here in Quebec who will NOT use the word systemic racism pretending NOT to understand what it means…even if many have explained it perfectly in French for any bozo who pretends not to know.  If one does not acknowledge it, they can give that as their excuse to NOT begin to resolve the problem.

Mid-May, I finally bought an inexpensive home antenna and caught the news on several American, Canadian English and French channels…so now I could watch a summary rather than the whole press conferences that I was getting to dread.  I dreaded Zoom meetings and the echoey sound it had and would rarely attend to work meetings and rather chose to stay on the crisis lines. I am still not able to watch for long periods of time, shows that have Zoom…it just reminds me of a new world I dread. 

I worried I would never be able to hold the newborn baby when my grandchild would be born and then July came and I had my very first outing with the family…we were allowed to meet with our 2 bubbles…so my son, his pregnant wife, and my daughter’s family,  celebrating my grandson’s 16th birthday and finally saw everyone.  We had not been together since Christmas 2019. 

I was still scared walking outdoors and was not familiar with my surroundings.  There is a beautiful gigantic park 5 minutes from my condo with an artificial lake that runs a mile and a half long.  I was too scared to go but in August I decided to check it out. I hated walking alone all the time and not having a goal or destination, so I started talking to a friend in Toronto on my walks.  I tried to go for a walk during my lunch time as well to get away from watching the news on YouTube, not having cable, I was stuck with only streaming information. 

On August 20th, the Great Spirit answered all our prayers and my grand daughter was born three weeks early!  My son was permitted to stay with his wife the three days in hospital and I even spent three days the week after helping mama and baby Lara with this new transition.  I treasure those days I was blessed to hold Lara in my arms, soothe her and help her sleep.  The week after school started, I had to stay away from family….AGAIN.

And then the lows hit me. It felt like I was buried alive sometimes. I hardly went out for walks, would binge on mystery channels and Netflix and had a hard time to concentrate on reading…someone who used to read 3 to 4 books a week…my mind seemed to be slipping.

Work was getting heavier…calls were abundant and intense and although I was relieved youths and  young adults were reaching out, once off the phones, I was back in that dark hole. 

I tried anti-depressants for three months and nothing seemed to change and then it was increased and after two days of that awful feeling, I called my pharmacist to ask if I could quit cold turkey…it happened to be a medication that had little to no side effects if stopped suddenly.  That was the same day I heard from a dear friend who was caring for her son who had a terminal illness…I think that is what woke me up.  Life is still going on…cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other debilitating diseases are still around…in fact, it is even harder for them with all the restrictions and precautions due to this pandemic.  No, that was like a slap in the face for me…I wanted to try something else to get out of my dark hole.  It was time to start practicing what I preached to so many of my callers.

But two weeks ago I lost my voice. Well, you cannot answer calls on a crisis line with no voice and even if this week it is raspy, my vocal chords still need a lot of healing due to a couple of reasons. Reflux was the main culprit as that damages vocal chords a lot!  My  doctor gave me a three month treatment and warned me it would take time.  And so here I am,  trying to write again.  Today,   I was admiring some of the posts  my colleagues submitted on our internal Slack showing their hobbies.  That reminded me how much I had changed.

In March and April I was writing a little more, refurbishing furniture and getting into artsy things like water colouring, colouring and considering oil painting.  I was plugged into YouTube so many hours a day learning new DIY’s from makeover rooms to arts and crafts and then summer came, and I stopped.

I picked up knitting but within a few weeks my arthritis warned me painfully not to overdo it and so I picked up crocheting and with the help of YouTube learned new stitches or how to improve what little I did know.  I just finished crocheting a shawl for my daughter in law, almost finished knitting a throw and almost finished knitting a long, long scarf. In the summer I had purchased over $100 worth of yarn for a baby blanket but every time I start knitting something, it takes too long and hurts my achy body and I get discouraged and take it apart.  I knit a bit, then crochet a bit….that way I don’t overuse my body. 

Oh, and in August, I slipped down the stairs of my condo on wet steps the idiot janitor did not put a sign it was wet and there I flew right into a wall. The only thing that still hurts is my left wrist which does not help with crocheting or knitting.  But then again, those are things that may be soothing but they are passive…not helping with my dark moods.

Today, I logged onto WordPress and checked in my Reader to see who I was following and the first post that caught my attention was Linda’s.  Gee thanks, kiddo!

