Yesterday I had the chance to unwind after three consecutive days of being whipped into a frenzy. The heat has brought tourists to The Beach in droves. The bakery is selling more than we can make but they don’t give our manager enough staff hours to make more. On Wednesday there were only two of us the whole day doing everything. We couldn’t do everything. It’s very stressful.

I get too wound up. It’s a pattern of behaviour I’ve had all my life and tried so hard to stop. Having been in an abusive marriage, I spent years being worked up and ‘kept on my toes’. Later in counselling I learned I was living “fight or flight” everyday.

Getting out and living on my own, I could practice deep breathing and relaxation without being ridiculed and called names or having the names and insults running constantly around my head. I had to opportunity to heal myself and find peace. For years I was told I was ‘high-strung’, now there’s a name for it; anxiety.

I still get too wound up at work and get ‘in a tizzy’. There is so much to do you don’t know what to do first and all the time customers want their bread sliced, or write on a cake or get a cupcake from freezer, box and label it. A twenty-minute job turns into forty minutes. Hurry, hurry, hurry……. then I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Violent, but a good description)

Later, anxiety sets in; “I didn’t do this….., I didn’t do that……, they will be mad….. ” I lie in bed, not being able to sleep thinking how ‘I should have done this….’.

I try to turn it off with mindful deep breathing, telling myself it’s a minimum wage job and not worth getting angst over, reminding myself of the good things about my life ……. and just wishing I could retire.

This is why I have to use my blog to complain, you don’t have to read it. There is no one at home to talk to about my job, no distractions from the voices in my head, no one to pat me on the back and say I’m doing OK.

My schedule says 5:00 to 10:00 today but they will most likely call me in early. We are far behind what we need to go into this weekend and my co-worker has so many special cake orders she will be in her anger frenzy. I don’t blame her; the summer is making us crazy and depressed as hell. Only the students have enough energy to still go out after work and have fun. They don’t get wound up because they don’t care! It must be great to not care.

I wish I would not get wound up. It takes me back to a time when I lived like that day after day, year after year, with my stomach in knots.  At least now I have the sanctity of my home to return to and the tools to help me unwind.

Summer is a bummer. A long weekend in the summer is doubly depressing. It’s a time to make enough money to get through the winter when my hours are drastically reduced. I’m looking forward to that.

One more month of this then it abruptly ends Labour Day. I love to see the sand blowing across empty parking lots.


O, Winds of Change; blow on my life! (knock on wood; good changes,only, please)



Home Sweet Sanctuary

My home really is my sanctuary. I often use that word to myself when I’m remembering how grateful I should be. A whole house to myself with air conditioning, a laundry room, satellite TV, computer; things most of us take for granted but every once in a while I remember how lucky I am.

It’s so peaceful here. I’m surrounded by trees, tucked into the woods, behind a house that’s on the road hiding me. It’s hidden away from anyone’s sight making me feel even more secure. Privacy is so important to me, I fear the day I have to give it up.

The summer is overrun with tourists, young people and fast cars, whole families banded together coming to The Beach. It’s crazy and noisy.

In one hour I will be leaving my sanctuary and go out there, to the store I work in, with blaring fluorescent lights and music, spotted with loud announcements , “…….and have a wonderful day!”  (Oh , yeah, I’m having a wonderful day.)  Being whipped into a frenzy because I don’t work fast enough, so many more customers, a freezing cold ‘break’ room with the same music and announcements and people talking over that, asking me stuff. Please don’t make me talk on my break! When the weather is nice I can take my break in my car….. my little sanctuary away from Sanctuary.

I haven’t left yet but I can’t wait to get home to my sanctuary. Something I can think about today ….. my quiet, dark, cool home and it’s mine, all mine.


Second Measurements

I’m on my second cup of coffee trying to think of other ways to use ‘second’.


Yesterday I had a second chance to see ‘the kids’, all meeting at Grandma’s for corn and pizza. They had been on a boat all day, my niece had a long drive down, I went to the nursing home to see my aunt first, Grandma was worn out; we all ate pizza and said goodbye.

This heat is ungodly, seriously, it’s hell. Thursday I didn’t feel it so much being at a breezy beach on a slightly overcast day, but the second day of heat warnings was blazingly sunny. My car doesn’t have air conditioning so I drove to my aunt’s nursing home with the windows open, hot air swirling around me. Some jerk in a big truck parked over two parking sites so he had the best shade. I had to park in the sun. Luckily I have a windshield sun blocker and I cooled off in the nursing home doing chair Zumba.

