Simple Things Matter the Most

BD flowers 2 after a week (2)

A lovely pink Gerbera and five proud Verona Tulips. It’s a beautiful  bouquet for the table. Flowers for my birthday; they were received with great joy and gratitude, but presented with even more. The giver’s eyes sparkled with such affection for this birthday girl; hearts feeling a deep satisfaction for, oh, so many reasons.

Having just moved to my daughter’s and son-in-law’s home, not only to be in a safe haven during Covid-19, protected and able to stay home, not having to venture out to shop for anything, but to stay here and be a permanent member of the household. This is a life change of real significance, and all of that came together with those simple blooms.

I’m so in love with this little bunch of flowers. How can I make them last forever?  I have my photos, and now I’m sharing them with you, my dear readers.

That tiny bouquet signals the end of too many unhappy years and the beginning of new hope. Even at this exalted age of 77, I have new hope. Even with Covid-19 hovering in our midst, I can still have new hope.

I hear laughter every day in this home. I even feel like contributing to that laughter and joining in. It’s a necessary part of life, an essential part of a happy life, and natural to a life filled with love.

Not only was there a special meal for my birthday; there was a wonderful layer cake, made that morning, and iced while we watched, letting dinner settle a bit. And we all celebrated that cake as a big occasion for my daughter, even though she is an amazing cook and baker. First time to make that kind of cake!! Now, that was also an event. A joyous event!

I want to show you the bouquet as it looked on its first day here. It’s so fresh and lovely, it’s balanced, it’s beautiful in every way.

BD Flowers 2020

But only one Gerbera and five tulips stayed strong long enough to grace our table over a week later.

This is my wish for each and every one of you. Be the one Gerbera and five tulips. Stay strong in this highly difficult and stressful time for our families and friends and our world. Don’t think too much about the questions, just hang in there. Be a proud pink Gerbera. Be a strong and stubborn creamy-white Verona Tulip.




Just some thoughts…

Happy Easter

It’s a rainy Monday. Easter Monday. A holiday for some. A workday for others.

But today, this Monday in April 2020, most people the world over are at home, and not with family or friends, because of an invasion into our lives by an ugly little squiggle of misery being called Covid-19.

Perhaps it’s worth suggesting a calm reflection: Spring will happen, buds will open, grass will grow, birds will nest and summer will come, the world will go on. And this virus will cycle through to an end, a control, a solution, or just lose its initial power.

Every day is a day closer to returning to a life without the fright and the restrictions. Every hour is an hour that we can reach out to loved ones to say a reassuring word, ask how a friend is faring, inquire if there is a way you can help a neighbour, write a letter to an elderly relative you’ve never met.

We deeply grieve the deaths, of course, and we all somehow fear that we or someone we love will be swept up and taken away by this invading entity.

But we still have today, we have this hour to live through.  Use it! Use it to do something small and insignificant. Use it to relax your mind, to reassure your soul, to ease your anxiety. Do something you haven’t done in years, tell yourself you are lucky to do the mundane chores you have to do every day, because you still can do them.

And just maybe, when the dust finally settles, the world will have learned a lesson or two about empathy, coming together, and we might just find a different level of harmony in our existence. We are all the same; just humans put here for a myriad of reasons that most of never will begin to understand.

I hope we will have learned to slow down, to savour each moment; to continue living but with more insight into the importance of loving, of being, of sharing, of kindness, and just maybe we can do less judging, act with less greed, be more honest with each other in every facet of our minutes and hours, days, weeks, and years.

Above all, keep laughter in your heart, let it out to colour the atmosphere in your home, in your room, in your apartment. Let it ring, loud and clear. And if there are tears, don’t be ashamed, let them fall, but then dry your eyes, put your shoulders back, lift your head high and live your life.

I am no scholar, and I don’t pretend to have any solid answers. Why write this down? Just in case it’s worth something to one person, just in case it gives one person a little something to make these days a tiny bit more tolerable. I humbly give each of you, my fellow human beings, my whole heart with all my love and sympathy and support.






The REAL Crisis of the So-called Opioid Crisis

PAIN Tear of BloodPAIN Barbed Wire


The ‘opioid crisis’ is far more of a real crisis to the people with chronic untreatable pain who now have no solution for their daily suffering, than any number of overdose deaths.

Treat the people who become addicted!!! Instead they are made out to be criminals. And their sentences are handed to me and millions of others like me.

