Monday, July 16, 2018

Three Generations and a Pub Crawl

Sunday, July 15th.

The three of us headed off last night to George Street, St. John's which has the most pubs per square inch than any other street in North America. Hang on a minute I'm going to Wiki that, just to make sure.

Well it doesn't mention that but it this will give you an idea of the street.

We had a great time. Two generations drink but the elder does not. Anymore. I figure I drank enough for three lifetimes when I did drink and I just celebrated 32 years of sobriety. So club sodas are the order of the day for moi with lime or cranberry attached. I have to say I do miss the Rock Shandys of Ireland though. Served in a pint glass and utterly delicious for the non-drinker. I see they're putting this mix in cans now. Not here unfortunately.

We loved all the music and general conviviality at the bars and engaged with another older woman who was there with her daughter and daughter-in-law on a pub crawl too. Her first one at the age of 73. Never too late to experience what we have missed along the way.

However, we threw in the towel at around 11.00 pm even though George Street rocks till all hours of the morning. I remember the good old days when I'd be rocking along and looking for a feed as dawn nudged the horizon. I'm sure the young ones might have wanted to stay but felt they needed to take Grandma home and well - ha!- Grandma was the designated driver.

We heard this hairy old favourite many times on our walks by the pubs.

Nothing can ever top the time it was sung to me by an old busker on Patrick Street in Cork.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday Status update

100 pages of current novel read.

250 pages of my own novel read, edited, notated.

700 extra words of novel written.

Shawlette for Lana nearly finished.

Stay begone you demon Facebook.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Social Media

I came to the realization a few days ago that social media takes up a fair amount of my day. All well and good when one is young, I suppose, but the elder years make each hour rather more precious. How many can be frittered away in such a fashion? Facebook alone with groups (recovery groups, feminist, political, writer groups, theatre, photography, nature etc.etc.) and friends who post frequently can consume me, fill me with gratitude/indignation/resignation/cynicism/outrage/take your pick and I'm no shrinking violet - I plunge right in to whatever fray has taken my fancy.

So enough, I thought. What sucks my time the most? It came down to Facebook. So much of it is drivel, unenlightening and unfulfilling. Birthdays, obits, anniversaries, happy families around the campfire/table/birthday cake/wedding - these are all lovely, but by the time I troll and scroll another hour has been swallowed up or 2 or even 3.

It was a big leap but I removed the app from my phone. No more notifications, no more sideways glancing down at the screen as I sit having coffee or dinner.

I still have my online Scrabble games, 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at night. 14 games. I like the brain activity, the searching back for long lost words from my youth.

I still use Messenger for quick contacts with people.

I still have Instagram - which is a quick fix for photo displays.

I still tweet, the odd time, I tend to let it go most days but it is good for newsfeeds. And fast.

I don't bother with Skype or Facetime or Snapchat and never have.

So here I am with about 3 fresh hours in my day to fill and with what you might ask.

Well, this is interesting indeed.

I have hauled out my many unfinished (mainly they need editing, fixing) manuscripts and am working away on one for the past few days. About time. Even with Grandgirl here.

It's a new life of amazing opportunities - to be continued.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Aftermath and Canada Day

Emotional experiences mingled with sadness, memory, fear of change, uncertain future (political, global, environmental) is stressful for many of us, not just elders.

I'll be interested to hear Grandgirl's take on it when she arrives to spend nearly 2 weeks with me tomorrow.

I know many are talking of the 'Good Ol' Days' and going back to them. I call BS on that. I turn a cold hard eye on my own past and would not revisit it for anything. Well maybe a quick revisit to the occasional short sweet times with my mother. But the rest of it? I was a religious refugee from the land of my birth, a victim of the judgement and condemnation of an unplanned pregnancy that would have shamed both my former husband and I along with my family in the eyes of the vicious Catholicism then. I've written about it many times. Escape to a welcoming Canada was our only option, far from the counting fingers of all around us. If we hadn't married, I would have been sentenced to a Magdalene Laundry in Killarney where my cousin was the nun in charge of it and have my child sold out from under me. Friends were caught in this horrific situation. They still bear the scars to this day.

More Good Ol'Days had endless repercussions in my new life in Canada. Isolation from family was a constant gnawing anxiety. Post partum depression after Daughter was born was something unrecognized then. I knew I was depressed. I had made only one friend who was supportive and loving. Father of Child couldn't understand what was going on and busied himself out at night partying and making new friends. I struggled on very much alone with Daughter and thought often of suicide, I was so utterly despondent and frightened by how my life had turned out. As my people say: "I'd lost the run of myself."

