Thursday, October 01, 2020

Trip Report - Part 2

One of the areas we had all wished to see was St. Anthony, a town at the very tip of The Great Northern Peninsula. Mainly because Dr. Grenfell had started a mission there. We had read a few books on him and his life was fascinating, dedicated to the improvement of the lives of the impoverished inhabitants of Newfoundland and Labrador and their health and wellbeing.

We saw the interpretative centre which was enormously interesting, and were shown a great video of this man who did so much for the people.


His artifacts and correspondence were enlightening. He had raised so much funding from around the world and attracted the attention of many young privileged people who volunteered their help in this then primitive country.

One such book about a volunteer was Dear Everybody. A socialite from New York immersed in the culture of Labrador volunteering in the remotest and poorest village. I highly recommend this riveting read.

Dr. Grenfell's house, filled with his daily life.

We took a break to visit the lighthouse on a foggy day with the horn going.

And then had one of those surprising lunches in the middle of nowhere, featuring naan bread wrapped around curried chicken and marvelous cappucinos and lattes and soups.

To be continued.......

Monday, September 28, 2020

Trip Report - Part 1

If I tell you I took very few pictures and read absolutely no books and wrote nothing and designed and knit absolutely nothing, you will know I was completely immersed in this wonderful trip the three of us took way up north, where the weather was magnificent throughout and the sights we saw and the meals we took and the people we met added to our enchantment.

Also laughter. I don't think we've ever laughed so much together, and the three of us have been travelling together for about 25 years, since Grandgirl was a baby. I believe the intensity was enhanced by Covid-19: the rarity of this opportunity for us to be together when so many can't. Grandgirl self-isolated for 2 weeks when she got here, an allowance of time not available to many. Her Big Important Job won't start until October and right now she is awaiting her security clearance. So she availed of this time to be with us.

Takeaways:
(1)because of my mobility issues and long hikes to see the Viking and Norwegian settlements, Grandgirl hunted out wheelchairs for me which took away the stress of "keeping up" and frequent breaks. She is enormously kind and caring to her old granny and constantly ensures I am comfortable in a very inobtrusive way. Without her I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the sights and sounds of such magnificent scenery and historical interest.
(2) Septemver is a fine month to travel as the tour guides are not as pressured. Particularly in the Viking Settlement where they answered many of our questions pertaining to the lives of the Vikings who were the first to come to North America in approximately the year 1000. Just looking at the boats with their heavy fleece sail would be to consider an impossible feat. Yet they made it. With their goats and seeds, iron and building skills ready to trade with the aboriginals.
Inside I didn't want to take pictures of the guides and thus distract everyone in that irritating way many picture takers have, not being present in the moment. They were all dressed authentically and the sleeping and kitchen areas and work areas were laid out expertly so one got a sense of the daily life. One group were making a canvas for a boat - an enormous project taking a couple of years on a primitive heavy loom. We were amazed to hear that a baby was born here - the first colonizer child that we know of.

(3) We nested in Hay Cove, a tiny community with 3 small inns and many artists and writers living there. We stayed at Wendy Nuttall's place. She is a famed photographer of the area. And her inn has an art gallery. Yes, we did buy some paintings, prints and cards. Gorgeous.

Edited (later) Photo is of Wendy Nuttall the artist. In winter. With an iceberg.

To be continued.........


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Gone Travellin'

I'll be gone from this spot for a week, travelling very far north from St. John's to St. Anthony. None of the three of us have travelled this far north before so we are excited at the opportunity to do so on Grandgirl's remaining days of vacation out here, the last two weeks of which have been in self-isolation.

Here is a map of the distance we need to travel:


The base of operations will be here and will include a Viking settlement.



If time permits, we may go across to Red Bay, one of the largest whaling stations in the world back in the day. You can read about it here.


See y'all later on - and remember if you can't be good be careful!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bravery

We're all so terribly brave, aren't we?

Like we have no idea where we're all going and we march on. Or stumble. Or fumble. There is no light at the end of this particular tunnel. At least not yet. And I hope fervently that we will not repeat The Great Flu of 1918 where millions upon millions died and it appears that many do not learn from the protocols they put in place even then, over 100 years ago. Contagion is contagion is contagion.


