Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The best way to find yourself ...

 ...is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi

It's very quiet here. The only sound is the clock's regular ticking off of seconds. But it's not an empty silence. It's comfortable and full of ease.

In the kitchen it looks like a snack bomb went off. Our condo association annual general meeting (AGM) was last night, and I like to set a good table for the 100 or so people who show up, so there are bits and pieces of leftovers piled on the countertop and table, a box half-full box of cookies, likewise two boxes of crackers, some chips in a bowl, all flavours dumped into the one bowl at the end of the evening. Bottles for the recycling, a 12 pack of diet coke which somehow was overlooked and never made it to the table. I have a job ahead of me there.

I remember the first AGM I attended here, three years ago. It lasted two hours and there was no place to sit. There was a lot of anger, a lot of shouting and the Calgary Police TACK Team, in full body armour, wearing helmets and carrying assault weapons interrupted the meeting when they burst into the lobby half way through the meeting, on their way to take down a drug dealer on the 4th floor. I remember wondering what we had gotten ourselves into!

But when they called for volunteers for the condo board I raised my hand. I figured it was a way to get to know your neighbours. Now fast forward three years.

The next year I insisted we provide chairs and refreshments, or as they call it in Canada, "a lunch", regardless of the time of day. Not only did enough people come out so that board members didn't have to go door-to-door begging people to come so they could make a quorum, the atmosphere changed completely from hostility to friendliness.

Last night had huge potential for frustration. We're switching to a new state-of-the art security system which is keyless, and all 186 owners had to attend to pick up their entry devices, a small tag that goes on your key chain. The pickup was badly organized by an inexperienced manager, which meant the owners had to stand in line twice for an hour or more to get their tags.

Despite this people were on the whole, cheerful and remained pleasant. The meeting itself was brief and ran smoothly. We pulled the food, soft drinks and coffee out, laid the table for a buffet and everyone dug in. There was laughter and the noisy roar of happy conversation.

Again and again people came to me all evening, introduced themselves and said how much they loved this, so much different than the old AGMs. Time and again I was hugged and kissed and patted and thanked for looking at this not as just a building, but as a community - with people from all over the world as neighbours and for valuing the diversity here, for fostering inclusion.

It was healing, it was what I needed. An hour before the meeting I learned my beautiful niece Susan had passed away at 3:00 of cancer. She was a wonderful example of how much one person can do in and for a community. I never knew her to be critical or negative, and she was a wonderful role model for me and to all who knew her. She was loved by many. I will write about her later, when I can bear to do so, but last night I was smiling through tears because I was following her lead - it's what she has done for the past five years.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

KIVA Loan for May 2014

This month's KIVA loan goes to the Faïda group, which is comprised of six married women who live with their husbands and children in traditional families. On average, they are 48 years old and have eight children. They all live in Kanadjiguila in the town of Mandé, Mali and know one other through relatives, neighbors, and friends.

This is a Group Loan. In a group loan, each member of the group receives an individual loan but is part of a larger group of individuals. The group is there to provide support to the members and to provide a system of peer pressure, but groups may or may not be formally bound by a group guarantee. In cases where there is a group guarantee, members of the group are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members in the case of delinquency or default.

Each Faïda group member has a small business selling some product to her neighbours and members of her community.  Madame Mariam (the woman standing in the middle of the photo) sells high-quality women's clothing, a wrap-around traditional  garment called pagnes wax. Other members sell cloth, beverages, firewood and cooking oil.  Each holds a sample of her goods in the photo.

With the goal of growing their businesses, the group members decided to apply for a group loan from Soro Yiriwaso, a microfinance institution which provides underprivileged communities in rural and semi-urban areas of Mali access to financial services. They serve disadvantaged clients, particularly women, allowing them to access resources and services which otherwise would be out of reach.

This is Faïda group's first loan. Madame Mariam is known for the high-quality of the clothing (pagnes wax) she sells. She plans on using her loan to buy 20 pagnes wax at wholesale prices in the main market. She will resell these at retail prices to a clientele comprised primarily of women.  She hopes to earn an average monthly profit of 35, 000 FCFA (abt $70.00) that she'll put back into her business and use to meet the needs of her children.

Kiva lenders enable Soro Yiriwaso to expand and reach even more under served Malians involved in their own small businesses. We're happy to join others in supporting Soro Yiriwaso and the Faïda group as they work together to improve the lives of the hard-working people of Mali.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Time to buy a new hat

No pictures at 11:00.

