it only took a short while for Boil 2.0 to finish what The Boil started

To any of my non-bot readers, it will be clear that I’ve been away from writing for a very long while.

Ironically, my last post was made when I thought I was ready to take the blog in a new direction and to add some new partnering into the project in order to hopefully turn over the creative leaf that I’ve been looking for that would finally see my process realized, the harvesting of creative seeds planted, then grown into the creative project I could keep returning to with an abundance of energy and drive.

Regardless of my hopeful thoughts and intentions, I did not anticipate that merely a few weeks later, the health I had regained (physically) throughout the pandemic would be faced with a new challenge as the world re-opened, this time, it appeared for good. The challenge, this time, would be for me alone.

By late May I had exhausted all of my reserves of mental energy, finding for the first time in my life that I had nothing left to draw upon to power me through my obligations of work and volunteering, let alone to focus on the family that had formed around me in the past year, or to maintain a creative spark; I had experienced a severe depressive incident and broken down.


My breakdown (with thanks to the therapy in allowing me to accept this) is at least partially a result of the pandemic’s shutdowns, which stripped away the life familiar to me. My office had closed and my volunteer efforts saw the loss of years of effort dedicated to project wiped away in less than a week after the pandemic was declared. Reminders of the loss were impossible for me to ignore or avoid, so the trauma was revisited upon me with each passing week until my world started reopening. When it did, I found that I had lost my ability to focus, I was in a fog, and I could find no ability to self start. Email appearing in my inbox was not met with my usual click and respond approach, instead, I found that I couldn’t even bring myself click to open those messages that were arriving. The passion I once had for my volunteer efforts was no where to be seen as we began to return to operations more familiar. I reached out to my employer’s employee and family assistance program (EFAP) seeking tools to assist me in finding my spark, and to cope but was met instead with a lecture on staffing basics. Not finding the support I needed, with the support of Bae, I arranged to see my doctor to ask for help.

Unsurprisingly, that request was met with new prescribed medication, but it also came with referrals for mental healthcare, along with time off from work. It took nearly two and a half months for me to be able to summon the energy to give the assistance program another shot; the motivation was found in learning that the health care system would need some four to ten months before I could be seen for treatment. The contact and request for help this time was met quickly with an initial consult that then saw me directed to an appropriate private care provider within 48 hours.

Summarizing quickly what followed (not just for brevity but in respect for my current limitations), it is believed that I am showing the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This potential diagnosis chafes at me as I don’t believe my pandemic experiences equate in the slightest to what those I know who have PTSD have experienced. I’m told that I’m resilient, that the trauma experienced during the pandemic likely depleted the last of my resiliency and the symptoms then set in. I’m told that I’d been through trauma earlier in childhood and despite my resilience and well honed coping techniques, it’s effects didn’t go away but were instead buried under all the other adulthood trauma I’d pushed down a proverbial hole on top of it. The childhood issues remained there, and for those in my age group (mid to late forties), this is when it starts to show its unwelcome face again.

I met some new friends in May; we’re starting to get along

Depression is something I thought I had experienced only on limited occasions in my life, however therapy is peeling away at the layers of my beliefs to expose truths and dispel illusions and misconceptions; depression has likely been with me throughout my life, unchecked by anything but my own will. Anxiety, more specifically panic attacks, were not something that I recognized or had understanding of prior to my blip; I assure you I am now very much aware of the challenges of anxiety and have discovered the awakening of empathy within me, allowing me to perceive and understanding others at a deeper and more nuanced level than before.

If the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic is what helped me to become more physically healthy, then the re-opening of the world, my world, I hope will bring with it a return to greater mental health, with the reconstitution of my resiliency, and the development of the new skills necessary to maintain it.


I promised myself that having gone through this breakdown and embarked on the journey to learn and recover from it, that I would I find the good in the experience and become an advocate for mental health. I hope this blog qualifies as my first step in starting to fulfill that promise; it will not be the last.

the end of The Pause

Opening the browser and clicking ‘new post’ is the closest I ever care to come to putting a loaded gun to my head in order to find the spark to motivate myself. Am I seeming a tad dramatic with that statement? I’m not intending to be, but I do want to be completely genuine in sharing the struggles I have with procrastination. I want to write, yet even when I’ve finally found the rare luxury of time to do so, I slip into the comfort of distraction, my attention span struggles to keep me focused, while my drive to write clings desperately to the hope that I will eventually find the discipline to do so. Distractions I can manage. Sometimes I want them; the buzz of voices, of music can be stimulating, yet at other times, I need silence, and to be completely undisturbed in order to get the creative juices flowing. Occassionaly it’s impossible to find the drive, and there’s good reason for it. To me, this is why writing is an art, not a science. I need to coax the muse out to play; I cannot summon it through a tried and true ‘scientific’ approach, although I’m hoping some sort of writing ritual (my process?) will eventually establish itself and prove similarly effective. For the most part, clicking ‘new post’ seems to have the desired result in spurring me on to writing, but it doesn’t always result in a same day clicking of ‘publish’ (not on this occasion a least), so the battle with procrastination rages on.