I had a supportive doctor for my baby and he recognized what was going on and told me it would pass. It was all hormonal, try and get out in the sunshine, make more of an effort, go swimming (our apartment building had a pool) or walking. I did. But I've never forgotten the awful gloom of that first year in a strange land, how I felt robbed of my family, my homeland, a supportive community, the familial joy that should have surrounded Daughter, a first great grand-child and grandchild to both our families.

So what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. Stronger in the broken places.

I am grateful beyond measure to Canada, who accepted two young emigrants back in the day and helped us establish a life in this great country where I was able to blossom and grow and become my authentic self. This would not have happened in Ireland in that era where women were subservient to the church, surrounded by rattling rosary beads and the gossip of neighbours and who lost their careers upon marriage or unplanned pregnancies. Memories of any "transgressions" lived long and hard in the minds of neighbours and co-congregants ("Ah, she had to get married back in 1957, no wonder he runs around on her, who's to blame him?"). There was no moving on then. If your father was a communist, you were unemployable and judged so harshly one of my classmates joined an order of cloistered nuns to escape community condemnation, her brothers emigrated. I could write more. A very dark place it was then, finally coming into more sunlight now with abortion rights and gay marriage but still a long way to go.

Not that Canada is perfect, but it is a country, still, where health care is excellent and universal, where the social safety network is in place to help the least advantaged of our citizens and women are equal in the constitution and dying with dignity and legalized
marijuana make us the adult in a house where in the basement a screaming orange toddler with a lit match holds us all in terrified thrall to his tantrums.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Variations on the Melody of Love - Part 5 (Final)

See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here
See Part 3 here
See Part 4 here

I offer you the above exchange to reflect the humour that is present in our ongoing texting. I am so grateful that it occurred to me to show her how to text. I have to reign myself in as I want to complicate everything. For instance, I wanted her to get internet on her phone and stopped myself. Why? I asked myself. Keep it simple, stupid. This one step into technology is just fine for her. Perfect in fact and she is delighted with it. She texts me twice or three times a day. Little updates. For that is all there is to life, surely - the small stuff.

Lana is very present in the moments, recounting small incidents such as the Canada Day fireworks in the field behind her house last night. One of her very frightening moments in NB in our stay there was when she couldn't recall a single detail of her house, the front, back, interior. It was a blank slate. She has lived there for over twenty years. I confess to being frightened too. How awful not to recollect even the straightforward things such as one's kitchen or driveway or bedroom.

She is going to check in with her doctor again tomorrow to make sure he's on top of the specialist situation. He had put a priority on it and has been her doctor for a very long time so knows her well and she likes him.

No more can I do apart from offering her love and support from afar. I'm enjoying our wee texts to each other throughout the day and evening.

We have a rainbow ribbon of sisterhood connecting us.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Variations on the Melody of Love - Part 4

Lana at the site of the Reversing Falls.

See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here
See Part 3 here

First of all thank you for the very supportive messages sent to me. This has has been extraordinarily difficult to write. I am also conscious of Lana's privacy (her name has been changed and of course I am anonymous). However, there's a catharsis to this as well, and I am a firm believer in sharing both taboo or difficult topics in an effort to bring more understanding to challenges we may face along the way. One of Lana's favourite expressions is "throw the floodlights into the dark corners of your life" and this she has done in her own life and has also encouraged me to do the same. Only then can we heal.

Lana has been enormously helpful to me over the years. She has a very loving, understanding heart and is brutally honest with others and with me. I know she has read this blog (my invitation) in the past but such technology is beyond her now. My teaching her texting has been a giant leap for her and this is also assisting her in memory jogging and more on that later.

Once The Conversation was out of the way, we settled down to chatting about her condition. It was very emotional, many long hugs, tears and then the jokes. Our senses of humour had not failed us. At the end of Day 4 as we sat there in the living room, she said:

L"I hope I'll remember all of this in the morning."

Me"I should have a tape recorder perhaps."

L"It would get too full and then where would we be?"

M"Maybe just the important points?"

L"What are those?"


Sometimes we have to dig deep in our hearts for understanding and words.

She says: "my brain feels like a long highway and the potholes surprise me. And the stones and pebbles too. I can't predict them."

"Much like life," I respond, "We just never know when our stumbles and falls are going to occur."

There was much in the power of silence.

