Sunday, November 11, 2018

Relevance

I'm sometimes taken back to my own young womanhood and how I behaved around my elders. There were many elders. My mother had 3 sisters and two brothers, my father 5 sisters. I was lucky enough to have grandparents and for a while even a great-grandmother. Along with these there were great aunts and great uncles.

When I was a child the vast sea of such creatures seemed endless. Some were accorded more attention and respect from my parents than others. As a "sensitive" I was in tune with those signals. One great aunt was "tolerated" as she was "finicky" over food and a grand snob over manners and behaviours. She was my granny's youngest sibling and was "spoiled in her ways". My granny was salt of the earth and had no time for ideas above anyone's "station".

As a young woman, some had passed on but I spent a fair amount of time with all the sisters, there were 8 of them between my parents. I must dig out some photos soon and post some here. The few I could sit down with for any length of time had a joie de vivre, and had interests outside of hearth and home. I loved the history lessons and also loved how interested they were in me. What was I doing "outside" of myself. I would ask them questions about crafts and who they wrote to, and what they read, and who they played bridge or scrabble with. I felt hugely privileged if they asked me to come down and play cards or board games with their friends. It was a mighty "occasion" for me to sip the tea and sample the pastries and be included in the scrabble game and just listen to the rhythm of their chat as they covered so many topics: political, religious, business, arts and culture. People who were sometimes 50 years older than I was then. The big test of such occasions, my mother would say, is to see if you're asked back. The implication being if I wasn't it would be due to some unforgivable lapse of manners on my part. I'm glad to say I passed the test.

Which brings me to today. When I'm around the youngsters, and much as I want to, I avoid health broadcasts, my mobility limitations, the aches and pains of an elder, the medication competition. Is there anything more boring in life?


I was at a book launch yesterday by an older woman. She read excerpts from her work which were all fascinating, dealing with her life living amongst the Inuits and gaining the trust of the community.

I was totally thrilled to see a woman there I had lost touch with. She had assisted me in forming an elder racing moving group we had formed a few years back called The Honourable Stragglers. It turns out she was the sister of the author. I had to grin when she asked me if I was still racing and I said no, health challenges. And she grinned and said me too, don't we all, and we made a lunch date to get caught up on all our doings. She is certainly a mover and shaker so I am looking forward to it.

And it struck me that maybe my relevance is to my peer group. Maybe real freedom in old age is being myself with others of my generation as long as we are still doing "outside" of ourselves and to keep collecting them as the treasures they are, adding new as others move on.


Thursday, November 08, 2018

Words for Wednesday on Thursday

Thanks to Elephant's Child for these weekly prompts that open up my imagination so well. I am pleased to say I was able to use all 12 words suggested.


Dear Harold
I am enclosing the final divorce agreement.
Your objections are serving no purpose.
I assure you once again I do not, and never will, care for this patch of land you’re jamming with diggers and trucks along with the neglect and gravity taking care of the outbuildings. Our joint holdings have to be sold. Potential purchasers are bent out of shape at the non-organic state of our yard.
Shame on you.
You are a textbook case of a mangled psychopath.
Your soon to be joyful ex-wife,
Letitia.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Elder Excitement

Without Ramans's exclamation point :). This is a joint posting project by Ramana and myself. Here's the link to his post.

I had posited to him that the reason he read thrillers was to create excitement. Getting that adrenalin rush. To revisit that type of feeling we had as children and younger adults. What do we do and think and feel to create excitement as elders? Living in an independent senior complex as I do I get to observe elders intimately. Not much excitement is visible but there could be a lot of it behind closed doors, who knows?.

This all brings me, of course, to what excites me in my seventies?

I'll list them but not in any kind of order:

Music, always music
Writing
A good story
An excellent film
Designing a new knitting piece
One excellent photograph out of many that I took of a scene.
Stimulating conversation (last night at a friend's for instance)
Helpless laughter
A sunrise
A sunset
A roaring fire
Watching the birds soar and swoop as they're doing right now as I write this
My thriving African violets on my windowsill
Live theatre
Waking up pain-free
Possibilities
The open road
The crashing sea
Dogs, any dog.