It’s funny how some people are still on Fahrenheit, even here in Canada. It mainly depends on where you got your weather from. I was a teenager, living in Toronto, when Canada went metric; a good age to learn something new. Yards became metres, pounds became kilograms, quarts/ litres, miles/ kilometers.  and Fahrenheit turned to Celsius. It didn’t happen quickly; some older people never got it.

A lot of people around here still use Fahrenheit because they watch Detroit weather. Also, those with old thermostats or bought them in the U.S.  I find it odd when someone still uses Fahrenheit.  What’s that in Celsius? It’s peculiar to this area being so close to The States.

And still we all use pounds to weighs ourselves. Funny that didn’t catch on when we could divide our weight by 2.2.  I only weigh 59! Maybe Canada doesn’t make our own bathroom scales.  Certainly the cheapest one you can get at Wal-Mart doesn’t have the second way to weigh. Our speedometers have “MPH” under the “KPH” scale. Most grocery stores still have both kilos and pounds on their produce and scales. Maybe if we had both on our bathroom scales we could start getting used to the lower number.


It’s time to close the windows (sigh). The house got down to 23 (73.4) this morning when I opened all the windows at 6:30. (It’s good thing they didn’t change time measurement!) It’s going to be another hot day, 34 (92.9). Not as bad as yesterday but still stifling.

I’m working a much better shift tonight; 4:00 until 9:00. 5 hours = 18,000 seconds. Someone else will be on until 10:00, mopping floors. And I have tomorrow off!  After last weekend, this one feels like a cake walk. Well, a cake run.


Prompt; Slowly

Negotiationing with the government goes very slowly. In 1995 the First Nations people of Kettle Point and Stony Point took back their own land from the government. For years and years they had been petitioning the government to give them the land back that they had promised to give back at the end of World War Two. They had all the papers and proof: the government admitted their wrong-doing. A few months ago, twenty-one years later, their land was officially handed back to them along with a settlement for lost time and opportunity.

The government had been using the land as a Provincial Park on the beach; in-land remained an army base, the reason they confiscated the land at the beginning of WW2.  There was no need for an army base to keep going. Ipperwash Park was cash cow; a beautiful sandy, shallow beach on Lake Huron.


No one but band members have been able to use the beach since they took it back 21 years ago.  Slowly it has been turning back to a natural beach….. untrammeled by hoards of beach goers. I had the opportunity to go there yesterday as my nephew and his children are band members. It’s so beautiful! Natural vegetation, large logs of driftwood, wooded sand dunes behind.

There was only one other family when we arrived. They left and we had the whole beach to ourselves for a while, then one other family in two cars came. It was extremly hot and ‘my’ beach was so crowded the parking was spilling out onto the roads. Here, just around the bend, it was wilderness.


The lake is sandy and shallow with sand bars making it perfect for kids. On a walk looking for shells and beach glass we spotted a sand bar about 30 feet out from the shore. My grand niece could walk out easily and I carried my grand nephew. We walked in ankle deep clear water through rippling sand trying to reach the end. My grandnephew kept trying to call back , “Look grandma, we are SO FAR!”  We finally got too far for their comfort and turned back not ever reaching the end of the sand bar.

I thought about how lucky I was to see this beach in it’s natural state.  In the coming years the band will make it public again with a Cultural Heritage Centre. Hopefully the camping and beach will be open to the public again giving them the income the goverment has been stealing away from them all these years. But slowly the beach will lose its natural beauty.

Slowly the band will bring the area to prosperity; a new marina on Kettle Point (where there is no beach), a convention centre at the recently aquired golf course, and the cultural heritage centre at Stony Point and no casino! That was a much deserved settlement that will bring them jobs, money and respect…… long overdue!

I’m looking forward to seeing the changes around here but I’ll always cherish the memories of being on the beach in it’s natural state.


Yesterday I kept thinking, “How lucky am I?”



“The day misspent, the love misplaced, has inside it the seed of redemption. Nothing is exempt from resurrection.” —Kay Ryan


Carefree Today!

Today I am carefree! I am going to the beach with my family. My sister has my grandnephew, (sorry my niece has to work) and we are joining my nephew, his wife and their two girls.

Here’s all the reasons I’m carefree today;

  • I have the day off work and put N.A. on my schedule.
  • I don’t care about what’s going on at work AT ALL.
  • I don’t have to drive, my sister is picking me up.
  • It doesn’t matter if my house is a mess because no one is coming in.
  • I watered after work yesterday. Today promises a humidex of 40C . It’s been sunny, hot and windy. Plants will bake today.
  • My bathing suit still fits and didn’t gross me out when I tried it on.
  • My pay cheque came in today and my savings account is comforting.


A hot, sunny day at the beach with kids!  YAY! I’m carefree today!