I have a generous dollop of Native American ancestry, and every hairdresser I ever bothered with moaned about the thickness, the straightness, the intransigence of my hair. It grows at a rate of about 1/4" (.5 cm) a day so a "good" cut is days away from being a mess, and it will not take a perm. Trying to curl it using anything short of nuclear fission technology is doomed to failure. It has a mind of its own and has asserted its dominance since early childhood.

So, in 1998, sick and tired of messing with it and with hairdressers, I begged my son's fiancee to take the clippers to me and shear my head down to a half-inch of hair. I loved it like that and there it's been ever since. About once a month I get out the clippers and have at 'er.

I have cowlicks everywhere, three on the top of my head and three at the nape of my neck; left, middle, right. These require special attention in that I have to come at them from every angle of the compass to cut all the hair swirling around these vortexes.

 I was finishing off the vortex on the right side of my neck this morning. I lifted the clippers and the attachment fell off in my hand - you know, the little comb-ie whatcha-ma-doodle that keeps the blade at a set distance from your scalp. In this case 5/8ths of an inch or about 1.7 cm. I didn't know how long it had been since attachment and blade had parted company and I obviously can't see the back of my head, so I grabbed the mirror.

Some women love hats. I'm not much of a hat person. I have a knitted winter hat (Canadians call that a toque - pronounced like two with a k on the end.) Too warm for that now, unless I was going for the 'gangsta' look, which I'm not. I have a second hat which I rarely wear. I don't know where I got it or why I've kept it, except you can throw it in the washer and I needed a hat for when it's not cold enough for a toque and not warm enough to go without something on your head. It has a leopard skin pattern on one side and it's a brownish red on the other (it's a reversible sort of canvas material). I look terrible in it. Like I have a terminal case of leopard-itis or I'm a corpse washed-up on the tide.

The Annual General Meeting of the Condo Corporation is scheduled in a few days. We're expecting about 100 people to show up. I'm the president and have to stand up in front all those people to give the annual report. I have a two-inch wide, three inch long bald strip running from the nape of my neck straight up the back of my head.

Time to buy a new hat.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The goat whisperer

Way back in the mid 70s we lived on a small holding in the interior of British Columbia. Our little farm sat at a 30 degree angle facing west with a magnificent view of the Purcell mountains, and the Columbia River ran at the foot of our property. We had a cleared pasture and a garden spot and since the newly-weaned baby was allergic to cow's milk we decided we should buy a milk goat.

We ended up buying a white Saanen the size of a Shetland pony, whose name was Villanelle. Vill was not only as sweet and loving as the family dog but also provided a solid gallon of sweet milk every day which was so rich you could churn butter from it. We had all the milk the four of us could drink. I also made cottage cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese and yogurt from her milk, and it was heavenly.

But came the day when the milk began to diminish and it was apparent that Villanelle needed the "attentions" of a gentleman goat, and the ensuing arrival of a new kid to renew the flow. So we began to search for a billy to hire. We began shamelessly soliciting for billy goat sex up and down the valley. Trouble was, the valley was thinly populated, and few people had goats. Our newspaper ads and posters around town brought no responses. Finally one day an acquaintance named Carol stopped me in the grocers and asked if we still needed a billy. I said we did, and she said her aunt had one for sale.

Anyone who knows goats knows you can't keep a billy anywhere near a milking doe, because the milk absorbs the rank billy goat odor and is undrinkable. So we didn't want to buy a billy, we just wanted to load our pony-sized girl goat into our van (she liked a ride now and again), ferry her to a romantically-inclined billy, wait while they consummated their brief affair, pay $5.00 and take her home again. I asked if we could just bring our doe and pay for stud service.

Carol's lips went rather then at my suggestion. "The billy's for sale," she said flatly, handing me a piece of paper with instructions written on it. "Sunday at 3:00. Bring a stout rope and a trailer."

It was late October and cold, with a razor-edged North wind, when we set out. We didn't need a trailer, not for a goat. Our old Dodge van had a double row of seats and a cargo area big enough to hold a queen-sized mattress. What it didn't have was much of a heater, so we were all heavily bundled as we drove up the winding bench road. We eventually came to a hulking wreck of a house wrapped in a wide porch which had fallen completely away from the walls. 

