Sunday, December 19, 2010


It’s that time of year once again, different people call it varying names but in our house we call it Christmas. When you get to a certain age there are very few surprises left, maybe that’s why the numbers get smaller as well. People come and people go, some move but most pass on and all you are left with are memories.

This morning the wife went to open the door ready to go out and almost stepped on a small package, tucked neatly up against the door so that you could hardly miss it. This is what Christmas is all about.

This is a very special gift,
That you can never see
The reason it's so special is
It's just for you and me.
Whenever you are lonely
Or even feeling blue
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you.
You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold this package close to you
It's filled with love inside.

Love Madge

A Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

How Old Are You ?

something I thought was cute to share...

Age is a quality of mind.
If you have left your dreams behind,
If hope is cold,
If you no longer look ahead,
If your ambition's fires are dead,
Then you are old.

You know your getting older when:

The gleam in your eye comes from the sun hitting your bifocals.
When the mind makes a commitment that the body can't fulfill.
You feel like "the morning after" but you haven't been anyplace.
Your little black book contains only the names ending in M.D.
Your back goes out more often than you do.
You get winded playing cards.
You look forward to a dull evening.
You know all the answers, but no one asks you the questions.
You sit in your rocking chair, but can't get it going.
Your knees buckle, but your belt won't.
You have too much room in the house, but not enough in the medicine cabinet.
You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.

have a Merry Christmas


Sunday, August 22, 2010


These shriveled sinews and this bending frame,
The workmanship of Time's strong hand proclaim;
Skilled to reverse what e'er the gods create,
And make that crooked which they fashion straight.
Hard choice for man, to die -- or else to be
That tottering, wretched, wrinkled thing you see:
Age then we all prefer; for age we pray,
And travel on to life's last, lingering day;
Then sinking slowly down from worse to worse,
Find heaven's extorted boon our greatest curse.

by: Crates 470 BC


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


A few days ago I received the sad news that my friend in the states had passed on. Like myself, he too suffered with this COPD, but his case has been much worse than mine.

I first met James whose internet handle was Enigma/Sojourner, in a COPD thread. We became friends quite quickly because like me, he also was a writer. Believe me Enigma could make the English language stand on its head in his orations; he was that prolific with his words. No matter his topic, people would just hang on every word, such was his eloquence. He was also a very accomplished artist with his portrait painting; his work just took your breath away. He was such a talented man in so many ways.

In addition to his writing and painting, he built boats, was quite a fitness guy with his running, being an ex marine and had a way with the ladies that would charm the hair off a coconut. His heart though was lost to his wife a long time ago. Never have I ever read so much feeling in a poem, as when he opened the door to his soul, writing to Mary. Of course like myself, he had an insatiable thirst and knowledge of poetry. His passing has really come too soon for such a talented man, what a waste to the world. His contributions through his words already are sorely missed. Sleep easy my friend.

In closing I have written a poem for my friend, for he would expect it of me and I could not have it any other way.

Don’t bury me

Don’t bury me where the sun can’t shine.
But on a hillside treed and green
Where I could see the oaks and smell the pine
Where the birds once sang and preened.

I’d like to think, that my spirit can roam,
Hills and valleys that reach to the sea,
Where the smell of the brine, and the crisp ozone
Ships in sail ride the waves, sleek and free.

I have written my words and have sang all my songs,
I’ve worked on the beaches, and I’ve gazed upon sights
My journey’s all done, the lifes highway so long.
I rest, my eyes closed - under cool starry nights.

Eric Valentine June 7th 2010 ©


Saturday, May 22, 2010


If we are to be friends,
Let it be for a lifetime.
If we are enemies,
Let us
Practice Peace and Tolerance.
Then -
We can be Friends.

E. Valentine May 5/04 ©

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just Lately

Still coming around after my near brush with the unspeakable, just lately we seem to have been consumed by my/our love of Leonard Cohen. I don’t know if I ever mentioned in the past, but it was my interest in him as a younger person that first got me writing poetry. Years ago I loved his music first; it was later that I got into his poetry and who could not?