Love takes many shapes and sizes, I think. The love between two friends can surpass many types of love when total honesty prevails and our fears, our hurts, our uncertainties find an often trembling voice. Only then do we find strength, only then do we gather the courage to carry on.

We hold on to each other physically many times. I touch her more often than I normally would. Assurance. Trust. I kiss her forehead as I would a child. I don't know when, if ever, we'll see each other again. I stay in the moment. I act normally and she notices.

"Before," she says, "I knew there was something wrong in our conversations, a slight reaction on your face, a little shock sometimes, though you tried to cover it. I was aware of you being patient and kind in repeating things for me. But I couldn't verbalize this without pulling down all the walls. I knew I had to probe deeper and find words to break through. But now, there's no barrier at all, now we can talk in the sunshine!"

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Variations on the Melody of Love - Part 3

Lana on the deck of our cabin

See Part 1 here, see Part 2 here

I'm always learning. I listen closely to people, even strangers, and they unknowingly teach me what to do, but also what not to do. For instance (small thing): I hate doing dishes by hand. I've always had a dishwasher. There is no way a dishwasher fits into my kitchen now. Even though I've explored all possibilities, the drawer kind, the shelf kind, the box kind and even a portable is out of the question. So a blogmate recently wrote about making dish-washing a kind of meditation at the end of the day and I find this extraordinarily peaceful and think: I am so very fortunate to still be able to stand and do wishes even with my PVD as I can lean on the counter if needed, but yes, taking care of one's self involves washing dishes and leaving a welcoming clean kitchen for the morning. Thank you, Kate.

So Lana, upstairs in the cabin, made friends with this enormous tree outside of one of her windows. She'd come down in the mornings and tell me about the movements of the tree, how it was reacting to the sun (light and shadow, ever changing) and how the rustling sound of it soothed her thoughts and kept her present in the moment. The tree was speaking to her every day.

I sat outside with her and we watched this particular tree together and looked at the many colours of green and the interweaving gentle branches and how it sheltered us and we speculated how it was watching us as we were watching it. Extraordinary to take that kind of time with someone else. Normally I would read a book or knit or write. But I sat with her and did absolutely nothing.

Now, if you're ever wondering where to eat when you are travelling and if you can, try the local golf club restaurant if there is one. A tourist who stayed with me back in the B&B days passed this tip on from her father who was a world traveller. We tried our local golf club the second day of our stay and were bowled over with the quality of the food and reasonable prices and fantastic service. So we went back on the 4th day.

And it was there that Lana sat staring at me across the table for what seemed like an eternity and then put her slightly shaking hands flat on the table and taking a huge breath said:
"We go back a long way, WWW, and I'm wondering if you could answer this big question I'm going to put to you. If you can't, I'll understand but there is no one else for me to ask."

I couldn't even think of anything she would want to ask me, but I nodded: why of course.

"Have you noticed any major changes in me? I'm thinking physical, mental, emotional or spiritual?"

My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't stop the sudden rush of tears to my eyes. I took my time. Sweet Goddess help me, I thought. Truth? Fudging? Evasion?

"Yes," I whispered, "Yes, yes I have, Lana."

And then our real conversations began.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Variations on the Melody of Love. Part 2

The fireplace at the cabin in New Brunswick which heard much of our shared history.

See Part 1 here.

I quickly become accustomed to repeating information, very gently, very softly. Always current information.

But our past memories are easily accessible and validated.

Odd questions are thrown at me:

"How are the neighbours around here? Have you gotten to know them?"

"Do you like your neighbours?"

I'm a type A personality so appreciate this rather rapid descent into tolerance and patience. Lessons are valuable no matter how I learn them.

I take charge of the driving and mealtimes and quickly realize that entering any new establishment at odd times like 3 o'clock in the afternoon is a signal to her that dinner is soon so I avoid such afternoon introductions of new places.

At night, I begin to read to her a novel I am editing, but realize that her retention of memory from the night before of what transpired has now evaporated.

I am mindful of her mother, laughing like a child, remarkably aware, who descended rapidly into dementia, saying that now she read the first page of a new book over and over as it was always fresh to her.

I abandon this endeavour on the 3rd night and she never remarks on the absence of this activity.

Instead we talk, of her family and mine (mine are re-introduced, she'd forgotten my siblings even though she met them a few times). Her clarity on her own family is superb, including the distance she maintains from a fraudulent and abusive sibling. Our common friendships are relived and savoured. Our past relationships and erstwhile partners are evaluated with hindsight, wisdom and laughter. She even proffers some startling new (to me) information on a former husband that she has previously withheld.