At sixty-three frailty is setting in. I can definitely feel my body slowing down and taking longer to recover from hard work. There is no pushing myself to keep going, no second wind. When I’m tired now, I’m finished; my arms, legs and brain start to shut down and say, “No more, I can’t do it”

This weekend of hard work has taken its toll. I’ve got the dreaded ‘work hangover’; my body and head ache. Yesterday I thought how much I’m getting to hate summer because I have to work so hard to get enough money to get through the winter. Especially working in a beach town where everyone is having fun and enjoying life.

Saturday I worked 2:00 until 10:30, got home at 11:00, started the next morning at 10:00. I don’t think I could have started any earlier. Sunday was supposed to be a 10-3 shift which isn’t so bad. I said to my teenage co-worker; “I’m leaving at 3:00 no matter what!” She’s one of the good, responsible ones, a rarity for a teenager these days.

At 2:55 she dropped a heavy tray of frozen bread on her foot.  The loaf pans are heavy-duty steel, four welded together so they fit on the baking racks. She was putting it in the rack when it slipped out her hands and dropped on her foot. Most likely something broke or fractured: those are tiny, frail bones in the foot at any age.

I went and got the manager and first aid team. We brought in a chair, and put an ice pack on her foot.  They got the electric scooter we have for the infirm and she drove away, embarrassed, trying not to cry. Her parents were called and picked her up.

The person on the night shift was the lazy teenager that was responsible for my long Saturday day/night shift.  They called her and she came in at 4:15.  At least I had chance to say “I  had to work ………. because of you and I’m freaking exhausted!”

I explained all she had to do, packaged up the cookies still on racks as that’s a fast and easy job that she does way too slowly. Watching her work is torture. I left at 4:30.


Now, this morning, I’m waiting for them to call me in as the injured worker was supposed to work 8:00 to 4:00 today.  I’m wondering if I even can work. When you are young you only need a night’s rest to recuperate. When you are old it takes much longer. I’m feeling very frail today.

Another sign of frailty I’ve really noticed is falling down. When you are younger and going to trip, you usually catch yourself. The last few years when I trip on something I fall down! A slippery spot on the floor in my socks, the corner of my bedspread on carpet then shock!: I fell down!

One of the cashiers at our store is 72 years old and really sharp. It’s only been about 6 months since her husband died and she’s working because she can’t stand the emptiness of her home.  A couple of weeks ago she came in with a cut lip and bruises on her face: she fell off a ladder. That brought fear into my heart. How many times have I gotten on a ladder and thought, “I shouldn’t be doing this all alone.”

“What a drag it is getting old.” We all feel the same but our bodies are aging! We look in the mirror and say, “but it’s me, not an old person”

I’m not frail yet; but I’m getting there.


(It’s 9:20 and they havn’t called me yet…… I think I’m safe )

If / then: a SoC rant

If I could get my hands on that lazy teenager I would throttle her. Yes, that’s violent and illegal so she’s damn lucky I won’t see her.


It’s not the first time I have felt violent towards her. I’ve yelled at her: I can’t help it. I’ll turn around and she doing NOTHING! Last time I was on with her I yelled at her twice; “What are you doing?” Standing there, sneering at what she doesn’t want to do. I wanted to kick her in the butt when I came up behind her, standing at the work table, tapping her fingers, looking out at the store; just waiting for her shift to end.

But today, and for the last four days, I’ve been furious because of her.

This on Saturday night/Sunday morning thing has gone on for way too long. Finally this week a little relief: I was put on 12:00 until 6:00 Saturday and in on Sunday. Not as bad as working until 10:00 p.m. cleaning, which is hard work. I hurt the next morning.

While I’m ranting; I’ll set the background for the day night I got very angry:

Monday night I came in and everything was moved out of the bakery except the nailed down butcher block table covered in garlic butter, cheese bits and crumbs. All other tables and loose shelving was in the back storage area. The floors hadn’t been swept so all the crap from under everything was showing how we don’t move anything when we clean at night.

My boss and the store manager greeted me; “Sweep the floor, do all the preps for the breakouts (bread and bun toppings, six racks) do up this birthday cake order, then do all the dishes by 8:00 because the guys are coming to coat the floors (with an no-slip coating). You’re still serving customers; everything you need is in the back storage area. But you can leave at 9:00”

Then, “D__  says she can’t work Saturday night so I changed your schedule, Sorry.”

At first I thought he meant change to the 5:00- 10:00 shift she was supposed to work. After I left I checked the schedule and found he has me on from 2:00- 10:00. It’s gone from bad to worse. I have to deal with the insanity all afternoon then clean the whole damn bakery. And go back in tomorrow morning.

