Thursday, February 28, 2013

Old Blind Dog

It's raining on deck. I'm here in the cozy warm with the diesel stove flames dancing light.  The heat is distributed by the helicopter fan twirling atop the stove. I'm listening to Old Blind Dog's New Tricks Album and the Collection.  The instrumentals of whistle, drum and violin are haunting celtic.  Now the Bedlam Boys song of ancient highland is playing.
I've been reading the wonderful writing of my friend Anne Lindsay.  In northern cabins she had us all playing a background of strings so she could weave her flute tapestry in the sound. Now she's painting pictures of Moroccan bazaars with her Kirkcubright pen. I've just been reading too in Peter Newman's, The Company of Adventurers of the northern Scots lads who came out to Canada with the Hudson Bay Company.
It's been a long couple of days with 50 patients a clinic.
I'm wondering why I've been so long not playing my guitar. It's not something I do well but I have enjoyed it so.  Hearing the Old Blind Dog I remember first seeing them that July weekend so many years ago in Port Coquitlam at the annual Scottish Cultural Festival where extraordinarily strong boys where tossing the timber, flinging telephone posts about like they were toothpicks.  I dream one day of seeing and hearing Old Blind Dog in Scotland.
I've thought it would be grand to sail to the shores  grandparents left to come to Canada.  I'd not be the first to go back that way.  I read of a Danish man and his wife  doing this from Victoria there for no other reason than that his life was enriched by the effort.  I love a tale and an adventure to go with it.  The years run down and the costs of such endeavours always seem too high but when one sets a mind to such a thing it carries through.  God works in mysterious ways.  I did love meeting the elderly gent who sailed solo from Britain to the Maritimes in his 80's.  There's time enough and more.
Old Blind Dog is fiddling the Ferret Set from the New Tricks album. It's got me missing dancing now. So much of my life has been devoted to work and more work and more learning to do more work.  I've no regrets about the work. It's a gift to heal and the education I've had to that end has been unsurpassed.  It's second nature now. There's so much I've learned.  It's a tapestry and a fiddling tune for sure.  I've done a mighty fine jig at times to keep death distracted. I've been privilege to miracles.  Watched the dead rise.  So much sacred in the mundane. All the reductionism of the fearful can't contain the glory of a single moment of those times.
I remember delivering that Inuit baby in Churchill.  The same place where the polar bears chased me.  A night in an igloo with a wild Irish man singing songs of the old country while a blizzard blew outside.  Then there was the home visits in the Mariana Islands where the mad carried machetes they'd used insanely.  I climbed a coconut tree. We drank the delicious juice.
And today I thought of the camel I rode in Israel seeing the camel Anne had jockeyed on her face book page.  Those bazaars with the boys carrying fresh baked flat breads on their heads days before Moroccan Ramadan descended in the old city go unforgotten.
Who'd have guessed I'd be in harbour aboard a steel ocean crossing sailboat with a diesel stove keeping out the cold.  This is a rich and blessed life. I'm so grateful for all the permutations and combinations. Thank you for the music, poetry, dance and song.  It  lifts my heart to hear Old Blind Dog.

Rainy February Day

Downtown Eastside. Methadone Clinic. I'm having a break at the Gastown Diner. 50 patients yesterday afternoon. 2 doctors away. I was alone. Glad to have another person today. Worked late. Had great birthday dinner with staff and former staff. Everyone wishing me happy birthday because Gilbert's Feb. 22 birthday came up and mine is this weekend. Never realized that we were so close in birthdays. The girls all love Gilbert. He's an awesome little dog. Restaurant didn't treat him with the respect he deserved. He stayed in the car but is now enjoying all the treats he received.
I had an allergic reaction to something, maybe a bite, maybe stress. It happens rarely. I carry reactine about just in case. Hives. Now sluggish with disturbed sleep.
Hard enough working well. Yet I know so many people working sick or injured. My patients who resurrect and return to work always amaze me. It's so easy to 'give up'.
I love Seligman's work with Authentic Happiness. He'd seen the majority of dogs put under stress eventually didn't try to escape and assumed the fetal position whenever stressed but a small few were 'resillient'. It's like the personal research of Victor Frankl, the amazing Jewish Psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz and described his experience in Man's Search for Meaning. Freud felt that people would devolve into their animal selves subjected to sufficient stress. Frankly saw the greatest of humanity in the worst of depravity. My patients who were veterans and survived concentration camps described the same.
Even a doctor who was in Leavenworth described the moments of kindness and caring of one prisoner for another. Psychopaths are few. They're thought to lack that part of the brain that gives us conscience and the capacity for empathy. Most of the criminals are 'sociopaths' . They 've not developped beyond the adolescent boy and girl gang affiliation or may have regressed to that.
Dr. Carl Jung described Freud as being afraid of the unconscious and extremely uncomfortable with anything spiritual or not clearly 'material'. He describes episodes of this anxiety of Freud's in his autobiography.
Milton Erickson, father of American Psychiatry, and Hypnosis, described 'Freud's view of the 'id' " as fear based. He felt Freud overlooked all the automatic and positive functions of the 'unconscious' . Freud's "Id' was a 'lower power' and Freud celebrated the executive functioning of the rational man. After the wars of the age of rationalism with the immense destruction of human life there was a reconsideration of the limits of reason. This may explain the willingness of men like Erickson to question the 'master'.
The greatest intellectual experiment of the rational mind was 'communism' which resulted in more millions killed that fascists or religious wars.
I'm reading Charles Taylor's , The Secular Age.
Aim gave me a political science book last night describing "post america'.
The American empire has been call "Pax Americanus". The thought is that China is going to be the competitive world power. I don't think so. There is a tendency to look at America in 'isolation' without realizing that the American Empire was just the culmination and consolidation of a number of 'Empires' starting with the Greek Empire. That was followed by Rome, then France, Spain, England, Spain, Russia and now American.
The 'empires' successes have been by the inclusion of the 'stranger' and cosolidation of 'new inclusive' entity'.

People like to look at America without consideration of NATO or the United Nations ,

There is no 'east/west" division as such. India and Japan, clearly Asian are part of what might be better described as "The Democratic Empire". Communist rheroric likes to divide the world in the paranoid 'good and evil' groupings 'beurgeois and proletariat'. There's an interesting alliance developing between Moslem extremist religious cultism and Communist extremist China. This ideological chimera is no different than the Russia Germany romance during WWII. THe more religiously fanatic a people the more they are in line with fanatic aetheists. "Pax American" then or the "Democratic EMpire" despite the CIA and Homeland Security becomes inded a 'Middle class empire' that appeals the world over to this group that Marx denied. Pax Americanis is the 'moderate' alternative to the extremism that always comes as a Trojan Horse. When the Communists "liberated' Eastern Germany they reduced it to a slave whereas the Moderate Democratic liberation of Western Germany lead to it becoming a competitive powerhouse equivalent to Italy and Japan, a contender really to it's 'parent' the democratic moderation of post WWII idealism.
All over the world tyrants are turning their guns on their people having filled their jails with 'dissidents'. America's jails are filled with drug addicts. In the east they are shot but 'dissidents' are shot or jailed. The freedoms of the Moderate Middle Democratic Empires are beyond anything known or tolerated in Communist or extreme Muslim countries.

Oh well, all this is above my pay grade and not part of my special interest. I'm just reminded how as a young man I was so 'swayed' by 'reason' and 'ideas' without realizing that the limits of 'rationalism' had been demonstrated in the War to end all war and The genocides of Communist countries on any one who didn't share their fanaticism.

Now 'democratic socialism' isn't Communism. Canada is a democratic socialist country to a large extent with a tendency to slip into communism or capitalism since the centre rarely holds. European nations are commonly democratic socialism. It's a very different animal from Communism.

Personally I prefer God so I lack the nihilism of believing that aetheism will prevail in the future. My personal bet is on a spiritual democratic socialist capitalist society.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February Morning