We were met at the back door by a dour old woman. We had to climb a ladder to reach the door. She waved us through the large kitchen into an enormous empty room with a 10 foot ceiling. A crystal chandelier hanging in the middle of the room was festooned by years of spiders webs. The wood floors sagged alarmingly and looked as though someone had scraped them with a coal shovel. The staircase had collapsed.  Flowered wallpaper was visible in places, but all the way around the room it looked as though someone had stained the wallpaper dark brown with a wavering brush at the four foot mark.

"I was born in this house," she said, "I've never lived anywhere else, and now my niece is taking away my children and making me leave." She pointed to a 12 foot wide stone fireplace on the far wall. "My Daddy used to burn 10 foot-long-logs in that fireplace. This house was built as a stage coach stop, a lodge. People stayed overnight on the way to Vancouver - before they built the railway."

You could hear a car approaching. "That'll be her now," she said sourly. "She made me put my babies in the barn. They're gonna die out there!"

Carol climbed the ladder and poked her head and shoulders into the room. "I see you found it. Good. Have you seen the goat?"

"I ain't selling him!" The old woman shouted at her, "He's been mine all his life and I ain't selling my own child."

"Go back in the kitchen, Auntie," Carol said. "You know it has to be done." She turned to us, "Come."

The barn was in as bad a shape as the house. In it were about 50 sheep, five or six doe goats. But these were not the ordinary sheep and goats one saw grazing the lots and pastures of our neighbours. They were a quarter of the size of normal sheep and goats.

"Why are they so small?" our older boy asked, accustomed as he was to our goats. They look like babies!"

"They've had the same stock for 50 years," Carol said, "and they just let them breed indiscriminately. Every generation they got a little smaller, until they are about a quarter the size they should be. Some of them are a bit weird." She pointed at one of the ewes. "She gave birth to a two-headed lamb last spring. That one," she pointed at another ewe, "has an extra foot on her back leg. But here's the fellow you came for."

He was confined in a stall, and he looked back at us with a gleam of undiluted hatred in his yellow eyes. He was no bigger than a German Shepard, but he had the most enormous sweep of horns I'd ever seen on a goat of any size. It was hard to imagine how that three foot rack of scimitars didn't make him topple over on his face.

"Did you see the brown line in the parlour?" Carol asked, as we stood looking at this marvel of horns and malevolence. "The sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and geese lived in the house with them for 20 years. My husband and I shovelled four feet of compacted manure out of there over the summer. We scraped the floor with snow shovels," she shook her head. "We should have just set a match to it.

She's my grandmother's sister and we're the only family she has left. We lived in Toronto for years and only moved back this Spring. When we got up here to see her we were horrified. The road closes in November and you can't get in or out until May. No heat, no power, no phone, no running water, the house full of livestock, and she was starving. Her husband died two winters ago, and it was June before someone came to check on them. She didn't realize he was dead, she just thought he was having a good sleep. The porch fell off this winter and the building inspector says the roof will collapse next time we get a heavy snowfall. She'll die if we leave her here this winter. So we're taking her to town to live with us, and she hates us for it."

She sighed and waved at the billy. "Just take him, and get it over with. But he is a mean little bastard, so be careful."

We paid her the $10.00 she was asking and between the three of us we managed to get him into the back of the van and tie him securely. He would lower his head and sweep across with his horns, trying to catch the boys, but we'd tied him too far back.

But oh, what a STENCH! There are few things riper than a billy goat in full bloom. Cross a skunk with a sewage processing plant, dress with rotting fish, bring to 110 degrees and you come close, but not quite noxious enough. Cold or not within a mile we had all the windows rolled down and the fans blowing cold air full speed.  We were gasping for breath and had 50 miles to go.

The goat struggled and reared and bleated and swept across the back of the seat with his horns constantly, as if his smell alone was not enough to insure our sufferings. As we rolled along we all got progressively colder, and progressively more nauseated. Seldom have I ever had such a miserable ride.

And the billy? He was Satan incarnate, with murder in his heart and a vendetta the Mafia might envy. And he was so stupid Villanelle had to teach him about the birds and the bees goat-style. Once she'd finally managed to get him to do the billy goat deed one time she wouldn't let him anywhere near her. We decided we were either going to find a new home for him or kill the murderous little sod.