And I am mindful of that old adage: Measure wealth not by what you have but by what you for which you would not take money.

This: Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé 1987. Barcelona. Sublime.



Now tell me what gets you excited?


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Fired Up

I'm currently working on a fresh collection of my short stories which are not featured in Write Around the Bay. Many I wrote quite a while ago so they are rejuvenated to my eyes once again. A few I extracted from my blog and have worked diligently on perfecting them to the best I can achieve, many taking your comments into consideration as to how they can be improved. I thank you all for that.

I am fired up about this new collection (called Rock Salt or Embers of Time) and feel it has potential perhaps with a local publishing house, or maybe one that has a wider readership. Though I am under no illusion with regard to publication. I don't know what the secret is and often wonder at how some books get published that are so poorly written and edited with a count-the-cliches element running beneath the turgid prose. I read such one recently and persisted even though I wanted to toss it against the wall. A form of study, if you will, as to how writers/publishing houses get away with this. It failed dismally in the respecting of the reader philosophy I hold dear and the last two chapters particularly were persistent slaps in the face to that theory. A few clunkers: "hipbones protrude from my waistline" (huh?) "I watched her drop on to the sofa, a giraffe making an ungainly attempt to sit" (huh, again). And hundreds more of such appalling metaphors that yanked me from the story-line repeatedly. But I do learn from such reading adventures.

And then I feel a bit harsh and judgey. Because I know how hard the whole process is. How agonizing the editing can be. How every writer I know is fearful of readers' opinions. So creativity of any kind has to be nurtured and supported.

I am squirreled away at the moment, not answering bells and buzzers and tinkling phones. It's raining outside and I'm not taking it to heart.

I'm taking a break to blog before combing my blog once more for buried treasure ready to be edited and ironed and stroked.



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cigar

This story is a prompt from Words for Wednesday.


My father would have been 99 today. He should have been alive to see it. He took up cigar smoking rather late in life and enjoyed them far too much. He inhaled them. Yes, seriously. The lungs of an ox. He died 15 years ago from heart disease. I'd say caused by the smoking. But there's some that might dispute that. The man would walk a couple of miles a day and go for the long haul on the weekends. Healthy and hearty of appetite. A good grubber as we say in the parlance of my people.

He would find it hard to keep a straight face as two of his children (myself and my brother) would run marathons late in our lives. He thought it ridiculous. Me already a grandmother running my arse off around the city of Toronto. Why wouldn't we walk? How foolish was this?

He became belligerent about his latter day smoking. He would insist that fumes off the tailpipes of buses caused more lung cancer than his puffing away on his Maria Bendettis.

I wouldn’t let him smoke in my car when we travelled throughout the US and much to his chagrin I would descend to the role of persnickety parent with him:

“No one has smoked in my car, Da, so finish it before you get in.”

“What in God's name would one cigar do to a fumey old car? Are you mad?”

“No, but I will be very soon, get out of the car and finish that thing on the side of the road, or put it out.”

Saucy as a child, he would roll his eyes at me and there would be great heaving sighs and mutterings thrown my way as he angrily did what I asked, leaving behind him a heavy sullying of the interior air. No one likes being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of Pennsylvania. And he was against hitching as you'd never know what kind of axe murderer (or worse, he'd say, and I'd think, what's worse?) would pick you up and hack you into grains of sand. I would feel as if I'd caught one of my own teenagers smoking weed as I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel waiting for my oul fellah to do what I told him.

I find I'm getting to that age myself. Where my foolishnesses are ripe for daughterly admonitions (you're not driving all the way across the country BY YOURSELF? You're not eating SUGAR? Did you go out for your DAILY WALK?). I remember the dear old mother of a friend, post heart attack, ordering banquet burgers loaded with bacon and horrible greasy cheese and glaring at us in defiance as we sucked up our belaboured criticisms and let her at it.

It's a teetery old line we walk, much like funambulists, us seniors. Stranded halfway between rebellion and toeing the line.

Now I get it.

This true story has been slightly modified from my original post in 2011

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Letting Go, Moving On.


I've let go of a few ongoing commitments and involvements lately. I found so much of my time was sucked into reading the multiple different group chats, the organization of duties, the learning curve of new skills (in one case, hello sound engineering!) that there was no longer any enjoyment in any of it. I felt pressure and stress and my attention was scattered and completely unfocussed.