It was an awful night, continually running to the back looking for containers and toppings.  Writing on cakes on a garlic/ greasy table. Frantic to get the stacks of trays and muffins pans cleaned before ‘the guys’ arrived.  I was so grouchy. And then this horrible schedule … I’m so mad!

If I could do what I feel like doing to that girl then I could be charged with assault.



The Welcome Storm

The oppressive heat and humidity built up and cracked open last night with a huge storm. It was a long time coming. We’ve had some rain, barely enough to wet the soil, but enough to get some in my rain barrels. Even with water, Impatiens, Pulmonaria and Borage wilt in the heat. Yesterday, after work, I quickly went around watering with my watering can, swatting mosquitoes, then ran back inside the house sweating and cursing.

Its dark and cool with the curtains closed but it’s isolating. I feel like a crazy person if I hear something and peek out to see if anyone is there. Phew! It’s my neighbours, I can go back to being crazy.

It had started to rain in the evening as the storm approached. The satellite reception went off for a while and the electricity went off and on twice. I laid back listening to the rain pouring down. What a great sound. All that free water just pouring out of the sky: after a drought one can really appreciate how wonderful that is.

I opened my bedroom window before I got into bed but it wasn’t pleasant. Still hot and very wet I shut it right away. I’m so grateful to have air conditioning but I can’t sleep with it on. It had been running continually since I got home from work until to going to bed so it was cool enough. Even a fan is too loud so I have one running outside the room, blowing in.

Sometime in the night there was a flash and bang that made me jump out of my sleep as it shook the house. The wind was whipping the rain around and splatting on the windows. It was wonderful! Storms are scary but exhilarating!

This morning I went around in my boots and pajamas to see if there was any damage. Some taller plants have been pounded down. The umbrella/table was blown right off the porch.  The worst is the milkweed grown from some seeds I collected and planted in my flower garden. I’ll need to carefully bring them back up and stake them. They are for Monarch butterflies and I’m hoping they will flower with the buddleia.

For now I’m enjoying the open windows, rustling leaves and singing birds. Actually, its one bird who hasn’t stopped in two hours. I think all the other birds are thinking, “STFU, already”.

With great reluctance I’ll have to close my windows soon as the heat will be back. By noon  I’ll close the insulated curtains in my living room as the sun comes around. I can usually keep the air conditioning off until 5:00 p.m. when the electricity rates are cheaper. Yesterday I didn’t make it.

A couple more days of heat and isolated thunderstorms…… I hope we get them.



“And your friends….. they treat you like a guest. Don’t you want somebody to love?”

As I was mulling over the prompt, ‘guest’ I thought of those lyrics from Jefferson Airplane. The song describes the feeling of loneliness although you are not alone: of having superficial friendships but no real connection.

I don’t get many guests at my place and I’m not a guest very often. The last person here couldn’t be called a guest; she couldn’t live up to that standard. She was an ex co-worker I let stay “overnight” because she had nowhere to go. The third day I had to fight to get her out and she stole from me to boot.

The main reason I don’t have many friends is that I did love someone deeply. Someone I was so caught up in there was no room for another person. He was my husband and my best friend. (or so I thought) I let all my friendships fall away and we moved away from everyone close.

Thanks to Facebook I re-connected with a great group of friends I knew from my youth in Toronto. A few have come to visit and were good guests but time, age and experience has taken us to different places. They were guests.

We usually have a re-union in Muskoka but it’s not happening this year. I’m disappointed, of course. The host says I’m welcome to come up anyway, as a guest. I would rather go in the fall, which I say every year and don’t go. Mostly because I’d have to ask; “Hey, can I come up and be a guest?”  I’m vegetarian and don’t drink; my friends love to BBQ and drink. I can almost hear them groan.

Summer should be the best time for a guest here as I live at a very nice beach.  But living at the beach has meant summer employment for me. I worked at a convenience store with a LCBO (liquor) kiosk the first year I arrived. Another summer  I worked at their ice cream shop. (No, it isn’t fun. Why do people think that?) Now I’m working in a bakery in the grocery store of a tourist town. The last two weeks have been so busy we are running out of product and I’m being whipped into a frenzy to “get more done!”  Extra days and hours are added on every week.

I work as much as I possibly can in the summer so I can get through the winter when my hours are down to only 10 a week. It’s easy to save my money because the work is so hard at my age, I don’t go anywhere on my day off. I’m saving up for insurance, property taxes and propane. (Finger crossed on my car)

This weekend was very hard and I worked Monday, too. Today I’m off and looking around at what should be done;  it’s a good thing there are no guests coming.