The toll on fire and emergency services on the western seaboard of the US to counteract this cataclysmic burning must take a huge toll along with the risk of Covid to all concerned. Bravery indeed.


I'm avoiding the US news as if it were another form of plague on the landscape but sometimes it is unavoidable. A horror of a genocide with nearly 250,000 citizens now dead. My friends who live there and also hold Canadian citizenship have made arrangements to move back to Canada in November. Constant sunshine for them has a high price. And then the fires. Flames and pestilence at the same time. It crushes the brain. This was yesterday's Covid statistics for the top countries cases on the planet. With the US staggeringly ahead.

Here we are catching (in isolation) each case as it lands and thus preventing community spread. The 4 Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador) are in the same bubble, with provincial border checks for those coming in from outside these provinces.

St. Pierre and Miquelon, tiny islands off the coast of Newfoundland which is French territory, is not faring so well. 11 cases in their tiny population of 6,000.

The rest of Canada isn't faring so well at the moment.

We're all tapping into our depleting stockpiles of bravery these days. Even if it's just shutting our eyes and going wah-wah and not contemplating a future that has no shape whatsoever.




Saturday, September 12, 2020

Gratitude Lists

It's funny how I can lose track of such things which really help to lift the spirits. These are most important when when one thinks there's nothing to put on them.

Handwriting them is best, I find.The sound of the pen, thoughtful in its trailing across the page, pausing to reflect, carry on, fresh reflections, forgotten and taken for granted items coming to the forefront to meet the page.


(1)Daughter gave me prayer flags and I hung them across my open bedroom window.


I would hang them outside when I lived in a house. Reminders.

A friend of mine, my age, her hands shake constantly from an elder disease she has, her voice quavers as well.

(2) My hands are free of arthritis and free of shaking. My voice is still strong.

(3)I still enjoy my reading so much. My father was a voracious reader but abandoned it long before he passed.

(4)Daughter and Grandgirl have planned this glorious trip far away from here. WE will be leaving next weekend when Grandgirl's self-isolation is complete. More on that later.

(5) Two independent gifts of homemade bread at my door last night. I can lose track of such seemingly tiny things but they are truly enormous when one thinks of the labour and the sharing of such beautiful time and labour.

(6) A gift arriving here for a dear one's birthday next month - something I know she will absolutely love.

(7) This is my little office space which I share with my bedroom. I absolutely love it. It is extremely functional. And everything is close at hand.




Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Inspiration

Mum with my daughters not too long before she died.

My mother will be dead 50 years next year. I've had difficulty in re-reading letters she sent me. For context to so many letters, I was an emigrant to Canada in 1967. Which I've written about many times on this blog. Without fail, Mum's weekly letter would arrive with all the news, even though on the date of this letter, February 18th, 1971, she had less than two months to live. And knew it.

"My dear M----
I am late in replying to your last letter, I got caught up in lots of chores trying to get things done around the house as it's only three weeks from today is J==='s (brother) wedding. D--- (my 13 yo sister) got a lovely cream trouser suit,it's really nice on her,it will look pretty on her at the wedding.

I must get a hat yet, I may go into town some Saturday morning with Dad, it will be very quiet then, and the shops will be slack.

M--(her pet name for me)the green blouse will be nice (I had bought her her wedding outfit when I went back with my kids a few months before this) as I will try and get a light brown hat to match the suit you bought me, don't you think that will be nice?

The wedding will be formal, so no new suits to be bought (she means for the men and boys of the family who'd rent morning wear). I hope this letter is readable as I am rushing for post.

A--- is having only two bridesmaids, A----(another brother) is best man and KR (friend of J--'s) is groomsman.

M-- they will love the sheets (my proposed gift for bro and bride), get them a good big size and do send them before the wedding as you said yourself before, presents that arrive late are not half as exciting, do your best anyway M--.

L & S (cousins) sent a lovely dinner service, real good ones and such lovely soups with little handles, that's their third dinner service. I have not seen the other ones as they are over at A--'s aunt's place. I told you I think that D----(her sister, my aunt) gave them Waterford Crystal, a 1/2 doz tall stem glasses and K----(another sister) gave them blankets. From this on, I expect the presents will come in.

