Summer, cont.


Gardening: Our hot, very hot and mostly dry summer continues. The garden, all except the roses is loving it, since we are able to water it from the river that flows past our home. The roses fear they have been transplanted to the deep South and have shut down production until more reasonable conditions return. Daylilies, hostas, echinacea, clematis and blue mallow are the stars of the moment.

I planted delphinums and staked them moments before a battering thunderstorm went through, so they are standing and about to bloom. I understand they are short-lived, so I will buy more next year to ensure a good clump.

Writing: Finally the last revisions are done, and the Facepainter has gone off to be set for paper production. Meanwhile, I’m at work on the sequel. A new character has stepped forward and I have to find something for her to do.

Do you know the organization called Great Courses. They finally have released a dedicated Canadian catalogue and some of the professors will be Canadian as well. Find them at I followed one of their courses called Building Great Sentences, and now I’m doing a 30 lecture series on Analysis and Critique, How to engage and write about anything. The lecturer is excellent, my only quibble being that the lecture ends too soon.

Italy: We’re talking with our travelling companions about a trip in the fall of 2012 that would see us spending a few days in Venice, while they celebrate their fortieth anniversary, and then a road trip to Vienna, where we spend a few days to a week.

I’ve been studying Italian, through Rosetta Stone for several years now, with a year’s break to learn some rudimentary Spanish. I began again at the beginning with Italian and now approach the end of the third dvd. I received four and five at Christmas so I will press on. Learning a language, besides good for travelling, is supposed to be good for brain health.

Politics: Very sad news about Jack Layton. To be struck down like that in his moment of achievement is truly tragic.

What is going on with the Americans? They are just recovering from an economic disaster and now want to plunge into another one. Where are the adults?

That’s about it: writing, gardening, learning. Retirement is great!

Retiring, and waiting.

This is the end of the first full week of retirement for me. The office is closed and we are on our own. I think its the silence that will bother me, until I develop some activities that take me outside the house. Every day was filled with talk — talking to the staff, talking to the parents, talking to other doctors, but especially talking to the children. I miss the children.

Writing is a solitary occupation. In the past, I wrote in the corners of my life. Now writing can take as much time as it needs and some days, it doesn’t need very much. One book about writing suggested that if the muse fails, do something else “writerly” ie: blogging, reading marketing articles, research for the next book. I’ve done that, but still there is that silence. Maybe the CBC.

I’m waiting for the final publication of Murderous Roots,( http// )the print on demand version. The proofs are in; the publisher told me they have gone to press, but I have no idea how long this process takes. The print version comes under a different imprint at the same website – Cambridge Books.

Retiring, cont.

We’ve been shutting down the office this past week. The charts are almost ready to go. We have about 50 more bankers boxes worth of charts to load and label and we’ll be done with that phase.
Getting rid of more than 30 years accumulation of furniture, office supplies, books, financial records, etc. comes next. The rules are clear: keep 7 years worth of financial records; shred the rest. 7 years of bills, cheques, bank statements (84) income tax records, the list goes on.
We’re lucky in having a large basement storage area, but even that is getting full. What do others do? Renting a storage locker, I suppose, would be the only solution.
All of this sorting and saving and storing, all of it is done in case someone else needs the information. And all of it costs money. And none of it, as far as I know, is deductible against retirement income.

Retiring: The Last Day

Tomorrow is our last day of seeing patients after almost 40 years. I started my internship in July of 1970, and my practice in 1976. I remember so many of the children and I’m going to miss seeing them. However, I’m also going to enjoy not waking up in the middle of the night worrying about a decision I had made, or some test I didn’t order, or whether the parent had understood my instructions.
The work isn’t over yet. We still have to finish closing down the office, making provision for the charts, getting rid of furniture, shredding, taking out the trash. Not as exciting as setting up.
But it’s spring. We have work to do in the garden. I have a book to edit, and another to polish. We’re going to Spain in the Fall. This year at least is looking good.
My last patient is a well child, the grandson of an old friend. A good way to end.


I’ve been away from the blog for a few days–a combination of a vicious cold and retirement planning. Before we started this retiring process, I had little idea of the complications, or the number of phone calls I would have to make.
We started with the managers of our RRSP’s and were reassured(we think) that there is enough money to last– always assuming we don’t live to be a hundred.
But that was only the beginning. Then came the decision about license to practice. To keep or not to keep? And so another round of calls to organizations known by their initials– the OMA, RCPSC, CMA, CPSO and so on.
What to do about the office charts, and referrals to other specialists? And then talking to the patients. Conversation after conversation. How to get followup care? Where will the charts be? What about the medications? And what are you going to do in your retirement, Doctor?
Reviewing the charts, writing or dictating letters to other doctors, deciding what to keep and what to shred. that last led to another round of calls. How long must we keep the charts? The answer to that is ten years, unless the patient is a child, and then until the child is twenty-eight years old. I have seen babies this year, so those charts will be in the facility in Toronto until 2038. I will be eighty-two years old in 2038, and still paying someone to provide access to those charts. Amazing.
Some days I think it would be easier to just carry on.