The struggle with procrastination is real; inertia is very hard to overcome when the will to do so doesn’t outweigh it. This is both a sign and a lesson, to recognize and accept as truths, at least for myself, in order to move forward in a manner that is meaningful.


The sixth wave of the pandemic has not officially been recognized just yet, but there are many reports of sewage tests indicating the virus is currently at the levels last seen at the peak of the last Omicron wave. The rules in coping with this familiar reality are completely different in responding to the spread of a new wave of the virus in the post March 1, 2022 world. The Kenney led government is struggling for it’s existence as the leadership review vote started this past weekend. Party members are probably feeling every bit as jerked around by the changing rules for the vote as they did with the varied half hearted responses taken by the Kenny government to stymie the spread of COVID during the first five waves of the pandemic. There seems more energy and commitment by Kenny in guiding the leadership review to the outcome he hopes for than he demonstrated in attempting to lead the way in keeping COVID in check or keeping Albertans safe.

Perhaps in this wave(?) there will be no restrictions and no closures, as the government apparently now feels that after two years, we citizens can now be trusted enough to judge conditions and determine our own actions to take in order to ensure our safety and to police ourselves in protecting others. This a necessary step we all must take in order to return to the life and world we were accustomed to pre-COVID 19, but not everyone is ready to make the leap to that next step.

I’m not 100% there, nor am I ready yet to put COVID behind me, as there are too many reminders of the pandemic still being amongst us to ignore. Masks have transitioned from being something mandated, to something that allows me to add an extra layer of additional protection when I find myself feeling unsafe, or have a need to keep at top of health. In May, Bae and I intend to isolate as much as possible in the 10 days before we take our first trip outside of the country since January 2020. We don’t want a repeat of a COVID induced slamming of the brakes on our lives again due to a positive COVID test in the hours before we board our flight to return to the world; not after the not so patiently waiting, or after having earned the right to do so by being responsible global citizens who got our vaccinations and boosters.

Time and again I remind myself that the ‘reset’ brought on by The Pause isn’t one to be wasted. The price has been too high (the time lost to isolation, closed borders, the distance from those we value, restaurants and theatres shuttered, the fear of a virus and its variants potential effects on those unfortunate to host it, or the relationships that didn’t survive into the new normal, to name just a few) to not take advantage of its valuable teachings. I know that I am no longer the same person who went into the first lockdown on a grey, snowy night in March, 2020, and that I am emerging from the Pause, into the full brightness of spring in April, 2022, with new alignment and direction toward inner bliss and peacefulness, rather than my previous path of service and support of others as my life’s top priority.

(About this point, it was the procrastination cocktail kicked in: an impulse to mix up a batch of cookies could not be ignored, and was quickly followed by a Jack Herer induced monologue about the creative process, which took me away from writing until both the cookies and I were sufficiently baked. Btw, the cookies were underdone, but I was left feeling the focus and creativity to return to getting my writing groove on.)

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COVID-19 endemic and endgames

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on the state of the world, or at least my little corner of it, as COVID-19 continues to influence our lives. The messages the media and news outlets of the world are starting to align again; this time, however, the announcements are starting to sound the reversal of imposed restrictions and a return to a life more open and familiar.

The World Health Organization isn’t ready to call it an endemic, at least not yet; you will no doubt remember this is the same WHO that waited too long before declaring COVID-19 a pandemic in the first place, so I expect there will be no early pronouncement of endemic conditions until there is little chance of the organization’s credibility being further harmed. This leaves the governments of countries around the world left to their own devices in order to determine when it is safe to remove the restrictions they imposed upon their citizens and allow them to return to lives they may find more familiar and comforting than the ones they lived when pandemically limited.

With credit and link to CTV News’ post of February 16, 2022

A year ago in May, Alberta’s premier announced ‘the best Summer ever,’ and by fall we were experiencing the Delta wave. In December, merely a week before Christmas, the Omicron wave was upon us, spreading so easily and quickly that testing could not keep up and true case counts will never be known. The latest wave saw patients admissions to hospitals eclipse that of the Delta wave, but this time, when the ICU numbers started to creep up, they did not exceed the levels that nearly brought collapse to the health care system in November. The difference with this wave was that our Chief Medical Officer of Health told us that if we were experiencing any of the symptoms, with testing revealing over 40% positivity, we should assume that we had COVID and to isolate until the symptoms, or 5 days had passed.