Ever-since I got out of the hospital though, I have been doing more reading and movie watching. Not long ago, for my birthday actually; (Feb 14) Elizabeth brought home from the library a DVD of Leonard Cohen’s 2008 tour in London, England. I was captivated. Actually seeing him perform live onstage was something I had not seen before. I was left with an insatiable hunger for more of his music. I had never really listened in depth to his lyrics for the songs, the words absolutely amazed me.

Most nights before we go to bed we end up playing some of his music. The problem is, once we start listening we keep playing more, it has that kind of effect, at least on us it did. I doubt that there are any of his songs that we don’t like, but like all artists, we do have our favorites.

Here then is a short list of what we like the most to end the evening with:

In my Secret life
Alexandra Leaving
Take this waltz
Famous blue raincoat
The gypsy’s wife
Can’t forget
Night comes on
Rivers of dark
Love it-self
Master’s song.

Since then, we purchased the video of that concert and added a number of CD’s of his music to our collection. Needless to say, every time we play a song of his we are amazed at the accomplishments of this man.
We also picked up his latest biography by Tim Footman and it was excellent reading. In addition, we just bought his latest book of poetry, “Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing”.
Once you spend a little time listening to Leonard, it’s not too difficult to become enraptured with his music and hypnotized by his genius with words.
Here is a man who with his sheer talent with the English language, has managed to bridge the sands of time for all eternity, painting his soul into all he creates.
It can be said in all honesty, that with the aging of his years (75 now) and the coarse sound of his voice, he has become better.

You have to live forever Leonard!! The world needs you.
Well, I do.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

A COPD Theory

I wrote this in 2008.

I had not been sick that year with a cold, flu or a chest infection. Considering that I have severe COPD that is quite a revelation. So being an analytical type of person I set out to figure out why.

Upon checking my records for the winter of 2006/07, I came up with some very interesting information. At that time I was enrolled in a rehab follow up program being run in our local community. I also began to get sick closer to the end of the program and was missing rehab days at an alarming rate.

It had not been that noticeable to me at the time, for my illness was a full time occupation. Naturally, when you get under the weather and start to struggle with shortness of breath (SOB), there is the tendency to blame it on the COPD. There were many days of confusion and panic on my part because of my lack of education of COPD.

Thanks to the rehab program, the therapists and all staff concerned, all that had changed to the point where I learned enough to know how better to live with my impairment; also how to negotiate my way around most of my minor emergencies.

It was actually right at the end of the program and we had started the follow up exercise drop-in stage, that the sick routine became obvious. A pattern had started to form; I would attend the drop in, and three days later I would get sick either with a cold or a chest infection. This of course prompted my absence from rehab and then some recovery time to get better and strong enough to resume my program activities.

The problem is when a person has ailments like these it’s bad enough, even for a normal person. When that person suffers with severe COPD, then it can get really bad and one has to be very aware. The reason for this is, as a COPD sufferer the immune system is greatly compromised, thus putting that patient at a far greater risk to whatever else is floating around. Any simple illness can land a COPD patient in hospital in a hurry, for most types of exacerbations will do that to you. A lot of hospitalizations usually come in the form of severe infection, SOB, respiratory failure and/or pneumonia.

After doing an evaluation of all my own circumstances, I reached this conclusion. ~ During the course of doing exercise workouts in the rehab gym, one couldn’t help but notice the volume of patients attending drop-in. This I concluded made it extremely difficult for rehab staff to stay on top of the apparatus hygiene during program in progress use. Patients were working their routines in rotating ten minute increments. As soon as one machine became vacant, another patient stepped in for their 10 minute workout. It would follow that whatever germs were present on the equipment, these could be passed onto the next person, purely by using the same machine without it being sanitized between each use. Of course, if at some point the patient puts their hand to their face the rest is elementary; germs are passed on, and some people get sick. Maybe my being a little run down, around that time, contributed to why I got sick so frequently that year.

