Musings 03 May 2017

Someone read my musing of yesterday and told me that I had to first learn to forgive myself for messing up, ask for what I need, accept it without hesitation when it comes, say thank you  and get on with living the rest of my life fully and joyfully. So I said OK!

I’ll let you know how that goes.


 02 May 2017

I’ve been pondering for nearly three months. 

After hours of reading, I have come to a place of understanding that if there is something I need I must ask.  Perhaps it is true that I have not because I ask not.  Hmmm… 

Asking is difficult for me especially when I’m asking because I’ve messed up.  Having lived nearly seventy-three years on this planet is its own miracle. And my blunders have been many.

Today I realize I need to ask for 1.1 million dollars in order to continue to live on this planet.  So I’m asking for 1.1 million dollars.  What will that amount of money do?  It will enable me to satisfy some long standing debts, pay out my mortgage and live the rest of my life in my home.  What’s in it for you? I can’t know.

And that’s where I am today.




  I always want to see and think of myself as a positive woman.  And I do almost all of the time.  In this instance, I am positively clear about the following things.

  The last three years have provided me with different learning experiences from the previous three.  I want to think I’ve learned the lessons and can avoid repeating those I see coming towards me… if I recognize them.

  Ten weeks’ participation in an adult weight management group was one of the most positively illuminating group therapy experiences since I was in my twenties. 

  Water truly is the nectar of the universe.  And here I thought it was single malt scotch and Phillips Hop Circle beer.

  Celebrating being 68th years old, in reasonably good health, with friends, loved ones and acquaintances is one of the most wonderful blessings of my life. 

  Sometimes an UPDATE is anything but that because I admit there are times when I hardly know what I’m doing.  There have been times when one day actually looked like the day that preceded it.  Although I tried to be grateful for each of them, sometimes I admit I was overwhelmed and just wanted to go to bed and pull the covers over my head and stay there until it was over.  The problem is that whatever ‘it’ is will only be over when ‘it’s’ over so I might just as well stay awake and have the experience.

  There are times when I dislike the challenges of managing my life.  

  I am increasingly aware that managing a full life (particularly the scheduling, attention to personal and business matters, being present to my personal, spiritual and professional life [or should that be lives?]) as I mature, as time starts to feel as if it is accelerating beyond my ability to keep pace, as the digital age seems to require more attention and is becoming less friendly no matter how many times Telus attempts to convince me that ‘the future is friendly’ really does require the services of a staff.

  The future is anything but friendly for many.  There are ways the future could even be described as being positively cruel for many of the 99%... and that’s just in the developed world.  The future seems to have positively lost many of the elements I used to regard as graceful.  I like writing notes and letters.  I still enjoy it when friends and I could go to a restaurant and can have intimate conversations.  Now I often find myself phoning  a restaurant to learn if a television has been installed since my last visit. 

  I think I can understand televisions in public houses.  I have yet to understand why some restaurants have installed them.  YIKES!!!  And I’ll stop.

  The months of summer have been productive ones for me.  

  Christmas music rings in my ears as I prepare for the 2012-2013 choir seasons.  And the repertoire for The Victoria Good News Choir’s closing season concert in June next year is nearly complete.

  Collard seeds have been sown indoors in a pot until they’re ready to be transplanted outdoors.  The fig tree has been pruned to within an inch of its life and an abundant crop is anticipated for the fall of 2013.

  In less than a month’s time a new school season will have started.  

  Someone will be complaining about the weather. 

  The US presidential campaign’s vitriol will have escalated beyond anything any of us could ever have imagined seeing while the cost of election to that office will be near enough to erase its national debt while many of its citizens still live in abject poverty (some within a stone’s throw of the White House) and all will be right with the world somewhere.    

  And I’ll be even more committed to a life of gratitude  for my health, friends, partner and work because I finally understand (an am content with) the fact that I’m the only one I can change and that that change will be my contribution to making the world the kind of world in which I’d like to live.  

  I’ve stopped trying to be perfect in favour of being the best I can be each day.  For at the end of every day, I’m too blessed to complain.  I’m absolutely positively clear about that.

  Wanna join me?


Spring,  2011




  My official website begins with the statement of my belief that the first and last words of each of my days should be ‘thank you’.  I was challenged to say ‘thank you’ every day of every month in 2010.  2011 has begun much the same way.