Another miracle morning.  Awakening. Gilbert whimpering at the door.  Needs to be let out.  I dress before following.  No rain.  Not like yesterday's downpours but not like the day before sunshine.  Just a dreary February morning with low hanging clouds obscuring the mountains.  The air is fresh though . Spring fresh with sea air scents and sounds of seagulls overhead.  There's spring in the air.  I saw my first crocus on Sunday.  Promises of summer and heat returning. Reading Peter Newman's Company of Adventurers there are bits of journals from the 17th and 18th century by Churchill.  42 foot walls and alcohol that freezes.  This is the horror of the north, post scurvy.  When drinking pine tea keeps one's teeth from falling out but the winter freezing 80 below temperatures are perhaps a bit better than the flies and mosquitoes of spring and summer that block the sun and filling the nose and throat.  What horrible  conditions to live in and I'm whining with a bit of chill and drizzle.  I lived in Churchill even stayed in igloos but was thankful for my modern parka and off course the mosquito repellent I smeared myself with all spring, summer and fall.  Here, the cold is English in it's chill and the rain no more deplorable than Scotland.  We're just another northern clime habitable and growing more so with global warming apparently.
It's another day.  I'm thankful for these, more with age. I take less for granted. Pleased with health and friendship.  I'm glad to work. I've devoted my life to work and sacrificed so much to study and knowledge.  I've served and been served in my living, breathing and imbibing my profession and career.  It's consumed me and been all consuming.  The times changing and knowledge suspect, work abhorred, learning denigrated. Politics is all.  We huddle in groups of insiders and outsiders. It's high school all over again.  But we are the teachers. The principal and vice principals are somewhere in our midst but even they know that that Death is above all.  I'm am seeking God while there is time.  A life spent healing bodies and minds I prepare to meet my maker.  This third of life a legal mire of last minute shenanigans with the real wonder of what lies beyond.  This can't be all despite the propagandists. I wake each morning and it's the most powerful metaphor for life after death ever to be given. But those that deny and lie and lie and lie won't even accept their daily resurrection. Mine's a blessing though I wonder when the rapture will come. I'm such a heathen and my work undone.  So long I've thought that this life of being a healer and forgiver was a product of a last life's karma where I 'm convinced I must have slaughtered many to necessitate the patience and fortitude I've demonstrated this time round.  Orubunga.  My ass bit by myself and I'm so quick to say I'm not the biter. Such a silly world we living in.  DNA shows our differences as minuscule but everyone celebrates the smallest variation of uniforms like adolescent girls.
I'm the fool and the king of my own existence. I'm the alpha and omega, Jesus says in Revelation. I am all says God.  I'm reading A Secular Age by  Charles Taylor and the history of the Picts.  It's the new Pax Americana and I'm fascinated by the parallel concerns of empires and how those who are beurocrats and others in the grand scheme lack any vision of the whole thinking their details upper most.  I'm  at least away of what is above my pay grade and know I'm the gnat on the elephants ass scream left , right, left and then taking credit for a turn in the path.  We spend such time bowing to other gnats. Significantly significant insignificantly significant.  Free will in the determinism of fate.  My thoughts a voice over on this cartoon of life. The real world that other place of dreams where I gather in groups with ancients, young and old and meditate.  There are picnics there and flying.  I had a boat there last night. Unusual craft, rested hidden beneath the surface only to come above when I put on full throttle, then sank beneath the surface when I stopped.  I believed my computer was water proof yet when I went to work in the morning the office computer mother board suddenly died. The ins and outs having strange Carl Jungian synchronicities.
But I must live in 'group think', the shallowest of Kardashian reality tv pleasure seeking pain avoiding status revelling money grubbing hollywood sensationalism. If I step outside this world even a tad there is a scream and I'm surrounded by the aliens of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. So many of us identify with zombie movies. Those are the road rage incurring fools we meet daily on the road without the rocket launchers of Falling Down.  Vampire wars with Buffy as protagonist are celebration of light and dark encounters.  The 'Lightness of Being,' the great Chzeck novel comes to mind as with ever greater lightness we leave the gravity and seriousness of pompous pretensions.
I'm am drinking coffee and boiling eggs.  Todays sustenance for the morning.  It's a wonder of the modern world that I have produce from half the globe away and fresh farm fare when I want it.  I 've heat in the form of propane and diesel and light from electricity, clothing from a variety of sources and will walk to a car that joins a veritable hoard going into the city where more and more create and play.  Industries devoted Xboxs and entertainment.  There is so much leisure for so many. Though I work 60 sometimes 80 hours a week the average work week is 30. On the books its 40 but I'm talking billable hours and those in major corporations and government have extraordinary benefits and pensions that kings could not afford a hundred years past.
Last year I studied in Mexico, Athens and Florida and visited Ottawa for family.  Thousands of miles on jet planes alone travelling with my little cockapoo, Gilbert on a West Jet.  Other than that I was sailing in the straits, driving into Northern BC and back and forth to Seattle.  99% of people, as Buckminster Fuller was fond of saying, travelled no more than a hundred miles from their birthplace at the turn of the 20th century. Jared Diamond in his latest book about Traditionl Societies describes the tribal folk as killing all strangers and avoiding change because of superstition and safety.  Today I am meeting strangers daily and haven't killed a one while I've friends I've known since childhood and regret I have so little time from work to enjoy their company.
it's a truly amazing world we live in. My little dog greets the day with enthusiasm.  We've walked.  I've meditated and he's napped again.  Now there are eggs and a shower and fresh clothes and the invariably rush to get to work.  Thank you Jesus for this day.  May the God of all saints be celebrated in all today. May I remember always that I'm creation and co creator but not the centre of the universe or the end.  I am beginning. I am process.  Jesus is alpha and omega.  Today I'll be a good Tuesday hopefully.  Praise and thanksgiving. Help me be more forgiving and loving and wise and serve you and all I meet with greater tenderness and respect.  Thank you for this day.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

St.James Anglican Church - Vestry Meeting

As a member of St. James Anglican Church, I've not previously attended a Vestry Meeting. I'm one of those parishioners who tends to show up late, listens respectfully, shares the peace, gives alms, and participates in eucharist but often takes off early with Gilbert, my cockapoo, once blessed by the Bishop himself. Most people only know me as Gilbert's Dad.
There's a whole lot of background stuff happening in any church. Lots of volunteers, committees, anonymous work, business and that's not just the clergy who are usually very much overworked and over stretched in their various ministries.
Hence my presence at the Vestry meeting. I thought the least I could do is 'vote' my support for all the wonderful things that the people are doing in this church I've grown to love and cherish.
And as Vestry Meetings go it was a very good one. Vestry is a kind of 'business meeting'. They present the annual report, they talk about finances, fund raising, maintenance and principal projects in preparation.
I personally liked learning that the cost of keeping the organ and piano in tune is a pretty penny indeed. Well worth it, to hear our music. And if that sum perse could help my pipes stay on key I'd consider the price paltry indeed .
Vestry is where this sort of accounting is made. I imagine bankers, accountants and business people in general having spiritual awakenings at Vestry Meetings. I personally am more likely to be moved by the exquisite music of the choir or praying alone at the altar. Anyone mature enough to understand money, its flow and sacred purpose would no doubt have had great enlightenment at this meeting. I couldn't help but think of the apostles and Jesus and the management of money described in the New Testament.
New lay leadership, trustees, synod representatives etc, were sworn in. I see a number of these people every week humbly doing the unsung hero tasks about the church but only today found out they actually had titles.
There was some confusion about the St. James Foundation but an upcoming event is planned to help everyone understand this as a means for major bequeaths to the church with guarantees that the donations will go exactly where people want them to go.
Roses and a blue silk tie honoured a couple of the hard working set. Apparently the design on the silk tie spoke to unity which was cause for laughter as only the learned would have known and the gift buyer had just been focussing on getting the color right..
Then we heard about the project pre development committee. Fascinating information.
External auditors discussed the accounting and even without their contribution I'd concluded with a deep sense of peace that the finances were distributed in a godly manner.
I confess, I've attended many 'business meetings'. Running my own business and thanks to my older brother's tutelage, hard work and sheer skin of my teeth luck I've learned some about ledgers,numbers and such. Unfortunately not infrequently when I've attended other 'business meetings" I've found some questionable goings on. Money has a way of walking a bit especially in 'non profits'. St. James Anglican Church by comparison is lean and saintly in it's money management.
I loved that the clergy and deacons and all these wonderful vestry folk are honest law abiding citizens. I never thought otherwise but I sure was pleased to have it confirmed.
That's what happens at Vestry, you get to see that the donation you give on Sunday really does do the Lord's work. I liked that.
In the end there were prayers. Thanksgiving and praise. God is good. God is great.
As usual I only caught a few of the people in pictures who were sharing the work of their committees. More than 50 voting members were present, the number necessary to do business. Another 20 or more were there by estimate. Not to mention 3 dogs, including Gilbert. They didn't vote but wagged their tails a lot..

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunny Vancouver Day, Feb. 2013

Gilbert let me sleep in a bit this morning, waking me eventually with his 'wet alarm' clock approach. When that doesn't work he lies on top of me. I got up. He likes me taking him for a walk first thing, our week day schedule but after meditation and prayer time I had to attend to patient phone calls and office work. He was ready to go when I finally dressed and let him out on the dock to pee forever on the barnacled post that keeps the dock from floating off.

The sun was out and the sky was a beautiful blue. Up on the mountains the snow was fluffy white and I remember the pleasure of skiing Grouse and Whistler days like this.

I dragged my laundry bag down the dock while he ran enthusiastically ahead. His 4 wheel drive bouncing happy approach to the day always brings a smile to my face. In the Miata MX5 there was no room for laundry in the trunk so he had to share his front passenger seat with the bag.

Gilbert loved his off leash dog park walk. He's a real social butterfly and had a whole lot of butt sniffing good time with all the other dogs out on Saturday. Lots of ducks and geese in the water with crows in the trees.

After I dropped off the laundry at the "Cleaning Boutique" Dundas and Powell. A bright young accountant and his lovely wife manage this great drop off laundry. It's been a godsend to my busy schedule the last few years.

Honda Marine at First and Boundary is a great store for service and equipment. I bought a 50 hp honda four stroke outboard there early last year but have never been able to find a small boat that could take the power. At the boat show I finally gave up and got a 12 foot inflatable that has a 30 hp max. Honda Marine kindly agreed to exchange the motor they'd kept in their warehouse most of the year for the 30 hp. Today I found out they have already sold the 50 to someone else and have my 30 on order ready for when my new tender arrives next month. I'll have credit and found myself looking at the new 250 Honda enduro. I've missed the 230 I so enjoyed hunting with .

Gilbert and I have been driving around with the top down on the Miata and really enjoying the sunny weather.

