Sad day…

We got an email from our office, today.

The husband of one of my co-workers was killed when the small plane he was flying in crashed near James Bay.

Family and friends of a popular Gatineau high school teacher are grieving after the west Quebec man was killed in a weekend plane crash in northern Quebec.

Michael Robinson, who taught at Philemon Wright High School in Gatineau, was one of two people killed when a float plane went down, crashing into a swamp near James Bay. CTV


The survival of the three injured passengers is credited to the quick arrival and actions of Air Inuit employee Jonathan Perrier, who kept them from drowning until first responders arrived on the scene. Nunatsiaq Online

My friend and her husband have a young son.

The Big “C” strikes again….

I received a call, today, from my brother, telling me that Alice, my sister-in-law, wife of my brother in Halifax is in the palliative care unit.

She has lung cancer. They give her “a few weeks” – less if the cancer moves aggressively.

Alice and Mom

Alice and Mom last November

Alice is the sweetest woman you will ever meet. She has suffered from a number of medical problems, including asthma, environmental allergies, and Fibromyalgia. Despite her pain and chronic conditions which have limited her mobility, she has always been cheerful and warm to everyone she meets.

John and Mom

John and Mom

John and Alice met later in life, and they were “made for each other”. I have never seen two people so comfortable and caring towards each other.

John took a job up on Iqaluit and then to Chesterfield Inlet (I think it was) for a couple of years and the time they spent up there was freeing for Alice because she suffered less from her allergies.



They had to come back down to Halifax, though, but we saw Alice and John a number of times when Alice was in town for appointments with specialists. One memorable time was once when I took Mom in for an appointment for X-rays at a clinic up the road from us. I sat down in the lobby and the man sitting next to me looked familiar… It was John! Alice was having tests done at the same clinic.

We all went for lunch and had a lovely visit.

John isn’t a “blood brother” of mine but he’s the next best thing. John is my step-brother’s half-brother. In our family, that is still “family” and I love them both as much as (and in some ways more than!) some of the family closer to me.

I cannot imagine John’s feelings as he sits with his soul-mate, watching her die. For me, this is the second major loss this year to cancer, to lung cancer in fact. And it is… I am trying to count… the 5th person I know battling with cancer… No… sixth.


PhotoHunter: “Entertainment”

My favorite entertainment is my friends in the band… or friends in bands. I have a lot of musician friends in a lot of different bands. They include…

Ken (Ken Workman and The Union)

Ken Workman


Ian Cook

Ian Cook

Rob Smith

Rob Smith

Ken Workman

Ken Workman

Shawn Brown, Dave Kerr, and Janice Fitzsimmons - jamming

Shawn Brown, Dave Kerr, and Janice Fitzsimmons - jamming

The Sunbleached Skulls

The Sunbleached Skulls

8 things meme

I have been tagged by Marie Jaeger:

8 things meme

Rules are simple, list 8 things you look forward to, 8 things you did yesterday, 8 things you wish you could do. Then tag 8 people and let them know they’ve been tagged with the meme.

8 things I look forward to:

  1. Friday
  2. Payday
  3. watching my friends in the band play
  4. meeting the crowd of friends who go out to watch my friends in the band
  5. the day AFTER timesheet day
  6. anything that takes me out into the country
  7. driving around in the country at night with the windows down and the music up (or off and listening to froggies peeping in Spring)
  8. driving around in the country at night with the windows up and the music up (winter)

8 things I did yesterday

  1. worked
  2. Twittered far too much
  3. went to the chiropractor
  4. photographed and videoed the baby fish in the aquarium at the chiropractor’s office
  5. stayed up late watching “Boys Who Do Comedy” on YouTube
  6. made a video
  7. attempted to make more videos
  8. downloaded a trial version of Adobe Premiere Elements and hate it

8 things I wish I could do

  1. fly by flapping my arms
  2. fly (in a plane) anytime I want, anywhere I want (if #1 isn’t possible)
  3. play a musical instrument (esp. guitar, accordion, fiddle)
  4. be endlessly confident
  5. remember peoples’ names without going through mental gymnastics
  6. find a significant other
  7. afford to be “comfortable”… not rich… comfortable
  8. not be so shy

8 shows I watch on TV (I don’t watch a lot of TV any more)

  1. Kings
  2. Holmes on Homes” (he’s so cute…)
  3. Animal Cops” (and all the other similar shows)
  4. Blackadder
  5. any of the true crime programs: “American Justice“, “The First 48“, “Dr. G. Medical Examiner

Now… Who to tag?!!!!

