A haibun and a Dear Emma journal…just thinking on paper

 

It’s driving her bonkers visiting so many condos. She is working still but this new place should be affordable when she no longer works and accessible to basic needs. Public transportation must be achievable so she can still get around at all hours of the day and evening. She loves the city for the culture, education and so many interesting events. She loves to read and if her new location does not provide what she needs in books, she wants to be able to hop on a bus and go to her Alma mater, having access to it’s library.

visiting
searching
a place to call home

visiting
private homes
of strangers

searching
impossible dreams
peace of mine

a place to call home
yet, fearing isolation
single … not alone

(c) Tournesol ’19/10/30

Yesterday she heard a radio broadcast of a man who retired. He talked about how it was a terrible shock to him. She has been planning to write more and teach English part time on line or in person when she retires. She planned on volunteering doing group work like she did a few years ago but somehow she did not feel “at home” in community outreach programmes like she did in Toronto. Why was that? Was she tired of volunteering in the mental health world where she has worked for almost 4 decades, volunteering and working? Well, that would make sense. Even if she offered workshops, she knows she would still be drawn into their narratives that pull at the heartstrings.

And, to hear this man voice his misery with retirement, jolted her. She thought about the time when it will be an END…rather than her usually way of thinking that it will be a new beginning. Even if she got certified to teach last fall, she never really grasped the idea of cutting ties to workforce. She remembers not working for one year when the children were little and she found work to do from home to keep her sanity. Somehow, being productive AND connected to people was a need and not just a desire.

How did she get here? She has always talked about volunteering and working part time here and there to fill her time. She has relished the idea of going to a library or coffee shop with her laptop and writing to her heart’s content. And yet when it is a choice and something in the future, it looks like a dream come true. When it gets closer, it feels like a death sentence. Oh my, why is she seeing her future so bleak? Is it that time of year?

November approaching is like opening your heart and home to death. The only good thing about this month was her first child was born on the 7th. She feels herself slipping into the darkness of despair and numbness. Knowing it is going to happen; understanding the why’s and how’s makes it even more frustrating because that mood just takes control over her. It snickers and sometimes bellows at her weakness. It weighs on her like a heavy duvet with iron fists keeping her under, and all she can do is concentrate on breathing…waiting for a break in that dark sky. Until then, she will go through the motions…work three days a week; listening to the darkest stories from callers, searching for hope. She sometimes, feels like a hypocrite not being able to take her own advice. She can hear them, feel them, open her heart to them and engage them and help them get to a safer and lighter place even if it’s just for a night, one more day, one more week. If only she could have someone like that to do the same for her.

It is probably one of the toughest parts of being in the service profession. Police officers, first responders, nurses, physiotherapists, massage therapists, doctors, teachers and social service workers and any other outreach career, have the same risks of slipping. Some take comfort with their family, friends and balancing self-care. Others drink too much or eat too much. The things they see or hear are not things you can share and vent with a friend.

In Toronto she had a great therapist (doctor/masters in social work) covered by healthcare. She was even her doctor and her support was helpful and refreshing. Even her doctor would pick her brain on ideas for clients she had who were parents.

She doesn’t feel it really matters where you live. It is how she feels inside…the heart of any home is the soul of the person living there. The living space can be spotless or cluttered, shiny or dreary, quiet or noisy, it all depends on what is going on inside that person. However, lots of windows make a huge difference…just being able to look at the sky; looking out and also seeing life around her like pedestrians, cars, squirrels and chipmunks. Seeing life is vital…it is a connection to the living and she can relate more and more to older people she worked with years ago. She is minutes away from any of these persons now.

She so admired their energy and persistence to keep moving and staying involved with social events. She wonders what their secret was when that heavy duvet weighed them in the morning or when it hurt to move a muscle or hurt even more to open their eyes. She did get advice from her 90 yr old aunt one time. Roll out of bed, shuffle to the bath and run a nice hot bath to oil the joints; then you can move!
She does this on most mornings now.

Maybe she could learn from more retired people. Experience is worth its weight in gold…now she is feeling a bit more hopeful. Thanks, Emma, for listening.

Daily moments Oct 30 2019, clr

 

Dear Emma, (January 17 2019 ~ lucid dreams) Haibun

breastfeeding nightmare
infants waiting in the queue
sucking me dry

Dear Emma,

I called in sick today, on this 17th day of January 2019. Every joint screamed with pain. As I tried to get back to sleep, I said to myself for the first time in 18 and a half years, “I hate my job!” Just saying it to myself was a shock! You see I am the type of person that talks out loud in my mind. When I read, I talk out loud in my mind. That’s why it takes me forever to read but I read a lot so I guess I have gotten over this attribute about me.