I find myself asking myself why?  I find myself asking myself is there something else I’m supposed to be doing?  And if there is – what is it?

  It’s been a long time since I wrote. And it feels rather odd to be writing this email.  Since I read recently that ‘to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done’, I thought I’d see what happens.

  I bought a lottery ticket.  Nothing happened.

  Today I made another trip to the compost.  When I opened the container’s lid, I came face to face with the reality that things have happened in there since my last visit.  Everything has changed. And there is, beneath all of the stuff recently added, a deep layer of wonderful rich matter. Aah!!!

  While other parts of the country are still under the grip of winter, I also enjoyed the promise of spring by counting the blossoms in my yard for Victoria’s Annual Flower Count.  It’s been interesting.  Things are changing.

  This last year has been the most challenging of my life (professionally and financially) and my commitment to ‘being present’ where I am has required more focus this year than I could ever have imagined it would. I also realize that I have less than a little patience for some things and some people.

  I am honoured to have opportunities to support the work of my colleagues.  It is they who welcome me into the places where they do the ongoing daily work with their students.  

  Conducting workshops and teaching seems to take more energy today than in years past.  Almost all of the students with whom I work, although talented, seem young, inexperienced and lacking in ordinary social graces, lacking a sense of self, needing near constant reassurance that they are OK (something I’m unaccustomed to giving) and, as a result, more of my energies are being used in ways unanticipated by me.  As I read the early parts of this paragraph, I seem to be complaining when what I’m intending to do is describe my experience during the past year.

  One of the realities I’m facing today, with defiant reluctance, is my inability to comfortably re-enter my home and return to my work life after time away.  It used to be so easy.  Pack.  Go away.  Work.  Come home.  Unpack. Get back to work. 

  I know some of it has to do with age… my aging.  In my head, however, I can still do the things I did twenty years ago in the same way I did them twenty years ago.  The question I’m asking myself today is why I did the things I did in the way I did them twenty years ago?  That’s grist for another mill though.

  When I was a younger woman I, regretfully, made decisions without much thought.  It was easy for me to blame someone else when there was a problem in my life… when, in fact, I was the problem.

  In listening to the lyrics of the late Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror”, I am assured that ‘if I want to make the world a better place’, it is I who must change.  Today I know that, even at my age, I can change. I have a hunch that change only occurs if we want it.  I can take my time to examine what I’m doing and why.  Then I can respond rather than react.  That’s a change in itself.

  My sense of myself and the work I am committed to doing remains although I now understand more fully, that I will have to learn to do what I’m committed to doing differently.

  Because I want to be as present to you as I’d like you to be to me, I’d appreciate some time to read, digest, ponder and respond to any of the messages you might make the time to send. 

  I also want to continue to volunteer in public school choral and instrumental programs, conduct the two choirs I presently conduct and continue private teaching, choral workshops, conducting, writing, arranging and accompanying; performing and public speaking – until I no longer draw breath. 

  And for just a bit more interest, I intend to experiment with some more recipes. 

  I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you along the way.






MUSINGS – Winter 2009


  I’ve been thinking and wondering about trust.  What is it really?  Why do some have it and some not?  What makes the difference?

  Why is an invitation extended?  What is at the heart of an invitation’s motivation?

  Yes!  I’ve been thinking… again.   And because I think, I am, therefore, confused.  Perhaps only a bit confused.

  While in Winnipeg, Manitoba in November I was invited to spend time with two choral music educators.  Well, the fact is that I met many dynamic young music educators when I was in Winnipeg since the invitation I received and accepted was from The Manitoba Music Educators’ Association. 

  During some layover time in Winnipeg (between official engagements), I was invited and accepted the invitations to work in some of the city’s high school classrooms.  Two of those choral directors caused me to shift some of my long held attitudes. 

  Those of you who conduct choirs have a sense of the way in which there may be a feeling that choirs and students are somehow personal property. 

  What I experienced with these two young people (they seem to get younger as I get older) was genuineness in their invitation and their welcome.  The experiences were refreshing. 

  It was refreshing to feel that these teachers entrusted their students to me. 

  It reminded me of the stories my Mom told of taking me to church when I was a baby and how I was passed from her hands to the hands of others in the church for the length of the entire service and then returned to her arms in time for the benediction.  Trust.  I think it’s about trust.