The path being taken by governments is absolutely wrong for too many people, but that doesn’t seem to matter one bit. What are the choices? Street drugs and/or suicide. Of course, the move to deprive pain sufferers of relief is going to lead to more harmful choices!! I believe this is a Human Rights violation. It inflicts pain instead of relieving it, and this also violates the Hippocratic Oath.

The alternatives that I have been offered are ALL habit-forming and worse, must be taken on a regular basis. I could take less Percocet or Lorazepam on my good days, or on really bad days take more. I know my side effects, and am adjusted to them.


Instead, I am faced with having nothing or starting on yet another drug that will make me ill. Lyrica, Elavil, Cymbalta, Gabapentin, Cyclobenzaprine, Codeine. ALL made me ill, two caused Angioedema, the rest stopped my digestive system from functioning.

I can’t take Ibuprofen or ASA or Naproxen for pain (none of those works anyway). Acetaminophen does not do the job either, not even if I take the maximum dose, which is probably more harmful, especially to my liver, than any opiate. Why would I want to even try yet another drug? I’m not that crazy!!!

Every alternative to Lorazepam must be taken daily (some not becoming effective for 3 or more weeks. Why would I try a drug like that, not knowing for almost a month whether it will work or not? Meanwhile it’s making me ill and nothing else!) I will never try any such drug. NEVER.

My GP informed me this week that unless I am off the Lorazepam he cannot continue to be my doctor!!! So now it’s blackmail and I AM THE VICTIM! How on EARTH did this happen to our doctors?

Cannabis oil made me sick, I don’t want to smoke so I am vaping. Yesterday the severe pain persisted despite continuously using the vape, until I finally gave in and took 1/4 of a 5/325 mg Percocet and 1/2 of a 1 mg Lorazepam. (Both are now denied me, but I’ve managed to wean off and keep a few. What on earth am I in for once those are gone?) The pain receded after taking those tiny bits, thank goodness. I shudder to think how I would be feeling by now had I not been able to resort to those small chips of medication last night.

Where is the healing and caring in this kind of doctoring? It’s all a smoke-screen about protecting the doctors from losing their licences just for doing their jobs. If the system would only do the right thing, I would be able to sign a waiver removing responsibility from my doctor for ‘allowing’ me to actually receive pain relief.

What a damned sick joke all of this has become.



Positivity on a Dull, Dark April Sunday

I wish each of you a beautiful blue sky on this morning that is a slate gray canopy and rain.



I love this one, that little Clementine has the right idea, don’t you think?



Can I be a butterfly? Can you be a butterfly? Such a beautiful reminder that life goes on!



There is nobody better than Winnie the Pooh and Piglet to help brighten one’s day.



Ah, Spring! Here are some gorgeous reminders of the beauty of the season.




I hope you enjoy this photograph of newborn Flying Squirrels and the first cover of the first Shelby F. Squirrel book, with its photo of a young adult. That image is exactly how I imagine Shelby himself.

Newborn 3 of them

Shelby F. Squirrel COVER

This cover for Shelby F. Squirrel (above) featured a magnificent photograph of a Flying Squirrel taken in his backyard at night, by Tony Pratt. It’s now the inside the book as the title photo of the last story in The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends, depicting Petra, the young female who eventually becomes Shelby’s mate. The book was reprinted when I added 12 more stories, now 24 total.

Here’s the cover of that second edition, looking more like a children’s book:

AA Complete NEW FRONT COVER-  300 RES. 5.75 X 8.75

Shelby and I wish you happiness, fulfillment, and joy in your life.

Thanks for sharing a few moments with me this morning, dear readers.




Are you waiting for Spring?

This is 2019, and I have never wanted to see the end of Winter more than I do this year.

Is it my age? Yes, I admit it. I’m seventy-five. Soon seventy-six. So there’s that.

Is it the weather? Very likely, since we are a little too well acquainted with the Polar Vortex. Even though it arrived late, it is synonymous with dread in my mind because of this year’s version.

Am I crazy? Well, I often wonder about that. I hate summer. I do, really. We have  had interminable heat waves the last few years; the humidity is exhausting for me. Young people even tell me they don’t like it as hot as it gets around here.

