Mac Power User

I’m an Apple tech convert. I use MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad and I would love to get an Apple watch some day. I groan whenever I need to use the Microsoft Windows operating system because after you have used a Mac, you never look back.

A while back, I discovered a weekly podcast called MPU (Mac Power Users) on Relay FM. I listen to their podcasts whenever I can. The podcast is hosted by Katie Floyd and David Sparks, two American lawyers, who are smart, funny and tech savvy. They have great on air rapport and seem to genuinely love doing their show. The podcast itself has little to with their day jobs as lawyers. They talk Apple and productivity workflows. Their ideas can be used by anyone who wants to use Mac technology better and more efficiently. They interview great guests, many of whom are generous with ideas and processes for using the Mac in all it’s variations. I have learned to use my Apple technology so much better by listening to MPU. 

If you want to be a Mac Power User or just learn a tip or trick that makes using your Mac products just a little easier, check them out:

Cheers, Catherine


The Thing About a Hero

The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is.

~ Joss Whedon

iPhone Photography with Austin Mann

If you want to see some amazing iPhone photos, check out this website:

Cheers, Catherine

All Hallows’ Eve

If Canadians really spend $350 million on candy for halloween each year, that’s a lot of money that might be better spent. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and candy as much as any sugar-addicted individual, but that amount of money is mind blowing.

What would you do with $350 million dollars that might make your corner of the world a better place?

Cheers, Catherine

Daily Blogging

I watched an online video interview of Seth Godin recently. The interviewer asked him why he blogs daily. His response surprised me. He said that he blogs daily so that he is forced to really be present in his day. He is always looking for an insight or an interesting idea that he can write about. The discipline of daily writing forces him to pay attention. It may also force him to be selective about how he spends his time. “I’d write every day even if no one read the blog.”

I now have one more reason to write consistently.

Cheers, Catherine

The Business of Healthcare

I recently watched an interesting video on TED talks about the business of making vaccines. Bottom line: Most of the world’s scariest infectious diseases are not economically viable enough for companies to produce a vaccine. 

That’s a little unsettling.


Small Steps, Big Impact

I have lost my enthusiasm for setting audacious elaborate goals. Setting learning goals is a prime example. My professional college would like me to follow a SMART goal setting exercise to set learning goals. I have tried this method and I find it artifical.

My learning happens more organically. If I try to set a big goal to learn a skill or knowledge, I find it hard to do. It seems like too much work. I can break it down into smaller bite size pieces, but even that exercise feels wrong. I end up doing a fair bit of rework during the process.

My approach is to use real life problems from practice. It just works better for me. I reflect on my day, think about what I could have done better and the information I could have used. From there I can determine what I need to learn so I can apply it next time. It is real time learning based on a practice need.

It is a small step approach where I build on my foundations and grow professionally as a result. Small steps lead to a big impact.

Cheers, Catherine

A Commitment

I don’t know what the future will bring, so setting goals far into the future seems like an exercise in futility. I’m committed to a direction, a general understanding of what I want to accomplish, but not a method of getting there. I might need to make frequent changes but that’s okay. It might even be necessary.

Cheers, Catherine

Just Start

One of the hardest things I do every day is start something. The second hardest thing I do is finish it. 

The first difficulty relates to my well-practiced ability to procrastinate. The second is related to my perfectionism. Both are forms of resistance as I learned from Steven Pressfield.

So everyday I have to do battle with resistance. That’s life and it is what makes each day so interesting. Soldier on. 

Cheers, Catherine  

In This Moment, Focus on the Person

Every day I learn something about myself and my pharmacist practice. I keep a Pharmacy Practice journal to reflect on my day. What went well? What could have been better? What do I need to learn?

Talking to patients is a privilege. It’s also an art. I’m naturally empathic toward patients, but I need to work on being focused on the person in the moment when I talk to them. There are so many distractions and sometimes I find my mind wanders. I’m trying to do better. The following is an example of an interaction I felt good about. More importantly, I started to develop a relationship with this woman and her husband so I can know them and their healthcare needs better.

It’s Busy

The dispensary is busy. The phone is ringing. There is a billing issue that needs to be resolved. A staff member asks for time off. I’m getting pulled in different directions with my new responsibilities as a pharmacist and owner. I’m feeling scattered and unable to focus well.