I had to be rescued when he climbed over the wall of his stall and came after me. My screams brought Tony, who picked up a 2 x 4 and smacked the goat between the horns as it reeled around to face him. Goat decided he'd best go graze and mind his manners.

A neighbour borrowed him to service his does, but the billy trapped his wife in a stall and broke her hand and all her fingers. The neighbour admitted that if the billy was his he'd have shot him. We wished he would have, because now we had to deal with him again.

We were desperate. We didn't really want to kill him but no one was safe with him on the farm. So we placed an ad in the little ad and classified paper that went up and down the length of the valley. "Billy goat - FREE - come and get him!"

That night the phone rang and a bass voice asked if we still had our billy goat and I said we did. The voice said, "I'll pick him up in the morning. I got a dairy herd and my old billy died on me." I told him to bring a trailer and a stout rope, that this was the meanest damn billy that ever grew horns. He chuckled a bit.

The next morning an enormous long-haired, red-bearded fellow in bib overalls sauntered down our drive and into the yard. "I'm here for thu billy," he said.

We had put the billy in a big leather collar and tied him in his stall with a rope on each side, so we could maintain control over him. Tony and I wrestled him out of the barn into the sunlight where the hippy stood. 

"You bring a rope?" I asked.

"Naw, I don't need nothing like no rope," he said. "Me and goats, we git along. Take thu collar off 'm," he said. He must have seen the terror on our faces. "Jest do it."

Tony held the goat's slashing horns while I dodged around trying to undo the buckle.
As soon as the collar was slipped the goat ran at the hippy, jumped his leg and started humping him. The hippy threw his head back and laughed. "I told you I's good with goats!" he said. He slapped the goat on the shoulder, and said, "C'mon goat," and that damned goat followed him up the driveway, no collar, no rope, like a labrador pup.

Who knew the world has a goat whisperer?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Three Stooges and first world problems

I read somewhere recently on the Interwebs some poor soul complaining of her (or his) distress over hearing the term first world problem applied to their complaint about someone cutting in line at the Starbucks, ending up in a bad seat at the movie, or rage over a poorly executed haircut. They felt as if the depth of their gut-wrenching waiting-too-long-for-my-latte tragedy was somehow demeaned by referring to it as a "first world problem". As if their pain wasn't real and important.

I'll tell you a secret. Although these situations may very well cause pain they are not "problems", first world or otherwise, they are irritations. If we always expect and even anticipate rudeness, the "hateful" look, the snarly service, we'll find it, but in reality what we are seeing is our own irritation reflected back to us. The biggest "first world problem" is that we are so self-centered that we can't see anything in the people around us except what is in us

Lots of people in the so-called "first world" have problems, but those named above are not among them. If you have terminal cancer, you have a problem. Life becomes very precious when you are told you have a limited time left with those you love.

If your nine-year-old has been hit by a drunken driver and is lying in an ICU on life support, you have a problem. Or, if you are like a young couple here, blessed with beautiful identical triplets, and all three diagnosed at two weeks with neuroblastoma, cancer of the retina. How do you cope with making the decision to have your babies' eyes removed? And how does a three-month-old baby cope with radiation and chemotherapy? That family has a problem.

If you're a single mother with two small kids who has just lost her job and has no money for next month's rent or this week's groceries, you have a problem.

The difference between an irritation and a problem is that you can choose not to be irritated, and your choice will make all the difference in your day, and your life.

When someone steps in front of you in line you can step back and quietly practice a random act of kindness. You can smile and check your inner ninja before it kicks you in the indignation. A two minute delay is not worth ruining a day for.

Larry, Curly and Moe
There are no really horrible seats in theatres anymore, unless you're sitting behind a Sasquatch. If you are, find another seat.

And hair grows. Although hair's a double-edged sword. When it looks exactly the way you want it could quit growing, but when someone has made you look like one of the Three Stooges you would sacrifice a chicken to make it grow an inch an hour.

Dealing with a real life-and-death problem requires courage and deep reserves of inner strength. Indulging in the habit of irritation turns you into a victim, at the mercy of your own bad temper. A moment's exchange can leave you stewing for days, weeks even, and can leave you a very unhappy person.

Rising indignantly to every snub, imagined or deliberate, is like turning your life into a rudderless dory floating on the tide. It gives control of your emotions over to circumstance, and relinquishes your power to others, even perfect strangers. Strength comes from choosing not to respond to trivial irritations.