Two weeks ago, I had difficult calls during the week of New Year’s two days in a row. Yep, call after call after call after Live Chat I heard about child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, child neglect and suicide, suicide and more suicide. That last Monday was so heavy that on the following Thursday, I did not feel the energy to go to work without throwing up. Yep, all the shit was stuck in my throat and I was afraid to open my mouth.

This past Sunday and Monday were a bit better since it was not the holiday season anymore but still. Last Monday, I ended my shift with a long 2 hour suicide call which was the third suicide call of the shift. I tried to nonchalantly chat but not requesting to debrief. I had my coat and boots on and just skimmed through parts of that call because I was also pleased that I gave something to this caller…hope. Although chatting about it nonchalantly, as if this was just sharing, I know now, was wrong. I should have debriefed privately to help me process how I felt before leaving home for two days off. Two days of allowing the suffering to fester inside of me.

I wished I had benefits to process this therapeutically with a professional but anyone over 65 is cut off from this support. Another bad employer policy…not supporting the hand that feeds the service.

This morning I woke up several times snoozing my alarm over and over and over until I finally decided that was it today! After I said those words in my head…um, I can’t repeat it here again but you just have to scroll up to the first paragraph…I felt so many emotions. I was sad, angry, frustrated, shocked and really did not want to feel anything. I wanted to roll over and get back to sleep. I got up to let my black cat, Kali, out of her room (my guest room) and made myself a cup of earl grey and came back to bed. I tried to watch a sitcom “Grace Under Fire” but my mind was still spinning. Kali jumped into bed with me and curled up in the curve of my arm and purred so loud, it finally put me to sleep.

When I woke up, Bette, my older friend, a Siberian Mix feline, was sleeping next to me. She never cuddles though. She has issues of space, contact and feeling trapped. I really enjoy her company, nonetheless as she has improved over the years and frankly, if you see her, you would have to admit, she looks like a queen. She is that beautiful!

I felt this way last year too and it was because I was refused time off to rest emotionally from my too demanding job. I had tried to avoid this from happening again this year. I had taken 10 days off in February last year and that helped my mind and soul but my body took months and months to catch up. I planned a summer of lots of time off and saved a week to take during Christmas week.

Unfortunately, the people who count our allowable time off made a huge mistake by 10 days! Yep, so by mid-summer, I was told that I could take 5 of the days I had reserved without pay in August and that was that. I knew December would be a problem. In the past 10 years, I rarely worked during the holidays because I needed to recuperate from demands of my type of work and wanted to see family and friends. In the past three years, however, I no longer even see anyone…I am that drained. I see family Christmas Day and then hibernate in my home, sleeping, writing, reading and vegging on Netflix.

I had reserved 10 days off in February this year, again but without the Christmas break time off, I did not know how much I would be able to endure before cracking. So many of my peers were taking time off, and too many had already quit. That revolving door would NOT stop spinning and as much as I try to give hope and a positive attitude at work, I could feel something I have treasured for decades was sinking into an abyss deep inside the confines of my soul. Nothing shows on the outside. I think that I still look more or less like passionate for the cause, lady, but I am struggling to keep this up.

I have never taken a job JUST for the salary. I know, I know, that may sound unbelievable but for me, it is the position and work environment that has always drawn me. I have left better paying positions to move onto positions where I could grow ; it is sort of like going to school and getting paid. I remember leaving the corporate world to stay home for a few years and type court recordings until my kids went to school.

Going back to college and taking a job as personal support worker; working in the helping field is so fulfilling. Leaving a high paying sales position to finally work full-time as a youth counsellor. Passions filled are bonuses that feed the heart and ensures employee retention. Granted we have gone through many changes and the goals have not changed but the means have. I have always felt when a workplace no longer meets the needs of an employee, it is time to seriously think of moving on. For now the service is still my passion but how long will I be able to swim without a floater?

Today, I admitted something quite frightening and I hope it is JUST the emotional fatigue talking and not a sad reality.

breastfeeding nightmare

infants waiting in the queue

sucking me dry

© Tournesol ‘19-01-17

Daily Moments – lucid dreams haibun

Dear Emma, “and what about patience?”