But this year, I have hated Winter with a vengeance. I feel cooped up. Trapped. Still, I know I will not likely enjoy the summer because the entire field in front of my window is now a staging area for a mammoth construction project. Eek, I tell you, it’s not nice, even with the windows closed. What on earth will it be like with our windows open?

Will the air even be breathable? Will it be nothing but diesel fumes? The answer, which does not please me at all, is that we will spend most of our days with the windows closed and the air conditioner running. That, my friends, requires a level of noise tolerance in itself. The AC always makes me feel cooped up. Trapped!!

There are people here who enjoy walking at night. I think I may have to take up that hobby in order to get some air. I much prefer to open all the windows at night than to keep the AC running. But at 7:00 am the monster machines will start up, the banging and clattering will resume, and the fumes will roll toward our windows with deadly accuracy.

Can you picture it? You might tell me to take refuge on the other side of the building. Go there and walk. And I would have to inform you that the rear of our abode here will be excavated this summer to renovate the underground garage!

The moon is looking better and better. Is there is a space shuttle leaving any time soon?

Apathy, an Insidious Disease

I realized just today that I’ve been using the wrong word to describe a quickly developing plague in our world. The word I’ve been using entirely out of context is COMPLACENCY.

It should have been APATHY all these long tortuous months.

Here are just a few synonyms:  bloodlessness, callosity, callousness, coldness, coolness, halfheartedness, hard-heartedness, hardness, heartlessness, imperturbability, insensitivity, obduracy, blankness, deadness, emptiness, vacancy, aloofness, detachment, indifference, unconcern.

Angela Merkel and Trump Mar 16 2017

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany since 2005, showing her disgust of Donald Trump. Even when people know that eminent world leaders are shocked at Trump’s persona, agenda, ego, etc., it’s not enough to jar them out of their APATHY. If Merkel disapproves then you have permission to do the same. And to act on it!

With the shock of the US Presidential election in 2016, the onset of this illness began in serious proportions. Despite the letdown, the fright, the feeling of duplicity, people adopted the ‘I don’t care’, ‘I can’t get involved’, “Give him a chance”, or other misguided mantles that let them off the hook, took away their responsibilities as citizens! These excuses force the rest of us to carry the load, do the leg-work, make things happen, and truthfully, bail all of them out. Thanks for nothing, you apathetic excuses for human beings.

There is a sense of head-shaking awareness dawning in the USA that is bringing a good number of these ostriches up into the air to work alongside the rest of us, to put in their two cents, determined to vote BLUE and rid the USA and the world of the scourge of Donald Trump. Still others hang back. My message to any of those is, get with the program. Do your part! At least promise to vote DEMOCRAT. There is no other option if you care about the future of the country.

Apathy recently caused the election of a Trump clone in my home province of Ontario in Canada. Apathy and misinformation again! Doug Ford has dug in his heels and already cancelled almost 30 programs that benefit people or the environment before Parliament even officially begins. He is meddling in Municipal election procedures, ie the number of City Councillors, with no input from anyone, from any experts, from the cities. The result? Where it should be riots, it’s apathy. What is WRONG with people? Where does this come from?

I think some people believe that politics in general leave us no hope. It’s all corrupt and nothing we do will stop that. That is APATHY speaking. What people need is HOPE, DETERMINATION, and above all COMMUNITY EFFORT! Don’t give in to the bullies. You have a voice. USE it! PLEASE!

Just because an elected official is there to lead, it doesn’t mean he/she can’t be questioned, challenged, unseated.

This disease of APATHY is obviously contagious. Or it would seem so given how frequently one meets it. That is rather like banging one’s head against the proverbial wall. There is no reasoning with APATHY. The minds of these people are made up. No, sorry, let me rephrase that. These people do not use the minds they were given to reason and think. They have shut the door to intelligent use of their brains.

This sad illness erupts at all levels, and in trying to gather names and interest for a Petition to City Hall, I am meeting it yet again. It’s hard to conceive how APATHY can be the choice for people when facing a Site Plan for the entire area surrounding our modest buildings. ‘There’s nothing we can do”. “It’s a done deal”. What unfounded rubbish.

We will lose our green space, increase the density to alarming proportions and still these apathetic lost souls will not add their names, join their neighbours for support, think of community. I call this treasonous.

Believe me, if those of us sweating in this sauna of a summer (2018) come out triumphant and bring about a reduction in the plan for the benefit of all, and if afterward anyone thanks me they won’t hear me say “You’re welcome!” if they never signed because of their terminal cases of APATHY.

