Friday, May 17, 2019

Words for Wednesday on a Friday 5/15/19

This weeks WFW are hosted by Elephant's Child and they have a different twist in that participants are provided with two photographs and encouraged to weave an imaginary spell on them and see what comes through the pen. Go visit her blog to see what else is magicked and or participate.

An air of foreboding and neglect and disregard surrounded it like a cloud. There was no car to lend it any humanity. The grounds were overgrown and the nearby hills were encroaching stealthily with fingers of heather and gorse and marsh grasses. But the house was solid, made of beautiful stone with rich tiles and solid chimneys on the roof.

Erla watched it from her father's car, craning her neck around until it fell out of sight, drawn to it, fascinated, when he picked her up for his visitation rights on weekends and took her to his condo in town.

She recited an incantation on the first day of summer school holidays and then quickly packed a balanced lunch in her witch's knapsack. Mother let her feed herself - having the delivery man stock up the fridge when Erla left a long list on it, covering all the basic food groups which she had learned from the internet. Mother lived on cigarettes and bourbon, Erla did not like ingesting either although in commiseration she had tried.

Finally Erla, 9 year old warrior, was ready and dutifully left a note for Mother, who probably wouldn't get up until twilight, and hiked the five miles rapidly, approaching the building from across the heather, fearless as always.

As she neared the house, she observed the two tenants of the place on guard. One inside the house, the other vigilant to any approaches on the outside, with that odd dish of magic green stones at his feet.

"Merlin!" she called, "Trilby!"

They looked at her, then at each other. Trilby disappeared inside and then emerged from the cellar steps outside while Merlin approached her.

"Erla!" miaowed Trilby, who was far more talkative than the haughty Merlin, "We were waiting for you! We are running low on the kibble and the canned food is but a distant dream - that lack of opposing thumbs business! Not to mention those unopenable packets of fishy treats!"

"My dear!" purred Merlin, sliding his luscious fur around her bare legs,"We are fading away to skeletons, absolute skeletons!"

And Erla had to laugh, as around her she could see carcasses of field mice and some unfortunate birds. While the two tenants could stand to lose a pound or two each.

"Okay, my friends," she said, chuckling, picking up Trilby who put his paws around her neck,"Let's take stock of the situation in your pantry and I'll manage it from there. But no more bird murders, OK?"

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cabin John

I was out with a bunch of women today. Having lunch. Tossing around ideas about seniors and poverty and challenges of women raising children not thinking about their future finances. Etcetera.

And then the talk turned unexpectedly - as it can - to "stalking" by men.

And unsurprisingly all of us had been stalked.

(And coincidentally, I am reading a book about stalking in Northern Ireland called "Milkman". Recommend.....anyway.)

So we shared stalking stories.

And no, they're not funny. They are alarming. And ugly. And terrifying. And can be fatal as we all know.

So one of the younger women shared an experience she had with Cabin John, this guy who had lived in the city and then moved out to live permanently in his cabin. Cabins here are not what you would think they are. They are often better than the houses in the city and quite lavish.

On some pretext he had gotten her cell number and then proceeded to text her suggestive messages. Telling her of dreaming about her, sending her heart emoticons, he couldn't stop thinking about her. This was all around 5 years ago.

So she checked him out on Facebook and lo and behold she found him. And his wife. Happily grinning at each other. So she told him never to contact her again or she'd call the police.

A few of the other women nodded, word had gotten around about Cabin John, pervy, older, short, fat, unattractive, they said.

Why don't I know him? I asked - I used to live in that town!

I saw you having coffee with him a few weeks ago, one said.

What? I asked, you can't be serious!

And then the penny dropped.

My dear friend John. He and his wife are friends of many, many years.

And I felt sick to my stomach. I had seen him only a few days before.

And I was still numb with shock hours later.

I have no interest in ever seeing him again. Ever.

We just never know the dark secrets of others' souls, do we? I feel enormous loss, and anger, and absolute disgust. And fooled. We have shared much over the years and now I question all of that too, his basic dishonesty. One thing about him had alerted me though. He had always protested when men were called out on bad behaviour and bleat "not all men" and I've known deep down that that is a sure sign of predation. All decent men call out predators too and support women. And some of his FB posts were sorta anti-women, kinda sexual. And then one time he had threatened his wife in front of me. ("I will kill you if you ever fool around on me!") and I put it down to unfunny, jokey "teasing". Amazing what we can overlook, I feel guilty about that. Crazy woman-guilt based on nothing.