This past December also brought another gift to the world, the first anti-viral treatment was announced for approval, and we took another step closer to an endemic reality. The announcement of this important pandemic milestone roughly aligned with the announcements a year previously, of the first of the COVID-19 vaccines were proceeding to emergency approval.

For many, this sparked the first signs of stimulation of signs of movement in the dormant lifestyle we once knew (and perhaps had been previously lost to). The Boil was going to return, this was your final warning to hold tight to your Pause learnings. The warning was clear, the temperature is about to be turned up and you’re on notice, what comes with a return of freedoms and familiarity might not be all you’d hoped for, or need to live a happy, healthy life.

Had it not been for false starts, and hopes previously dashed, it might have been easy to get lost to the warmth of what was familiar and could be again and push rapidly towards it. Like a diver doing interval stops while surfacing, the call of the comfort of warm air, puffy whiteness of clouds, blue sky, and warm winds hidden just through the ripples of clear blue water is strong, but by now you know that to avoid pain and suffering, you must have the discipline to avoid surfacing too quickly. The border that separates our two states of existence, one with COVID infringed rights, and one that allows the ability to roam freely, beckons and tempts you to step over it, and you will, when you decide it’s the right time to do so. Do not rush, but be ready to seek help if you can’t find it within you to take that final step.

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three messages: did the dam just burst?

Its likely very evident I’ve been on another hiatus from writing since my last entry (I haven’t published since late November). I had hoped to end this hiatus with the arrival of the New Year, however the past two weeks have seen me struggle to write anything of a personal nature in what typically is has been my favorite time of the year to write.

The signs of breakthrough starting to coming arrived this week, when I actually opened an editor and started capturing words. However (you knew this was coming), that same editor then remained untouched for three days until I returned to the blog after spending the weekend relaxing and doing some ‘seeding’ for my now self identified and defined creative process, and engaging in some self care.

It’s often said the best ideas and processes are designed by the people who are going to be using them, and I finally seem to have accepted that this is a concept I need to apply in my own life, instead of just with the organizations I serve. (Wait, what? It, is this a fourth important message finally acknowledged as received?)

seem familiar to you? did to me as well, three days after I started it.
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truth and meaning found (found) in writing

It’s been a while since I did one of these ‘defining’ posts (I’ve decided that’s what I’ll call them.) This one has a twist, and perhaps if you’ve really been paying attention to the blog, you’ll see why.


In just the past couple weeks I’ve started to feel as though my life had returned to the level of busyness that I had existed in pre-pandemic. While the busyness of the variety of my commitments doesn’t yet look the same as they did pre-pandemic, the stress associated with those demands had bullied itself back into my life just as strongly as before, however the signs that had accompanied it’s arrival this time were different, more muted, blending into the background. It had been sneaking up on me: the Boil v1.04.

The good news was that the lessons of the pandemic’s arrival have held and I realized that I was succumbing to the Boil again (whatever version it is now). I’m sure it’s a Jack Herer inspired thought but: thank fuck the designers, creators and writers of this new version of the Matrix weren’t on their A game before releasing it, or I might have been lost to it, again. (And yes, I’m looking very much forward to revisiting.)

The inspiration to write this post started to shape itself in the past few days. My first writing course since high school is now complete and while the course experience wasn’t really what I hoped for (a how to become a better writer in eight short weeks), it did allow me to define just what type of a writer I am, but perhaps also provided a life changing lesson.

With thanks and appreciation to the course’s instructor, I now believe I have a label to apply to my style: Creative Non-Fiction Writer. For whatever reason I don’t feel ready to pigeon hole myself to just the one classification as a writer, but my leanings toward fiction might only lean so far as semi-fiction, as I cannot seem to call upon the muse to create ideas from a blank slate (I think that slate disappeared when the crayon was put into my right hand instead of my left in kindergarten) without a lot of creative focus, which I can rarely summon.

My creative writing course stayed true to it’s description, focusing on story telling, something that had been well outside of my comfort zone until I realized it was okay to call upon real life experiences in order to generate copy and satisfy the objectives of the course (in this case two 1000 word assignments and peer reviews). I now realize that it’s impossible to write anything that is without influence, and that has helped me find some peace in what I once considered a creative inadequacy I held. (Think how much better your life would be if you were able to accept this reality when the crayon was put in your hand versus waiting to middle age to figure out?) As far as my story writing ability goes, well, based on feedback, I might be able to stretch my range into semi-fiction, so I may not discard the premise I explored during the course, and instead explore it and the style further as a writing canvas to be pulled out when and if the spirit, the muse, revisits it, but it isn’t what comes naturally to me.

Truth unlocked: It doesn’t come naturally to me.

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an update from a suitably seasonally snowy now

It strikes me that getting another post up in only just about six weeks since my last one really should be considered to be progress, if not yet qualifying in my mind as a victory.  Small steps toward victory (and whatever I decide that looks like for me) will have to do for this post from the Now.