So here I am trying to get back into writing. Oh, I have written similar posts like this one before but after an hour or so I would just delete them.  This time around, I am hoping on this Friday the 13th, it will bring me good fortune and back to my old passion that has always been so therapeutic…writing.

© Cheryl-Lynn ’2020/11/13

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 14/2020 Ring

too many sad stories (solo no renga)

Listening
weeping their sad stories
most days and night

trying to mend broken hearts
any way I can

weighing their words
tears run down my cheek
too many hurt souls

(c) Tournesol ‘2019/09/7
Written for SoCS: prompt weigh, way, or whey  https://lindaghill.com/2019/09/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-7-19/

different journeys (SoCS)

” Gracie, what ever happened to our friend in high school, Sally whatshername?” 

__Hmm, Salleeee, Oh, yes, Sally Witherall.  I’m not sure, Georgie.  I think she went to California somewhere. Oh my, she was a fiesty one!

“Oh my, yes!  She was always in trouble with the sisters, sneaking out at night to Boy’s Town.  What a scandal she had stirred at on prom night!” 

__Oh my, lord!!! Yes! I remember how Sister Dufferin nearly had a heart attack when she saw her prom dress!  There was not much left to the imagination I dare say!”  

“I read in the paper the other day that her brother passed and Sylvia said she was at the funeral.  She did not recognize her one bit!  In fact, the only thing resembling her now was her voice.” 

__Oh my, has she aged that much? I mean even at 67 people can still recognize you and me, Sis.  Did she have an accident or what? 

Georgie lowers her voice almost to a whisper so the world would not hear her in their living room, “Well, apparently she has had many Joan Rivers.” 

__What’s that, Georgie!  What d’you mean?… 

Georgie stares bug eye at her sister and there’s a long pause… 

__Oooooooh!! Really?! I guess she must have been in Hollywood, California then. So, no one could recognize her, you say? 

“Apparently, her body was still trim after all those years but rumours say she had lipsuction several times.  No wonder! Imagine going through menopause without gaining an ounce…really! “ 

__But what does that have to do with her not being recognized, Georgie!  You can’t suck fat out of your face…” she stops to think about that a moment, “…or can you?  What is it with these people in California putting so much bother on the face and body.  And where does it really get you?” 

“Well it did get her four husbands and lord only knows how many lovers.  And after each divorce, apparently she acquired a sizeable fortune too!” 

__Well, what has that got her except for foolish life choices and destroying her body.  Now, tell me, what about her face? I am curious as to why no one knew her when she came to her brother’s funeral.” 

“Well, apparently…” Georgie whispers now as if the walls could hear, “…Sylvia says she had lots of procedures done to her body and she had botox treatments to her face for years.  The last procedure was a lip Aug-Men-Ta-Tion and tucks here and there around her eyes and cheeks.   She had run out of money, Sylvia says, and she had it done in another country and the results were not very good.” 

__Really?  That is so sad!  What a waste of money as well as time, pain and suffering.  Imagine all the wonderful trips you could have with that kind of money, eh, Georgie?” 

“Looks like she travelled one too many times to EgoCentreVille.” 

They both start chuckling and then quickly cover their mouths, as if Sister Dufferin was spying on them. 

Life is a journey 
Cruising on different tracks 
Riding on soul trains
 
© Tournesol 19-04-13 


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS April 13/19

Bodily functions (SoCS)

A chat about bodily functions is our prompt today at Linda Hill’s SoCS, which brought to mind a funny story.  When my daughter was pregnant in 2004, I was starting menopause.  We would go shopping together and suddenly she would let out gas and then move aisle very quickly whispering to me why. We would giggle because I was starting the same problem.  So here we were at both ends of the spectrum of womanhood, farting away at our leisure and not caring at all.  Is fart a bad word, by the way?  I am part French, so we are bit more open about our language and translated in English may sound rude, so I apologize if that is not easy to read.

On to another memory with my daughter again seeing her singing in The South Shore Children’s Chorus.  The choir would sing songs from Les Miserable and they sounded so beautiful that I could not hold back my tears.  At the end of the show, she came up to me, tight lipped and squinting eyes, asking why I was crying!  I tried to explain to her that when Mommy is overwhelmed with beauty, I am moved to tears.  Well! this 10-year-old was having nothing of it.  On future presentations, I sat further away so she would not see me weep of joy.  What can I say?  I cry when I am happy, moved, tired of pain and sad.