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her
looking for relief

she reads fiction
but
the darker kind
thrillers and killers
of demented minds
still
it’s an escape
her reality is boring
drab, greyish taupe
like the colour of mud

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her

music tends to rise her spirits
lyrics may not always
bringing her to a darker place
long ago
perhaps unfinished business
ghosts from her past
haunting her day and night
taunting her to give up

her humble abode breathes memories
dead and alive, people who matter
exhaling
in contradictory salutations
leaving her more confused
riled with shame and blame
fills her soul with guilt

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her

it all started months ago
her body let her down
joint after joint
abandoning her
leaving her vulnerable
robbing her of so much joy
walking feebly with a cane
worried for another fall,
a sprain, a tear
that heals so slowly

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her

mind and body
work in tandem
whispering mockingly
awaiting her decline

when did it become
them and me?
when did they become her enemy?

the mind plays tricks
distorted reality
tries to fill her mind
such energy it takes
pushing it away
blocking every crevice of her soul.

They will not win!
she is too smart
and loves life
way too much to give in

she will wait, give it time
her body needs to heal
her soul needs to recuperate
patience is her weapon
compassion and self-love
her antibiotic

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her
she will use the power of imagery
feel the sun warm her soul
make her mind and body whole.

(c) Cheryl-Lynn 18/09/15

Dear Emma (haibun)

I wrote a post this afternoon to you, Emma,  but cyberspace was very hungry, I guess, and it ate the whole darn thing!  Let’s see.  I was telling you about my plans to visit two amazing friends.  One I can only see once a year when she comes from Brazil to visit her daughter in Toronto.  The other is a friendship that grew over time who I will also be visiting in Ontario.

I met my friend from Brazil through an old boyfriend and we connected immediately.  I felt we were like soulmates.   I guess there is nothing to explain that…it is a feeling you get with some rare and unique people in a lifetime.

Each time I spend time with this friend, I grow on so many levels.  She is an artist as well as a therapist and so since I cannot draw, I paint my canvas with words and am also a counsellor.  We have children of similar ages and share starting life over, or ending it (however you want to look at it) on our own, like big girls.

My other friend is brilliant, creative, rational and warm.  Where I am touchy freely, she is artistic and a doer.  I admire her tenacity and although life has thrown her several curved balls, she has succeeded in ways, I am not sure I could have.  Her strength is what also sustains me. We connected first at work and I felt inclined to share my poetry with her right from the beginning.  Our friendship just blossomed over time.

After spending time with these two amazing women, on my drive or train ride back home, I feel so inspired and have the urge to write about it.  I feel I grow creatively, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically because I feel a bit taller, sticking my chest out and holding my head up high.  I so look forward to seeing them both next week.

Well, Emma, I don’t think I told it like it was on my first draft but the essence is there. Thanks for listening, as always.

seasoned minds
sharing life
past and present

past and present
fears and joys shared
future in between

(c) Cheryl-Lynn

 

Dear Emma, and a Cherita

Dear Emma,

When I was a child, I remember picking up my bellbottom pants at the dressmaker one time. In the early 60’s I could not find any kind of long pants or jeans that were long enough and slim enough. In those days, Marilyn Monroe was the fashionable shape. Although Twiggy was slowly becoming a trend, in my part of the world, it was still more common for women to be shorter and curvier. Alas, I was pretty much a straight line more like Olive Oil at between twelve and fourteen.

Another client was just leaving the dressmaker as I was entering and she asked me how my mother and grandmother were doing. Of course, I shared the latest updates on my newly divorced mother and lifesaver grandmother who had taken us in not realizing I may have been a bit too open. Being naïve, then, was just assuming that people always inquired about you because they cared.

I remember trying on the charcoal grey bellbottoms and was so excited they fit like a glove and were long enough to wear with a boot or higher healed show. That was the beauty of tailor made clothes. Fortunately, her fees were very reasonable and in fact, less expensive than going to a designer shop to purchase clothes.

As I was leaving, the dressmaker looked at me seriously and said, “You must be careful. You are such an open book and you never know the true intentions of people when inquiring about you and your family.” I could tell she was concerned for me and I always tried to remember her wise words, but still, it is still difficult for me to think anyone would want to hurt me intentionally. And so years went by and I learned the hard way. I find learning through life experience teaches more, don’t you? What have you learned better through experience rather than through teachings of another person?

( a cherita)

a child runs freely through the woods

Stumbling on hidden roots and branches
Scraping arms and knees along the way

Fastforward several decades
Walking through the woods, listening to the birds singing
Leaves rustling, she leans on her walking stick

© Cheryl-Lynn ‘18/09/06

Daily Moments with Emma – August 9th, 2018

Dear Emma,

 

I saw a post today on facebook that truly spoke to me. It said:

Don’t bother walking a mile in my shoes, that would be boring.
Spend 30 seconds in my head and that will freak you right out!”  (c) Me vs my Inner Bitch

It is amazing how much goes on in one’s mind when it is idle. Have your ever noticed that? Of course you have! I wonder if women think more than men? I guess that may not be a gender thing either but how much one worries and others take life more in stride, I guess. Here is an example of a sixty something lady getting ready for work.