G.O'C, (a neighbour) gave a lovely carving set, pearl handles. He is coming to the wedding too. I was glad that J---(my brother) asked him. (G was a troubled young man, a good friend to J--- who suicided a few years later.)

P & C (my parents' best friends)are coming and she rang to ask me what presents were they after getting as she would get a set of china or cutlery. So I said to please herself, M--, I'm sorry if I keep talking about the wedding, we are so caught up here.

I was down at the doctor's yesterday and when the wedding is over, I will have to get these nodules off much as I hate the thought.

Give my love to T (former husband)and O & J (daughters) all my love M--xxxx you are never far from my thoughts. Mum

PS P(her best friend) was asking for you today, she really cares for your O. Mum."


I was feeling particularly sorry for myself today, the pandemic, worsening mobility, just general woe-is-me and I thought of my mother and all she suffered with a horrible form of cancer. Multiple amputations and thought to re-read some of the immense correspondence i have from her. She wrote as she spoke and I hear her words and feel her love in every line. I can't imagine what she was going through leaving behind her young children and still writing so lovingly to me in Canada.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Letter to Jeff Bezos (Followup on previous post.)


I'm pasting this letter to JB in its entirety, written by Michael Brownstein here.

Hey Jeff, Michael here. This is important, so listen up. You hit a monster home run with Amazon, there's no denying that, you're worth more than anyone else on the planet.

But there's one place you're impoverished, Jeff—your heart. You're keen to spend billions of dollars landing tourists on the moon instead of performing real service here on Earth. Like helping those humans living degraded lives under the boot heel of predatory capitalism.

It's time to stop skinflinting your Amazon workers while installing cameras to make sure they don't take too many minutes going to the bathroom. And firing them for speaking out about putting themselves in harm's way from Covid-19 by working in your warehouses without adequate protection.

That's bad enough, but something even bigger is missing in your life. Everything is not product, Jeff. I mean, it's great what you did with Amazon. We love the convenience but we do not love your robber-baron persona. Because without a connection to healing spirit you're sick no matter how much money you have.

Look in the mirror and you'll see someone preoccupied with shooting phallic rockets into the frigid reaches of space while your own world is burning up. It's time to give back, Jeff.

How should I do that, you ask. Good question! I'll tell you how. Turn Amazon into a co-op, let the workers own it. But above all, give back to the sacred rain forest in South America, the Amazon whose name you stole—just grab the name and run, right?

But there's more to life than scoring, Jeff. It's time for you to fly to the Amazon, get down on your knees and thank the rainforest for its gifts, its generation of endless life forms, sacred in nature, which puts to shame the sterile proliferation of items in Amazon's warehouses. It's time to drink jungle medicine and open your heart, wake up from your high-powered fantasies.

Understand that mass extinction of plants and animals is accelerating out of control. You have to work to rid us of the capitalist nightmare based on mindless greed which is raping the Earth.

It's time to help heal the lungs of the Earth that are being scorched. The Amazon is on fire, Jeff. The lungs of the Earth are saying "I can't breathe," just like George Floyd, just like the people dying from Covid-19.

It's time to swear you'll protect the indigenous people who've taken good care of the Amazon for thousands of years only to be murdered for the shortest of short term gains. You took that name without asking, Jeff. It's time to give back before it's too late.

Time to swear you'll protect the indigenous people who've taken good care of the Amazon for thousands of years only to be murdered for the shortest of short term gains. You took that name without asking, Jeff. It's time to give back before it's too late.

Yes, before it's too late and the only people left to watch your rockets zoom off into the ether will be a few fellow billionaires like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, your megalomaniacal competitors racing to see who can spoil the heavens sooner by launching low orbit satellites beaming down 5G radiation from above.

Elon has a head start, he's already put thousands of bright, large, reflective, radio-interfering satellites in orbit with hundreds more to follow every month. But you're planning to catch up to him by adding thousands of your own. If you and Elon and Bill have your way, looking through a pair of binoculars in 2030 will reveal more satellites than stars.