And the day after I wrote this, this article was published in the New Yorker: Missed Connections for Assholes - Be sure and read the comments, which includes this little gem;

"Anyone who spends his day critiquing strangers, worrying about slight slights,
getting pissed about small talk and being bothered by other peoples clothing
or devices should gaze deeply into his own inner A-hole, you will find a mirror there.
I think that's what I just said, but with with less acid. 

"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace." ~ Dalai Lama

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The early bird gets the w

...wind up his tail. At least here! It's early in the day for me. I'm usually not even awake at this hour. However the man with the leaf blower which snarls like a logger's chainsaw went to work under our bedroom window about 8:15 and brought me from my dreams to shaky wakefulness.

On the plus side I think he cleared the leaves from my flower beds. On the negative side I think he cleared the emerging plants from my flower beds. Plants are tender and tentative when they first peek out after a long, cold winter. A leaf blower which directs 100 mph blast of wind at them and their surrounding leaf blanket, in which they are entangled, is not necessarily the best way to bring them on.

Outside the bedroom window
Besides, we've had snow all week. Can you believe it? Snow. It's been below freezing every night and the garden plants have stalled. They are no further ahead than last week at this time when I had purple crocuses and a single daffodil blooming.

I think the crocuses have closed up shop for the year, but the one daf is still out there shivering. The hopeful buds are beginning to look like the jilted lover who stands behind the curtains and prays to no one in particular, "Please, please, please…"

 Still, I'd only cleaned out the one bed, because it has rained or snowed since those few glorious days of sun and warmth we had a couple of weeks ago. So I've decided to view this morning's leaf-blower manufactured hurricane as a blessing. It saved me time and work, even if it has clipped a few plants in the bud.

There's a condo board meeting here tonight which means a fierce few hours of cleaning between now and then because our property manager is allergic to cats.  The cats will have to be confined to the bedroom for the duration, a confinement which they will protest with cat swear words and vigorous rattling of the door.

So I'm off, and that is not a reference to my mental state, I mean I'm off to clean house. I'm fine with the flowerbeds and their unexpected windstorm. Maybe I should droop around feeling poorly-done-by or be incensed by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune but angst and I don't spend much time together any more. I'm going to go with unperturbed which surprises the heck out of me, and I have to admit I like it.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

A stitch in time 'til you're 109

According to certain US politicians one of the truly awful things about living in a country where medical care is universal is that "socialists" are always looking to economize, and old and disabled people are as disposable as punctured tires.

Well, our (Canadian) health care system is always looking to economize but they don't do it by sticking the disabled and 70-year-olds on ice floes. No, what they try to do is far more cunning. The wily rascals are constantly trying to find ways to keep you from getting sick or injured in the first place, so you don't end up needing their hospitals, or Saint's preserve us, their long-term care facilities.

They simply can't stand having grandpa sitting in a wheelchair in a government-funded nursing home, playing balloon volleyball with a bunch of widows who could be home hoarding cats or raising roses - they push healthy living, and with it the idea that you are better at home 'til it makes you think it could be a commie plot.

As an example; my own strength has been unreliable lately and I've become apprehensive that I cannot keep Mr. T from falling in the shower, nor have I the arm power and energy to anoint him daily head to toe with the special cream prescribed for his fiercely dry skin. At our last doctor's visit I admitted as much to our doctor who immediately set up an appointment with the clinic's social worker, and now we have a daily visit from a home health aide to give Mr. T his shower, and slather him with cream afterwards.

After the scrubbing and slathering are done the aide turns her (or his) attention to my needs, in the form of doing household chores I find difficult. So far this has resulted in swept and mopped floors, a scrubbed-down bathroom, and a spotless stove and fridge, which I find difficult to clean, especially the top of the fridge and the range hood, because I can't reach them without climbing on a chair, which I can't do any more.  

We are waiting on a home visit from the Falls Team, a physician, physiotherapist and occupational therapist, who will assess the husband's likelihood of falling again, based on past experience and whatever else they base it on. And the nurse comes every few weeks to check him over and make certain I'm not mistreating him. (He's in no danger.) 