She presses the snooze button for the third time and lets out a loud sigh. She knows she would have to get up eventually and get ready. So much to do in one day …so much to do in one life. Will there ever be enough time to follow her dreams? And yet, she still does not know what she wants to do when she’s grows up. She never wants to grow up. Living day to day is so much more fun but is it okay in our society. Ah fuck society! she thinks to herself.

She wonders if he would do okay with his new home? What would it take to mend things with her? No matter what she does, she feels she puts her foot in doo-doo. She tries not think of other family members that pull at her heart strings. If only she could shut off that brain of hers sometimes. It is a family trait, after all. Her mother had it, her grandmother too and she and her sister inherited it as well.

She jumps in the shower and feels the water pour over her face and it reminds her of walking in the rain one summer day. Oh that was delightful and the rain was warm too! Her hair did not curl then. She gets out of the shower and looks in the mirror. How did she get here? Why had she been raised to focus so much on appearances when down deep she knew that most people she interacted with appreciated her for her compassion. Maybe compassion is like the perfect foundation that illuminates your skin! Yeah, that makes sense! With a touch of joie de vie on your lips, a hint of passion mist on her neck and voilà, she is ready to face the world.

She turns away from the mirror and gets dressed and puts on her cream, that special cream to hide those wrinkles (which has never done a damn thing but smear false hope from that fancy jar). She must not buy anymore. With the money spent on that she can start saving for another trip far far away. How she would like that!

She picks up her backpack, and walks out the door.

Holding on
Yesterday’s regrets blurr
Hopes for tomorrow
Still, messing up today
Weaknesses of humans

(c) Tournesol’ 18/06/08

Dear Emma V – Daily Reflections

Well, Emma, there will not be many photos today as I am on Day 2 of my time here with Amma and her devotees.  So many people.

My hotel room is on the Lobby floor, the first room near lobby and elevators. Oh boy!  I thought to myself upon arriving Friday but also saw a good side to it.  The main events were on the first and second floor and I am on the third, so I thought that would certainly be convenient since I would only have two flights of stairs to use rather than always waiting in line for the elevator.

And yesterday there were so many people, that I was happy to be able to come up to my room for a mini break away from the crowd.  I usually don’t mind but this year, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the swarm of bees buzzing and all wanting to get a taste of the sweet nectar of Amma’s embrace. Even just to see her smiling face from afar is a blessing.

I got up early (well 7:30 AM IS early for me!) and considering I had not slept well all night, no matter which side I would turn there was always a patch of pain waking me up.

I went down to the token line (people waiting in line to get a token to later receive Darshan (Amma’s embrace).  I usually get acquainted with a new person when I am waiting in the long line.  Yesterday I chatted with a woman from Oregon.  She has been a devotee of Amma, since 2000.  I am always impressed by the stories about how someone heard about Amma and how they fell in love with this divine and compassionate guru.

There were so many people that we could not sit in the main hall to see Amma during meditation but go in one of the two rooms where we saw her on a large screen.  I was disappointed but at the same time, I knew she was just in the next room and felt her grace.

I came up to my room to get away from the crowd and rest a bit in my room…so happy I can run up here even if it is to get a cuppa or go to the washroom (no waiting lines here) [chuckling to myself]. But I was also surprised to see that I had walked 5km in my entire day including a brief walk to the restaurant.  Wow!  I guess we don’t realize all the steps we DO take in a day. According to my info on my phone, I went up to my room (2 flights of stairs) 6 times X2 to get back down.

 

I went down to the hall just in time as my token letters were up…talk about coincidence, eh?!  I was sad that I could not kneel however, due to my injured knees but the two young men were there on the side the stage facing Amma, ready to shove that bench under my  cushion [chuckles again] and there I was in the arms of this warm and giving person.  She was chatting with her staff so I got to rest my head on her shoulder a good minute before she truly embraced me.  I had given her my new jade and crystal mala beads to bless.  I was so humbled and honoured when she draped the beads around my neck before rest on her shoulder.

Usually after Darshan, we are permitted to sit on one of the chairs on the stage to be near Amma while we process our blessed encounter with her holiness.  There were so many people, I waited a few moments and people coming after me were getting seated…I left, knowing feeling that it just was not meant to be.   I prefered to be seated facing her whether it is close or far, as long as I see her embracing families, couples and individuals…it is a joy seeing her give so much love to others.