But it's not only our view of the night sky that will be ruined. Check out what EMF experts have to say about the health risks of 5G radiation. Switzerland has restricted 5G deployment in response to a nationwide call for real-world testing. Other countries and cities are having second thoughts too, despite the telecom industry pushing to install 5G everywhere as soon as possible, no questions asked.

Can't you see what you're doing by forging ahead regardless of the consequences of your actions, Jeff? Like the Amazon rain forest, the night sky belongs to all of humanity, not simply to operators like you hypnotized by the "business impact" of your actions.

Instead of sending up satellites to track us for a coming surveillance state, why don't you play your part as a citizen of the world and send up just one satellite to track global deforestation?

It's time to drop your daydream of being a very important explorer of the galaxy and work to save where you actually eat and sleep and make your moves. Time to help turn the global climate crisis around. Because unless you do, before long there will be no companies left for you to play with. Spend your billions saving the sacred Amazon. Spend them while there's still time.

Friday, September 04, 2020

On Strikes and Fraud

I was passing our local Dominion store - one where I normally do curbside pickup - and see it's all still closed down due to strikers, looking for fairness - many are part time (not by choice) with no benefits and barely subsisting - while the corporation hauls in the profits. The union and the stores are deadlocked and the corporation (Loblaws) refuses to budge.

And this got me thinking about the obscene profits made on the backs of humanity - the majority of humanity. The suffering and the doing without. This is never more exemplified than by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, the first person ever worth $200 billion. And his workers struggle along in the same conditions, no health care, no sick pay, no pensions.

And I think aren't these kind of riches obscene? Can these billionaires not think of the suffering of their workers (slaves?) toiling for pittances while they swan about in limos and Lears and massive yachts, pretending they "earned" this?

I was reminded of this old song -"We're all Working for the Pharaoh".


And the fraud bit?

Yesterday I was horrified when checking my bank account to notice ten withdrawals totaling nearly $1,000 taken from my bank account through FACEBOOK.

I never use my debit card for online purchases and my passwords are very strong on both FB and for my bank.

i called my bank right away and they were tremendously helpful. And completely baffled as to how this could happen. So fair warning. Fraud is getting enormously sophisticated (maybe because of Covid?). But do check your bank accounts regularly to ensure they have not been compromised. This was a complete shock to me. I am still horrified (and feel so violated) as to how it could happen. There are obviously some appalling vulnerabilities available for hacking in our online lives.

So beware. And yes they are refunding all of my stolen funds but it may take a month.


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

One Small Bite

Simultaneous coincidental gifts (one by mail) of some marvellous dark roast coffee beans from two loved ones yesterday. One is called "Toothless Shark" out of Nova Scotia, the other "Roma" out of Italy.

This is one of the toughest lessons of my life. Not that I haven't had tough lessons in the past. When you begin training for a walk around the block when you're carrying massive extra poundage and graduate to a marathon a couple of years later, there's some serious learning curve in there. And I did that.

So sitting down and reflecting and bemoaning the fact that I have only two speeds - full tilt and reverse - I decided to map out my days differently. Into tiny bites, not tubs.

So if I have, say, a grocery pickup, the dishes can lie down for a while, the library can wait. Groceries require carting a huge distance with my trolley in tow and then need putting away. Action for the day is done just with that. I am wiped.

If I am visiting or going out, showering is enough. The bed can stay unmade that day. Who's to see it? Also dishes can continue to lie, they are going nowhere.

I am such a MORE person, always tweaking more out of life. This has to stop. I can't cheat my limitations and meddle with my mental health and outlook.

Today I managed some work and a Zoom meeting which I hosted and doing up dishes. End of. No more.

It was ENOUGH.

I am fortunate in that I have meals for 3 days in the fridge and more in my freezer.

An enormous sense of relief descended over me when I realized that I was fooling myself badly with the amount of energy I thought I had and the pathetically little standing I can manage.

It was playing havoc with my outlook. If I have to take the garbage out - this is a ginormous trek - that's it for action for the day. No going on to visit or a side trip somewhere.

It's ENOUGH.

