bogey & ruby

bogey & ruby

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mal Au Coeur

J'ai mal au coeur. There is no better expression to describe how I feel, not even the direct English translation of "feeling nauseous". The last time I felt this way was a year ago, on Christmas Eve. Luckily I was on holiday at the time, though I did miss Christmas dinner at my parents'.

This year, not so lucky, my malaise falls on my first day back to work after a week off.

My sweetheart was kind enough to drive me to work so that I could collect my agenda book to cancel my patients for the day. Once there, I bumped into my office mate who suggested that two years in a row indicates a pattern. "It's when you stop that you get sick."

Which reminds me of my treadmill analogy. Sometimes it's easier to keep running fast than stop: 'cause stopping abruptly is when you realize how tired you are, and the wall that's been creeping up behind you for months and months hits you full force from behind. And you have no option but to stop, completely.

I've got a year to figure this out.

Suggestions are more than welcome.

Peace, love and santé, dear readers.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


A couple of weeks ago, one of my clients asked me when she would be getting her cheque from the Gazette Christmas Fund. It would go towards buying Christmas gifts for her grandchildren, she explained.

As a consultant, I don't usually refer people to these kinds of resources. That's more the role of a case manager. Unfortunately, things have been topsy turvey at my place of employment lately, and as a result, the client's name was not put on the Christmas fund list this year. Like so many, she fell through the cracks of a crumbling system.

I dreaded having to tell her. I postponed it as long as I could. She's been through so much this year and so has her family. One day last week, with a bit of extra office time on my hands, I tried to make it right by searching for other resources in my usual way, by asking my colleagues in homecare for help. They provided me with names and numbers and one by one I called them, only to be told that it was too late to apply for this Christmas. The cheques and baskets were already being distributed for the year. 

Dejected, I mentioned this to one of my colleagues in passing, because that's how we cope with bad/sad news after failed brainstorming where I work. We talk about it and commiserate and comfort each other. 

Yesterday morning when I rolled into the office, there was an enevelope on my chair and a text message on my cell phone from the aforementioned colleague. The money in the envelope was for my client. I was to give it to her and tell her it was from the CLSC, to make up for our gaff. 

I gave the envelope to my client and told her why it was cash and not a Gazette Cnristmas Fund cheque. But I didn't tell her it was from the CLSC. Instead, I told her it was from a colleague who had heard her story and wished to remain anonymous. She hugged my neck and cried. I wish my colleague had been on the receiving end of that hug instead of me. I sent her a text instead and told her she had made a significant difference in someone's life that day.

The stories are important, folks. They are what touch us, move us to advocate, 
prompt us to contribute, convince us to give a little more of ourselves when we think tnere is nothing left to give. You can make a difference in someone's life too. We all can. Use your voices to tell the stories. Listen to others telling them. And act.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I took a vacation day today and spent it at the elementary school where my sweetheart teaches music. It was a special occasion as the students performed their annual concert, this year's theme being a Music Festival of dreams, while parents volunteered their baking talents and time to raise money for the school.

The kids rocked their performances, songs like Dream, Rainbow Connection and Aerosmith's Dream On. And we got to perform too, a sweet little jazz song that just so happens to have the word "dream" in it. You can listen to our version here.

I spent the whole day at school, revelling in its culture, one that happens to be über supportive of music education. I had the opportunity to meet parents and teachers and some pretty special kids. In between the two concerts, one for parents, the other for the students themselves, I also participated in a couple of classes that my sweetheart was teaching, a grade one class in the morning and later that afternoon, a grade three class.

I was completely smitten by these children but let me tell you, as charming and wonderful as they all are, I can barely string two words together on this blog tonight, dear readers, as my head is pounding and my eyelids drooping. I am utterly exhausted from my day at school and I was only observing. Observing how vigilant the teachers are, how responsible, how they have to ask another teacher to cover for them and watch over their flock just to take a bathroom break, how they know the kids inside out, their names, personalities, quirks, strong points, weak points, adaptations, accommodations, etc. One day and I am in awe of their dedication, patience, tolerance to noise levels (ooh, my aching head), and their stamina.

As I reach for the bottle of Tylenol, I bow to my sweetheart tonight, to all teachers. Thank you for the work you do on behalf of our children. Please don't give up on them, despite the difficult conditions in public eduction these days. Carry on. Dream on ...