Do More of What You Love


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Sciatica–a word I’d heard mentioned along with pain and back–suddenly became the only topic on my mind. Started just before the Canadian Writers’ Summit when I had to walk all over Harbourfront. It felt like my hipbone was poking out through my skin. Somehow that pain sent a numbing tingling down my leg.

I love walking, especially with my Jackapoo Mortie, so I hated life. But I heard swimming was good for your back so even while at the writer’s conference I swam in the morning and at night in the hotel pool. When I returned home, I bought a swim pass and swam at public pools every day with my grandchildren or not. At my friend Lynda’s pool whether she was home or not.

On a walk at Kernscliff Park, I discovered that strolling on softer grounds was easier on my hips and there were tons of turtles at the end of the boardwalk in the wetlands there. I love swimming, and I love turtles.


turtle photoSo I walked there every morning and swam every afternoon. And yes I wrote. And read. I ate more chocolate and drank more wine.

Then I saw my new motto somewhere on the Internet: Do More of What You Love.

Nine long weeks later my Sciatica pain left but some extra weight and my motto remains. Will keep swimming in my life and run with my Jackapoo! Somehow we all need to fit doing more of what we love in our life.

Would you swim in goose poop to save your dog?


Tiny white dot is Mortie’s head. Other brown dart three metres behind is my head.


A nice walk down the lake, that’s what we were after.  Spencer Smith Park offered no parking and the Beach Road was closed. “Let’s go to Lasalle Park,” my photographer husband said.

“Great idea,” I said, knowing I’d be in charge of Mortie and Bob would take pictures of swans and geese.  As we approached the marina, I noticed all the warning signs “Don’t let your pets near the water!” “Don’t feed the water fowl!” There was also lots of detail on e coli pollution from these geese and ducks. No worries, we’re not idiots. We strolled past the marina through the woods to enjoy all the squirrels and chipmunks skittering this way and that.

Bob hung back along the shore to take photos which always stresses Mortie out.  He wears a shoulder harness and a leash meant for a bulldozer dog but he has shed some weight. Mortie not Bob.  At one point, he pulled his usual bucking bronco routine in the harness because he wanted to head back to our photographer.

This time he slipped out.

“Bob, get the dog!”

Oh no!  Distracted by the ducks, Mortie leaped past Bob into the water and paddled after a flock.  The ducks swam towards midlake, Mortie followed. Another flock swam after Mortie. He turned and followed them for awhile.

I called for him. Dog training 101 which Mortie earned A+ on.  Not today.

Back and forth. A crowd gathered on shore.  “Should I go in for him?” I asked Bob.

“I don’t want to lose you.”

Not a great answer.  The water must be up to my bellybutton where the dog was swimming. However it’s five Morties deep. We call some more. More ducks follow Mortie.  He focusses only on these birds. He does not look once to my voice or command. What would happen when he tired?

Augh! I went in. With heavy sandals and a long summer dress on I swam among tall weeds and floating mounds of something. I chased the ducks and Mortie. I grew more tired than Mortie or the ducks.

Finally the ducks fluttered off and we ended up near the dock.  Mortie suddenly heard me and swam to me. I grabbed him and lifted him to a kind lady kneeling on the dock which  was pretty high out of the water. Recently I have been suffering from sciatica pain. I tried to hoist myself out once, twice.

Then I did the humiliating and disgusting swim back to shore.

The aftermath err after bath.  Neither Mortie nor I swallowed any water. We shampooed and rinsed well. Later we’ll go shopping for a new harness and leash.  I’m having a glass of wine to make sure to kill all residual germs. No regrets.

dog and me after bath

Dog gratitude can get slobbery.