  In a time when trust (don’t talk to strangers, stay where I can see you) seems to disappearing before my eyes, I was grateful.  And on the flight to Victoria, I wondered why?  Now I know.

 Cynthia and Carolyn, thank you for trusting me with your students. 

 The experience will last long in my memory.

  Until next time…





Wednesday, 09 September 2009


  Fall is here in subtle ways.  The autumn crocus is blooming in the west garden.  I feel the urge to start making bean soup.  It’s impossible to keep up with the bounty which the vegetable garden produces and even more of a challenge to make space in the freezer for what appears to be a near endless harvest of beautiful fruit.  YIKES!!!   And just as I am pondering this abundance I realize I need to plan the music for a memorial service on Friday.  Abundance.  Which way does it go?  Can anybody tell me?

  On 29 July, I celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday.  Actually I was born on 29 July 1944.  The celebration of my 65th birthday will conclude with the 65th celebration some time in 2010.  No!  It will hardly be an Olympic event.

   I've been wondering why I feel caught between a rock and a hard place today.  When I re-read the entry of Monday, 01 July 2009, some things become clear.

  Noone ever said this journey would be easy.  Today there are parts of it that feel hard.

  The adulation shown to Barack Hussein Obama on inauguration day seems to be turning into a platform to mock and criticize for some; public disappointment for others, opportunities for the bigots and racists to emerge from those places where they might have remained if there'd been the magical change that it appears were the unrealistic expectations of many.  And this has happened in his being on the job less than one year.

  What occurs to me today is a personal acknowledgement that many in the United States possesses a fundamental fear of anything that might remotely smack of ‘socialism’ with respect to the national health care package currently under consideration in the United States.  I say shame on you for pretending to be the world’s richest country (and even the world’s most affluent) while failing to provide basic health care for your citizens.  Shame on you!

  Do I have answers?  No!  I do have a question.  It's a question I ask myself each day and one that I charge you to ask of yourself... 'what am I willing to ‘become’ to create the kind of change I say I want to see?'

  There is nowhere I know that is free from those issues that arise as a result of expectations associated with behaviour, dress, class, colour, gender, sexuality and who knows what else.

  And on this day in this country I join with those who are making the time to take a look at the nation south of us as it is about to remember an attack on its shores on 11 September 2001. 

  It will probably hold itself blameless.  Pity! 

  It will proclaim that its hundreds of ‘fallen’ (in the endless war on terror) were either victims of some evil enemy or heroes in the noble fight to keep the United States free regardless of the fact that the axis of evil countries (if such a thing ever existed) probably felt double crossed after cooperating for years with previous administrations’ requests and promises all the while thinking that the ‘alliances’ they’d made held meaning beyond the valuable natural resources of their shores.  I wonder.

  There is a part of me that would like to think I could have been one of those  who’d have been delighted to participate in the making of the human Canadian flag on the British Columbia legislative lawn on July first afternoon.  And I realize I was between a rock and a hard place then. 

  Consciously deciding to absent myself from the 'celebration' was my tacit statement that I am unable to behave as if all is well in ‘lotus land’.

  My choice  today is to spend time writing in my journal pondering recent events in my personal and business life as I attempt to confront the woman who lives inside; keep abreast of events at The US Open Tennis Tournament; write piano parts for choral arrangements for my choir’s ‘Simple Gifts’ concert in December realizing that for some of the weeks leading to that concert I will be on the road in Manitoba (public speaking and engaging in choral conducting) and wishing I could actually write  piano accompaniments like I play them; intermittently watching the progress of bacon in the oven as I prepare dinner for Janet and me  while enjoying the exquisite aromas in my home [pork fat rules!]; scouring pots and pans and preparing linens and handkerchiefs for ironing before going to bed.  [Oh! I do so enjoy that heavenly smell of lavender fabric spray].

  And where is all of this going?  Sometimes I confess I have no idea.  I know I have no answers. 

  I am, however, grateful that I do have the ability and the willingness to ask myself if anything I’m choosing to do today has the remotest chance of making a difference anywhere tomorrow.

  One of my god children just phoned... again.  And Mother's Day is months away.

  All is right with the world... somewhere.

  I look forward to hearing from you.

  And I’ll see you along the way.


Blessings and thanks,