As I was making my way to the exit, I could not help but stroll along Amma’s shop and look at all the different tables.  I found a nice bamboo utensil set that can be clipped to a backpack. How cool is that?  Great gift to give! I may pick up a few more, since they are so original.  All proceeds go to Amma’s humanitarian projects.

I was pleased Karuna texted me so we could have dinner together and we walked up to a Mexican restaurant nearby.  It was nice to connect since she is so busy and involved with the programme and frankly with the 25 plus years in Amma’s grace, she knows a heck of a lot of people here.  She is such a giving person and so easy to talk to.

Later in the evening I met Karuna’s son, so now I felt good having also met her daughter my first morning here.  I know I have told the story before, but not on this site how I came to learn about Amma.

Four years ago I was blogging and writing poetry and flash fictions inspired by prompts from various blogs/people around the world.  One blogger/writer/poet at http://www.TheSeekersDungeon.comhad a weekly prompt to write in any form and the topic was always something to reflect upon.  I really enjoyed these prompts giving me an opportunity to be more self aware and write about it…many times it helped me to sort things out.  It was like therapy minus the 100+$ an hour! [smiles]

Another blogger friend and writer from Italy told me he was living in an ashram in India.  Hmm, I found that interesting as I also had a work colleague who lived in an ashram in Toronto.

Later this blogger’s mother who lived in Seattle was convinced by her son, to start a blog at http://www.LivingLearningandLetting.wordpress. com She is a retired psychotherapist.  She also started following her son’s prompts and she and I started communicating, seeing many parallels in our lives…both in the helping profession, both had a son and daughter almost the same age, both married in the 70’s and so the list went.

She mentioned Amma once and I was curious so I check on Youtube to see some videos and was so drawn to her. I could not help but weep seeing how much joy she brought to her devotees all over the world, Japan, Malaysia, India, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Chili…well, the list goes on.

Karuna offered to share a room with me if I wanted to save a bit of $$ on Amma’s Canadian tour in Toronto in July. I agreed…I was curious. I normally don’t like sharing a room with a friend…family and that is it but I was so surprised how easily we got along.  She did her thing (which you could see how many people spoke to her and she was always there to help someone as well).  And that is how I came to meet Amma.

Today I slept in late, nursing a summer cold (that may be the reason I am aching more than usual and want to be alone) but better to have that at the end of a trip than the beginning, right?  Also I think a cold forces me to rest more.  I had a back massage last night given by volunteer massage therapists and again, all proceeds go to Amma’s projects.

The massage therapist said, “You are Canadian aren’t you?”  I wondered what gave me away, she said with a smile, “You ended your sentence with ‘eh’”.  Her parents were from Montreal and she was born and raised in Calgary. Another coincidence!! I always meet people who are connected to Montreal in some way!  Wow!

Okay, that’s it for now, Emma. I am taking my time to get ready for Devi Bhava.  I will share a video to explain Devi Bhava so much better than I ever could.  As the hours progress and the lines start to slim down sometimes not until the wee hours of the morning.  The latest I have experienced Devi Bhava to start at 7pm and end at 11:00 am!

 

The ending is a bittersweet time as Amma looks onto her devotees slowly, silently and it feels as if she can see each and every one of us before we pass by her one last time and she throws flower petals on our heads as we rush by her.

I had another massage with a different therapist and although great that she worked on those knots (I should be sailing!) it was a different pressure and I am in more pain right now.

Right after I went for Darshan and then went up to lie down. I cannot sit longer than 20 to 30 mins and my head feels it weighs 100 lbs and my neck cannot support it as well as my shoulders…ouch! So I just went to bed. Last night I was able to sleep from 2am to 4am at which time I was startled awake by people in the next room letting the door shut on its own and that vibrated to my room plus lots of laughter and chatting…so it took a good 2 hours before I could sleep again. I stay in bed until noon and wrote most of this post then got ready for Devi Bahva.  I knew there would be a long line up but I really wanted to be in the main hall and see Amma and not see her on a screen. As luck had it, I entered the main hall and they started to place me at the back and then a volunteer usher asked me if I was alone…yep, so they made a spot about 10 rows from the front in a corner. Perfect!  I was so fortunate!! …lovely blessings like that surely are appreciated.

After Darshan I went back to my room and finished packing, tried to sleep and I did doze off a bit then went back down to the main hall.  I sat for about 45 minutes and my neck and back could not take it. I knew then, I would not be able to see Amma bid her farewells to her devotees.