But I know him now for who he is and it is ugly. And part of me is brokenhearted at my own gullibility and previous bemused tolerance, and the loss of what I thought would be a long term friendship.

Names are changed to protect the guilty.

Monday, May 13, 2019


Yeah, I was in one. A pileup. You know what I'm talking about.

A feeling of being overwhelmed.

A planned road trip for Daughter and Grandgirl and self to see her graduate from U of T grad school, a huge achievement, wearing me down, even the very thought of it.

Too many medications switches (JFC this blood pressure thing is a nightmare, effecting my kidneys, my outlook, my sanity) to even count. And I won't go on with that, medi-bores are just that and I bore myself.


Others' expectations.

I dreaded the talk with D & G.

But I bit the bullet, appropriately, on Mother's Day. I kept thinking I was making too much of my physical challenges, but boy, believe me, some days are absolute shyte and they are utterly unpredictable. And being away from my bubble, this perfect little apartment with doctors on call and friends around, intimidated me with the what-ifs. Plus moving attention away from my darling girl with sick old granny lurking somewhere in her apartment surrounded by pills and drenched in fear. I know, I exaggerate, but you get the drift of the way I was feeling. When I have bad days I practise massive avoidance of people and things and events. It's easy. But not on the road or Somewhere Else.

So I threw on the Big Girl Knickers and at the end of our lovely brunch yesterday told D I could not make the trip and talked of my fears and pain and medical crap. And all I got back was love and concern and D saying when G gets here we will do a small trip around the island and just hang out for a lovely two days, stress free. And that made me cry.

And then I told G on the phone late that night and she was absolutely fine too, more concerned about me than herself and her Big Achievement and Grandma being there.

And I felt loved and valued. And behold, arose out of my slump today and was reborn again.

Safe and secure and looking ahead again rather than behind me, mourning legs and abilities and well behaved blood and driving forever and barreling around Toronto like I used to.

Deslumped, we might say.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

All Mothers' Day

All Mothers' Day

Mothers who never were.

Mothers who lost.

Mothers estranged.

Mothers avoided.

Dead Mothers.

Mothers in Dementia.

Mothers in other countries.

Mothers who died in youth.

Mothers abused and battered.

Mothers in addiction.

Mothers in war zones.

Mothers in prison.

Mothers who are pimped.

Mothers who adopt and foster.

Mothers who were adopted.

Mothers in brutal institutions never to see their babies.

Mothers who are brokenhearted.

We reflect and hold them tight.

For it's not all flowers and chocolate.


(Drawing by Ana Juan in the New Yorker)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Words for Wednesday on a Friday 5/8/19

This month's Words for Wednesday are brought to us by Elephant's Child who always has something unusual to offer. Please go visit her and read the entries and participate yourself (with a link to your blog post).

This week's prompts are familiar phrases:

Sun over the yardarm

And/ or

Going commando

The old navy captain was a crashing bore, ninety if he was a day. He had joined Sunshine Resthaven Retirement home on the coast six weeks ago after his wife died and it had got to the point where the other forty nine residents would disappear quietly if they saw him in the halls or in the gardens but the mornings were different. They felt stuck like butterflies in a display case as their beds were being made and their rooms tidied up by the maids.

They'd all lie around the pool, somnolent, comfy in their morning naps, waiting for the lunch bell, and he'd bluster into this sacrosanct of areas, complete in his navy whites, his cap at a rakish angle.

"Wot, wot," he'd shout, in his faux British accent, "Sun over the yardarm yet me navvies?" and he'd salute them all smartly, clicking his heels,"Do I have to tell you what the yardarm is yet again?" And then he'd rub his hands and explain its origin. How the expression originated in the north Atlantic (of which he knew every wave, every squall) where the sun would rise above the upper mast spars - yards to those in the know - of the square sailed ships around 11 a.m. 'Aforenoon', he'd clarify, coinciding with the 'stand easy'command he'd issue to his officers who would then go below and enjoy their first rum tot of the day.

This would all be said in his loud clipped accent, much like a grade school teacher enforcing some difficult lesson on truculent ten year olds. And they were sick and tired of it all.

Bernice particularly. Today she decided to do something about this brazen daily intrusion on to their morning quiet time.

"So tell me, Captain," she looked up from her chaise, her hand sheltering her eyes from the sun,"I hear tell you all went commando on those ships of yours? Is that true?"