Across Boundary at Trev Deely Harley Davidson I looked in on my Electraglide. I've been storing it there this last year but am looking forward to getting it out on the open highway next month. Gilbert and I are due for the Harrison Hot Spring weekend Harley getaway. Number 7 highway is a great opening season drive. I'm hoping to go cruising some this summer so figure I'd better get back in shape. Gilbert has his own box for the seat behind me but I've also ordered a carrier so he can sit in front of me on the gas tank. I'd like to have his eyes sheltered by the windscreen and him where I can see him.

The new 2013 motorcycles at Trev Deely were something to behold. What amazing wonders of engineering. Lots of guys and some girls in leather were already there having coffee by the Buell bikes. There were a few harleys in the lot that folk had ridden in on. I discussed my cruising plans and got some good tips from the staff. Had a nice chat with the service folk about picking up my bike from storage. I have to admit it's all a bit like 'foreplay'. Talking bikes, being around bikes, having the memories of rides come back.

Gilbert even got to meet a woman who was there looking for a pet carrier for her little dog. Gilbert, the experienced biker dog, enjoyed telling his biking adventures to the little guy new to the open road. I shared my experience with carriers. Her husband is keen on having the dog ride with him where as she's not so confident taking the dog on her bike. I reassured them. Gilbert is mostly just glad to go whereever I go.

Sitting outside typing at Waves Coffeeshop it sure feels like we're getting over winter. Planning spring and summer activities. I'm loving it.

Swimming was such a pleasure, though I admit I love the hot tub and sauna best. Seeing friends was great. Going on the little ferry to Granville Island to stop by Rowand's to check on the servicing of my HUB and having a coffee was great too. Gilbert especially liked the off leash beach time.

Now we're going by the grocery store to get a barbecue chicken to share. It's movie night and church tomorrow. What a great sunny day in Vancouver! Thank you Lord for all your blessings.

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Rowand's Reef Scuba Shop

I love Rowand's Reef Scuba Shop (1512 Duranleau St. Vancouver, BC)
I did my PADI Open Water Basic in Cancun Mexico. It was a great way to start. I was able to do the course work then get the certification the week I was there attending a course. That was years ago.
Back in Vancouver, hooked now on Scuba Diving, I visitted Rowand's Reef Scuba Shop. This is where I did my PADI Advanced and Rescue Dive Training. I loved the courses. I loved the instructors. The equipment recommended turned out to be the best in the industry, thereafter admired whereever I dove, and yet surprisingly at incredibly competitive prices.
My favourite memory is first night diving off White Cliff. Suddenly a friendly seal joined our group. We'd just been looking at the amazing phosphorescent shrimp along the bottom. Then this alien phosphorescent fast moving creature appeared. Well, lets just say I've watched too much Star Trek. The playful creature soon became apparent as of this earth and dimension but for a moment there 50 feet beneath the surface of the sea I had my doubts.
Thanks to Rowand's I had the perfect equipment and training for the years I was in Saipan. Willi Gutowski and I would go diving dozens of times in the famous Grotto Cave diving, drift diving with sharks and open water diving with dive boats. I still remember the time we dove at a hundred feet and looked over the Mariana Fault going down forever. The wreck diving shot down planes from WWII was especially enjoyable.
A sinusitis infection put me out of diving for a couple of years but the last two years I've been diving again in the southern waters so was keen to get back to cold water diving with dry suits. It's a little bulky getting dressed and into the water but once under it's just as much joy as southern diving.
I always feel like I'm in an aquarium looking at the fish close up. Then there's always those moments when I'm James Bond. I did grow up in the era where it was Bond that did all the things that now pass as every day 'adventure'. Sean Connery was our hero as boys and no better advertisement for scuba diving than him and his beautiful ladies. More often than not I feel like I'm in outer space. Nothing like floating underwater , feeling weightless, kicking just a little then looking about and seeing the others at different depths than to have a sense of what it must be in outer space. I 'd like to be on a Mars Mission but for now I'll enjoy a poor man's substitute.
I'm thankful to Rowand's for all the great advice and assistance.
I just swam 10 lengths at the Vancouver Olympic Pool. I learned at Rowand's that that was the minimum required for advanced scuba. I might be slower than years past but still feel pretty good about being in the game. Now to check out my equipment, especially equalizing with a dry suit, and I'll be out in the open water again. Can't wait. Talked to three young people signing up for their basic course. Beautiful people. The young man was so happy showing me his 'first snorkel". What a world awaits him. I remember the thrill of swimming with turtles and the excitement of swimming with sharks. All of that's ahead of them. Most of all I'm glad they're starting out at Rowand's. With years of experience and joy in diving I'm so thankful for the great care, equipment and PADI training I received there. I just have to get the new goggles with prescription lens to assist reading my computers. They accomodate bifocal prescriptions, the lower half for close up and the up part for distance.

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Granville Island Sunny Day

What a grand sunny day in Vancouver. Everyone is out walking and smiling. You'd almost think these Vancouverites are prairie people. Something about the sun heals the beleagered souls. Spirits dampened by the rain are lifted up by the day's spring sunshine.

I parked at the swimming pool and took a little False Creek Ferry across the Creek with Gilbert. He's loving all the other humans out walking their dogs. He really enjoyed playing on the beach in the off leash section. Now we're having coffee and just enjoying the sunshine. Seagulls are everywhere. I love the sound of their cries. It's like the smell of sea air too. I've been enjoying Granville Island for a quarter century and more.

For years I had my boat at 4 different marinas in the Creek. I'd take my dinghy here and the fabulous market was my grocery store. It's the first place I like to bring visitors to Vancouver. The restaurants, cafes and shops are all superb. I've probably shopped at all of them at one time or other. It's not surprising that Emily Carr Art School is here. There's that much refinement and taste in the environs.

I took my sailing courses at Coopers Sailing School. I'd bought this 40 foot boat and didn't know how to sail so I'm forever thankful to Coopers for giving me the foundation that resulted in my sailing to Alaska and Mexico and then solo to Hawaii.

Rowand's Scuba School and Dive Store are here as well. I'd taken my Open Water PADI diving in Cancun Mexico but enjoyed learning cold water diving and Rescue Diving at Rowands.

The boat lift is here and I've several times had my boat on the hard doing bottom painting and repairs with the whole of the Island my backyard during those times. It's become more touristy over the years but there's still vestiges of the earlier more rugged days.

The Lobster store is still here and many is the time I've got crabs or shellfish here for a special occasion. Now I'm old enough to consider cholesterol but if the occasion arises I know where the finest lobster and crab is to be had. I much prefer catching my own crab but that's not always convenient.

I had salmon from the Commercial Drive fish store last night and enjoyed it though I've caught countless salmon myself and enjoyed them best barbecuing them on my sailboat.

This is a very nautical place. That's probably why I love it. There's elegance and fine art, nautical wear, fine foods, and tourist shops all surrounded by water with beautiful boats and yachts to admire. I love Granville Island. What a priviledge and a wonder to live in Vancouver and have this little world of unique enjoyment to participate in.
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Apple Store, Pacific Centre Mall, Vancouver

I'm at the Pacific Centre Apple Store in downtown Vancouver. They've been very helpful as usual. I had this ipad problem. Suddenly the music would come on. As I have gospel music downloaded on the pad. My favourite is Third Day. It was a rather spiritual experience at first. I wondered if there was some message involved. Then Gordon Lightfoot, Eric Burdon and the Animals and Dianna Krall started coming out of the pad at awkward times. I consider all the musical genius on my ipad truly spiritual but some of the Old Blind Dog songs are a tad risque. So I came here and was told to reset to factory settings after backing up to Icloud. So far it's pretty good. No sounds of Joni Mitchell or Selah coming on without me touching the device. Who would have thought that such a simple solution would be the answer. I'd thought of chucking the thing against the wall and guess that wouldn't have been nearly as wise as following the directions I've just done from the bright young blue shirted Apple assistant here. Go figure!

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Friday, February 22, 2013


Thank you Lord for Gilbert on his birthday and the three years we've shared together.
Thank you Lord for the air I breathe and the heart I have to pump the blood through my vessels. Thank you for my health. Thank you for the work I am able to do, my home, my friends, my family.
Thank you for the internet and the entertainment of Netflix.
Thank you for the other dogs that Gilbert plays with. Thank you for vehicles, the bicycle, cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats. Thank you for electronics. Thank you for the sun and moon and rain and green grass and winter and spring coming. Thank you for my fishing license. Thank you for the stove and the food I prepare at home. Thank you for the fresh fish and the food distribution centres. Thank you for the sidewalks and wastebaskets and street muscians. Thank you Lord for the Bible and the other holy books. Thank you for all the saints and all those who seek God in any language, anywhere. Thank you for my education and the schools and colleges and universities. Thank you for lamplight at night. Thank you for candlelight. Thank you for diesel stoves. Thank you for love of human kind. Thank you Lord for all your blessings. Thank you for coffee and chocolate and olive oil and butter. Thank you for incense. Thank you for politics and religion and money and gold. Thank you for pearls and diamonds and banks and businesses. Thank you for fashion and architecture and art and music. Thank you for dance. Thank you for typing and ipads and Apple and PC. Thank you for dog sweaters. I've got to go because it's chilly and Gilbert despite his delight in meeting little dogs on the street must join me in the heat of my car for which I'm especiallly thankful for so we can go home and light a stove this cool night. Thank you God for all your blessings.

