Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday 160: Recipe for Botulism

One jar of Nona’s canned tomatoes.
Season any way you like. 
Taste-test before it boils. Then notice the cleverly disguised hole in the lid. Voila… instant botulism!

“Perhaps…” explained the experienced nurse on the other end of the line last night.

“But all the internet sites say that’s what happens when you eat something from an improperly sealed jar. Do I just wait for the double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech and paralysis to hit before I seek medical intervention or should I rush to the hospital now? I’ve read that early treatment is key!”

“Well, in 35 years of nursing, I have never encountered a case of botulism. But you may have food poisoning. How do you feel?”

“I am VERY anxious. Botulism can be fatal you know!”

“Well, if you haven’t got any symptoms, I’d say you don’t need to go to the hospital. Please call back if you have any more questions.”

So we wait… 18 hours and counting. Apparently, the symptoms of botulism generally appear between 18 and 36 hours after eating contaminated food. But they can also occur as late as 10 days afterward. Stay tuned!

Sunday 160 is a creation of Monkey Man. If you’d like to participate or check-out other 160s visit him here! 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Measuring Life

“Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” ~Anonymous

I stumbled across this quote yesterday while browsing through Chapters. For some reason, it really struck a chord with me – probably because my life has been so stressful of late.

To me, it’s a reminder to slow down and take the time to really appreciate what’s going on around us. It’s not enough just to “get through” life. In order for it all to really mean something, we have to take the time to be introspective and learn the lessons life continuously presents us with. We need to be there for our family and friends and regularly show them that they matter to us.  And we need to find enjoyment in most of what we do – after all, if we’re not having fun, why are we doing it?

I want more moments that take my breath away.

Image: The 'blissful looking' sea off the coast of Capri from GETTY IMAGES

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Personal Olympics

We all have dreams… but what does it take to REALLY pursue them? And what are any of us willing to give up in order to live our lives in a truly extraordinary manner? Comfort, perhaps? Or going against the vision others may have of us? And what’s the ultimate consequence for NOT going for it?

I don’t really want to find out how I will feel at the end of my life if I haven’t pursued my dreams to the nth degree. That doesn’t mean my dreams can’t change along the way… and they are certainly not subject to anyone else’s approval or measuring stick. But to be in pursuit of something (or many things) that makes me feel so fulfilled - complete, even - that is my personal goal.

As extraordinary Canadian athlete Clara Hughes has said: “If you dream and you allow yourself to dream, you can do anything. And that’s what this Olympic medal represents.”

What dreams are you striving toward? What represents Olympic gold in your life? 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forever Valentine

I have loved you
Since the very moment
I first learned
Of your existence.

Upon your arrival,
So eagerly anticipated,
An instant connection
Of body and soul.

Once in my arms,
So strong and steady
Your precious heart
Beat with mine.

My child, my love,
On this and every day,
You are my 
Forever Valentine.
55 Flash Fiction Friday: Compose a story in 55 words and report back

to the G-Man at …every Friday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Time Out

So, it’s Monday… and I’m home. Not because I called in sick, but because on Friday, my boss staged a wellness intervention. Despite all my assurances that “I’m fine” - though admittedly still struggling a little to get over the pneumonia that’s plagued me since early January - she took the time to poll those who work closest with me and determined that I am not. And so, I have been banished from the office for 2 days of rest and relaxation.
In all my many years of working, I have never encountered this level of caring and compassion from an employer. From my experience, the only thing the company higher-ups are generally focused on is the bottom line. And it’s not like I’ve been slacking off (‘cause I ain’t no slouch!) or polluting the office with my germs – as I mentioned to her, I did stay home for the two and a half days the doctor said I was contagious. But no, that’s not it. She and everyone else are simply very concerned for my health. Who knew?!
Of course, being the multi-tasker that I am, I can’t help but think of all kinds of things to do during this unexpected break. But, in keeping with the spirit in which it was so generously intended, I am instead forcing myself to be still and appreciate my time out. Thank you, Johanne!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Favourite Simple Things

The warmth of a sincere smile.
The soothing sounds of nature.
Uproarious laughter with good friends.
The tranquility of solitary moments.
A steaming mug of rich coffee.
A child’s spontaneous hug.
The delicious aroma of flowers.
Intriguing conversations with a kindred spirit.
The feeling of being loved.
I have just completed The Simple Things Challenge. It’s a celebration of all the simple pleasures in life with the added BONUS of helping those who are now struggling in Haiti. For every list, poem or prose piece on this subject, Enchanted Oak and her family will donate $2 to Heartline Ministries’ medical clinic and program in Haiti. Interested? Visit Enchanted Oak and be prepared to post before midnight Sunday (PST). It’s simple!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bright Promise

The wheel turns ever strong
Under Brighid’s
Watchful gaze.

The world awakens
From darkness’ hold,
Preparing and welcoming,
Hope renewed.

Divine and everlasting
Igniting the earth,
Inspiring poets’ dreams.

Healing waters
Awaiting release,
And purification  
Of so many lost souls.

Hidden deep
Beneath February snow,
Sparks of life abound – radiant,
Reaching for the stars.

55 Flash Fiction Friday: Compose a story in 55 words and report back
to the G-Man at …every Friday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

Yesterday was Imbolc, which means we’ve officially made it through the mid-point of our winter. It won’t be long now before all the cold white stuff is gone, replaced by all the buds of spring. Can’t wait!

In honour of the expansion of light outside, I have assembled some wise words on holding the Light within. Enjoy!

“People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.”  ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

“The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.  The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.”  ~Felix Adler

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”  ~Maori Proverb