"Harumph!" and he reddened visibly, "Wot, wot?"

"Surely you know what commando is? I thought sailors practised it all the time? Tell us about it!"

"Of course, of course!" He coughed once more,"They did exactly what I told them! I was always in what you call commando! You have to be when you are running a tight ship like mine. The navvies have to be responsive, if I say jump, they jump, bend over, they......."

And at this, Bernice and the rest of them fell about laughing so hard, they began to weep leaving the Captain puzzled, then embarrassed and then in high dudgeon, marching off back into the main building to the continued accompaniment of uncontrollable hoots, hollers and thigh slapping.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Aging Women Seniors - Thoughts Assemblage.

I'm sorting out my thoughts here for a few reasons.

We are putting together an advisory board and seeking (a) funding and (b) forming a charitable entity if successful and (c) then lobbying the governments, both federally and provincially to supplement the meager financial support afforded this marginalized segment of the population.

Our mission - and by "our" I mean another senior woman and myself - is to remove the stigma from senior women and to restore them to a dignity of living and self-respect. Far too many senior women live in poverty and we have many seniors in Newfoundland, a number which increases every year. In 2017 it numbered 108,182 in a population of 500,000. Well over 25%. Of these approximately 65% are women: 70,300. It is difficult to get an estimate of how many of these are living below the poverty level (Category 2) and how many are retired (Category 1) from government, teaching and nursing which affords them a reasonable pension.

Total number of food bank users number 28,063 and of these 23.4% are seniors-6566 and applying the same percentage of women that would be 4,268 elderly women resorting to food banks.

And an aside: To give you an idea of how normalized a foodbank is here in Newfoundland our premier, Dwight Ball, presented the keys to a new one to the head of the foodbank when the old one burned down, grinning like a fool when he should have been covered in shame. The disconnect of the privileged wealthy politicians from abysmal poverty is rampant everywhere.

We live in a country of universal health care, thank heavens, but I'll tell you what's not covered for us Category 2 seniors (but usually covered by decent private supplemental healthcare policies for Category 1).

Dental Services of any kind
Eye examinations
Expensive batteries of health devices like meters
Podiatry for diabetics
Hearing aids

And of course it takes no rocket scientist to calculate that the lack of funds for such standard items contributes to injuries (poor sight, falls) feet infections (diabetic amputations) absence of teeth (nutritional deficiencies) costing the health care system far more with hospitalizations. And of course addiction to drugs and alcohol as a mechanism of coping with these stresses is fairly rampant as well if my own observations bear me out.

The elderly have been further stigmatized by society and treated as charity cases when they complain about their impoverished and deprived existence. Living on approximately $19,200 annually, rent in many cases is 30-40% (at 35% $6,720) of this and often higher leaving very little for power and heat, insurance, clothing and self-care, essential communication and entertainment services which are exorbitant here, food, eating out once a week, little gifts for family, etc. Having transportation of any kind (car payment, insurance, maintenance, gas)squeezes 50% out of the remaining $1000 per month which leaves $500 for EVERYTHING else including food. And if I hear one more time "give up the car!" in a province with no public transit system outside of the city I will scream loud and long. Every penny is counted and many of us are forced to work in our seventies, often in ill-health ourselves. Just to barely make ends meet. I know greeters at Walmart and baristas at Tim Horton's and home care workers well into their seventies, being cheerful and pretending it's not about poverty.

Measuring senior poverty by standard poverty levels is not using the proper criteria in that many are disabled and can no longer self-care and have no desire to be warehoused in nightmare institutions and need additional income to support the barest modicum of dignified living.

And of course, many of us are too exhausted and disillusioned and and dispirited to even think of engaging in any kind of activism to change the status quo.

And I am grateful, so grateful, I met a kindred spirit who joins me in this protest. And it's not about us two, but for all senior women penalized for raising children with no monetary value placed on this in their earning years, and if they did work, it was often at 66% of what men earned thus accruing far less in the pension funds, if there was such a benefit in those days - most of my positions had no pension. And every cent of my pay cheque was spoken for as a single mother with two kids. So please, don't talk about "savings."

I am very interested in your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Words for Wednesday - May 1st, 2019

Happy May Day everyone. This month's Words for Wednesday are hosted by Elephant's Child. Thank you EC! Please go visit her and either participate or enjoy the many different offerings and creative writing afforded by those who join in.