A belated wee birthday party for me yesterday evening.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bate Out

Yesterday the Everest of Banking, Library-ing, mailouts, and a grocery dabble (my curbside pickup is on strike) took place. Along with bed-changing, showering and dishwashing.

I didn't count the spoons.

The library had what they called a "soft opening". The librarians were behind plexi-glass but encouraged shelf browsing. I didn't. It was all I could do to pick up the three books they had on hold for me. But delighted I am with these as I was running a little low on my stockpile and that creates panic and you don't want to be around that.

I managed to cruise a little island inside the grocery store which had those display items of non-matchy things. Like grapes beside beef-rolls and lemon meringue pie beside spinach dip. All of which I bought as I felt like I was on death's door and couldn't move beyond this island of ill-matched goods. So yes, now I have a large thingie of cabbage rolls too and a chicken pot pie for a family of farmers and assorted little cheeses and oh 8 Portuguese rolls.

But I'll stretch the magnificent melange out into a semblance of kinda sorta meals.

I was sitting on the only bench outside the checkout area when a friend tinged and said she was in the grocery store and did I need....?

She came wandering out in surprise and told me I looked like death warmed up. Just what I wanted to hear.

So I got home, finally. A sad, trudging, and deathlike carapace of a human. Only to hear news that an old friend in Ontario had died after 3 years of awful and relentless cancer.

So I did what you would do, crawled into bed and stayed there. Thinking of times past and grieving and then thinking reach out to some younger people. Which I did. And they sent me pictures of completed projects and flowers.

But I'm still bate out as I type. Bate out? An Irish expression. Finished. Can't lift the pinky for a cuppa.

But hell, yes, we march on.

Amuse-Bouche
(1)

(2)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Life Management

It's tricky this business of life management once old age, pain, lack of energy, unpredictable moods plus this pandemic come into the picture.

I sometimes scream inwardly: take me now.

I did this at the car dealership yesterday, waiting for an emergency job on my car to be over with. Nothing to do with the staff who were incredibly helpful in a terribly busy day. But walking back and forth between the distant waiting room and the technician to review and approve the work with no seating where he was, was a crisis of endurance for me even though George, my cane, was there to lean on. I literally felt ill. It was a nerve wracking day with a short spurt at the beach to calm my nerves when Daughter picked me up between dental appointments (crown work). I hate being seen like this. Needy. In pain. Breathing all out of alignment.

I was exhausted. I am exhausted a lot. Everything seems like another hill to climb if I don't manage me and my energies well. Sometimes there is nothing left over.

Daughter organized this quiet day for my birthday last weekend, she sees and senses, as no one else, the limits of my endurance. I can pretend at times when with others (oh the effort!) that life is hunky dory, but the strain of this catches up with me and flings me to the metaphorical ground and I have to isolate. I hate being seen when I feel defeated by everything and everyone.

And it's not just the physical stuff that drains me. It's the mental and emotional as well. Emails, texting, visiting, phone-calls, social expectations. Very few understand this and I am grateful to those who do. Sometimes I have nothing left for a few days and need to recuperate.

All these feelings are exacerbated by the pandemic of course. And I am very aware of that.

Meanwhile, I sat among some en-plein-air artists on the beach yesterday and did nothing, said nothing, just watched the artists and the baby ducks and the water. And emptied my mind for an hour shoving the enormous burden of all that ailed and troubled me aside.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Changing the Headlines

I have backed away from all US news. It does my head in. Yes, even the rah-rah speeches of the gleeful Dems, the pitiful tweets (now in rage CAPS) of the so-called leader of the free world. The knowledge, deep within, that the disregard for humanity, the endless "wars", the economy based on billionaires' investments in the military industrial complex and pharmaceuticals and yes, the awful underbellies of porn, drugs and trafficking, may never go away but may have a prettier coating depending on how educated and civil the new dear leader will be. I feel terrible for my USian friends, most of whom are as clear eyed as I am and just want to change the current fascist regime for one not so blatantly and appallingly racist, misogynistic and brutal in its murderous rampage on its own citizens. So I've switched off many of the news-feeds. Tuning out the insanity if you will.

I had a kind of dread shrouding me. Couldn't verbalize it until a fellow sufferer put a long post on FB last night as he tried to rise above his own cloud of anxiety.