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Lunch Hour International Mall

I'm having lunch at the International Mall. It's just one of those modern phenomena we take for granted. Normally I eat at the Chinese buffet, sometimes the Thai. I'm right now having fish and chips from the Mediterranean cuisine. I've eat Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian here too. Foods from around the world but all the 'fast foods' of those fairs.

When I was growing up a cafe had 'american' food and the great variation was the Chinese American smorgs. I even remember as kids loving the first 'all you can eat' place where the food quantity was the attraction. Now every nations competes in these food malls. As I say we take it for granted.

There are thousands of MacDonalds overseas. Canadian poutine is on the rise internationally.

And we take it for granted. When I worked up north near the arctic the cost of transport made a tomato precious and appreciated. My friend told me about eating her first orange in 5 years after WWII. Many places in the world are still 'solely local'. The foods served in their diners are 'local' only. As urban Canadians we have access to the culture of the world because the finest people of the world have emigrated here bringing their cuisine.

When I travel I am most fascinated with geography, architecture, museums and art galleries. I like to sit and watch people too. I'm occasionally interested in the 'food' I encounter but less so that decades ago. The finest sashimi I've ever known was in Tokyo. In Hong Kong I ate at a restaurant where the menu was a veritable encyclopedia of food stuff. But the truth be told my favourite Won Ton soup was here in Vancouver.

I remember fondly fish and chips served in newspaper beside Picadilly Square but to date my favourite fish meal was at a little cafe on a beach in Mexico. More often than not when I think of a particular food 'stuff' my favourite meal was one I had made at home for me by the women and men in my life, or by myself that is.

My ex wife made remarkable sushi we all loved after she took a course locally from a newly emigrated Japanese chef. I can't think of pork chops without thinking of a particularly beautiful woman who somehow imbued her simple cooking with love.

My father comes to mind when I think of pickerel. He pan fried fresh fish my brother and I caught in Northern Saskatchewan. Mother baked a mean turkey which we enjoyed eating for days after as kids. Her wild duck which my father and brothers shot was something to be enjoyed too. When I think of home made pizza I think of my brother Ron.

Personally I've felt I did the most that could be done with moose, venison and elk, especially if I shot, dressed and butchered it myself.

Now I've known rare and wonderful delicacies from the world over, sometimes due to my travels but as often as not thanks to those who come here to live and bring their incredible culinary skills with them.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Gilbert, the Cockapoo, is Three Years Old

Gilbert is three years old. Right now he is involved in an experiment. So far alone he has attracted far more beautiful young women than he does with me. He is presently being photographed by a couple of street photographers with big cameras. It's obvious he was right. I've been cramping his style.
He's let me know, now that he's three, he expects a place at the head of the table. He expects me to make myself scarce when the sweet little cockapoos come over to visit. He'd like his own can opener too, made so it can be worked with paws.
His friend Laura sent him an new squeaky toy but he'd rather have live birds, like chickens and maybe little rodents like hampsters. He's knows the toys are an imitation of the real thing so being that much older he thinks he should be able to graduate to "live" to. He thinks Hannah could arrange for him to kill at least one chicken each day at the office. He did like the chewy that Laura sent.
Apparently he also dictated a letter to Hannah earlier in the day demanding a representative from the pet therapist union be sent over. He'd like to lodge a few complaints about his working conditions. He'd like the carpet replaced with dirt so he can do a little digging when the idea moves him.
He also wants the waiting room chairs to go. He's tired of jumping up on people so wants all his friends down on the floor where it's easier for him to kiss them and lick their faces.
He'd like the spa visits to be scrapped. When he rolls in dead fish he wants people to appreciate his right to personal expression.
Knowing that I get his best kibbles from Waga Babba pet store, he's planning an Occupy Waga Babba movement beginning soon. He expects a flash mob to join him.
He'd like to thank all the help and support he has had especially the walks that my assistants take him on. He misses Aim, Joanne and Elizabeth and hopes they'll visit him whenever they can. He wants Joanne to tell his girlfriend Kubie he especially misses her.
He likes off leash parks and when he's mayor of Vancouver he plans to convert all the bicycle lanes to off leash dog walks.
It's been a pretty good year for him. He enjoyed flying West Jet to visit Bill's family and Tanya in Ottawa. He liked chasing the squirrels in Ontario.
He liked sailing with Laura and Bill to Salt Spring Island and going on a cattle round up with Tom and Bill in Merritt. He's looking for more adventures this year so hopes everyone will help him have the best year of his life.
In conclusion he says 'thanks'. Bow Wow. Gilbert!

Rate My Doctor

I was delighted to hear that Dr. Shane, one of the finest forensic psychiatrists in Canada, was working to limit the damage done by the Rate Your Doctor organization.  As a forensic psychiatrist he is not supposed to be popular.  I totally relate to him.

I just reviewed my rate my doctor site. I was mr popularity in school. I'm a psychiatrist and an addictionist. I've reported pedophiles who have had hundreds of victims. I've notified Transport Canada that their pilot is smoking crack or marijuana.  A lot of my work is done on behalf of third parties where the person I'm seeing is being assessed for dangerous ness to society or whether they are a risk to others in the workplace.  I'm a methadone doctor and I have had my prescriptions forged and have on several occasions discharged patients from the methadone program for illegal abuse of methadone or breaches of the protocols of the methadone program that require the physician to terminate the person's care.
I have been asked by the police to treat people for bestiality.  Routinely I'm asked to sign forms for people in which they are lying and wanting me to lie on their behalf to get money falsely from insurance companies or the government.  I say no and they hate me.

When I reviewed complaints I'd received 90% were because I'd 'diagnosed' a person as having a drug addicton or alcoholism and the person was being required to see me because of domestic violence or workplace safety issues or harm to children.

I am referred patients by doctors and commonly the doctor referring the patient doesn't advise me or may not know the patients history. I have refused to see several men because they tried to conceal from me their history of rape and violence against women.  I have found out this information from collateral sources. I have refused to see them because I have a female assistant who I will not put at risk.  I might have seen them if they had been honest with me.  I refused to see a Nazi once. He was very threatening. My windows were shot out. I've changed my phone numbers on several occasions and I've lost a staff member because of the venomous rage poured out at her by a patient blacklisted by most psychiatrists for their damage to property in the office.

My own life has been threatened on many occasions simply because my correct and truthful assessment has resulted in a person losing their income because of dangerous drug addiction, because they were hearing voices telling them to kill their boss and I am required by law to report this to the person they are threatening, that they were under control of spirits that wanted them to violate children and I am required by law to report this to child protection service. When called by the RCMP regarding whether threatening and dangerous persons should be issued a firearms license I have had that person turn up at my office threatening me. One person sent to by police after an arson attempt tried to pour gas on me and set me on fire. The police accepted the person needed to be restrained.

A patient brought a gun to an interview demanding I give them valium.

I was a supervisor in the dangerously insane ward of the asylum. I did see patients in jail. I was a supervisor in the psychiatric emergency.  I have been a supervisor in a detox unit.  i have many times had to say no to people who felt entitled to services which they were not and they were not willing or could not  pay for those services.  I have had patients come to my office demanding an MRI saying they need one and their stupid gp won't give them one and if I don't do it they're make me wish I had.  They want the MRI for free because they're involved in some litigation and hope that the MRI will help them get more money. However they don't meet the 'criteria' for MRI .

I have always worked in the areas of greatest need. When I was a country family physician and northern flyin doctor I was much loved and appreciated.  When I was a psychoanalytic psychotherapist I was highly regarded.  When I began working in areas where I was required by law to serve the state and the client or have to consider the rights of children as opposed to parents and doing occupational psychiatry where the issues of safety sensitive factors employment arise,  suddenly I've got this filth on rate your doctor.

When I diagnose alcoholism the pilot is required to enter a treatment program. Their disease is so severe that they want to 'kill the messenger'.  They are putting their co workers and others not to mention millions of dollars of company property at risk and they are very angry at everyone whose job it is to think of more than just them but consider the life of others.

There are 'feel good' psychiatrists. They are junior psychiatrists and they rarely have the responsibility for major decisions outside of the individual.    They can remain 'popular'.  They are not Forensic Psychaitrists.  They are not Occupational Psychiatrists. They are not Addiction Psychiatrists.  They are not Emergency Psychiatrists or Psychiatrists that work in the Asylum.  They never say 'no' and their patients love them. I sometimes have the unhappy task of treating the patients of these doctors who have left their patients grossly addicted to a variety of medications that the patients are very angry to be having to stop when the 'good' doctor gave them this and they can't understand why he won't see them or why he can't prescribe to them anymore.  Many of these 'good doctors' have lost their 'prescribing' priviledges. Not Ironically a couple of these psychiatrsts are called as the very best psychiatrists and I could just throttle them for the mess they made of their poor patients which we in addiction psychiatry are left to clean up.

I have one patient who is still angry with me because I stopped her from killing herself.  She insists that if I didn't resuscitate her God would have saved her baby from dying.  There's no reason outside her psychotic thinking to believe her death would have revived a dead baby but she wanted to try and I interfered with that.  I know one schizophrenic patient that believes anyone who is treating him "nice' is just preparing to kill him.  I have to be extremely 'neutral' with him. No medication has altered his underlying paranoia but he's not been chronically suicidal in my care.

I do use 'story telling' as a therapeutic tool.  I do cognitive behavioural and supportive therapy.  I do not let people venomously 'vent' about their ex-husbands or ex wives in my office.  This is not 'good therapy'. It's highly lucrative but it only reinforces the injury and re traumatises the patient.