The week's words are:

And/ or


Everything was fun and laughter until Button threw that weird rapper "Flowery Machine" on the I-Pod and then the sounds of police cars and rhyming curses and expletives reverberated through the Bose speakers and rippled off the walls and scuttled any semblance of camaraderie and their informal 5 year college reunion.

"Oh shit! Drop kick Button! Cut the noise!" screamed Maddie, bouncing to her feet and marching over to the stereo system and unplugging it.

"I'll have you know," said Button and not nicely,"Flowery Machine is a very good friend of mine and his music is gaining traction on radio stations, do I make myself clear?" He glared at Maddie and plugged in the system once more.

The friendly energy of friendships renewed in Button's large living room was destroyed, the seven of them mouthing the word "music?" incredulously at each other, regretting they had agreed to let him host this event knowing his weirdness and proclivity for annoying bands in the past.

Over the sound of Flowery Machine, Brent heard the doorbell ring and used the opportunity to turn down the volume as he passed by the sound system.

"Pizza!" he yelled at the others, gathering the cash back Domino coupons they had assembled, collecting their contributions. Maddie jumped up to help in carrying the four pizza boxes from the door.

"You didn't forget tipping I hope?" she said.

"No," said Brent, "Ten bucks for the driver. But seriously, speaking of tipping, if anyone deserves tipping over a....."

And here he stopped as he became aware of the sudden silence. The other five had surrounded Button, waving the plug of the infernal machine in his face.

"Your critique of my good friend, Flowery Machine, is unsubstantiated," Button protested,"You have no taste obviously."

"Listen buddy," said Brent,"I think we can put it to a vote here and now. This is the very last reunion you will host. And the very last time we listen to what you call music."

As Brent passed pizza slices around, Button sat off to the side red-faced and offended.

"We need to get you drunk," said Maddie who had always been the peacemaker,"Drunk and passed out quietly in a corner so we can have a decent catch-up with each other."

And they all laughed and whooped, breaking the tension.

And finally Button joined in, pouring himself another beer.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Words for Wednesday on a Thursday 4/25/19

Mimi is hosting this month's Words for Wednesday. You can visit her here and join in the fun. Or just read what others are doing.

This week's words are:



ad hoc*

Note trigger warning to those that are sensitive to darkness in a story.

The Committee met on the first Saturday of every month in the Great Hall of the Judiciary. It had started as an ad hoc committee but gradually, over the years, it had evolved into an annual election of Committee members selected from the survivors in the town.

Five of them sat on the bench, facing the petitioners. This month there were four, a male laborer of about 40, an outgoing male hippy type of 60,and a bawdy, brassy, blonde stereotype of a middle aged woman, long past her prime, and a timid, polite, young woman in her twenties.

It never failed to amaze her, the deciding vote as Chief Justice, as she sat on the uncomfortable bench overlooking the petitioners - that it took all kinds presenting themselves here every month in good conscience, seeking help, sharing their personal yarns all seeking the same result. To be chosen.

And one only could be chosen. The questioning was intense, for no word of this process could ever emerge out to the world at large. Yes, no doubt it was insidious, but all signs of what they did had to be invisible and the manner in which they did it. A vote would be taken once all stories were presented and the winner decided.

"So," she said clearly to the first petitioner,"Introduce yourself and tell us your life story, omitting nothing, swearing all present to secrecy, outlining at the end why you wish to die and what method you would wish us to utilize?"

Friday, April 19, 2019

Change Part 2

See Part 1 here.

I have a kitchen and it's not so much that it's tiny but that it's poorly designed. I have had smaller kitchens that have worked so efficiently - well laid out, everything reasonably within reach, all my appliances comfortably at hand. This one drove me bonkers from Day 1. No room for a dishwasher - seriously. I've had one for most of my adult life and this was a downer of a flaw. I investigated a multitude of possibilities, under sink, drawer, above sink, one tenant has one she would slide out from her pantry and wheel it over to the sink to do the job and gave up as her strength was failing with the heavy pushing. So I bit the bullet and hand wash nightly and make it a meditative process, reviewing my day, planning for tomorrow.

I'm good at re-invisioning space. I wanted to eat more at home as I was relying far too much on unhealthy takeout and restaurants. My processor, old and heavy was too heavy to lift up out of the bottom cupboards and there was no counter space, ditto my Kitchen Aid. I redesigned the space on paper and went shopping for a wee island with shelves underneath. Solid, heavy, wood, on wheels. For over a year I've been looking. The cost of any quality was beyond my budget. The FB local and buy and sell had many flimsies.