Now lastly, since I have been struggling so much over the years and even more so in the past two years, my joint pain is something I dream of finding relief EVEN if it were for once a week. Once a week not having the pain wake me up when I roll over. Once a week when I get up, I don’t feel knives jabbing in my knees.  For over thirty years I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of my neck along with Fibromyalgia. Finally, I found a rheumatologist who found I had rheumatism on my collar bones (hence why my shoulders hurt so much and is not because I type too much), a mix of osteoarthritis, arthritis and rheumatism made me sigh with relief because those conditions are considered more real than Fibromyalgia (in society and the medical field).   The sad part is my GP does not want to treat me, just suggests I retire which has no way of making my body feel better and I am waiting for a new rheumatologist since the other one moved.

But, on a good note, I am hopeful.  Last May I went to Vancouver, BC. where cannabis is sold in many shops and purchased a jar of MJ cream to see if that might relieve the pain. It did nothing but  a tiny tingle on my neck, nothing on my knees or shoulders.   So, when I came back to Montreal, I asked my GP if she would consider giving me a prescription for cannabis.  That was June 20th and I only received a response from one dispensary in response to my request for membership along with my doctor’s prescription.  They certainly took their time.  But I want to try different things to find some relief. When I say try something, I certainly am not interested in the THC high however I realize in some of the teas or creams have to have a little bit.  Well, we shall see when I drop by sometime this week to check out Club Compassion.  Wish me luck!

(c) Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

 

Written for the Friday Prompt for Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness.

Daily moments – end of week treat (haibun)

 

(c)Clr’18

Daily reflections end of week treat Haibun

This week has not been easy at work and I only had 3 days to work!! Today is day 3 and it is a little better. With the heat and humidity, our office, again, was stuck with no AC. Yep, that is correct. The building manager sent a maintenance guy up on Tuesday who I saw up on a ladder checking out the ceiling. His prognosis (if I can call it that) was that someone in our office called up a maintenance guy to SHUT OFF all the vents. Really?!! That is the friggin[I am so polite to say friggin] excuse they gave us.

And so I have an industrial fan next to my workstation that is constantly on. Can you imagine the sound of that while taking calls? I mean these are often crisis calls. Well, Tuesday, I was feeling ill slowly and finally stayed even an hour late but when I got home, I was so happy to be in my AC cooled apartment and this year I even have one in my bedroom. But Wednesday morning, I was not feeling too good…I kept snoozing the alarm and finally got up at noonish and got to work 5 mins late. I had supervision as soon as I was getting in to boot. Fortunately, I do have a very understanding supervisor. He got it that the hot humid weather is affecting me especially my migraines. By the end of the shift it was getting about two degrees cooler…like 26 to 27C and no longer 29.

Today was the same struggle getting up as I had another migraine. I kept snoozing the phone at least 10 times. I know , silly, right?! Even my cat, Bette, was getting agitated jumping onto my bed meowing and insisting I start paying attention to her before I left for work. So I finally got up, and decided not to make a lunch but just bring fruit and treat myself tonight during my lunch break (lunch means between 5pm. To 7pm for evening workers).

And so here I am sitting at the Green Panther savouring a Falafel with a cuppa coffee with soy milk and the piece de resistance is my Chewapy cookie which is shortbread with cashew and cranberries. I will bring that back to the office and in between calls or my last break I will inhale with my coffee. A really nice way to finish off my work week.

This is for Linda Hill’s Friday Reminder of Saturday’s Stream of Conciousness….I am a bit late but I am enjoying writing this at this cool Vegan restaurant.

Sipping java
Breaking away from a sad call
Inspired to write

© Tournesol ’18–09-09

Daily moments – finally writing

I have not been writing for quite some time.   I find it more difficult writing on my iPad even if I purchased a few keyboards.  It is just not the same as a laptop. I wanted to purchase a Mac Air but I have spent so much lately. My trip to Mexico for my son’s wedding, clothes and wedding gift…so I thought since my 8 yr old laptop died, I just wanted a very light weight and inexpensive, so I bought a Chromebook Asus. Perfect…hardly any memory at the price I paid but I don’t need any since I save everything on my cloud . 

I am quite pleased with this purchase among many other clothing purchases I have made all ON SALE! My mother educated me well on sales [chuckles]  I could not help but think of her especially when I was shopping at Taylors which was one of her favourite stores. There are only 5 in Quebec…four on the South Shore and one in Granby, in the Eastern Townships.  I went across the street to the Mall to get one dress for the brief wedding ceremony performed at Fort Chambly outside by a Notary because the legal marriage cannot be done in Mexico. It was just the immediate family and so lovey at the Fort on a glorious sunny day and the pictures of the rapids made it even more special.  My children were raised in Chambly so it made it even more special they they chose this spot. 