I also suffered from an ongoing resentment against myself for in my desire to keep stimulated and involved neither was happening.

Sometimes the need for evaluation of time spent needs to be thoroughly examined. Which I did.

As I age I am discovering that decisions need to be made quickly. How the hell do I know what time I have left?

So I dropped three outside involvements in my life. Without any regrets. And no agonizing. Clean, clear.

I'm now dedicating time to things that motivate me further, like my book launch tomorrow which is thrilling me no end as I put together a playlist for the background music, a draw for a free book, intros of the presenters and readers, my wee talk beforehand, the greeting of old friends, the chat, the gratitude, my own reading.

Orders are exceeding all expectations and we're going into a second printing and scheduling more signings around the city.

Life is good.

What's been your experiences with letting go and moving on?




Monday, October 22, 2018

For Your Pleasure

In my Tao meditation today I was encouraged to evaluate a tiny piece of thread.

Consider how it started its life. In a seed, in a cotton field, think about who harvested that cotton, who spun it into cones or on to reels. Who packed it for shipping. Where it sat on a store shelf. Think of its incredible journey to get to my basket.

We can do this with everything I suppose, especially when the 9-5 life no longer beckons and there is time to contemplate.

Doesn't life go backwards? The time for contemplation should be in the working years. However, I do remember a magnifying glass and a grain of sand when I was a wee girl, marvelling at how much was in that speck, the glitter, the colours, the texture.

For your pleasure (and mine) the following:

The finished chair. My apartment is coming together with these added colours.


I started a shawl for Grandgirl in her favourite colours. But I was completely taken by the yarn as it sat expectantly in this precious yarn bowl.


And last but not least, a beautiful shot of cliffs and sea (remnants of a now sedated Michael from a distant shore) outside my favourite beach, Middle Cove.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Words for Wednesday


Photo from: http://birdingforpleasure.blogspot.com
Writing prompt from: https://myjustsostory.blogspot.com/2018/10/words-for-wednesday_17.

The Bench

He'd wanted desperately to put his hands over his ears and yell and shout. To stop the torrent of words pouring out of her mouth, overflowing on to every tissue in his body. But he didn't. He was too conscious of how childish this would look, how demeaning and pathetic.

Instead, he left her standing in the kitchen in mid-flow. His wife of fifty one years now.

He tried to sort out the words she'd used, to put them in some kind of order and perspective.

She used the word narcissist, she called him a narcissist. He'd have to look that up, it sounded like he was a flower of some kind. No ponce he. No sirree.

Then she yelled "hopeless sociopath". Him. A retired detective. As if.

But the clincher was when she said it was time for them to go their separate ways. It was time for some happiness for herself after all those years of fearful living with a monster. Meaning him. Again, as if. He knew monsters, he'd put them behind bars.

She wanting to sell the house and share the proceeds. Give her freedom. Freedom from what?

When he was the best husband and father a woman could even dream of.

Now he'd go home, his home, and talk some sense into her.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Nugget

Reflecting on so much this morning.

Many, many blogmates have such challenges at the moment. One wrote her last blog post. Heart-breaking. We had exchanged much over the years, she would send me Tennessee handmade soap Another, a pillar of elder-blogging, is facing a very finite life now after many treatments. Another's wife has been diagnosed with a serious cancer. I won't link to any of them for if you've been following them at all you'll know. And I respect their privacy at this time. I know that many of my long term blog-mates follow the same blogs as I.

All of this to say, I've lost a few dear blog mates over the years. One develops quite a history when you read each other's words. Often daily. And it focuses my mind very sharply as I head in that same direction myself. I am under no illusion of eternal life. Unless you count stardust which may not be as inanimate as we think. To dust we shall return has massive truth.

So the nugget?

Take absolutely nothing for granted.

Maybe that's the secret of life?