Then, to my heart stopping delight, this one popped up in the local FB market place. Solid as a rock, beautiful wood, heavy and wait for it, $60. I called immediately. Rhonda was in the middle of a kitchen design and this island no longer fitted into her plans. I told her I was a senior and wouldn't mind paying for delivery. Now don't you bother, she said, I will bring it over this minute to you, you will love it.

And she did and refused to take delivery money. And gave me another set of wheels that were bigger, brand new, if I wanted to change the wheels out. It was unused looking, polished and gleaming. I'm in love with this thing. (To give you an idea of the pantry size, it runs the entire length behind it. And is inadequately shelved to add to design fail.)

And this island? It has made a huge difference to my life. My heavy small appliances sit on it with their parts on one of the shelves. I have a long extension cord in the drawer for plugging them in. And guys, I ate all my meals at home this week. Healthy, sensible meals. Things like Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, chicken curry salad, Asian noodles with shrimp. I shifted away from gluten completely,and sugar and crispy things and gravy, all the leaden stuff. I'm on 1200 calories a day as my mobility challenges affect my physicality. I am hoping that will improve.

I put my processor to work with shredding, my Kitchen Aid on mixing and I'm on a roll. I don't feel deprived, in fact I feel reborn.

Amazing what a tiny re-design can do.

I will post recipes if anyone wants. I haven't eaten this healthy since marathon training and it feels good.

And more on this later.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Words for Wednesday 4/17/19

Mimi is hosting this month's Words for Wednesday. You can visit her here and join in the fun. Or just read what others are doing.

Words for this week are:




The quince crop was excellent this year. He'd have to dig out Granny's old recipe book, come to think of it: wasn't there an abundance of 20 recipes outlining "what to do with quince in your spare time" in her collection?

His debonair self, always perfectly groomed, belied his small farmer aspirations. His partner Joe, on the other hand, was sloppy and bouncy and out of all the gentler musical instruments he could have aspired to, he played the horn: loudly and early in the morning, saying it helped their chickens in egg-laying decisions. Nonsensical of course, but Joe had this spiritual bent also and was blind to criticisms. He'd flash that toothpaste commercial smile and say that and a cent will buy me a coffee.

He was easy to love, was Joe. Now to get him to help with the quince jams, jellies, relishes and pies. All set then for the farmers' market on Saturday. And Joe would blow his horn and attract the customers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Isn't life all about change though?

Then why do we never anticipate it, never allow for it, resist it, complain about it, why me dear lord it, and battle it?

My life has been full of changes. I won't pollyanna it by saying they were all good.

Everything I had to let go of had claw marks all over it.

Marriage, for ever and ever amen partnerships, addictions, moving, moving again and again. Daughter estranging herself. Love gone sour. Friendships tanking. Jobs not working out. Children. Babies starting school. Grandchildren growing up and adulting right before my eyes.

I could make lists and lists upon lists.

What brought this on?

Good question: as those professional lying speakers and politicians say (along with "we're taking this very seriously" when you know they're not at all)

Changing my diet, my life plan, my comfort eating, my foodie status. Growing up yet again.

Three days into it.

Radical change. Huge claw marks awaiting peaceful and accepting transition.

More on this later.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Processor

I'm talking my brain. I've always read quickly but I think I need to slow down. I grab words with the eyes, think about them for a while, realize they don't make sense and go back and re-read again and think: whoa Nelly!

The other day my eyes grabbed: "Decorating Engineers" off a page.

And there was a wonderful few seconds when I thought: What a great idea, they're usually so dull and drab looking, we could up the ante here and throw on some sparkly bits, hang some loud earrings, dye their hair purple, hang a tambourine off an arm, maybe some lovely tap-dancing shoes.

Then I evacuated the reverie and re-read the bit: "Designating engineers". Ah, sad. But hey! my brain going off in unexpected directions can be delightful.

Ear worms now take longer to leave me. I had two days solid of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". This will be my funeral dirge. A kind of vengeance on those in attendance. Give them all an ear worm for a couple of days. Remember me!

Caution: Ear worm alert: Play this at your peril.

Friday, April 12, 2019

On Crows

Outside my mini-office window a pair of crows are nesting. I'll have to buy peanuts for them. They are birds I've long admired for their intelligence and myriad ways of communicating. If you enbiggen you can see the crow awaiting her tour of duty on the eggs on the wire on the left.