So back to my shopping. I went downtown in Montreal two weeks ago and found some tops and pants but I was not really impressed.  I knew there were a few items at Taylors I wanted but found it too expensive. Already one dress was above my usual spending budget.  Anyway I decided to go the first Taylors that is in Saint Lambert. Little did I know that the summer sales had begun!!! So I purchased two outfits and one is definitely the dress I will be wearing at the wedding ceremony in Mexico, 

This heat has not been easy this past week though. In fact, our offices’ AC was not functioning properly and working at 30C is not easy especially since we work on a crisis line…comfort is certainly appreciated.  Even more appreciated was that the supervisors understood and management shut down the offices in Montreal for two days so our other centres had to pick up the slack. I felt bad for them though. 

Today I woke up nauseous from a migraine and fighting a head cold. It took a few hours before the migraine meds kicked in and I walked to the drug store to pick up some things for my trip.  I sure hope I don’t have a problem with the food…I know, I know, I heard not to drink the water and peel fruits before eating.  I had food poisoning three weeks and my tummy is still sensitive. All my meals have been based on white rice or quinoa.  Good think I love rice! 

I played around with my laptop when I got back to download a few apps and the time just flew. By nine o’clock, I finally had sup’, which was my first meal of the day.  (I don’t eat much when I have a headache).   I do prefer eating later though, so I don’t much all evening…well, not as much.[she chuckles at her own joke!] 

And that is what I have to say in one stream of consciousness for this week’s prompt at Linda Hill’s Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness which is “sup”.   

© Cheryl-Lynn ‘18/07/07 

Written for Linda Hill’s Saturday Stream of Conciousness 

 

A moment in time ( daily moments June 6 2018)

Butterfly
Suckling sweet nectar
Flowers in bloom
A moment in time
Embrace it or lose it

Billows floating
Fluffy and full burst with joy
through a window
A moment in time
Embrace it or lose it

A newborn
Staring perplexed
his tiny fist

Sticks it in his mouth
Knows not it’s part of him

Watching him, she sighs
Don’t miss those moments
Embrace them or lose them

Daily reflections. June 4, 2018 a moment in time

Daily Moments – January 8, 2018 – memories (troibun)

.©️Clr’18

Day 4 of snow today but on the grrreat side, it is th warmest it has been in 2 weeks reaching a balmy minus 4 C!! I had to do some errands today and waiting for the winds to calm down. They said it was supposed to stop at 2pm.but by 4pm.it was still snowing. I was so thrilled when I got outside, because the snow was nice and immaculate and powdery. The snow ploough had cleared up the sidewalk in the morning, so it was not too bad but on my return it had stopped snowing and I was following the sidewalk plough.

I love walking in the snow after a blizzard. It was so calm and mild outside. I thought of waiting for the bus when I finished my errands with two heavy bags but I figured that walking was healthier even if I walk slowly. I have spent two weeks on my back most of the time nursing my sinuses but mostly I was so darn exhausted.

Coming back to my walk, it reminded me of a dear late friend who used to walk at night with me for hours. We would tuck our kids to bed, our hubbies too and then meet after 10 or 11 at night and walk and talk. I miss her so dearly. She was my next door neighbour I met when we moved to Chambly January 7th 1982. My daughter was just one and my son was 4. It was their father’s birthday too. I was never happier moving out of the country where the kids were born and into a small suburban town. I had been so lonely at the other place. Here in Chambly, all the children were outside playing speaking French or English and moms were outside chatting and walking. During snow storms, everyone was out. Dads shovelling and chatting with a neighbour or two for a break; children making forts and moms watching them and chatting with neighbours. Gosh! We were all healthy!! [chuckling to myself now]

I was thinking of Janet, my old neighbour and dear friend walking back home tonight. I have never had a friend like her since. We would call each other late at night if we could not sleep and let the phone ring one ring. That was the signal who was calling not to disturb or wake up anyone. I suppose today we might have texted but we did not have cell phones then. Then we would meet up and drink coffee and me sweet tea until 3 or 4 in the morning. She made me a better person and mother in so many ways.