The Opioid ‘Crisis’

(How the opioid ‘crisis’ is creating hell for chronic pain sufferers)

This is my comment on (There ARE people who know what is going on and understand the wrong that is being perpetuated!)

June 19, 2018

This article puts the real problem into very plain words: A created ‘crisis’ that has dedicated all of its focus onto opioid deaths from overdose is wreaking havoc on people with chronic pain. What the creators of this vastly mis-directed effort forgot was the thousands upon thousands of people suffering from chronic pain who do not get relief from anything else, have tried them all, and have returned to an opioid of one type or another for one reason – the opioids work, and therefore some sort of ‘life’ is possible for these people.

I am one of them; I was going to a doctor who argued incessantly with me regarding pain relief until I walked out of her office in frustration this January, leaving myself without a GP for five long months. Without even meeting me, three family doctors refused to take me as a patient because of my pain and my use of Percocet for pain relief. One wanted to make me go to a methadone clinic, and another changed his mind an hour before I was to meet him.

However, I’m one of the lucky ones that could return to a specialist who has been my doctor on and off over the past thirty years. Even he tried to avoid the medication (Percocet) I was used to. I was willing to experiment and subsequently tried cannabis oil, Cymbalta, and varieties of acetaminophen., and then a new opioid called Supeudol, which did not relieve my pain, and instead made me incredibly dizzy and sleepy. My only reward was bad reactions and illness for eight hellish weeks.

This big-brother ‘threat’ treatment, which punishes practitioners who prescribe opioids, has been forced on doctors by the governments of Canada, the US and other countries (it’s mind-boggling how everyone has just joined the chorus!!) and it is utterly cruel and inhumane, as well as terribly uninformed.

It should be MY decision to take risk if in fact it exists. It is MY life. It MY body and, as a responsible adult, it should be MY own choice what I put in in, or don’t put in it.

The truth is that my heart and blood pressure medications, the air pollution, and all the food additives one literally cannot avoid, are probably killing me faster than my painkiller.


Spring, April 2013

And it’s time to stop and smell the flowers!

It’s also SHELBY’s favourite time of year, because his birthday is in the spring. Flying Squirrels are born in March or April, and their mothers teach them to fly when they are 3 months old. That’s where BOOK ONE starts:


Shelby F. Squirrel was so excited he was quivering all over! His mother had just told him that he was old enough now to go down to the ground with the rest of the family to hunt for fallen nuts. He and his twin sister, Darby, were not babies any more!

“But,” his mother had sternly added, You must never go down to the ground alone! We always go together.

The other thing their mother had told them was what the initial F stood for. He and Darby had always wanted to know, but were told that they would find out when they were older.

She had patiently explained, You know that other squirrels look a lot like us, and behave like us most of the time. Our tails are shorter and our fur is thicker, but the most important thing to know is what our middle initial stands for. It is the same for every member in our whole family. She paused for a moment and taking a big breath, announced, Shelby Flying Squirrel and Darby Flying Squirrel are your full and proper names, and in a few days you will have your first flying lesson!

Oh, no! cried Shelby. I‘ll never be able to do that, I just know it! and before either of them could stop him he scrambled down the tree and across the grass.

Without looking back, he just ran as fast as he could and soon he was on the edge of the parking lot behind a tall building that seemed to stretch all the way to the sky. As he glanced around he was startled to see a small black and white dog come trotting toward him. A low growl came from away down its throat and it suddenly dashed right toward Shelby.

Shelbys little feet skidded on the pavement as he took off, but he skittered toward the door that someone had just come through and darted inside before he even realized what he was doing.

He was in a small room with no way out! There were two shopping carts in the corner and a closed door on each side wall. Straight in front of him was another different looking door. He was in a complete panic, eyes popping, chest heaving, when the different looking door slid open sideways! And then another door slid open just a little bit in front of that!

In a shot he was through them both, and went sliding across a beautiful room with soft furniture, carpets, and potted plants. He sat back on his haunches to take it all in, his head turning in all directions. There were big windows that gave a view of greenery and flowers. Shelby thought it was the most wonderful sight he had ever seen! He decided to do a little exploring and began tiptoeing about. He had only gone a few inches when a man appeared from the hallway that ran off to the left side of the room. The man had a lot of keys that jangled. The sound made Shelby nervous, so he sat up to see what would happen.