It is said they have the intelligence of a 7 year old human.

In the past I've watched them negotiate traffic lights and, imitating seagulls, drop crustaceans from a great height in order to smash them.

And I had an extraordinary experience once where about 5 km from my home I killed a crow in my car. I felt awful, pulled over to the side of the road, looked at the lovely rainbow-on-black wings and was glad it was dead because if it was in pain I don't know what I would have done.

The following morning I woke up to this terrible cawing and screeching and looked out my bedroom window to see all these crows congregated on the trees in my garden. I went outside in my pajamas and I was close to tears. I told them I was sorry. And begged forgiveness. And as sure as I'm typing this, they settled down but continued to glare at me. They knew my car, they knew where I lived. It truly freaked me out. I remember Ansa looking up at them and literally skulking back into the house. The shame of her companion murdering a crow and now having a murder of crows circling our house. I have no doubt she knew what they were saying as she had been a witness in my car to the dastardly act.

In honour of their cleverness, I love this National Geographic snippet of crows trained to pick up and dispose of garbage.

And I'll leave you with this witty cartoon:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Words for Wednesday - April 10th, 2019

Mimi is hosting this month's Words for Wednesday. You can visit her here and join in the fun. Or just read what others are doing. I found this week a challenge but I reflected on a book I'm reading at the moment called "The Boat People" - a very moving story about refugees coming to Canada and I thought, oh those words would fit that experience, so here we are.

Words for this week are:




The detention camp was rough, but no rougher than the rickety boat they had sailed on or the filthy holding pen from their last port. Built for 200, holding 500 in cargo and on deck. A shaking, rumbling, diesel-soaked voyage from Sri Lanka, Her broken English picked up a few words from the immigration officers, brave, bad weather, miracle, satellite. They'd been fed and showered and given fresh clothes and were now awaiting processing after their documents had been turned over.

She'd been allowed to keep her pencil and sketch pad. And she gazed about her now in the afternoon light pouring in from the high windows, tempted to sketch those around her, her fellow refugees, the officers, the welcoming Canadians she'd seen outside the fence with flowers and banners when they came off the boat, tattered, broken, starving, dirty; they, the very precious few, had survived the dogs of war.

No, she was freshly decisive, no drawing, I need to scribble as fast as I can before these memories are wrenched from me, I must write, write. I must think of my brothers, my parents. Did they survive? Did they suffer? Her throat filled, her eyes closed.

"Miss?" the voice was in her own language. A young woman stood in front of her reaching down to touch her shoulder gently. "I'm your emigration lawyer sponsored by the Canadian Refugee Service. Come with me please for your first interview. Welcome to Canada!"

Monday, April 08, 2019

Dis 'N Dat

I totally spoke too soon on the BP miracle med. Ha! My BP has normal readings but hell, the side effects of this tiny dose of Beta Blocker are dreadful. Cement head with dizziness and the effect on my legs with existing PVD condition is awful, my legs now feel like lead AND I want to sleep ALL the time because I am so irritable if I don't because I'm exhausted. I consulted Dr. Google on this med and its effect on PVD are not good plus it has mental effects. My doc had said I may want to see him this week without specifying why. Now I know. So my exhilaration was brief. Now back to the drawing board.

When awake for this 10% of my life, I struggled with a hook on my bathroom wall that would not come off:
So I posted this challenge on FB and readers jumped to the rescue asking for more pictures:
And offering many suggestions on removal:

I needed to put a shelving unit there - now removed from my bedroom closet as I have my old semainier in my bedroom. The hook was blocking its fitting exactly into that wall space.

I don't know about you but I really, really hate when plans are thrown by the "small stuff" obstacles thrown in my path.

So none of the suggestions worked.

My friend Marg appeared at my door a couple of hours ago, all brisk and business like and said show me that effin hook. Long story short as I passed her many tools from my tool box like a surgeon's assistant (I know you're surprised I have a tool box, so was she - and impressed I might add) and she had Effin off the wall in no time.

The damage is minuscule, it looks far worse in the picture. And the shelving unit hides it.

So in my tiny fractious-for-now world, order is restored once more. I wish my brain and legs would agree.

Friday, April 05, 2019


Do you find it hard to stay focused?

I'm finding it worsening as I age.

There is just so much to be done, thought about, planned, executed and accomplished that it can be overwhelming.

I got into a political skirmish on FB yesterday and I became enraged at the injustice of it all. I am aware that it is merely my opinion and others disagree but I find it hard to walk away and just LET IT GO.