I'm not being paid to passively listen to patients.  I'm first and foremost a medical psychaitric diagnostician. I have to be sure a patient doesn't have symptosn of anxiety or depression because of an undiagnosed cancer, brain tumor, thyroid disorder, or metabolic problem.  In a therapeutic assessment I'm informing patients as I go along often answering questions and correcting misinformation they increasing come baggaged with by reading fear mongering web sites which are selling a diagnosis or treatment.

I have far more effective 'tools' for helping people than passive listening.  I have done years of training in active 'listening' therapies but there are few who are specifically suited for these types of therapy. Less that 10 % of patient's referred to psychiatrists are appropriate for anything like the televison psychiatry models of therapy. Further the research says those types of therapy work best where patients are paying for that kind of care. Hence psychoanalysis is no longer covered by health care funding insurance programs.  I am specifically trained in 'change' therapy. As an addiction specialist I'm trained in motivational therapy which implies that the person will 'change'.  The state pays for psychiatrists to help people change for the better, not to make them feel good sick.  The health care system isn't in place to perpetuate disease. (At least it's not supposed to be)

My obese patients want to 'talk' about their problems but are very angry when I say after a couple of sessions or so , "If you're not willing to do some thing about your problem then there's nothing further I can do".  Based on a motivational assessment they aren't even in the 'contemplation' phase and are best advised to come back in 6 months to review what they're willing to do about their problem. All the 'life style' disease problems don't get better by having patients go on and on about 'why' they drink, gamble, over eat, shop, hoard, live on pornography sites.  These people want to collude with you and talk about thier problems as a means to maintain their problems without actually doing anything about their problems.  As a result of research findings we're not supposed to see these people and perpetuate their illness by enabling. They are angry because they get tremendous 'secondary gain' by seeing top specialists and showing that another doctor 'failed' to help them because their addiction is a really sick disease.  It's considered a waste of tax payer money for specialists to persist in therapy where the patient only talks about change but doesn't make any actual change.

A large part of my therapy for some patients is 'educational' as is the case with all 'cognitive behavioural therapy'. Many of my patients however are referred because of behavioural problems.

Only 20 % of my present practice are relatively highly functional individuals with 'neurotic' concerns. When I had a psychotherapy practice this was about 80% of my patients.  My present practice for the last 15 years has focused more on trauma and addiction:  head injury, ptsd, personality disorder, and major medical illness.  Most psychiatrists exclude personaliy disorder and addiction and head injury from their practice.

Because I've worked in areas of greatest need I've always had very sick patients as well as less sick patients but more I've had a higher per centage of really sick patients.  Many of my patients have major medical and neurological illness. They are not likely to return to work but it is hoped that they can have a better health care outcome. Often there are a dozen other specialists involved in the care of these complex patients.  No psychiatrist in the "business" of medicine would touch these patients because they are extremely costly, timely and sick.  They're generally very unhappy with life and their medical care in general, frankly because they have had horrible events happen to them . As a psychiatrist I can't offer them a new life, or millions of compensation and often all I'm doing is trying to provide sometimes only 'palliative' care.  Smart and popular psychiatrists send these patients back to gps, avoid them like the plague, and won't see them more than once for a consult.  Dozens of my patients have been rejected dozens and dozens of times by 'cherry picking' psychiatrists.  Sometimes like me, other psychiatrists are just  overburdened  and may not be able to take on another highly disturbed patient.

I have to move my patients around so that my waiting room isn't a nightmare of trauma for the patients. I don't want my active crack using patient to come before or after the lady I'm seeing for grief after losing her baby.  I try to avoid having my rape patients  sit next to the sex offenders I see. I have a lot of difficulty managing my booking schedule and it's a real hard time for new staff who sometimes wil book three severe borderline personality disorders in a row and wonder why I look like vampires have sucked my blood at the end of the day.  I can't see two grieving patients back to back and I don't like seeing more than one manic in any day. I can see schizophrenics one after another.  There's a reason for that.  Most active addicts can not be seen for more than 15 minutes though for special reasons you may have to see them for an hour. That's usually far too stressful for them. The same goes with adolescents and people with early dementia.  I can only do one family, group or couple in a day usually because the intensity of the complexity is so draining.  Emergencies are always screwing up my schedule. Scheduling my office is like booking an operating theatre. It's a speciality in itself.  Despite notices patients often arrive with reams of paper work and cavalierly 'expect' doctors to just get this done by a deadline arbitrarily set by someone who usually doesn't know anything about medicine.  My schedule is booked 6 months in a advance. Now where is there going to be 'time' for this 'urgent' report thatn's never properly funded to be done.  Patients get moved to accommodate emergencies.  So every patient often thinks their particular 'need' (never want) is an 'emergency' and want you to just cancel or move all the other patients to accomodate them.  Sometimes we don't leave the office till 8 or 9 pm and often on weekends I'm working.

Because I do truama I'm commonly having to do medical legal reports and suddenly because judges (who scheduling problems make mine look trivial )  free up courts, I'm scrambling to have a report done and to see a patient so that this can all be available for a court date that moved sometimes months ahead. I'm a treating clinician and as such I have to be willing to provide these reports if  I am to be of help to my patients. I have much more control over independent medical examinations because I can simply not book these. They pay much more than regular psychiatry and most of my colleagues are doing these so they can continue to do the 'publicly funded' psychiatry.  More and more psychiatrists are simply not doing 'public funded' psychiatry but rather working in administration, on salary or doing private work for companies and insurance.  Private psychiatry has high overhead, no benefits, no pension, no cars, no lunches, no fixed hours, no overtime.  My colleagues in 'salaried' positions are rich and luxurious in their slower paced much more highly rewarded positions often far from the maddening crowds.

There's no money where the most angry patients live and the risks are increasing every day as the cost of the complaint process sky rockets because of all the "time loss" for private clinicians. When a patient complained I wouldn't see them that day, I lost a full day of work, having to cancel patients and re book them so that I could accomodate this 'bully' who wanted to jump the queue and thought by threatening my secretary they could.  When I reported staff office theft I had to cancel an afternoon of patients to meet with the police and go over all the damage this irate and violent person had caused.

Everyone likes to provide one time 'consults'. The doctors who do this are popular with patients and commonly disliked vehemently by family physicians who want someone whose going to share the burden.  Familiarity breeds contempt.  It's really easy to see a person, get in and get out and hope to never see the person again. A number  of psychiatrists specialize in this approach.  This is essential in other areas of medicine but the work of psychiatry is in the ongoing and chronic care and the 'acute management' of sick patients.  The government expects the health care teams to take care of these patients and they do but more often than not the patients don't want this often 'factory' type care. They want to see a psychiatrist and not a counsellor with only 2 years of training and rarely the appropriate supervision.  The psychiatrists in the teams rarely spend any real time actually meeting and  talking to patients.  They adjust medications maybe every 6 months.  When I worked in mental health teams only a small portion of my time on salary was devoted to direct patient care. The majority of times I was going to committtee meetings, meeting with other staff, reviewing reports, making phone calls, doing lunch.

I talk to patients. I listen to patients.  I am known by patients. I'm an open book.  Most of the patients who chose to see me and want to see me want to 'change' and want more than a band aid. Many of my patients come in at a particularly low spot in their lives and leave restored. I joke about my practice saying "I overhaul ferraris or sometimes just tune up ferrari's:. The people I choose to work with are usually survivors or fighters.  So often I feel priviledged to be a part of their journeys.

The majority of my colleagues who are practicing frontline clinical psychiatry are facing all the same systemic problems as I am. I see the addiction doctors and the occupational pscyhiatrists and forensic pscyhiatrists are often faced with similiar complaints as I have.  I admire their work and feel sorry that so many of the people who I see doing a really tough job are the ones getting it in the neck becasue they're there. I don't respect those who are hiding somewhere far from the patients,  smiling. I may envy them at times but I don't respect them.  I also know I have some of the most amazing colleagues and some of those in other areas of subspecialization in psychiatry are my true heros. A couple of my favourite women psychiatrists are working all day long just like me but with injured children and a fundamental lack of resources in the community.

5 million Canadians can't find a family physician, 1 in 5 and of the people who need a psychiatrist maybe 1 in 10 at most actually get to see one once and one in a hundred actually get to see someone who will see them regularly.  20 years ago I could refer a patient to a colleague and they'd see that patient for consultation that week. Today I wait 2 years to get a patient into a pain clinic, 6 months for an MRI, a year to see a subspecialist neurologist, and thats just some of the wait list problems constipating the system and making all the patients who are often getting sicker and sicker while they wait incredibly angry.  I don't blame them but it's not my fault personally that someone other than front line workers are getting the big bucks of health care.  Whenever I hear of millions or billions of dollars going to health care I think of fat cats in committee meetings discussing how many 'meetings' they're going to have to discuss how they're going to spend the money.  I don't see the resources translating into services that make my or my patients lives easier.  

Many of my patients come to me because I respect their spiritual traditions so ironically for an overtly Christian psychiatrist I have a fair slice of patients from every other religion in the world as well as agnostics and atheists.  I love that the atheists tell me that they like that they know where I stand.  Freud was very Jewish.  Jung was spiritualist.  My Moslem patients say they  want someone who has a faith and wont' disparage theres.  My buddhist and hindu patients like that I support their mediation. Dozens of patients over the years have told me that they were discriminated against for their faith and that psychiatrists belittled their religion in countless ways they probably weren't even aware they were doing.

