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White Open Spaces – Yeah Or Nay?

May 20, 2022

“What’s this?” you might ask.

A social media posting goof up by yours truly?

An all-white painting by pop artist, Robert Rauschenberg – marked sold with the proverbial red dot?

Both good guesses – but you’d be wrong.

It’s White Space – AKA yesterday’s square on my calendar. And as you can see, it was completely empty.

What it meant is that there was no place I need to go and there was no one who was expecting me to show up. I could have declared it an all-day pajama day if I were so inclined. And, in fact, I did treat myself to an afternoon nap on a rainy afternoon! (more…)

Wishing You The Best Of The Season

December 30, 2021

As the calendar turns on our second year of the Covid 19 Pandemic, we know more and we’re protected some; but the virus and our understanding of it keep changing. If there was ever a time for resilience, this would be it!

With the introduction of vaccines throughout 2021, some of life’s normal activities returned. Even being able to do simple things like meeting for coffee or sharing a meal were greatly appreciated.

In our world, all but the most modest of travels were curtailed. What took on great significance for me were short visits with nearby family. I had missed them so.

In recent years, I’ve made it a practice to sum up our family’s year in photos. As you will see from the Katz Family Christmas Letter 2021 included here, we continued to find joy and pleasure in spite of the various restrictions of our times. We’re especially grateful for blessings of good health.

May this message find you well and looking forward with hope to life as it will unfold in 2022.

Warmest wishes to you all, Pat

Take A Walk With Gratitude

October 24, 2021

Thanksgiving has come and gone and as I took my morning walk today, I remained thankful for all kinds of things. In particular, I noted how grateful I am to have my mind and my memories.

What prompted this line of thought was the news that beloved children’s author, Robert Munsch (I’ll Love You Forever, Mortimer, Thomas’ Snowsuit, The Paperbag Princess, and so many more modern classics) has been diagnosed with dementia.  This means that eventually his many memories and the stories he has created over the years will be gone to him.

This made me sad, and it made me appreciate my own memories even more. Many of my earliest recollections involve  (more…)

Are You Giving Yourself Time To Play?

September 8, 2021

I could not resist! Driving home recently from a late afternoon appointment, I cruised by the kiddies’ rides in Kinsmen Park and thought to myself, “Why not?”

It was a stellar September day – sunny, calm and warm as could be – a beautiful day for a ride.

I pulled into the parking lot, bought myself tickets and hopped on a horse. When the merry go round rolled to a stop, I took to the skies on the Ferris wheel.

I ride carousels everywhere we go on our travels, and I hadn’t been on this one yet – this year!!!  I’m glad I took that little detour and a timeout to play.

When I posted these photos and reflections on my experience to my Facebook page, I was struck by the dozens of responses I received. (more…)

How Are You Showing Up In The World?

June 4, 2021

David and I celebrated my birthday this week by going out for brunch. That used to be a fairly regular event in our lives, but not so recently. This was the first time we had eaten INSIDE a Saskatoon restaurant in over 15 months. Thank you Covid!

While we waited for our food to arrive, a fellow diner stopped by our table as his small party exited the restaurant. The young fellow (maybe 30ish) had been breakfasting across the way with his lady and their brand-new baby.

The fellow told us he’d noticed us through the windows, making our way along the river to the restaurant – walking hand in hand, chatting, and looking very happy.

He went on to say that seeing the two of us touched him. He hoped that he and his wife would be just as happy together as time went on; and he laughed when I told him we’d had almost 50 years of practice. How thoughtful he was to make an opportunity to share his thoughts with us. (more…)

PAUSE – 20.12 – Are You Searching For Glimmers Of Hope?

December 1, 2020

Reflection: Those of you who have been Pause followers for some time may remember that from 2004 through 2007, I ended each year’s messages with a set of reflections on one of the four jewels in the season of advent: peace, joy, love and hope.

If there was ever a year that we needed hope, 2020 – the year of the pandemic – would be it. And so I dug back into my files and pulled out that earlier message about hope.

I thought you might find it helpful as we wind down this year and look to the new year that is just around the corner.

For 2021, may we dare to hope for a reduction in the spread of Covid, the speedy delivery of an effective vaccine, and the return of those valued things we have set aside in our attempts to keep ourselves and others as healthy as possible.

Here’s that 2007 message on hope, one more time:

I’m sure you’ve learned a thing or two about hope over the years. You’ve probably hoped for positive test results on an exam (medical or academic), for a soulmate with whom you can share life’s joys and worries, and (from the sublime to the very practical) for a primo parking spot when you’re late for an appointment.

We know a lot about hope where I live here in Saskatchewan.

  • Farmers seed the land every spring in the hopes of a bumper crop.
  • Mining companies prospect and drill deep in hopes of finding oil, potash, diamonds and uranium.
  • Roughrider fans hope every year for their team to make and take the Grey Cup.

Sometimes those hopes and dreams come true, and sometimes they don’t.

Here are some of my favorite quotes on the powerful uplifting life force that is hope. Tuck some of these words in your pocket so they may lift your spirits in the days ahead. (more…)

PAUSE – 20.11 – Order From Chaos Revisited

November 4, 2020

Reflection: When I first launched my business – almost 35 years ago – I was focused on improving the lives of women working outside the home. Many of us were juggling career and family responsibilities and struggling mightily.