And I remembered a long ago conversation with a shaman of my acquaintance. Long since passed now, I would think. I was very honoured to be accepted and loved by aboriginals of my acquaintance whose depth of knowledge continues to astound me. We have so much to learn.

I was going on about something or other, as I am wont to do, and she said "Change your daily headline."
I passed this on to my friend Larry last night. And we both resolved to do that. Change the headlines. He is currently completing a cabin in the woods. So his headlines will be about his progress in that.

So mine today are:

Exquisite Quilled Card Received from New York Friend with Eternal Love Professed Within!
(PS The owl is my spirit animal).

1960 Picture of High School Choir Unearthed and Mailed by Friend of 65 years!

77 Year Old Woman still grinds her dark roast coffee beans from scratch every morning!

What would your headlines today be?

Monday, August 17, 2020

77 Sunset Trip

I wrote this yesterday, at the turning of the leaf, so to speak.

The sound of it like a dance
Cavorting brightly on a sunlit beach
Or a fragrant meadow
Lost in the mist of long ago memory.

Seventy-seven. My number now.
Sibilant, slithering on the tongue
Sliding across the brain
A staggering number, stupendous, shocking.

Peering over the precipice of seventy-five
Looking back at so much
Looking ahead at so little
Each day an uncertainty of if and when.

Inside I scream: I'm here! Look at me!
But I'm the only one listening
My aches and pains and challenges
Some kind of inside joke.

And for all that, I will grip
This frivolous seventy-seven
Like a prize, unearned,
A most unserious number
Festooned with sparkling promise.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thoughts

A sunset from my window the other night.

it seems endless doesn't it? I feel like I'm fraying around the edges. This heat isn't helping. This humidity is frying my brain out. Often close to 100%. Last night it was 80%.

However it should settle down by the weekend.

I heard from a client yesterday, overjoyed my edited piece for him had been accepted by a literary magazine. I love when others are so ecstatic when their creative energies receive acknowledgement. He credits me with bringing his pieces to life.

I am still working on this new novel. Distracted by other stuff at the moment - tax work mainly.

One good thing about the pandemic is there's so little to spend money on. Seriously. I'm not much of a shopper to begin with, so there's that. I was debating a 2021 planner (joke - I'd die without a planner).


I got these on line. I feel very rich in reading material, as the library also had a little pile for me on the safe distancing shelf. I will update my reading list shortly, I've read some spectacular books in the last while.

Grandgirl gifted me with HBO the other day so I watched Clemency last night.



To me, slaughtering murderers is barbaric, appealing to the basest of our instincts. Cheaper than life long incarceration of course. And just how many have been falsely convicted?

And predictions of huge mental illness fallout post pandemic. So many are not "dealing" well with it at all. No inner lives so to speak. They are most at risk.

Currently reading The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donohue . A tour de force of a book, taking place in Dublin during the confluence of WW1, the Easter Rising, and the Spanish flu pandemic which was wiping out the planet, much like today's Covid. I'm halfway through and it's gripping.

How are you all coping out there in the bigger world?

Friday, August 07, 2020

Crows


I have six crows lined up on the wire outside my window at the moment and I was reminded of that old poem I knew as a child.
One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
four for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret never to be told,
eight for a wish,
nine for a kiss,
ten for a time of joyful bliss.

I don't view such things as portents but I am reminded that I can see that for the past few days that gold has sprinkled my life.

I've had so much support in your comments and personal emails. I took an entire day off and contemplated what I should do.

And the answer as midnight struck was very simple indeed: Absolutely nothing.

Why worry this person unnecessarily with my observations of deteriorating health?

It would serve no purpose whatsoever apart from adding to their already huge stress and other health issues. And what can they do?

What can I do?

Be loving and supportive and work my way around whatever presents itself. I have had practice with my dear friend Lana and prior to her with Chuck.

Staying in the moment. Counting crows. Cherishing the gold - particularly with the support I get from all of you out there. Your words meant so much in a time of terrible distress and worry.

Thank you seems hugely inadequate.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

A Huge Worry

Sometimes, I come right up against myself and realize some hard facts.