Left shortly after for the airport and here I am finishing this last paragraph.  I have a flight at noon to Vancouver (one hour flight) and then 4 hour layover and 6 hour flight to Montreal arriving well after midnight. It will  be good to be home…I miss Bette my Best Feline Friend (best feline friend)

Evening Primrose  https://www.google.com/search?q=evening+primrose&safe=strict&rlz=1C9BKJA_enCA721CA721&hl=en-US&prmd=isvn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKz_OsyLjbAhVcIjQIHUDoBOoQ_AUIESgB&biw=1024&bih=653#imgrc=XR8TNQ0V7ESue

 

Twilight appears
Mother scans the crowd
Children in the night

Twilight appears
Like an evening primrose
Hearts open out

Mother scans the crowd
Embracing each living thing
With self-less love

Children in the night
Gather one last time
Bidding Her farewell

© Tournesol ‘18/06/04

Daily Moments – evening primrose (troibun)

Dear Emma IV – BC to Seattle by bus (Haibun)

June 1st ALREADY!!

 

After a delicious veggie skillet breakfast at the Pacific Inn (oh la la, what a place!) I went outside to wait for my bus. This is the last stop the bus makes before crossing the US border which is 2 minutes away.

The driver asked the commuters, “Okay, this is my last time asking this. Do you have any fruits, vegetables or any fooooood!” He emphasized on the “food” part, I wondered about my delicious aged cheddar in my suitcase with crackers. Oh, dear!! What to do?! I did not want to throw it away since I had not even opened the packages. I saved it for moments in the hotel room at the Bellevue Hilton and if I got the munchies (which I always do at night), I would have this. Time is awaiting, I pondered and did not speak up. What the heck, it is no big deal, right?

As we approached the border and got off the bus, the driver told us we had to see the Agriculture inspector and they would X-ray our luggage. “Oh dear!!” I wondered if they could prevent me from going on my trip since they will surely see on X-ray my munchies!! What to do?!!

Everyone’s luggage was unloaded and we each had to enter the customs office one by one with our little piece of paper declaring we did not have anything dangerous or any food!!!! No seeds, especially not any Ginseng…according to the driver, we have to have a permit to carry Ginseng across the border. Really?! Wow!! Good thing I did not have my MJ Pain cream on me eh? Well, I knew I could not have that but I did not think that cheese and crackers were a big deal.

About 10 people were ahead of me. I kept contemplating. I cannot tell a lie without looking guilty and turning red with lips quivering. Oh dear!! I pass to see the first officer or agent, whatever their title is, they are BIG and IMPORTANT when one must cross the border! He certainly did not smile [I wonder if they practice looking bored and mean]…

Officer: Where are you going?

Me: Seattle, staying at Hilton Bellevue, Bellevue, Wa.

Officer: What is the purpose of your visit?

Me: Going on a retreat.

Officer: What kind of retreat?

I was thinking I should not make any jokes about it being a seniors’ nudist retreat. Perhaps that is not a very good idea. I was thinking of asking Amma for guidance but certainly asking her to protect me if I LIE!! was out of the question!

Me: Um…my guru from India is visiting Seattle this weekend.

Officer: [grunts, lowers his head]. Okay…(he hands me back my passport)

I am sort of relieved but I still had to get past the agriculture inspector

Me: [I can’t take this any longer! I am coming clean!] I do have crackers and cheese in my luggage.

Agri. Female
Agent: That’s just fine, and what a perfect snack on your ride over to Seattle

Me: [sigh of relief…it does pay to be honest…I can’t help smiling.]

I was standing outside the bus waiting for the other commuters to get on and chatted with this gentleman who is from Seattle and was visiting his mother in Richmond, B.C. We got to talking about housing and how the market has really gone up in places like Toronto. I told him my friend in Mississauga was asking $325,000 for her townhouse and she got $625,000 instead. It was a bidding war out there. I sort of wished I had sold my condo in Toronto later before moving back to Montreal. He asks me, “Why would anyone want to move back to Montreal?” I was not too sure how to answer for it was difficult to know what his unspoken reasoning was. I just said, I am from Quebec, born and raised. He said, “But it’s sooooo cold there”. I had not thought of mentioning that today it was 28C in Montreal and it was 14 here in White Rock and Seattle. However, I knew he was referring to our winters. I could tell how we are used to cooler weather as there were several people walking along the beach path I walked this week with ski jackets, whereas I had my sweater wrapped around my waist walking along in my short sleeved shirt.

Okay, now we have boarded the bus and it only delayed us 30 minutes. Hmmm, I must factor that in the next time I travel. We may whine when we go through customs but I sure feel safer knowing security checks all our luggage though.

 

Two hours later, we had arrived in Seattle and the skies were slowly clearing up. I took a Lyft to the hotel and chilled all afternoon in my King Size bed. I really did not want to walk too much today but, for some reason, I thought we were at the same hotel as last year but I circling the hotel and could not recognize any streets.