‘Order From Chaos’ was one of my most popular seminars. It zeroed in on dejunking and organizing the physical clutter of life and creating systems to manage endless responsibilities. There was something very satisfying about finding ways to feel more in control of all that was coming at us from every direction.

In the midst of a global resurgence of Covid cases, we face the prospect of a long winter of restricted movement and limits on activities for our selves and our families. Toss on top of our virus anxieties a list of ongoing concerns about economic uncertainty, rascism, social inequities, and a host of other issues. Once again – or perhaps still – many parts of our lives feel chaotic and beyond our control.

In the midst of it all, it may be time to resurrect some of those ‘order from chaos’ practices that helped us through earlier times. (more…)

PAUSE – 20.09 – How Could You Reach Out In Kindness?

September 2, 2020

Reflection: In response to last month’s Pause ezine, one of my readers reminded me (and rightly so) that all is not easy-peasy wine and roses for everyone in the midst of this pandemic. Those with frontline responsibilities, those trying to juggle working from home along with childcare, and those facing financial hardship are struggling and exhausted. I get it.

I’ve been thinking more about how we can ease the burdens of those around us by reaching out to connect with kindness and support.

Action: Here are a few actions I’ve noted and/or experienced that might spark ideas for you.

Lend a hand with the kids. Harried parents can use help – even at a distance – engaging with the youngsters so mom and dad are free to finish up a work project or start cooking dinner. I’ve been using the Caribu app to connect with my 4 and 7 year old grandsons. It allows us to see each other while reading stories, playing simple games, or co-doodling on a drawing.

Catch up on colleagues’ lives beyond work. There’s a tendency to think of workplace zoom meetings as needing to be ‘all business, all efficiency, all the time’. However, in the ‘old normal’ workplace, there would be time for informal chats about life in general. Try booking a zoom coffee break, lunch or 5:00pm wine date with a colleague with the express intent of getting caught up on each other’s lives outside of work. A bit of genuine empathy can help ease the burden.

Meet briefly outdoors in person. Face time and zoom conversations are good. But sometimes you just need to see a real (as my friend says non-digitized) face. Connecting in person at a safe distance for a conversation, a coffee, or a walk can lift the spirits of all involved. (more…)

PAUSE – 20.08 – Pandemic Delivers The Goods

August 5, 2020

Reflection: Well, we here we are about five months into the pandemic here in Canada. I can’t say this situation is or was something I welcomed. Did any of us?

I am fully aware that differences in our stage of life, family, career, and finances as well as our geographical location means that we are all experiencing this situation differently. A single mother working from home while juggling education and childcare is facing a totally different set of challenges than a retired pensioner living on their own. And of course there are many variations in between those two extremes.

So let me preface this by saying that from my corner of the world, as a self employed, empty nester, I have noted a few good things arising from the experience.

Since we are ‘at home’ for the entire summer, we signed on to take delivery of a weekly basket of fresh vegetables from Spring Creek Gardens. So far we’ve received baby potatoes, carrots, broccoli, swiss chard, kale, lettuce, radishes, beets, dill and more. It’s always a surprise to see what’s come into its own each week. And the resulting meals that hit our dinner table bring back childhood memories of fresh produce from the garden at the farm.

With the exception of the year we hosted our daughter’s wedding in our backyard, our garden has never looked better. I’ve cleaned out back corners and trimmed up shrubs that haven’t seen much attention for years. And I’ve done a much more regular job of fertilizing. The plants are happy about that. Biggest hydrangea blossoms ever!

Mornings are a delight. I’m up in good time with no place I have to go. There’s time to enjoy a morning walk, a bike ride along the river, or yoga in the garden. As warm summer days have finally arrived, I’m reading the paper, sipping my coffee, and doing my crossword puzzle outdoors while birds swap the morning news in the trees above.

I’m learning new things – how to navigate my way around delivering virtual presentations, for one. And since I’ve signed on for a couple of online language classes, my French is improving. Merci beaucoup pour ca!

We’re definitely spending less money. Other than grocery and greenhouse shopping, we haven’t spent much time hanging out in the stores or even shopping online for that matter. And our travel expenses, which are normally a big part of our budget, are nil. (more…)

PAUSE – 20.06 – It’s Less Than Ideal But It’s Something

June 3, 2020

Reflection: ‘ABC’ – All Be Closed. For many of us, that’s been the global theme song for spring 2020.

‘C’ (for Covid 19) also brought us Confined. Cancelled. Called off. Crossed out. Cut.

Everyday experiences that we’ve long taken for granted – meeting friends for coffee, enjoying a meal at a restaurant, sinking into our seats at a movie theatre – all gone! Conferences, concerts, graduations, weddings, festivals, sports, vacations – evaporated into thin air.

And as we learned from our early alphabet studies, ‘C’ is followed by ‘D’. Disappointment. Disillusion. Dejection. Despondence. Distress.

Coronavirus has turned our world upside down. And, all but the courageous providers of essential services, have sheltered in place as we do our best to stay well and minimize the risks.

In the midst of the quarantine, it seems that another ‘C’ – Creativity – is lifting us from the dust of shattered dreams. (more…)