My best friends, there were only a few, are gone from my life. The ones I could share anything with without judgement or fear, the whole guts of me. And were supportive and loving and unconditionally there in times fraught with danger and minefields and, well, terror.

A massive worry has stalked into my life in the past few days. Involving a person near and dear to me. And in morning meditation today, as this leaped in and out of my head and tended to consume me, this fact of having no one close to share this with on a one to one basis stood starkly in front of me.

My birth family doesn't deal with any kind of serious issues. Everything is a joke. They never even ask about Missing Daughter or my broken heart. They never ask about Daughter's MS which has had a huge impact on her musical talent and crafting and over all ambitions. Health issues are swept under the nearest rug. If there are any family crises, you wouldn't know. I ask about theirs but usually a stinging silence is the answer. And shunning for no reason are an MO. Dysfunction Junction rooted in abuse. Understandable when one goes through the therapy to dig it out but most have not. They are the last people on earth I would run to for comfort in a storm. As trust and unconditional love are absent. Jokes would ensue and honestly? I couldn't bear them.

My good friend R, who is a harbour in any kind of emotional turmoil has had a recurrence of liver cancer and had another operation these past few days and is still in the hospital. Doing remarkably well considering he's down to a small piece of an operating organ now.

My BFF Helen who died in 2014 would have been a solid wall with great advice and most of all love and concern.

My friend D, who died in 2016 would have gently guided me in the right direction.

Lana would have been wonderful, but she's in the throes of dementia, as is another good friend, P, who worries me.

I have many acquaintances here but even reviewing a list in my head which one I could trust and lean on comes up with zero.

Niece comes to mind but I truly don't want to burden her. She has a hugely heavy plate with young children.

I can't be more specific, I'm sorry. I wrote a journal entry just now and am so full of fear I am throwing it out here too in the hopes of alleviating some of it.

And you know? Just writing it all down, one firm harbour light comes to mind just now.

She's at a distance, but I will call her today.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Elder Challenges

I love a good rant. I'm seeing a few of my blogbuds rant admirably in the last few days so thought to join them. We should have an annual award for the best one of the year.

First of all Home Care Health Assistance.

I'm at the stage where I need this. Not for everything. Maybe a couple of hours a week. It's a vast warren of web-links to get to the mechanics of doing this. Finally I get to the bottom line, and it's call a phone number. Why not put the effin number at the beginning of the pages of meaningless drivel, you bureaucratic morons?

So I call. But it's Covid Time, so I leave a message outlining my situation. I get a call a few days later. The nurse/helper/clerk asks a lot of questions, mainly focused on my body. Can I brush my hair, can I wash my hair, can I brush my teeth, how is my personal hygiene overall. I explain: I have seating to assist me everywhere: shower seat, sink seat, helpful bars. But the problem is, sez I, I can't stand for long periods so I need help with floors, sheet changing, dishes now and again, stove cleaning, fridge, my laundry. General tidying like dusting. Well then, sez she, we can't help you. What, sez I? I have mobility challenges! You're still maintaining personal hygiene, sez she, so that means you're fine. So, sez I, if I tell you I'm a filthy, flea-ridden encrusted old wreck I would qualify for some home care? Well, yes. So you'd rather spend several thousand dollars putting me in an assisted living
home than shell out a couple of hundred dollars a month to assist me to live on my own? Yes, that's right, by the way you sound very young, how old did you say you were? I'll be 77 in August, sez I. You sound so much younger! (Translation: you're articulate, old people are usually senile and believe my rubbish answers.). Needless to say, for you know me well, I am not resting quietly and going away.

Secondly Toyota. Yes again.

My car is wobbling. There's only 20Km on her so fairly new. I had the tire people check to make sure it wasn't the tires. They said it's brakes. She was left out in all sorts of weather for weeks (months?) on end, rust probably. Thank you Covid. I phoned my dealer. Appointment for August 31. What? sez I have an unsafe vehicle, under warranty, I'm supposed to lurch around the city for another 5 weeks? You could bring her in at 7.30 a.m. and wait and see if we have any gaps or cancellations. Oh, sez I, pack a lunch, bring a couple of books, my trusty George (my cane), and wait all day to see if you have the good grace to serve me at some point or not? With my mask on and my sanitizer spraying everything? And to keep coming back every day haunting the place until I get lucky enough to get my crippled car seen to? I didn't pull the age and mobility card.