I finally checked Cheesecake Factory on Google Map and was surprised and disappointed that it was 2 km away…Oh well, up the hill I went and finally turning onto another street, I recognized where I was. I got accosted by a vegan extremist for a few minutes but finally got in the restaurant.

There were more than a dozen patrons waiting in line to get a table. I asked the Maître D if there was too long a wait…nope, not if I am alone and I only waited fifteen minutes. I love travelling alone! I was seated at almost 9 PM.

My intention was to have a salad then gorge into a savoury cheesecake but the Thai coconut chicken looked so good and I did not have dessert but I did have bread. I think I appreciate it more when I hardly eat it. It was getting too dark to walk all the way back so I called Lyft and the ride only cost $3.00. On Google Map the rates are listed for both Uber and Lyft and Uber is a lot more expensive. Interesting!

Being honest
Always pays – and,
Lowers blood pressure

(C) Tournesol ‘18/06/01. Daily Moments

Dear Emma -III – May 30-31 Vancouver (GasTown)

    (C) Clr’18. Inspired by the jazz playing in the cafe

Dear Emma, May 30th Vancouver day trip

I decided to go into Vancouver since it was the only place I could purchased the CBD cream for my knee. Well, what I am saying? If CBD is good for aches and pains, my goodness it should do wonders for all my aches due to Fibromyalgia. I will just get it and slather it all over the sore areas…which are plenty.

My host was kind enough to drive me to the bus stop, which saved me a good 30 minutes. I had loaded extra $ on my Compass card, so was not too worried of transfers and getting to the Waterfront in Vancouver. What I had not anticipated was the bus did NOT drive into the city as a few locals had told me last night. The bus stopped at Bridgeport SkyTrain station and I saw everyone get off. I walked up to the front and asked the driver if this was the end of the line…yuppers!

I remembered Waterfront line since it is close to our Vancouver office and chose that line to get in town.

I had the address of the Cannabis Lounge where I was hoping to get my cream. In BC you don’t need a prescription to get it but in Montreal we do. I have my request put in for that when I get back from vacation but I wanted to try it now since my knees were so painful as well as neck and shoulders, so what had I to lose? My intention was to buy it, try it and then mail it to me in Quebec because there was no way I was flying with that or going through customs with it. There is barely any THC in it and it does not affect the brain/mood but it is supposed to be healing and soothing for inflammation…so they say!

(C)Clr’18 Vancouver, GasTown, Hastings Street

I got in town and started walking in circles…yes, that is me. I look at Google Map on my phone and argue with it thinking I know better well, that means I go in circles and get so fed up, I give in to Google and voilà I found the place

 

I was a bit apprehensive since it is on Hastings Street and there is a section that is quite sketchy but this place was not that far East…phew! As I walked in, there were three clerks at the centre of the shop on a raised platform surrounded by a counter. There were so many smoking paraphernalia and most I have never seen…well, maybe in a movie! As I walked in, one clerk was lighting up a joint and then gave it to his colleague and calmly [they sure ARE calm!] asked if he could help me.

I started, “I come from very far…” and explained that I heard the MJ Pain cream was very good for joint pain. One of the clerks said he uses it regularly on his wrist and it works…I doubt it was just the cream…[wink wink]

The small jar was $45 and the larger one $100…so I took the small one. I left and looked around for a comfortable café where I could put the cream on my knees, neck and shoulder and sit and relax with an Americano and wait for the magic. I found a Starbucks on an nice corner with a terrace, so I stood in line for the washroom first. After a good fifteen minutes, I entered and put the cream on, and placed the jar on the toilet paper shelf. As I put it there, I told myself, “I had better not forget it now!.” Why the hell did I not put it in my bag straight away? I wanted to wash my hands first.

I ordered my double shot Americano and sat comfortably in an armchair and relaxed…I felt a tingling in my neck but still pain. My knees had not budged…I mean the pain did not subside even a little. My shoulders were the same but my upper arm seemed painless. Hmmm, well, maybe I need to slather this on a few times before seeing any difference.

After an hour of reading and writing on my iPad, I messaged a colleague who now works in the Vancouver office and asked if I could take her out for dinner on her hour break later. I am so glad I did. She brought me to this funky bar called The Taco Shop actually just across the street from The Cannabis Lounge…another coincidence?  I was thrilled hearing the jazz music as I walked In.   I was so delighted. Of course I ordered seafood burritos with guacamole and chips to start. My friend chose the local beer for me as she had a good idea on what I preferred. It was great!!