Patients are referred to me. Over the years I've accepted more patients from certain family physicians whose work I've admired.   I am not accountable for the tremendous shortage of psychiatrists.  I am not required to see all patients referred to me and turn away a dozen referrals a week because I'm overbooked or because the patient doesn't 'fit' my practice.  My assistant tries to communicate with the receptionists in the gps office. Many referrals come from walk in clinics where receptionist turn over and many doctors results in my assistants responses not getting passed on.  I am not required to communicate in this way.  I am only responsible for patients once I've actually seen them. I am not required to see a person more than once for assessment.

If I choose to provide care I do so based on what is indicated for the particular condition. Many patients want them to see me daily, 2-3 times a week, weekly.  I used to see patients 2 x a week and weekly.  In response to the shortage and because there are no psychiatric resources I've reduced the frequency I see my patients to what isn't ideal but remains marginally okay. I't's much easier to see a few patient frequently or a lot of patients for assessments. It's very hard to see a lot of patients at 2 week,  one,  three, and six month intervals in terms of scheduling. I have patients coming back to see me who I first saw 25 years ago.  What they had then was 'cured' but what they have now has come on with age and is a different kettle of fish. I try to see people I've seen before a s priority.  I've seen thousands of patients over the years so there's more and more difficulty getting people in when they return or when the need to be seen.

Walk in clinics are a very mixed bag.  20 years ago I used to have referrals from a half dozen physicians who I communicated regularly with and who knew me and my work and didn't send patients to me that they hadn't already thoroughly screened. This is not the cases with walk in clinics.  Commonly today I see patients who were seen by several psychiatrists that year or just got out of hospital and the referring family doctor doesnt' know this and hasn't communicated it.  I am deeply saddened by how little walkin clinic doctors know their patients and then I know many patients are 'doctor shopping' and 'specialist shopping' and their's no system tracking patients to see whose doing this.  One patient I knew was seeing three psychiatrists and I only learned when I wasn't paid for their visits to me, something I only found out a month later, having accomodated their 'emergency'.

I have been working without any of the resources I was promised in my training for nearly a decade.  I am routinely handling emergencies in the office because there are no resources in the community.  I am treating people who once were locked up for life without any of the resources they were promised when their hospital was closed.  I had  several head injured patients I was seeing every three months then had to see monthly and discuss weekly because the government closed their clubhouses and these poor tragic individuals were left in their rooms all day.  Naturally their psychosis got work and their angry outbursts increased.

No one notifies me months in advance that they're going to suicide.  When I had a psychotherapy practice like most private psychologists I was always on time and always on top of my schedule.  If a patient had problems I could send them to the hospital and they got good psychiatric care.  A few months back I witnessed my patient jump in front of a bus while my assistant tackled them to save their life and not have bus driver and passengers traumatized. I stopped my practice and spent an hour with patient the ambulance and finally got the patient to the hospital where they were discharged an hour later. So without any 'back up' the family physician and moved our schedules and patients around to see this incredibly sad and highly suicidal man several times a week until he was over his crisis.  Office practice was never meant to serve this purpose but there are no hospital beds and none on the horizon.

The hospital emergency used to have a ward where psychiatric patients could stay a week, then if they needed longer they had a ward where they could stay a month and then if they needed longer they could go to a hospital where they could stay for 6 months or years.  No body had figured out that all of this has gone and the money has been spent on 'planning' , 'administration' , 'talking' and 'politics' and 'ideas' and 'consultants' and 'business consultants'' and a whole lot of other things but the fact is there's no money and countless patients in dire need.

Some days my office is busier than a psychiatric emergency. Other days I think I'm back at the asylum.  I start my day at 7 am. I'm required to review my emails. I've got a hundred a day. Most of it is spam and the government won't pass the appropriate legislation to stop these 'business bullies'.  I am in direct patient contact often 10 to 12 hours a day. Some days I see 10 or 12 patients while others I see 50 or more.  I get dozens of phone calls a day and dozens of f axes and dozens of lab work and other records I have to review.  I rarely get lunch and drink coffee always on the run.  I feel guilty but still take bathroom breaks.  Sometimes I feel like not coming out of the cubicle. I routinely cancel lunches and miss all manner of engagements and have cancelled vacations many times to accomodate work demands. I have many colleagues who do far more than I do in this regard and there are all kinds of 'platitutes' out there about not working so hard but never do those spouting platitudes help with the heavy lifting or late night shifts.

When  a person misses an appointment and doesn't notify us in 24 hours those dozens of people on the emergency wait list can't be called. Those others who are waiting six months to see a psychiatrist in the lower main land can't be seen earlier.

A lot of people sent to psychiatrists are incredibly angry long before the time they get to see us. This wasn't the case 25 years ago.  Rarely was I referred an 'angry' person. Most of my patients were 'sad' or anxious. Now all the sad people seem to be creamed away by counsellors and psychologists whereas the angry and the angry/depressed/anxious are sent to us. My obstetrician colleague says the same. He's not had an easy delivery in years.  Like us his fee schedule hasn't changed and the amount of time he has for a patient hasn't been adjusted to deal with the aging population and greater risk.

The government has been cutting my income since I started practice. I made the most money I ever made in my life working as a general practitioner in my first job.  It's been down hill financially ever since. The government says they're going to cut doctors incomes again.

So I try not to read rate your doctor.  I wouldn't recommend for anyone to be a specialist clinician in Vancouver today.  I am really thankful for men of Dr. Shane's caliber who take the time to address the problem.

I see that there is a Rate My Judge site in the US but not in Canada. I really wonder if it's a good thing to have a criminal popularity poll against judges.  I know I'm terrified when I see pedophiles and violent people and psychopaths and sociopaths. I'm afraid to do the right thing because I don't want to face the abuse that comes from those people who want to fly planes stoned, work drunk, beat up their wives, have sex with their children.  99% of my patients are fine human beings. I know it's their 'sickness' but that doesn't necessarily limit the damage they can do.  Rate your doctor like rate your judge strikes me as likely to appeal most to people who are looking for a place to put their anger and carry out vendettas.

I noticed though that many people did rate my work positively and thanked me for my care.  I am humbled by that and very thankful indeed. It's the highest praise when patients take the time to share the positive. I realize I personally must make a greater effort to be thankful to all those I often take for granted because I 'expect' them to do their job. I know I too tend to 'blame' the customs officer for the delay when the fact is he's there and a half dozen others didn't make their shift and they not him account for the back up.

I  am more likely to be annoyed by the person who isn't doing their job according to my expectations too without realizing that my expectations of what they are supposed to be doing is not what their boss or the governnment or administration is telling that person to do.  It was said that a paediatrician has 90 minutes of examinations and things to do with a child before they actually see the child and hear the child's complaint for the booked 15 minute appointment.  Everyday I have a new and more absurd and utterly ridiculous demand put on me by some one who may never have seen a patient or have a clue about what a psychiatrist does.  This is increasingly common with insurance companies and employers.

Patients get angry about confidentiality but they have signed away that confidentiality to their employer or to their insurer and if their insurer is with their employer I'm required by law to share my records 'regardless'.  I'm now required by law to keep detailed records and produce those records for the courts as well.  It is against the law for me to not 'lie' for patients yet I've been approached hundreds of times by patients demanding and expecting me to do just that.

Just as I teach my patients getting over major trauma or cancer or life threatening events  to focus on the positives I have to do that myself.

Thank you all who have thanked me.  I really appreciate it.  And I'm sorry to those who I've somehow offended because I lacked the skill to serve you better despite the fact that I probably was not what you wanted. Somehow it's a shame the system results in such mismatches or it's just sad that people can't have what they want all the time.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sons of Anarchy

I just watched the 4th Season of the biker drama series, Sons of Anarchy.  I watched the first three seasons when I bought them at out door booth at Sturges North in British Columbia.

Steppenwolf and Animals, playing on stage that weekend,  will forever be associated with that time.

The Hell's Angels were there along with the RCMP.  Alot of Vets had ridden in too. I loved best the Vets Run that week.  Made me proud to own a bike and ride with those Canadian guys who'd served in Kandahar.

Sons of Anarchy is this drama series with lots of motorcycles. I ride a Harley Davidson Electraglide.  It's almost mandatory that we watch Sons of Anarchy.  It's like ranchers watching Bonanza except the Sons of Anarchy are the bad boys.  They really are.  The women are 'old ladies'.  It's a weird 'matriarchy' with adolescent emotionally stunted men and biker mommas.  Lots of cultural and gang innuendos but the police forces come off looking shady and the town of Charmings, California business men don't look much better.

It's part of that new 'family' as God cult in Hollywood these days. Following on the "Breaking Bad" tradition where dad is a chemist turned meth lab criminal.   Mafiosa adolescent thinking.  The kind of stunted emotional growth spiritually bankrupt material we have come to expect from Hollywood. Lots of questions about the 'message' and really questionable 'ethics' and 'morality'.  It's Dirty Harry except the bad guy has the glock and the message is always the same, me.  I don't know if it's got any 'reality' to it but it's way better than the pathetic  'reality shows'.  I sometimes watch the really good bike show where the family makes choppers and I like especially the two guys who blow up things as "myth busters'.  This has a little of that kind of feel but in addition it's  really great drama. That's mostly the product of the really great acting and characters of Katey Sagel and Maggie Siff.