Meanwhile, this steals precious time away from other matters that I can actually do something about. Like the new senior women's advocacy group we are forming and tax season - did I mention tax season? - where I still have some clients (not many) to keep my hand (brain) in and a few extra coins in the coffers.

Meanwhile, yesterday, I see my new young doctor and honestly, he is sorting out my elevated blood pressure like no tomorrow. He put me on a 1/2 a beta blocker and I'm already seeing the difference though side effects are a slight headache and exhaustion. I rarely if ever get headaches so this leads me into thinking some people suffer so much from them and I am so lucky.

Meanwhile, my dear friend with dementia has had enormous trouble with her power of attorney as it has been executed behind her back and the executor put his name on the title to her house. So she was all panicked and called me (she has no other friend she trusts) and I had her write down a plan, she was remarkably clear-headed, and then the following day her brain was all jumbled again and it was like the 2 hours of the day before that we had on the phone held no meaning for her at all, they had evaporated. So I've had to walk away, I have no room for this in my brain. And I live over 3,000 KM away. So I just metaphorically bless her texts to me that tell me everything is OK now with no specifics and LET IT GO.

I wrote a 5-parter about her here

So I'm going to get a lot more selfish with my time. Practise loving detachment in all my endeavours, go stupid on political engagement and accomplish what is in my reasonable grasp. Good plan, right?

We'll see how all this unfolds.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Words for Wednesday April 4, 2019

This month's Weekly Words for Wednesday is being hosted by Messy Mimi. Please check her out and all the participants' take on the words. Thank you Mimi.

Words for Wednesday




The Recipe

The booth rental was cheap, only five dollars for the whole day of the June fair, six weeks away. She ladled out the change, coin by coin, from her small leather purse directly into the mayor's hand. She was slowing down, turned seventy five last November, she knew that, but she quickly calculated that if she sold 80 bottles of her special syrup at 50 cents a piece she would be thirty five dollars to the good. That would see her through the cold northern winter.

She gathered her drab, once pale blue now grey, dimity dress in one hand as she stepped carefully on to the boardwalk bounding the street outside the town office, avoiding a boy with a hoop and a mother with a high baby carriage. Horses were tethered to the railings outside the small tea room and carriages were pulling in front of the Blagg's General Store across the street. She glanced through the window of the tea room and saw it was empty and without thinking, went in and sat down at one of the perfect round little tables.

Mr. Partridge came over from behind the counter, rubbing his hands, quickly concealing his astonishment.

"Miss Winterton! Well I do declare! To what do I owe this enormous pleasure?"

"I need a little sustenance," Miss Winterton said briskly, she'd never lost her school marm ways and had taught Eddie Partridge, "I was conducting some business at the town office. I shall have a booth once more at the June fair."

"Why, I'm thinking you will be again offering your recipe presented so beautifully in that special bottle in its very own cardboard box? The older I get, even if I just get a hint of that lovely taste I am well near enraptured!" and Mr. Partridge clasped his hands together most charmingly.

He waved payment for the cup of tea and biscuit away as he laid it gently on the table.

"Now, dear lady, you must put 5 bottles of your recipe away for me. Don't even think of selling your complete stock. Put them aside I beseech you!"

Miss Winterton nodded, sipping her tea, nibbling her biscuit. Perhaps she should think about expanding her production.

The only trouble was, in this dry town, so many took to drinking her syrup during the June fair and within a very short while, baffling as it was, this resulted in confrontations and misbehavior and even, heavens, some fighting and wounds being inflicted.

But why worry, Alice, she admonished herself, this has nothing to do with you.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Age Distortion

I remember reading a book a long time ago by a psychiatrist. I was really into personal development and improvement then. I gave that up a long time ago when I realized my own journey is unique and can't be based on any guru blowing off about his or her life experience and encouraging others to follow in the same footsteps. Well no, that would be merely a distraction. I follow my own path, read Tao in the mornings and reject or embrace any suggestions.

But I digress. That book I read was summarized as follows:

Why do we all behave as if we have 200 years to live?

For of course we don't. And we delude ourselves constantly.

For instance: Middle aged?

Most put middle age as between 50 and 60 and even higher.

But the average lifespan in Canada is 82.30 years. (US is only 78)

So truly middle age is 41 in Canada and only 39 in the US.

Imagine those turning 40 announcing they are now middle-aged!