I look around within my own radius and even the tiniest things bring me joy. I don't take any of them for granted. In spite of whatever ails me - you know what I mean.
An African Violet that won't stop blooming
A chair seat cover that I just knitted - it needs to be blocked and finished but I totally love its Mexican flavour, it cheers my heart.
A turquoise wall panel that I managed to hang (it's in an awkward spot behind my immovable bed) and attach some meaningful cards to. I love how I can change the art around as the mood takes me.
And last but not least a shawlette I knitted for a friend in New York, a friend of nearly 52 years, we met on the last emigration liner leaving Ireland back in the distant days.

It really does fill the heart to look around - what do you see from where you're sitting, standing, lying? And do you take it/them for granted?

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Copper

I would be most grateful for feedback on this very short story that I have struggled with on and off for about two months. I think it finished now but am totally open to suggestions. I am hoping the point of it is clear or that some reflection on elder life is teased out of readers. It's a true story.



COPPER

His middle-aged son brought the dogs for a visit every Wednesday afternoon, Scotch Terriers who looked just like the picture on the old Black and White Scotch whisky bottles. I’d be drawn to my second floor window by their ecstatic yips.

The old man would be at his open window on the ground floor, leaning out, waiting, calling them by name, Maud, Billy, over and over, his quavering voice filled with longing, his magnificent head of white hair streaked with traces of a youthful auburn. His son would hold each dog up in turn for him to pet with his crippled arthritic hands.

Someone told me they were like children to him after his wife died. He held on to the marital home until he was no longer able and his son then moved him into our no pets allowed independent senior living building five years ago. Word had it he signed over his house to his son with the understanding that he took care of the dogs and brought them to visit.

Last month he graduated from our building into one with a higher level of care. A couple of small trucks and a station wagon showed up with the whining dogs peering out the open window. Ten minutes later his son emerged from the building carrying a large suitcase. Next came the old man, tottering along on his walker, his extraordinary hair like an orange-streaked cloud at sunset. He was stooped over, reluctance in each uncertain footfall, losing more and more ground as he fell further behind his son.

But catching sight of the dogs he straightened with some effort and his eyes lit up, Maud, Billy! and they bounced out of the open car door to greet him, trying desperately to climb the walker to get at his face. His son folded the walker into the trunk as his father clung to the car door, looking up at my window. I saw tears lodging in all the folds of his face and I nodded, absorbing a little of his pain and fear.

As his son helped him into the back seat the dogs fell onto his lap in spasms of joy, his words were blurred and hoarse under the excitement of their yelping.

The station wagon moved away and was quickly out of sight. No one stands around outside to say goodbye to anyone leaving here. It’s like it’s contagious and no one’s been vaccinated.

The trucks immediately disgorged their drivers and the two men vanished into the building. Shortly afterwards, the windows to the apartment were thrown open and the accouterments of his left-behind-life were tossed onto the lawn.

Where are you taking all his stuff? asked Bertha, who patrols the grounds of our building like a border guard, all ninety years and ninety pounds of her. The men looked at each other then at her.

To the dump, lady, to the dump, one of them said impatiently. They loaded the two trucks with boxes of dishes, cheap shelving, metal tray tables, a saggy couch, an over-used easy chair, pantry items, an old mattress, a melamine headboard, sad linens, a wonky kitchen table with rusty kitchen chairs, photos in frames of weddings and children and soldiers, many albums, scrapbooks, magazines, an old console television and a stereo turntable, rickety bookcases, books, a giant bag of dog biscuits.

It took a week to air the place out for I heard the old fellow smoked like a chimney.

Professionals then came to dismantle and eject all the cabinetry and fixtures and cart it all away, some of it falling apart, missing knobs and drawer fronts.

A few days after that a pair of plumbers came. I could hear the hammering and the sound of things being torn apart, next I heard a clinking and clanging an hour or two later and looked down below and caught a glimpse of copper and for a few seconds thought it was the old man’s head protruding from the window.

But no,various lengths of copper piping were being passed slowly and carefully through the apartment window from one worker to the other.

They were then wrapped like treasure in flannel sheets before being reverently placed inside a van, to be auctioned off, no doubt, to the highest bidder.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

So - A Strange Story

The Magical Beach

At my age we have to be careful of the men in white coats brandishing strait jackets.

Especially when it comes to the unexplainables.

I verbalized an extraordinary occurrence to only three people.