We could only eat half so we doggy bagged the rest (which I will be eating as my bedtime snack tonight) and I went to join her at the office. I wanted to show her my jar of magic potion. I looked in every section of my backpack…then she looked for me and then an image flashed before my eyes ‘Brown jar marked MJ Cream’ on the shelf above the toilet paper’. I slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand out of sheer frustration! Darn!!! I forgot it there.

Then I remember the woman going into the washroom after me, I warned her that there was no more toilet paper (for which I was pleased I had carried Wet ones in my bag). I saw her later and she looked at me weird…NOW, I know why. She was probably waiting for me to ask the clerk if anyone had found a jar of cream. But I had not realized it at that time. Well, my coffee ended up costing me $55.00 (including Americano and a danish).

I was kicking shelf but then I finally let it go and figured if anyone who more pain and fell upon it, then I’m happy someone can benefit it. I know I will not order it online, having tried it, I need something stronger which I noticed they have another blend for arthritic pain. In any event, I shall discuss it with my rheumatologist before I try that again, since I am sure he has referred many of his patients to alternative pain relievers.

Walking back home away from home slowly and stopping often to take in the v

Getting back home on the sky train was fine (I double checked with a local to make sure I was taking the correct line since it was getting late and late transit is not so great outside of the city). I got at the bus stop at 10:30pm and looked on my app Transit to check the stops to make sure I got the right transfer. When I got at the stop at 11:15pm, there was no one waiting for a bus, so I asked another local and the lady was going to call the transit company not trusting my phone app. Just then the 321 transfer bus arrived, so we checked and the driver said this was the right line. The bus was a fifteen minute ride and the driver told me to just keep walking straight ahead and the road will become the street I needed to get to. WELL HE WAS WRONG!!!!

(c) Clr’18 When I crossed this overpass, I knew I was lost!

I walked onto a highway crossing and realized I could not be going in the right direction. Thank goodness the moon was so full and bright but boy was I getting frustrated, tired and after 30 minutes of turning in circles, I was getting scared. I did not meet ONE person on the streets where I was walking. This is so different than back home. My phone was losing juice quickly at 7% and often it closes down at 5%…I didn’t want to call the host of my AirBnB as I knew she turns in early (compared to me) and I wished for once that Uber existed in B C. If I would call them (like I did once in a similar situation when it got too dark in San Diego to retrace my steps) I called Lyft (similar to Uber) and they catch us on their GPS and pick us up straight away. I have to say we should have that service at least outside of major cities where transit is scarce. I could not have called a taxi, since they don’t have the GPS system Uber has. My last resort if I could no longer find the house was to call the police.

There was 1% left on my phone and it stayed on by pure miracle …yes, I said a few prayers too! And I finally got home at 12:30. I had walked 12km that day but 5km just getting home since it was supposed to be 2km!

Oh well, at least it gave me something to write to you about, Emma. Right? I took a nice hot shower when I got it to soothe every aching muscle and slept like a baby.

May 31st,

Today I woke up at 8 am but my body wouldn’t budge. I picked up my phone and finished reading an e-book, then I snoozed a bit off and on and did not get out of bed until noon. It took me a while to get moving but I took my time. And now here I am at a café

 

(c) Clr’18 White Coffee and Ice Cream

 

I started with a cappuccino and called my uncle in Ontario to wish him happy 90th birthday and then treated myself to a double scoop (did not realize they were so BIG) of rainbow chocolate…YUM!!

I sat inside to savour the ice cream and the music turned to Jazz which seemed to attract my muse and voilà, I just finished another post!

It is such a treat to by typing my post in front of the ocean…time to leave and sit on the shore now…one last time. Then walk the 4km back.

I picked up s few souvenirs at Whitby’, a place recommended by a grienf who used to live here in White Rock  I wanted so much there but the owner said I could order online too.

I sat on the beach taking in all I could , meditating and trying to be st one with my surroundings.  After half an hour I decided to walk back home slowly hopefully my to find a spot tovrst closer to my lodgings.

Unfortunately, I did not find a restaurant or fish and chip place open after nine. Boy!!! it’s a bit like Toronto was like in the early 1990’s. Ih well I guess ti each its own.

There were some other places further away from my lodgings, so I thought about the half seafood burrito I saved from last night.  Phew!  I also brought some good aged cheddar from Montreal. I am all set for my last night in BC.

Unpredictable
Whimsical and enchanting
Like Mother Nature

Unpredictable
The weather
In Canada

Whimsical and enchanting
Getting to know
A new lover

Like Mother Nature
Humans influenced by the moon
And the stars

(C)Tournesol’18-05-31

Daily Moments – unpredictability- May 31-18 (troibun)