It is important for anyone who has COPD to remember that their immune system is not like that of a well person. Because of the illness and the drugs they have to take, their immune system is greatly compromised; as such, they are at greater risk of catching germs and suffer more than one could imagine as a result.

It is a COPD patient best interest to keep up with exercising regularly as well as eating properly and sensibly. Practice your purse lip breathing constantly, this is important.

Having a few small weights, 3lb bar bells, thera-bands and religiously keeping up with a rehab workout routine at home is a must. Lots of walking certainly helps to keep you in shape. The affect of all this can slow down the progress of COPD, but you have to be relentless in your desire to want to live, vigorously applying yourself accordingly.

I did not like being away from the gym and the expertise of my PT, also the benefit of the better workout that I could achieve with the machines, but the risk for me was too great. I feel that a patient has to assume some of the responsibility of looking out for their health and do what they can to try and protect themselves from germs and getting ill. I did consider taking extra precautions, such as wearing a mask if necessary and even surgical gloves. Perhaps concentrate more on what I handle, as well as keeping my hands from my face. Maybe I could make this work and stay germ/sickness free for the most part. Having COPD is no game, for it is after all, your life that is at stake.

Breathe Easy.

Eric Valentine Jan 24/08 ©


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The wife and I were talking today as I got ready for a bath, and for some reason that set me thinking of baths of another time. My mind was cast back to when I was very young and WWII was still in its infancy.

I was drawn back to a houseful of people, kids mostly. This situation was created that way as a result of being evacuated. Groups of families were being made to fit into whatever accommodation was available. Our small two & a half bedroom house had a total of seven children and five adults. As a child it never occurred to me that if the kids occupy the beds, where did the adults sleep? Of course children didn’t think of such things at that age.

The bathtubs of those days were the iron porcelain glaze type with legs on them. They always seemed to look more grey than white, with the perpetual rust stain that seemed to come with every tub. Looking back I chuckle; for at times, when the tub got filled with the water from the tap, the water often looked almost as if someone had used it already. I don’t know if this was the effect of the colour of the water, or if it just looked that way because of the grayish tone of the bathtub.

I was certainly reminded of five children to a bed, and us kids getting bathed, all three brothers in the tub at the same time. The water was heated mostly by pots being boiled on the gas stove, you get the picture.
There were days during the cold winter months when mom gave us a farmers bath. We would take turns standing in a large basin set on a hand pegged rug in front of the open coal fire. Because it was so cold and damp upstairs in the rooms, we used to pull our clothes into the bed to warm them before we could get dressed.

There’s something to be said about getting older; for with memories like these, one never forgets what life used to be like and I’m thankful for that.

I headed for the bathroom, thinking twice about pulling the wife's leg and asking where’s my rubber ducky!


Monday, February 22, 2010

A Second Chance

Since I started with COPD I have never really had a crisis situation bad enough that we couldn’t handle, and most times survived the day to fight another time.

Four months ago such an event took place for us, one that has changed our lifestyle forever. ~ Scared? You bet your life we were scared and the feeling doesn’t go very far away. There have been many things happen in my life, but none that has affected us the way this one single event has done. You’re damn right we were stunned for a while at the possibilities.

The year 2009 was a very bad year for us and many others I don’t doubt. We never dreamed when Elizabeth’s mother passed away that this would be just the beginning of a trend yet to come.

Unfortunately these were issues of health in our house.

Late Oct, I went down with the above mentioned COPD exacerbation that landed me in hospital, but that was just the beginning of a very unpleasant experience, culminating in heart problems. They told me later, that I was not supposed to walk out of there. I reckon they didn’t know me and Elizabeth yet.

Cutting a long story short, the whole experience set me back quite a long way physically. It has, and continues to be, a long road back, but the improvement has been very encouraging the last couple of months.

Yes, 2009 was a very bad year but 2010 is really turning out to be a winner so far. We look forward to the spring and flower planting and in addition, I want to try and get my pen back into action very soon.

It has been very encouraging to see so many different people checking in at the blog and leaving your kind comments. I do hope to make things up for my absence in the near future. Thank you all for caring so much.