  1. Rambling Woods
  2. Jams O Donnell
  3. Vita Stunder
  4. Sandi @ The Whistlestop Cafe
  5. Brita
  6. Hootin’ Annie
  7. R.J. Flamingo
  8. and… last but NOT least, top of my charts… My lovely friend, Az


My dear friend Carol passed away tonight. I didn’t get a chance to see her again before she died. I was suppposed to head to London from from Pickering to see her in the morning and spend as much of the weekend as I could with her. At least I got to spend some time with her last weekend when she was still at the point where she was comfortable and somewhat at ease.

Thirty years apart were too long. It is hard to believe that the photo below was taken just last summer and that someone so vibrant and beautiful, in spirit and otherwise, could die less than a year later.

I will miss her.

Old friends

Old friends

Love, friends, and Serendipity…


I visited my friend yesterday and spent the afternoon  and evening with her.

She is the Palliative Care unit at the hospital. It appears to be a matter of weeks, at the longest. It could be less.

She is on oxygen at all times and her breathing is very laboured. Watching her doing her puffers is painful. She can’t inhale beyond a light inhale and yet it takes all her strength to do . Exhaling is worse because it just looks like she can’t exhale.

She can only speak in short sentences and that is tiring. She prefers to listen.

And, she doesn’t talk about it…. She has “pneumonia” and she will be in the hospital for “a while” is all she will acknowledge. That is very difficult but that is how she has chosen to procede. It is up to those around her to support her decision and respect it.

It is hard because it is sort of like a scene from the movie where one person is slipping over a precipice and is reaching out for the other person, and there is the mutual recognition that at some point, the falling person, not just WILL, but MUST let go.

We hadn’t seen each other for almost… may be more, actually… 30 years. No… I just counted. It is 33 years. We first got together again last summer.

I intend to come down here to see her every weekend for as long as it takes.


I have to say, though, that being here has given me, not just the chance to be with her, but the chance to get to know her boyfriend and meet and talk with her friend. Her brother and his wife came, as well as her ex-husband, with whom she is still very close.

I hope it will make us all feel just a bit less useless to be able to join together and support her and each other. Of course, they are there full-time and I will only be there on weekends and maybe only on Saturdays as where I am staying is about 2+ hours away from the city she is in.

Back in 1999, the family we sponsored from Kosovo (who are Muslim) had a baby and I was so pleased and privileged to be able to be there and actually assisted in the birth.

Two years later, the same couple had a baby which was born very premature and just about when she should have been born, full-term, she died. A number of us assisted the family in seeing them through that. That included helping with the process of washing and laying out the little body.

In Western culture, we have lost touch with the nitty-gritty of life and death. While we now have families involved and present when a baby is born, we “leave it to the professionals” to deal with death and dying and the after death formalities.

Having met with and experienced the Muslim burial practices, where the community simply pitches in and does what we pass on to funeral home employees, it gave me an insight into what we in “Christian” culture (I use quotation marks because it is largely in cultures which are Christian where we have doe so) have lost in backing away from. Where once a person died at home with the family surrounding them, where family or friends or neighbours came and washed the body, and where the body was laid out in the parlour or kitchen, we now are so isolated from death and dying that we actually find death MORE difficult to deal with.

Further, we have lost the knowledge and cultural experience of seeing people through the process of dying and seeing each other through the process of losing someone.

It is what we, as humand beings should do… That is part of love.


On the long drive back from the city my friend is in, I was listening to the CBC.

When I first turned it on, it was Randy’s Vinyl Tap. Which is the program I often listen to on my way out to the gigs by my friends. Being so far from home in unfamiliar territory and alone in the car, it was almost life having old friends in the car.

After that, was A Propos which introduces Anglophones to Francaphone culture and music in Canada. The host, Jim Corcoran, had translated the lyrics of a number of songs to enable his listeners to connect with the French songs. He read the lyrics to “Poussière d’or” (Gold Dust) by Jérôme Minière. The words which I have asked Jim Corcoran for a copy of talked about how dying and birth teaches us and that that the dying and newborns gift us in sharing their journey.

This is a truth that Buddhism teaches…

Death, whatever your belief or non-belief in “what happens after”, is a journey. Part of that journey we travel with the dying and the rest they do on their own. Neither of us knows the rest of the journey… The living will never know the part of the journey continued by the dying person and the dying person will never know the rest of our journey.

That finaly part of dying… and Death are the only things we do truly on our own.

Further on my friend…

I just got word from my friend’s boyfriend. Her cancer is terminal. Weeks, not months, I think.


My friend

I just got word, tonight, that my friend Carol who I just got back in touch with last summer, after 30 years or so, is in the hospital with lung cancer.

She only just had surgery last month to remove growths from her heart muscle and was on her way to recovering from that. This makes me sadder than I can say.

Old friends

Old friends

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