Thats when the man saw him and, letting out a huge yell, leaped toward him. Shelby didnt know what to do! He was trapped for sure! And then an amazing thing happened. The wall near him started to slide open! In a twinkling he tore through the opening. He banged into a wall inside and felt quite dazed. As his head cleared, he realized the whole little room he was in was moving! A few moments later, the motion stopped and the door rolled back.

Out like a blue streak went Shelby! It was the right thing to do because, just as he escaped, two little elderly ladies stepped into the elevator. That was a stroke of luck, for sure. Neither of them noticed him, and the door closed leaving Shelby in an empty space with two hallways running off in opposite directions. Now a second panic attack gripped him. He saw no way out. Not a scrap of daylight peeped through anywhere. Shelby dearly wished he hadnt run away from his mother and sister like that. What a dumb thing to do! He curled up in a corner and started to cry softly to himself. After all he was not much more than a baby, really.

Oh, no! The sound of footsteps snapped him out of his gloomy mood. He peeked around the corner and saw that a door had opened a few feet away. A man had already come toward the elevator and was waiting for someone else to join him. Shelby raced past the man, and dashed through the door just as a lady came through, and it swung shut. He felt a lot safer in here. At least there was daylight! He nearly lost it entirely when a big furry cat leaped at him from the chesterfield, missing him by a whisker. He went instinctively toward the window, which was also a door! Through that door, gasping for breath, scuttled Shelby. He circled around in a pretty tight space before jumping up to get away from the cat. He found himself on a ledge looking down at the top of a large tree!

Thats when something magic happened. He didnt even have to think about what he was doing. He just threw himself off the ledge and in the direction of the tree. His little legs stretched out as wide as they could, and on each side of his body the loose skin miraculously became a parachute. But more than that, it was a parachute that he could steer! By tilting his tail a little he controlled his flight and landed perfectly on a branch that gave gently with his weight and swayed for a moment while he caught his breath.

Shelby F. Squirrel was down that tree, across the grass and back up his own tree so fast that he almost became a blur. His mother and Darby were waiting with frightened looks on their faces.

Taking huge hiccupping breaths, Shelby stammered, Oh, Mother! Oh, Darby! I can fly! I can fly! I did it! And I promise to listen to you from now on! No more running away for me!

Now a SERIES!!  Book 2: The Great Forest Caper

Book 3: Where is Virginia?

Book 1: The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F SQUIRREL and Friends

Autographed paperback copies available from the author at:


SHELBY will be FREE on Valentine’s Day

images (12)Valentine 4

Here’s a special way to remember your children on Valentine’s Day this year!

ALL 3 SHELBY books will be FREE for the whole day.  FREE!!!

All amazon sites included. Here are links for Canada, US and UK:   Canada  USA  UK


Shelby F. Squirrel, The SERIES


HERE THEY ARE! Three Shelby F. Squirrel Books!

Hello, everyone! It’s not every day that an author completes a series of three books. I hope you will particularly like the ‘growing’ aspect of these humble efforts of mine.

Unlike most children’s books, the characters in Shelby F. Squirrel books do not stay the same age. Here’s how they break down:



As your child grows, so does Shelby!

(1) The Complete Adventures of  SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends

Age 4-10 (Shelby is 3 months old to 2 years)

(2) The Great FOREST CAPER

Age 8-11 (Shelby is an adolescent)

(3) Where is Virginia?

Age 9-12 (Shelby is an adult and becomes a father)

Children love the stories in the first book, The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends. They are perfect for bedtime reading, as each of the 24 stories is approximately 1100 words, under 10 minutes. Your child will enjoy reading them over and over once he or she is able to read independently.

The Great FOREST CAPER is a chapter book, with a story of more serious import than the first book. The forest will be cut down, all their homes will be lost, unless the animals act together! Readers aged 8-11 is the recommended level.

Where is Virginia? is a mystery, which is solved only when a new friend, Nikita, helps. There is a dramatic rescue, and during all the excitement Shelby and Petra become parents.

The Series begins with SHELBY at the age of 3 months and follows him all the way to fatherhood! Many lessons are learned, but these are woven subtly into the fabric of each plot.  The story is always the centre of attention and reason for reading in the first place!

Available on Amazon:

Please contact me for your paperback copies at: so that I can autograph them!

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