I confess I love Hollywood for all the special effects and especially all of the variations on  chases. It must be the dog in me but something about chases in movies and tv gets me going.   Sons of Anarchy has one of best of all,   a Hearse chasing a Harley Davidson Motorcycle.  Not just a great and novel chase scene but marvellous symbolism even the stuck up European movie makers would envy.

Life is cheap in Charming.  Revenge is what it's all about.  Might is right.  There's no elevation of the soul.  This is knuckle dragging low brow brute crime drama made magnificent by creator Kurt Sutter.

Charlie Hunnan plays the protagonist "Jax" Teller whose mother is Gemma Teller Morrow played by the Oscar award deserving  Katey Sagal. Jax's girlfriend is neonatal surgeon Tara Knowles played by the talented and truly beautiful Maggie Siff. Ron Pealman plays Clay Morrow, Gemma's partner the motorcycle gang pres and the step father of Jax.  Episode to episode we see Jax twisting and growing while Clay gets rawer and rawer.

In the background historically is 'John" , Jax's father, the Vietnam Vet who began the motorcycle group and died questionably when he wanted to keep it out of the downward crime spiral of the Irish Republican Army.  The boys are fighting black gangs and mex gangs and each other and just generally being robustly juvenile with all manner of great motorcycle riding scenes. The real drama though revolves around Gemma a conspiring  mother hen.  Tara, brilliant and "loyal in love", a trule sensitive getting harder,  is brought into the orbit of Gemma and Clay by her love for confused  bad boy Jax. 

The show is a surprisingly complex entertainment with enough 'guy' stuff and 'girl' stuff to keep a highly mixed audience.  At times I feel like I'm watching the very best afternoon soap opera with Jerry Springer somewhere in the wings conspiring with Oprah then next thing I'm transported to the best guy drama expecting Schwartzenagger, Mel Gibson and  Bruce Willis to suddenly ride up on motorcycles to join in the latest Glock and Rocket Launcher fray.  

Alright I'm hooked.  4 seasons.  There's another to go and maybe one more.  All the characters are amazingly drawn and cast.  It's unfair just to mention the core ones because the sub plots with Jax 's friend Opie and his Porn Star girlfriend, the dirty land developer, the pot head  police chief in love with Gemma but dying of cancer, the scarred cool cat Cartel leader, the lonely intellectual US attorney, they're all really fascinating characters.  Rich and diverse personalities.  Great bikes.

I love it.  But it's not real.  It's Hollywood's fascination and promotion of the criminal.  It's the make a buck off the James Dean illusion, it's their fantasies of 'noble savages'.  What it comes down to is a lot of damaged people hurting alot of people and Hollywood the most damaged of all. But God it's fun to watch.  I 'm reminded of my first microscope and my fascination looking at the bugs in some dirt water. 

Sons of Anarchy certainly appeals to the psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist in me.  Makes me think that there's a lot more work for us in Hollywood than all the country could afford. As for the Sons, I love their bikes.  I love the tattooed old ladies.  I especially love  Gemma and Tara.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

St. James Anglican Church

Gilbert and I love to go to church when we're in town on the weekend. The people are so friendly.  I love being greeted by Alice at the door. She's such a lovely lady and Gilbert likes her too.

St. James is Anglo Catholic.  People come from around the province to attend this very old service with a truly amazing choir.  There's a whole lot of ritual and vestment.  Peter was saying that it was once just very high Anglican but today it's also got a very homey parish church feel.  That's mostly after church over coffee where the regulars meet and greet.  Bear and Dodo, Gilbert's friends often make a visit there too.

Today was the first Sunday of Lent.  Father Greenaway-Robbins sermon was truly thought inspiring. Having lived in Israel he told of us his hike up the hill where the Temptation of Jesus occurred. Then he proceeded to list the temptations that the Devil offered Jesus. With each of these he reframed them in modern terms.  That certainly brought the message home.  I learned a lot today.  As always I enjoyed the prayers, the Peace, and the eucharist.  Leaving the church lighter hearted,  I was ready for a new week. St James

Vancouver Boat Show 2013

The Vancouver Boat Show has for years been one of my all time favourite events.  This year was no different.  I love the opportunity to look inside the bigger boats and see the layouts.  I love too all the paraphernalia that boaters enjoy.  Having been boating for decades I've just about got everything I could hope for on my sailboat except perhaps a helicopter.  What I did find again this year was Kits Inflatable advances in tenders.  Every type of boat, sailboats, motor boats, launches, tugboats, kayaks were there though.  At Granville Island there was a further display of big boats at the dock. I walked by there.  There's no better place to see big boat interiors and compare.  This year I was more interested in the small boats.  I loved the McGregor as always, the best light coastal sailboat motorboat ever made.  I did go into that and think that if I didn't have my own bigger sailboat this would be the most fun for weekends. Some of the tug boat variations were impressive as well.  It really is a place to dream.  A place of deals to. Over the years I've had amazing savings on offshore sailing gear, radars, and radios.  I confess I like the people at  the boat show.  We all like the water. I happen to think water people are special.Boatshow

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Gilbert, the Cockapoo and Friends

Gilbert, my cockapoo will be 3 years old in a week or so.  He's a fabulous dog, bright, intelligent, friendly, loving.  I'm blessed to have him in my life.  These days in addition to being a wet alarm clock he takes me on lots of walks.  He comes to work with me, attends church and goes to meetings.  On Valentine's Day he had a spa visit so is all trimmed and looking very handsome.  He's made a lot of friends.  He has his very favourite humans, and his favourite humans but these pictures are mostly his dog friends.  Gilbert and friendsG f9Gil  friendsIMG 2572G fG f2G f4G f8G f6G f5G f7G f10

Saturday, February 16, 2013

SV GIRI - Boat Work

I live on my 40 foot sailboat some of the time.  Other times I'm in hotels or my motor home or travelling  . When I'm not living on it I'm not fixing it up. I'd like to have it ocean crossing ready and right now it's only probably capable of coastal cruising. In  a snap I'd sail across an ocean but I'm better equipped right now for harbout hopping up or down the Pacific Coast.

Actually right now I'm waiting for a new prop and shaft since hitting a log on my return last year.  I'd just epoxied the bottom of the boat having it on the hard for days so didn't want the cost of pulling it out  until spring.  I'm waiting now to haul out the boat so I can fix the prop and shaft and throw on a fresh coat of bottom paint.  Haul outs in total cost about a thousand and need to be done yearly.

Today I cleaned the boat some. I found my table again and one of the sedans.  I vacuumed everywhere and shook out the mats. To do this  I had to tidy up Gilbert's toys. Back on the boat he went through the pile of them I'd made. They're all over the floor again, the way he likes it.

I topped up the water in the batteries.  Then I made a run to the gas station bringing back a full propane tank and 12 gallons of diesel. I poured that in the tank which the diesel heater stove feeds off.

I enjoyed baking halibut I'd bought at the market in the stove I had installed last year.  I like that everything works and I'm comfortable with the propane situation.

Last year I got a new dinghy and traded my bigger outboard in for a lighter 4 hp I could more easily lift onto the deck of the sail boat from down in the dinghy.  I 've ordered a larger commercial inflatable runabout with bigger engine. That's going to serve for scuba, fishing and be trailable for inland fishing and hunting.

Jim replaced the starter on the main Yanmar engine last year and now has a better starter to replace that one so it will serve as my back up.  It was my back up until the one I had on the engine died last year after many good years of service.

Jim's going to start work on the upgrade to the electrical panel.  The present one has been added to and added to since it was first installed 18 years ago.  There's just been no room for the gadgets I've kept adding.

I took off the old torn dodger panels and they're in being resewn now.  The dodger has done really well for the years of service.

My main concern once I'm back on the ocean is the autopilot.  It's central to my enjoyment of the boat as a solo sailor. My Wagner has been giving me trouble with S turns no matter what I do so it's time to get the technician back.  That's the one thing I might consider replacing before I went on a long voyage not that I have one planned.

It's just these are the things that go on on a sailboat. It's like having a racing car and needing to keep it competitive.  In my case it's not about competition but about it's ability to do what it's meanto which is sail accross oceans. It's more than up for anything coastal and I know it would weather storms in the middle the sea, since we did bring it back from Hawaii and it's much improved from then. I 'd just not want the worries so little by little I'm making it capable of facing the oceans surprises. It was such an incredible trooper of a boat when I sailed solo in winter to Hawaii through storms.

That's what cruisers do.  Boat work.  I'd be a whole lot richer in material wealth living in an apartment but I'm still astonished to be sitting in a vehicle that can go anywhere in the world. I've got the skill apparently and the boat has the capability.  I'd rather have company if I do another ocean passage though Gilbert and I could do it solo.

Anyway those are the thoughts on a never ending project.  Meanwhile I've been watching netflix tv with my personal hotspot.  I must renew my Nexus for land and sea. I've kept up the sea one but I missed the deadline on the online renewal of the land one so now have to make a trip down the street from where I work, since they no longer require we go to the border as before.


Jesus taught Love God and Love your neighbour as yourself. The Lord's Prayer says "Forgive me as I forgive them."

Emmett Fox teaches that to have a resentment is to hold the delinquent prisoner. The trouble with having a prisoner is that it automatically makes you a jailer. Therefore you and your prisoner are in jail. To set yourself free he says to sit quietly, read a Bible passage to help centre oneself, then tell God I forgive this person by name. He goes on to say that once you've forgiven the person ask God to set you free from the resentment and the person.