Then I’m asked to counsel a patient on a new medication. I walk to the counter with all these distracting thoughts running through my head. When I get there, it is the wife of the patient. She looks tired and worried. I’m pretty sure I’m the last person between her and her husband getting home. I greet her and I look at the hospital prescription and the number of bottles between us on the counter. I take a minute to review the prescription, but really I’m pausing to focus my thoughts on this women and her needs. Here is the conversation:

Me: Hi, I’m Catherine, your pharmacist. I see here that Jim [ not his real name] has just come from the Royal Jubilee [in Victoria]. That’s a long drive.

Her: Yes, Jim is in the car. It’s been a long couple of days.

Me: What happened?

Her: He had a couple of blockages in his heart. He had to have two stents put in yesterday.

Me: Oh, my, I’m sorry to hear that. How is he doing?

Her: He says he is alright, but I know that he didn’t expect any of this to happen.

Me: I imagine he is overwhelmed with everything that has happened in the last few days. [I pause for a moment to give her space to absorb my words.] So, what did the doctor tell you about the medications he has to take now?

Her: The doctor didn’t say very much but the nurse went over them in the unit. It’s a blur though. Jim was discharged yesterday. We stayed in a hotel overnight to be close to the hospital. I didn’t sleep because I was so scared he would bleed under his bandages.

Me: Getting a good night’s sleep in a hotel room is hard under the best circumstances, never mind this one.

Her: There are so many of drugs. I don’t know where to start.

Me: That’s okay, together we can figure this out. But first, tell me how he ended up in Victoria?

Her: He was having some chest pain so he went to the doctor. He wasn’t worried really, but the pain wasn’t going away. Then he was sent to Victoria for this test. Jim drove us there, but I had to drive us back. I don’t like driving in the city. At the hospital, they told us, if they needed to while they were in there checking his heart vessels, they would fix any blockages they found, but we were surprised. Jim is healthy and very active. He eats well and exercises. It’s not fair.

Me: It’s not fair.

I’m thinking to myself: Jim and his wife are not ready for this conversation about their medications. I doubt his wife is going to remember anything I tell her because she is anxious about her husband and tired from the drive. She just wants to get home.


Me: I can see that you are tired and I imagine Jim is too. While all of these medications are important and Jim needs to take them as they were prescribed, let’s focus on two right now: the baby aspirin and this medication called clopidogrel. You have the bottle of baby aspirin here. Okay? And here is what the clopidogrel looks like. It’s important for Jim to take these two medications every morning to prevent the new stents from becoming blocked. When Jim is on these medications, he needs to know that he is at an increased risk of bleeding since these medications reduce the ability of the blood to clot. Can you remember that?

Her: Yes, thank you. The baby aspirin and this pink pill. Okay. A risk of bleeding? What about his surgical wound?

Me: Yes, that could be a problem. Did they give you instructions in the hospital on how to take care of it?

Her: Yes, I have the information sheets in the car.

Me: Okay, follow those instructions. It should be fine, but you should know what to do if there is a problem. You’ve managed so far. You can do this.

Her: Okay. Yes, I think I can, it’s just so much.

Me: I know. Do you think you can manage for a day or two with the rest of these medications? I can call Jim or you, or you both can come back here and we can go over the rest of this list.

Her: Yes, I think we can manage for a day or two. That’s good, we can call back.

Me: You have had quite an ordeal so let’s get Jim home and we can talk again when he is rested. Make sure Jim takes the other drugs too. The directions are on the bottles. I’m only a phone call away. I’m also on call this week so here is my card and my cell phone number. Okay?

Her: Okay. Thank you.

Me: Anything else that you want to know right now?

Her: No – I’ll call, or Jim can probably call, tomorrow or the next day. Thank you.

Me: Get some rest and we will talk soon.

During this conversation, the dispensary is still buzzing, the phone is still ringing, I’m anxious about the pile of prescriptions waiting to be checked, but for a few moment, this woman and her husband are all that matters. I make a note to call her in a couple of days if I don’t hear from them. I make some brief notes about our conversation and what I need to cover next time.

It’s hard, but I’m learning to pause, centre and focus in the moment and on the person in front of me. This woman and her husband are all that matter right now. The rest can wait for a few minutes. It takes practices to not be distracted in that moment. I’m working on it, but I remind myself that this is what I do for patients. It matters.


While many folks already know this news, Darryl and I, and our partners, are the proud owners of  the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy 169 in Comox, BC. How we got here is a long story and material for multiple posts on this blog. I will tell you though that it was a great decision and I’m loving the work that I do.

Cheers, Catherine  Location: Comox, BC
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