The first dismissed me out of hand and changed the topic of conversation immediately and never got back to what I had experienced.

The second asked me quite seriously and with concern: Did you hear voices in your head?

The third nodded carefully and said: Oh, I totally get that.

So here goes:
I was on this spectacular beach on a gorgeous day sitting in my beach chair. A young man passed with his dog and we exchanged pleasantries. This youngish black dog looked me right in the eyes as he walked past, he was on a leash. Dogs do this with me sometimes as if desperate to communicate their thoughts.

The young man went a distance away on the sand, the tide was out. He began to train his dog. I am familiar with that having trained a few. All the commands obeyed were rewarded with tiny treats. He was good, the commands were simple, one word, clear. Memories flooded me. There is nothing like a quivering dog, rooted in a stay, waiting for a release. The joy shared by trainer and trainee is immeasurable.

I just couldn't stop the tears. I was alone so there was no one to see, feeling utterly sad, missing my Ansa so much, how she loved the beach, how we frolicked, she was a great paddler but hated swimming. And paddle she did once she saw water with this wonderful grin on her face. Sometimes tears can hurt right down to the toes. They did for me that day.

A large perfect feather wafted down onto my lap and I held it to my cheek and stopped crying. And clearly I immediately sensed I could walk the beach, an impossible challenge.

So holding the feather I got up off the beach chair and walked and walked without pain and then turned around and walked back to the chair. An unimaginable feat. I held the feather for a while and then carefully inserted it into my camera bag for safe keeping and walked a little more, I came back to the camera bag and the feather had vanished. I searched high and low everywhere within quite a radius, no feather.

I had the strongest message again that the feather was merely a temporary sign of greater things to come, to stop hunting. To be still.

Which I did.

Three days later, I was having breakfast with my guest-friend in my local diner when I looked up and standing there in front of me was a person I love dearly but who has been long absent from my life for many, many years. We both burst into tears. This reunion has been exploding with joy ever since. In ways I could never have imagined. This remarkable event is now all connected to the dog, Ansa, the tears and the feather in my mind.

Coincidence? Well yes, says my reality check.

But something else? Well, perhaps yes. Though I am far from being a woo-woo person.

But this whole experience?

Inexplicable.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Blog Jam

May Sarton:
"Solitude is a way of waiting for the inaudible and the invisible to make itself felt. Solitude is never static and never hopeless."

Me:
Embers of Time.
_________________
These last fragile moments,
These burned out coals
Hold no flame now.
But I blow upon their
Dusty pink ashes
And a tiny flicker wavers
Long enough to spark
A memory of fire
To warm me briefly
In the uncertain light.
______________________
WWW 09/30/18

Questions:
Does the inner life grow richer, more fearless as we age?
We have more time for reflection and creativity even if it resides only in our inner.
Do we keep these strange thoughts, these rich inner happenings to ourselves?
Do these griefs and joys and inexplicables remain forever under lock and key?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Slump

We all get them, n'est pas?

I was feeling "off" yesterday and a few health issue challenges threw themselves at me. A good reminder of the fallibility of the aging body. I find this was succeeded by floating anxieties which pop over the parapet and remind me of poverty, forgetfulness, who do I think I ams, and a kind of general malaise of why botherism.

Cheer deserts me, every perceived slight is taken to a deeply personal level and scrutinized carefully for even more hidden pinpricks of disdain or contempt.

Are you still with me? Can anyone relate?

I try and counter all this with my daily dose of Tao.

Today it was to scrutinize all the tiny physical things around me and reflect on their origins, transitions and possible 100 year decay far into the future and way beyond my lifetime.

Then I focus on what I see: the glorious sunshine, startling greens, transcendent blues outside my window, my blackboard of writing projects.
What I hear:: silence, the flapping of the flag against the pole outside, the odd birdcall
What I touch: the keyboard now, lastly the knitting of a shawlette that I had to rip out as my pattern didn't work. A gift.
What I smell: some wonderful incense, a healing scent, to lift the spirit.
What I learn: Trying so desperately not to let my new phone (the old one was whimpering and finally died) frustrate and defeat me in a challenging learning curve of swiping, shaking, touching what I shouldn't touch, installing endless apps, promptly forgetting the new system protocols, digging for accounts and passwords and finding I am an inpatient whiny mess after about 15 minutes of this. Not helped at all by losing all historical texts (essential in the case of my friend with dementia challenges) and having wires crossed in my contact list - now sorted.