And should you be really disabled, like our paralyzed neighbour upstairs, there are home health aides to do all your personal care, a homemaker to do all her cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc, and skilled nursing care is available to her here - in her home. As long as a person's medical needs can be met at home in 20 hours of care a day the health care system will provide the equipment and the care to allow a person to remain at home. My brother-in-law, who had ALS, was cared for at home until the final 48 hours of his life. 

There's a study somewhere that every dollar spent keeping a senior healthy in their own home saves the health care system $9.00 in  the end.  This is really the stitch in time that saves nine. And it's really what most of us want as we grow old, to be at home, that sweetest of places, however humble, and to be with those we love.

Friday, May 02, 2014

...the path to enlightenment

Last time I looked, an hour ago (the den has no windows) it was raining, but it's 3 degrees C (37 F) and at that temperature water has a personality disorder and can't decide whether to come down as perfectly acceptable rain (for the second of May) or to have a kick at the can and come down as snow.

Whichever god controls such things, if there be one, could you give us a break and just stick with rain? We need it, we've had a dozen large grassfires in the last couple of days. Last year's waist-high prairie grass is dry as tinder, though the soil beneath it is wet.

The wind gets a spark in her mouth and gallops across miles of countryside, devouring grass, sometimes catching livestock who can't breech a fence, charring the little prairie hens who will hunker down over their nests to protect their eggs, burning barns and occasionally destroying someone's home. Most prairie fires are caused by louts like the ones who caused five separate fires yesterday, riding along shooting Roman candles into the dry grass at the side of the road.

On a more cheerful note, the flowerbeds out front are full of purple crocuses and now the daffodils are beginning to bloom. Only two are in full bloom so far but dozens of spears with fat yellow bulbs are pointing at the sun crying, "My turn next! My turn next!". 

Though I've been down three or four times to pick up the garbage that's blown into the garden I haven't had any further time or energy to spend down there this week, though I can see weeds from here.

On Saturday evening the cold water tap in one of the top floor units blew off and the resident had a geyser on his hands. Since he didn't know how to turn off the water he called the fire dept, who also didn't know how to turn off his water. Thankfully, as soon as the water began to spill through the ceiling into the unit below the owner who lives in that unit ran upstairs. Thankfully she knew where the water shut-off was. I can't imagine living in a place for four years and never looking to see where the water shut-off is! 

Anyway, since I was the only condo board member home it was left to me to call in a contractor to pick up the water and then the company who does our flood repairs to take off the wet baseboards and set up fans. Unfortunately they did not come and tell me there were NO working electrical outlets in the hallways within reach of their fans, something I found out late on Sunday, when an electrician who had never been in the building and a clueless board member (that would be me) spent four hours exploring every mechanical room in the parkade and every storage and utility room on every floor looking for the breakers for the hallway outlets (without any success). Let's just say without further gory details that I walked the entire complex at least 10 times in three days and my legs finally said, "That's it! Do what you will! We're off on holiday! See ya!"

I sat for two days but yesterday had to go to the post office, pharmacy and grocery store. I invited my neighbour, who has no car, to come along. Between post office and grocery store we stopped and had lunch where we ran into an older man we both know. He has mental health issues and was homeless for years after his wife died. He's rather quiet, sweet and timid but he flies into a rage sometimes for the smallest reasons. My neighbour doesn't like him but he and I have a really good connection. He's always been a perfect old-fashioned gentleman with me. I've talked him down from his rages a couple of times and avoided the usual police intervention.

We invited him to join us. He was very pale and looked unwell. He said he'd been in the hospital for 13 days after having surgery and had just been released that morning. We talked and joked as we ate our meals and he really brightened up. Then we had to go. He lives alone, and has little positive feedback in his life. His loneliness and pain are so obvious. I hugged him and wished him better health and told him I hoped we'd see each other again soon. He always tears up when anyone shows him the least kindness.  

Today my legs are on strike again, and I am sitting. The house is a shipwreck. No sense in agonizing over it. I'm not even trying to row. What gets done gets done. What doesn't get done will wait for me. (Ain't that the truth!)  I learned patience by letting go of fretting over what needs to be done and waiting for the time it can be done.

Expectations and attachment to outcome causes heartache, whether it's what you can do or what others do for you. Expect that you will always be able to do exactly what you want, or that other people will always do what you'd like, or what you feel they "owe" you, and you will be continually unhappy.

"Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment" ~ Pema Chodron