Yeah, privileged to have these problems, but seriously? I'm not built for these battles anymore. Does life get easier? No, it gets more fraught with absolute effin moronic stupidity.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Blog Jam

It's almost embarrassing.

I have so many masks, so much sanitizer that I could open a small shop and sell consistently for about a week. None of these, apart from one mask which I knitted, have been bought by me. This bounty has been been supplied or mailed by Daughter, Niece and Grandgirl. So I'm good for a couple of years of lockdown. But I get it. It's symbolic in these weird times, isn't it? These guys want me to live and show me this by their munificence.

Covid has started up here again after over 50 days of no new cases. All travel related. One engineer who works on turnaround in Texas, in self isolation, infected his wife and toddler daughter. Another flew home from Asia. Of course these flights are now being contact traced. It is extraordinarily easy to infect others when quarantine isn't enforced, isn't it?

I gifted Niece with her afghan/sofa blanket. I took some pictures with my "real" camera which I haven't downloaded yet - it's complicated as all the USB ports are just about inaccessible at the back of a big heavy screen - huge design fail and irritating as hell.

I hung it on a clothes rack, but you can catch the drift of the design. She was thrilled with it.


You can kinda see the house and certainly the trees of life and the hearts representing her children and the usual Irish symbols of marriage vines and diamonds and honeycombs for abundance.


This bottom one shows the land and see and lighthouse. It's a very large sofa blanket for a large family and impossible to photograph properly, I tried everything.

She is thrilled with it. I'll post photos from the real camera if they are any good at capturing it all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

In praise of pockets

I never thought I'd make a post about pockets.

But seriously?

I bought these new pair of pants online at half-price. They're a lovely shade of lovet green but in that way of phone cameras, mine is belligerent when it comes to certain shadings and produces mud, which seems to be its favourite colour.

Many women have been dying for decent pockets for years. I remember reading a story once about a boyfriend trying to please his girlfriend when she was away visiting her family. He hired a dressmaker and put pockets in all her dresses and skirts as a surprise. She married him. I would have.

Pockets in women's clothing can be strictly decor (i.e. mock pockets) or too shallow for even a tiny wallet. We whine but we put up with it.

So imagine my surprise when I got these pants.


The two pockets (yeah one on each hip. were so large and roomy and perfectly tailored I had to use a seam ripper to open them. A seam ripper.

Pocket size would accommodate a small dog or a pair.


And then, I nearly fainted - there was a huge back pocket


I am now a human knapsack.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Socializing and Updates

Daughter and I have been out twice for meals in the past week. Very strange experiences with staff in masks, us in masks, sanitizers to squirt on entering and exiting and a surreal edge to it all.

We passed closed down malls, lots of businesses which did not survive. I was going to take photos of the empty parking lots and closed stores but I thought about it again and said to Daughter - it feels too dystopian, it's like those novels of the end of days we used to read.

Disposable abbreviated menus to peruse but today was especially great. I wasn't as nervous as I was on Sunday. The place was so utterly Covid as were we. The new normal.

I rested up well after our last excursion, so was able to walk quite far today without distress. I was delighted. These days are so precious when I'm feeling so close to normal.

Doctor has ordered more lung Xrays and we had an interesting chat on the phone. As only about 10% are masked here he is expecting a terrible second wave.

Library now has curb side pickup (I don't enjoy Kindle and gave mine away) so I ordered a pile. I was running low on books.

The Big Knitting Project is coming to an end and I will photograph it soon. I am quite delighted with it. But I will miss it.

The new creative non-fiction work is at 51,000 words. I'm doing the hard core formatting and chapterizing at the moment.

Daughter bought some cute clobber for my sister's twin newborn grandchildren, we oohed and aahed over the wee delights which scream Canada and maple leafs.

Next door neighbour delivered me some spell binding carrot cake.

I delivered her vegetarian lasagna.