With my pre-pandemic lifestyle and routine now for the largest part a distant, dusty memory hidden in the back of my mind, the challenge I have faced this fall has been to develop a new routine that now incorporates virtual elements into my ongoing work and volunteer endeavours, and makes myself as a higher priority.  I hope these efforts will not be shoved aside or trampled by whatever new world order establishes itself post-pandemic.


Early in the pandemic, any thoughts I had about what life might look like for me post-pandemic really didn’t visualize themselves in my mind as anything other than a vast, black void of space, but now, as more and more signs of the life we once knew reappearing around us, that black void has been becoming lighter, and filling with a hazy grey.  I decided as the haze grew that I wanted to take an active role in giving it hard lines and definition.  Assisting me is the realization that I’ve also finally accepted the truth about the past: it cannot be changed, and the only way to move forward into the future unfettered, is to let go of it.

what lies in the mist? i don’t know, i haven’t created it yet.

What sparked this line of thinking for me was the recognition of just how completely out of balance my volunteer endeavours, demands of work, and personal commitments have been with each other, even when two out of three factors continue to be conducted primarily virtually.  The commutes between home, work, and volunteer sites, might have consumed time and money, but did they did not call upon the expenditure of a lot of mental energy, and as I’m realizing now, those travels did provide a chance for a break to think and an opportunity to catch my breath.  In the new world order that awaits us, the danger is allowing the former commute time to be quickly and easily filled by meetings and their resulting commitments.  With the coming of the new order, the Boil is starting to look an even bigger threat, and one that would not be as gradual or painless to fall into once again. 

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muse rediscovered? at what cost?

As it should be abundantly clear if you’ve followed my posting history even slightly, I’ve only managed to write periodically as I have been challenged in catching up with the ever elusive muse over the past few months.  I’ve not yet fallen back into the reasonable comfort and drive I felt last October when I started the blog with the goal of trying to find time to write, and post two to three times a week. 

That goal might have been a bit overly optimistic for me given I’m still working to rediscover my lost art of more than a couple decades.  It appears I’ve yet to establish a process to revisit the muse frequently enough to inspire sufficient content generation, but have also lacked the focus and drive to push the few ideas further along the path to something more shareable than what has been captured in notebooks, post it notes, mind maps, or audio recordings.  There will be more on this topic that I will share in time, maybe.  I must acknowledge there’s a voice in the back of my head, questioning, somewhat sarcastically, if I ever will. 

the truth hurts
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a sunday of memories and hope

It’s the afternoon of Father’s Day and I’m lounging on our patio which continues to be our primary living space when the weather co-operates and allows us to relax in comfort. I find myself listening to Dire Straits’ ‘Brothers in Arms‘ album and thinking of my father, now missing for the second of these days. I now know I’ll spend all the Father’s Days ahead celebrating his memory and all that he contributed to my life.

I awoke this morning from a blissfully solid night of sleep; the kind it takes a few minutes for your eyes to un-gum from. Bae prompted the fur kids to wish me a ‘Happy Father’s Day’, but that instruction went unheeded, and despite this I willingly allowed my arm to become pin cushion later in morning after Bae had prepared a wonderful French toast and mimosa breakfast that followed the coffee that finally got the rest of the gunk cleared from my eyes.

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i think i’m better now

Its been a long while since my last post.  I haven’t gone back and brushed up on my writings to keep the flow going, so this will be a post from The Now.


The hope that I had that I would get through the pandemic unscathed is now shattered.

I didn’t catch COVID, had no exposures, and am now a member of the Zeneca club having had my first dose; I’ve maintained my isolation and social distancing without a shred of guilt, and I’ve built coping mechanisms as the pandemic stretches on into it’s fifteenth month, but my resilience had been worn down, and I wasn’t bouncing back after tough conversations or another two hour long Zoom session.

i was kidding myself
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sad inspiration and reckoning

My struggles with finding the motivation to write have continued amidst some highly demanding work weeks and weekends spent actually being productive once again around the house. Sometimes I need a kick to help break me out of a funk, and sadly that kick can come with a heavy price tag attached to it, like the one that motivated me to end my writing break.

In the weeks before Christmas I finally got around to visit my physician for an overdue annual physical.  During that visit, we discussed the newly announced approvals for COVID-19vaccines, which he would rather have injected and when, and which drug maker he’d recently invested in and was already causing a nice growth in the value of his stock holdings.  When I couldn’t get in to the labs for testing until six weeks after my checkup, I visited him again for a prescription renewal to tide me over until I could visit him again in the new year to go over the results; as we said farewell we briefly discussed our respective plans for Christmas; mine were simple, his were not as he intended to travel overseas with the hope of visiting his mother in long term care.

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