There are people who are delinquents in my life. These people have attacked me, thieves, liars, false accusers, and their supporting institutions, and government who bites the hands that feeds taking my tax dollars to hurt me, they're all fairly easy. I don't want the psychopaths and sociopaths and corrupt government institutions in my life so I can ask God to free me from them. The trouble is I've little resentments about even those people I dearly love. I don't want to be free of them. I want to be less sensitive and less judgemental and more protective and discerning.

Right now, in this day, I'm blessed. I've prayed as Emmett Fox taught. We're all God's children. We're all interconnected. We're all facets of God. The world is a reflection of my self in some ways and vice versa. The answer is always love.

Fox teaches that when that person or institution comes to mind again we just bless them. We don't need to keep forgiving them over and over and going through a formal ritual. Just 'pray for your enemies', bless them and hope that they stay away and you don't attract any more like them.

Jesus says we should clean our house of demons and not let even one back in because they bring their friends and next thing your house is no longer a temple of God.  That goes for 'peace of mind' too.  Those who meditate call the mind 'monkey mind' because it's all over the place.

I have so much to learn and the practice is truly onerous. I remember Willie Gutowski, the minister and psychiatrist, saying that the mind is like a radio and that we should keep it tuned on the God Channel. He joked with me saying, maybe I should use both hands. At that time I'd bought a really cheap truck radio. Whenever I hit a bump, like train tracks, it would suddenly skip from the gospel channel to heavy metal. I'd be forever putting it back on the channel I wanted, whatever that was.  The synchronicity of his message and my having that radio really struck home.

Today I'm still trying to keep my mind on the God channel, staying positive, using the up elevator. It's like riding my Harley motorcycle though . I dare not lose focus or I end up in the ditch.

All those who have hurt me knowingly and unknowingly, I forgive. All those I've hurt knowingly or unknowingly, I  ask that you forgive me.  May we all be released from prison. I don't want to be a prisoner or a jailor. I want to be joyous and free as God would want me.  Those I love and those who love me, I ask God that I might learn to love and be love more humbly and more fully.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sexual Significant Other - the Mate

"A man without a woman is not a man," Jewish proverb.

In todays jargon this would perhaps no longer be gender specific.  It speaks to the essentially relational aspect of the individual.  We lack eyes in our back for defence.  Together with another we can stand back to back and even hugging we have a 360 degree view of our environment.  When one is sleeping the other can be awake.  The dyad rather than the monad is the essential 'unit' of mankind.

In the the days of Winston Churchill and before, almost up to present days it was ever said, "Behind every good man there is a good woman."  Hitler's problem according to the high self esteem women, in part if not all, was that little tart, Eva Brawn, Hitler's girlfriend.  The male joke today is that she was the one who was refusing sex unless poor Adolf killed her more Jews.  She definitely wanted the English Crown Jewels and the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth were not going to give them to the whore of Germany.

With the rise of Margaret Thatcher to English Prime Minister and given her impressive partner the saying was extended to be 'behind every good woman is a good man.'  "Birds of a feather flock together' is well acknowledged despite the fact that all criminals insist they didn't know their mates were up to no good when the groups are caught red handed.

Much as the  Feminism of Social Communism would claim "all men are victimizers" and "all women are victims",  despite the the facts of history, the limits of generalization, and the ethnocentricism of the culturally ignorant  rhetoric of these western university WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic).  Personally coming from a Celtic Egalitarian background, with equally powerful  complementary parents,  so different from the patriarchal Mediterranean  Israel, Rome and later Germany, we've always celebrated the outstanding women.  Pelagius the Aberdeen monk pilloried by Augustine was considered more offensive for his tonsure and love and celebration of the mother than his famed "Pelagian heresy".

As France had her Joan of Arc, all Latin and South America celebrated the woman as mother. Catholics and Christians in general have always portrayed Mother Mary as next to God. An early pre Nicene or pre Roman empire Christian schism had God as dualistic, mother and father God.  In, Evolution of God, Robert Wright traced the father-mother God to the early Jewish community before the Yahweh 'emperor' God of Jewish patriarchy.  Orthodox Jews still at times pray "thank god I am not a woman' .  Jesus's offence among many was his egalitarian approach to women, his friendship with Martha and Mary, his deferring to Mary, and his calling the ultra masculine Jewish 'Father' of the day ,"Abba"  the diminutive  'daddy'.    

Most of the great men of history were family men, men as fathers, not as boys.  The rite of passage for most cultures was the marriage of a man and woman and the becoming of these adolescent individuals fathers and mothers and adults in family.  Gender until very recently referred to the sex of man as boy and father and woman as girl and mother.  The dissolution of family in the war of group versus individual invariably seeks to destroy all natural allegiance in exchange for artificial allegiances  crown, flag or religious dogma.

Radical feminism was a theology of individualism, a death cult promoting abortion, ritual infanticide no different in it's scientific guise than the infanticide  renounced historically as epitomized by the Abraham and Isaac sung so well by Canadian poet, Leonard Cohen.   Radical feminism was by nature a rejection of the mother by the daughter.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and these daughters imitated their fathers and emulated the hard drinking, sexist, polygamous men of their hurt and angry girl imaginations. To them a man to a woman was as useful as a bicycle to a fish.  There's nothing womanly about girlish 'radical feminism'.

Much of modern day confusion especially in the Courts and Government edicts reflects the ignorance of the laws regarding development and science.   Intellectuals are forever formulating ideas alien to nature and playing out their 'experiments' on millions of people.  The billions murdered by atheist communism in Russia and China speak to the failure of fundamental understanding of the 'interconnectedness' of individuals.  No man and no woman is an island.' It was not surprising that the old 'women's studies' departments evolved to 'gender departments' as so many white girls maturing went on to become mothers themselves and realized their former dogma favoured killing off their sons.

The  Chinese meanwhile were with patriarchal communist efficiency killing off all future feminists by selectively aborting female babies. The hijacked humanism of the original suffragette and women's liberation movement having weathered the obscenity of radical feminism expanded culturally to include women of all races where motherhood and children were not abhorrent and despised. On the international scene the simple education of women without abortion has reduced family size to three; not dissimiliar to the numbers common in aristocracy, which have usually celebrated their own children, no matter how much they had disregarded the children of the masses. The spiritual women studies today increasingly replace the paradigm of individualism and 'corporations' artificial legal constructs of the 'individual'.  Today it's recognised that it takes a village to raise a child. Good children are a product of good mothers and good villages.

The importance of our most significant others cannot be understated whether or not one goes on to produce a family following marriage, adopting or simply maintaining a long term partnership, this relationship beyond the original family membership is the greatest developmental process in life.

It has long been understood that where there is no money or sex involved people can quite easily 'agree' in general. This is why coffeehouse intellectuals can have such fun playing with ideas. It's why governments and government committees are so exciting because they're invariably playing with someone else's money. Church ladies are forever making rules for 'other women' but rarely are willing to have their own behaviour held up for similar scrutiny.  Censors love to read salacious material and censor you or me from the same experience.

The poor routinely criticize the way the rich spend money but invariably when the poor become rich they too spend similarly.  Revolutions mostly exchange tyrants and little often changes.  The 'reformer is the enemy of anyone who benefits from the status quo', so with reform comes a new 'status quo'.  Progress when it occurs doesn't do so smoothly but rather in stops and starts with 2 or 3 steps forward and 1 or 2 steps back.

I loved that celtic Queen Boudica beat the Roman armies of Emperor Nero time and time again, being of such success that later Queen Victoria would celebrate and claim heritage.  Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, Catherine de Medici, mother of three French Kings, Isabella I , unifier of Spain, Hariet Tubman, conductor of the underground railway, all are examples of extraordinary women who defy the feminist paradigm of woman as 'victim'.  As scientists, when the data overwhelmingly defies an ideology, the ideology is chucked, whereas in politics the exact opposite occurs, with any evidence to the contrary and those who espouse it, removed to save and promote the ideology.  Ideology and politics aren't about 'truth' but about money, power and people.

The individual is a construct of 'history' and 'media'.  Even St Theresa is a product of the group of nuns who worked in Calcutta and she would be the first to say it.  Even as General Patton would speak of his dependence on his men.  We are not a collection of 'individuals' despite the fact we are born between piss and shit.  Our birth is a dyadic phenomena of 'mother and child'.  Paul Simon eulogized this in his song "mother and child reunion'.  When we think of ourselves as a 'alone' we negate our very mother, deny the X and Y chromosomes of our father and mother, and that our DNA all apparently relates back to one African cave family some 80,000 years ago.  No wonder people say to Barach and Michelle Obama, they've "come along way".   In addition our birth more often than not involved community.  Further, if we were collectively evil no child would survive infancy when their vulnerability is so great that they are wholly dependent on their parents and community.  Even the greatest of us stand on the shoulders of those who went before.

That first child adult bond of family with siblings perhaps or not is next developmentally seen as the adult adult bond of the first and most important 'significant other'.  Once the proto unit of family, though not always, to day with gay marriages and "DINKS - dual income no kids'" relationships and 'friends with benefits', despite all its permutations,  this 'sexual significant other " still remains of paramount importance in and of itself. It is the cauldron of personal development and the foundation of connectedness with community.