Living in Tao I am not. Though I try.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Amadea


I spotted this ship Amadea curled up to St.John's Harbour yesterday and just had to look her up.

Here she is in Wikipedia.

I wouldn't mind one of the two Royal Suites. You could have the other one.

She has a crew of nearly 300. More crew than the passengers and she cost $150,000,000 when first built.

I wouldn't mind sailing to Greenland on her. That would be my type of cruise. And I like to believe she's small enough not to do much damage to the environment.

Here's her schedule. Expensive.

From my rusty Latin, Amadea would mean love of the goddess or goddess love.

Ships and trains fascinate me. Always have. I see one like this and I want to board her and see where she takes me.

I apparently can at Harbour Symphony Time where one year the Amadea was part of the annual symphony, a meticulously planned sound event, conducted digitally and all boats in the harbour participate. Best heard from a distance. But magical nevertheless.



PS Isn't our harbour beautiful even on a mauzy day?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

On the Go

Another shot of Eastport, some day I will write about an extraordinary experience I had there.

I keep planning a no-do day with PJs, books and knitting on the go. But no dice. Not happening. Today was a good one I thought, just a phone call with a distant friend booked for 11.30 and then the rest of the day to moi. Not to be. Joanna, my cleaning genius, called and said she was "doing" me today and her car was banjaxed so I had to pick her up (dressed for that, nothing worse than tempting fate with a bad accident). Joanna is the boss when it comes to cleaning my place. She is at a bargain basement rate and shovels me out and keeps me reasonably civilized. Left to my own devices I can't tell you the condition this place would be in.

So I'll briefly list what's on the go here:

(1)I've created a strange androgynous alter ego (Pat Picco) who's making a series of interview type podcasts with off the wall others. More on that later. I've had to work very hard in talking out of the left side of my mouth and lowering my voice to create this persona and sound tests are tomorrow. Her first interview will be with me and another knitter discussing the mathematics and other elements of knitting. Other interviews lined up will be with a naval architect and another with practitioners of a Philippine martial arts (kali, escrima, arnis) who come from opposite sides of the globe and met accidentally at a brainstorming session I was at. More on that and links when up and running.

(2)The long overdue anthology has been published!! Yay! This is the collection of the short stories, essays and poems that came out of my writing workshops. It will be launched formally next month followed by a book tour.

(3)I'm on the Board of Directors of a feminist theatre which supports women playwrights, directors and actors and is putting together a new season of great plays and a grand gala in November.

(4)I'm working on a collection of my own short stories and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I have enough for a book. I'm enjoying the process of super-editing and culling.

This is all keeping my life full beyond measure but exciting and enriching and stimulating too. I believe I'm the elder (by far) of every space I'm in but hell, I feel so much gratitude and sheer old-fashioned lucky for this privilege.





Thursday, September 13, 2018

Returning Home

Today was one of those days of laundry and catching up with my St. John's Life. And exhaustion.

I've taken on two long road trips this past summer and maybe that wasn't so wise of me. A lot of driving.

However, the other side of me thinks this is a good thing, to still be semi-active, not as much as I'd like, of course, but savouring the sweetness of life. Particularly beautiful Newfoundland. I never tire of the scenery and here are a few samples:
The Architecture of Trinity

I spotted this man painting his extraordinary shed, more delicious architecture, again in Trinity, I was desperately trying to get that can of paint on the ground in the picture:

We stayed in Eastport also, the beach was breathtaking, my friend is a speck in the distance in this picture and she's going to enlarge it and put it on her bedroom wall.

And finally, Salvage. An artist's paradise.

The great news is that I am newly inspired, freshly minted in fact, with many wonderful events and projects about to unfold. More on that later.

Once I catch my breath.




Wednesday, September 05, 2018

We Count Blessings


A dear friend has come to stay, one with her own health challenges.

We are heading off today to points northish.

A Grand Tour.

Of Trinity
Of Twillingate
Of Fogo.
Of Eastport.