So what is old age?

Most of my friends died between the ages of 52 and 70. From various causes. So let's say the average age of death in my circle (and I believe it was wider than 'normal') is 61, depending on the number of friends one has it could be higher. (So their middle age was 30+ )

So old age, to me, generously, would be anything over the 3 score and 10 meaning 70+.

Extreme old age would be 80+.

I have 4-1/2 years to get there, if I do. And I bear in mind disability and other challenges happen out of the blue. Three people I know now have dementia in different stages.

So what am I going to do with these last bits 53 months of my one wild and precious old age life?

What are you doing?

I assume here that my readers are all past middle age - meaning over 40. And many, like myself, have health challenges.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Mating Game

You can tell us apart. Us 70+ (or even 60+) women. On one side we are distinguished by our grey hair, our absence of makeup, our short unpolished nails, our sensible shoes, our jeans and sweatshirts.

On the other side (not me but I have some friends who are) are the well burnished flirty specimens, the no-fooling-anyone reddish auburn blondish permed hair, blue eye makeup, orange matte makeup, painted eyebrows, prickly mascara, whoa - there's a whole lot of effort involved. I am in awe of it and please don't think for a second I mock it.

These women fall apart when there's a single man or two in the room. The whole tenor of social interaction changes as if a switch has been pulled. Now that, I have a hard time with. I am embarrassed for them. I feel men are ripped off too. They see these women simpering and posing and oh-my-ing and they think, I'm sure, that these are representative of women as a whole. And unfortunately these are the women who appeal as mates. All intelligent conversation ceases and at that stage, I for one make excuses and leave.

I love the freedom this age gives me. I love that I can chat to men of any age as if they are as human and intelligent and sentient as I am and we can have coffee or a meal without any batting of eyes or hidden agendas. I resigned from the mating game a long, long time ago. I have never felt more me in my life. Not performing to any expectation of others. Authentic. Real to myself.

I was looking at an acquaintance on FB the other day who has been on the hunt, so to speak, for as long as I've known her. She must have gone through 5 or 6 potential partners after being widowed twice and finally found The One and they have a diamond and she has a sparkly red dress and new blonde hair and long ruby nails and a look of such triumph as she gazes upwards into his eyes and I am glad for her that all that high maintenance was worth it for however long she has left as she is a wee bit older than I.

What now? I silently ask her. Will it be happily ever after? Was it worth it?

PS Image is from the Drew Carey Show.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Words for Wednesday 3/27/19

Thanks to Delores for hosting March's words for Wednesday. Go visit her at Muted Mumblings and see what others have done. I was a little stumped at the one word offered this week but then realized where my imagination could land in the end.

My story is in 3 parts.

See Part 1 here

See Part 2 here

This is the final installment.


Sherry was on her second cup of coffee by the time Patsy showed up, taking her hat off as she came through the door, unbuttoning her police jacket, greeting Ben the barista by name and asking him for the usual.

She wasted no time.

"I was a victim myself," she told Sherry,"And I'm a cop. I was too ashamed to bring this to my superiors at work. But dammit, the fellow's good isn't he?"

Ben brought an espresso over along with a biscotti.

Sherry nodded, relief flooding her. She was not alone. She didn't feel quite so stupid now that it had happened to a cop.

"I'm wondering," said Patsy, "How many more victims are out there? And what can we do to stop this guy? Did you ever see his place? Ride in his car? Know where he worked?"

"It's weird, I didn't. He said he was in transition, between jobs, living on investments, selling his condo..."

"Right," Patsy dipped her biscotti in the espresso, thoughtful, "And he hated his photo being taken, said it was a childhood issue or something, though he did show me his ID when we first met... at the bank.."

"Me too," said Sherry, laughing in spite of herself, "At the bank, chatting casually about going away to France on business, changing some money...back in a week... said he'd like to get together for coffee when he returned....

Patsy gaped at her and then burst out laughing too. "Great story, huh? Me too!"

"Oh, that reminde me" said Sherry, "Another thing. I was waiting there to see the bank manager and Peter was leaving and turned to look at the clock and I snapped a photo of him on my cellphone..." and she took it out of her purse and swiped it and then passed it over to Patsy.

"Oh, well done," said Patsy nodding as she looked at the picture, "Very well done! Now we can plaster this all over media, television included. We will catch this bastard and warn other women, thanks to you!"

"And this," said Sherry, clinking her coffee cup against Patsy's, "Could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"