So back to the weather, well, apparently we have had such cold weather from minus 25 to minus 40 C and they say we broke a record for being the coldest for so many consecutive days in 164 years!! Wow!

Thanks to Linda Hill for her prompt in Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS): prompt “eco” that coaxed me to write something since I have not had the energy, although I had the inspiration, to write in the past week. And once again, wishing you all a happy new year filled with much love. If you have love in your heart, you are wealthy and successful!.

Memories
Winters long ago
Soulmates

Memories
Sauntering
Lifting my spirit

Winters long ago
Building snow forts all day long
Snow angels rest

Soulmates
Walking after a snowstorm
Crunch underfoot

(c)Tournesol’ 18-01-08

Daily Moments – January 8, 2018 – memories (troibun)

 

Resolution (troibun). SoCS

 

(C) Clr’18

 

I am not much for resolutions since it makes me feel locked in a wish to change a behaviour and when you feel forced, well, it’s like stubborn toddler in me resurfaces and I want to stomp my feet and say NO!!! I don’t want to, so there! And since I’m an adult, NO ONE can send me to my room, right?

However, as I age I feel my solitude, time to think and meditate and talk to myself for hours, days, weeks…I find myself rereading old wise words from yellowed pages of my books. Buddhist thought making more and more sense that I find myself wanting to try. I read over a list of 7 ways to overcome difficult times and posted it in on last journal of 2017 and it got me thinking.

I have had time to think a lot lately. Since December 22nd, I have worked one day and Christmas I went out for our family dinner…That is about what sums up my time off work. I had planned a trip and booked a train to see family for New Year’s in Toronto but my health was so so and did not feel it was right to visit people nursing a cold that would probably get much worse if I did not just rest in my own bed under very warm duvet cover in this crazy cold weather we are having in Quebec at -25 C most days. So I have had a lot of time to think. I have not been writing as much lately either. I seem to think too much and my thoughts get stuck in a dark whirlwind of negativity that it depresses me. My muse is not strong enough to weather that, so I escape by binging on Netflix. I try to read but it takes so much energy to concentrate on any book even if it is great!! This week, thankfully, I started reading The House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi and finally, I am captivated. It has been months that I have been captivated like that and it feels so good. Granted the book is not a happy story but it is real, intense and about women and in this particular story it takes place in Afghanistan. I fell in l love with stories of Afghanistan and what it was like before wars and takeovers with a novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I read his Kite Runner after but that first novel just made want to know more.

I wrote my first poem (troiku) of the year today as well. And writing this feels hopeful that perhaps the storm in my mind is dying down or simmering at least and not taking over of my every thought which influences my actions. I feel hopeful.

Now, the resolution I had been thinking of for the past three days is to take each day as if it is the first day of the new year. You know how some people like to take the first day of the year as happy and positive? Well, I want to be mindful of today…each moment and tomorrow is not here but I hope to wake up and just feel that moment when I open my eyes, I stretch and get up. That moment I pet my cat and give her her food. I want to be more mindful each new day this year. Just like the moments I walk to work and chanting my mantra, noticing the tree branches move slightly and I imagine they are praying too! I want to be mindful like those moments as many minutes in the day and hold my love and compassion in my heart and with each movement. Happy New Year everyone!

For the first time
Looking out the frozen window
A new year

For the first time
Seeing sunlight
My eyes still shut

Looking out the frozen window
Cold snap goes on and on
Since last year

A new year
Looks like yesterday
Different attitude

©️Tournesol’2018/01/01

Written for Linda’s Friday Reminder of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

those empty rooms (haibun)

Today I sit thinking of my cousin who is like my kid brother. He lost his lifelong partner last Wednesday. I’m a phone call away and an hour and a half drive away but still… For now there will be children and grandchildren visiting; aunts, uncles and cousins too and friends bringing him comfort as well as a casserole or two. The busyness goes on like a whirlwind for those who grieve and then after the services it slowly stops. Let the grief truly begin. There is no right way or wrong way to mourn, nor is there an expiry date…no indeed, it stays fresh, raw and painful for the time it does…and I know he aches today and will tomorrow. His children and grandchildren will miss their mother and grandmaman who lived life with such passion. She laughed with such enthusiasm and loved with all her heart.

(American Sentence)

Walking through each empty room, he looks longingly theough his liquid blues.

©Tournesol’17/12/08

Daily Moments December 8, 2017

The Friday Reminder for Saturday and Prompt SoCS “liqu”