Much theatre is scattered in there. And if we can manage wee hikes we will do so. Sticks and stones.

Weather is spectacular today. But we pack books to read. And an excellent coffee.

I have found her visit here so far has been about blessings, good fortune and contentment.

I will post when I return.

Write amongst each other for now.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Septemberember

No, that's not a typo. An acquaintance self-published a book. Without formal editing. Five years ago. About women's lives, which is beside the point for this post. Very few men I have read and indeed have known intimately, know very little about women's lives and heartbreakingly to me, don't want to know. But that's another post entirely.

Unfortunately he wrote about the month of Septemberember frequently as he was a schoolteacher (I know) for many years. He also performed insane things to other words, particularly place names which made the stumbling reading of it a headache but generated guilty laughter amongst us wannabe literatis as the writer is extraordinarily pompous and self-important.

To get back to Septemberember, even now as I type it, spell check alerts me a "WTF is this word, numbskull?"

It has become the family name for this most poignant of months, the end of summer, the colours of fall, beginnings for so many students, evaluation of the sweaters in the closet, maybe gloves and caps and where are my good socks and a precis of the summer on everyone's lips, too sunny, too smoky, need rain for the crops.

Septemberember makes it linger. Stretches it out. Keeps us tasting it a bit longer, rolling it around our hopes and dreams as we stoke up our winter expectations and look behind us at the fresh memories of vacations and the love of family and friends and adventures.

As to our writer who gifted us with this word? I've never seen a man more distraught when he discovered the multiple errata in his book, especially Septemberember which he counted at 25 times. He clutched his head as he told me this, being very much a drama queen, moaning his reputation (?) was now ruined and what was he going to do.

Speaking of books, I updated my 2018 list on my sidebar, I am so pleased that one of the upsides of moving to a simpler life is the time it gives me for indulging my voracious and sometimes unsatisfied reading addiction. 2018 is a stellar year for good books for me.

I now leave you with the September song from one of my favourite all time singers.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Domestic Chaos

Given the absence of guests or cleaning woman, I can descend rapidly into my own kind of chaos. My housekeeping is reactive rather than proactive. For instance, I always figure a geographical cure will fix me for once and for all. Downsizing so extremely into a one-bedroom apartment as I have done would be a superb motivator, I thought. A brand new me, organized and ready for anything.

Well, no. In analyzing my behaviour I come to the conclusion that it is a case of not putting stuff back where it belongs when finished with it. I never seem to be "finished" with anything and am highly visual. I like to "see" items - my knitting, my wools, my books on the unread shelf, my clothes, my shoes, my food.

Now to the clothes. A purge is desperately needed. I made a "rule" for myself many years ago that if not worn in a year it gets donated. Also one item comes in and another gets donated. The latter formula has been neglected so my closet needs to be investigated thoroughly and dealt with. I have (unfortunately) a rather large bathroom and I use a clothes rack there to dry some of my more vulnerable items rather than throwing them in one of the communal dryers. I deal with those only when under threat of a visitor, it is far to easy to walk around them and think, oh yeah, well tonight. Tonight never comes. I have a toolkit in my hall that I can't seem to find a home for. Drives me a little batty as I step around it and shake my head. And unhung pictures are still an issue though shrinking a little in quantity.
I do keep the kitchen relatively tidy as it is small and awkwardly designed. For instance there is an enormous built in pantry which in concept you'd think would be just great for everything foody. But in practice it's another story entirely. Note the sets of shelves on the left (I brought these from the utility room in my house) as is was just a wide open space for what gawd knows. I have taken it apart several times and bought step-shelves to go on the right-side shelves but I've never seen such a poorly designed space. I may have to break down and get someone to install pull out wire drawers so it could hold everything in an organized but visual way. There is a serious lack of counter-space and only one sink. We take our double sinks for granted don't we? I did. So dirty dishes left lying around can impact the tiny space in the kitchen making of me an (almost) instant washer-upper.

Joanna, my cleaning woman, my saviour, was here yesterday and did the needful: dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and counter-shines.

Into every life should fall a reassuring Joanna, garrulous but now under control somewhat, a woman who takes pride in bringing order to domestic upheaval.