She is very kind to me, even though I have to repeat, gently, my health challenges just about daily to her. I carry my cane to reinforce this with her. And it works.

"Tell me again what's wrong with you?" she says every morning, with such deep concern and compassion and love. I slowly explain about my PVD as if for the first time every time.

A frightening panic-filled moment comes when we leave a historic market place on the fourth day of our holiday.

"Somebody stole my car, where's my car? What are we going to do?" she wanders around the parking lot very upset.

"It's OK,"I say,"You know what? I think I drove today. Look for a sapphire blue car!"

"Oh my God, of course that's it! You drove today!"

I drive every day we're together.

But unbeknownst to me, the miracle is waiting just around the corner.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Variations on the Melody of Love. Part 1

Our beach in New Brunswick

I'm laying down my deepest thoughts here - mainly as a way of processing them as they are all rather new and at times unexpected and often so poignant that they take my breath away.

I've written of the plans for these past 11 days here. I've now returned from this trip. Exhausted in many ways, not least of which is that old woman syndrome that thinks driving 3,500k in 11 days is just the same as when she was 60. Not so. Toll on body and mind is, how shall I put it, excessive. But I made it.

I reached the cabin we had rented on Friday, June 13th. My friend hadn't arrived yet, even though she had texted me (a new skill I had taught her) that morning. A slight panic ensued as this leg of her trip should have taken, longest, 6 hours and I was now looking at 8. A man pulled onto the driveway in a truck just as my panic mounted.

"Your friend has followed me down here," he said, "I found her lost on the highway." He looked serious.

First intimations of trouble. She had three GPS units in her car in case one broke down.

Soon enough, Lana pulled in behind him, laughing.

"This handsome dude went out of his way to guide me here!" she said as she climbed out of her vehicle. We bade farewell to Dude, very handsome and kind.

She looks down at the cabin (gorgeous) below on the water.

"You have a lovely place here!" she says as she hugs me.

"Well, we do," I say, "You and I rented it for the week."

"We did? Oh yes, that's right."

We negotiate the many wooden steps down with our belongings and quickly select our bedrooms. She upstairs, me downstairs. The place is lovely, very large but homey with an unexpected bonus - we have our own beach.

I make coffee in the kitchen and she joins me.

"I must say," she says, giving me another hug, "You sure know how to pick lovely places. How long have you lived here?"

And so the week begins.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Aging In Place

I was reading Joared and threw a long comment on a question she asked about aging in place and wouldn't you know it, it went poof into the ether. I had stopped copying blog comments as backup a while ago but I should start again if they are long. Live and learn.

So instead I thought I'd write my own post about the changes I've made and how I'm living my life in much changed surroundings since this time last year.

I am struck (joyfully) by how whittled down my possessions are now. I have downsized more than a few times in my life. And upsized too. Does anyone ever write about upsizing except in reference to Happy Meals? Life can be writ excessively large in a 4 story century old home which was my marital home for many years and where my children were raised. A lovely old place but also where my marriage finally withered and died. So mixed memories.

So yes, the finally downsizing perhaps if my (mental)health holds out.

This is a great place to age-in-place as long as the marbles don't roll around. The only time anyone exits is when the stove is shut down and the meds are in electronic dispensers in the bathroom and you're doing your laundry one knickers at a time every hour and forgetting where your apartment is. One 90 year old recently made such an exit. A former high profile banker. Her only child, a son, was worn out from visiting every day with meals and checkups. His suggestion of daily home help was met with words he had never heard her utter in his life - a blue laden dictionary of profanity from a high church Anglican which, he, a merchant seaman (ret.), had never encountered anywhere. It was enough to have her removed, knickers and meds, to a full care home.

I haven't looked back since I moved here. I still wake up every morning and listen to the birds outside and am so very grateful I don't have to worry about anything except taking care of myself and my simple needs.

Frankly, I never thought I'd adjust to living in a one bedroom apartment. But it's perfect. I'm on the second floor, overlooking a lake and Signal Hill with a slice of ocean across the way. I am content. Truly content. It seems like a very long time since I could say that. Everything I need is at my fingertips. And I'll have it ready for show and tell once I get back here and wade through the huge boxes and tubs of photos (you wouldn't believe!)with the help of Grandgirl who is arriving next month.

I had lunch yesterday with a friend who followed me in here from her country home (her home has been in her family for generations). And she said to me that she'd be quite happy of she never had to see it again. She has agreed to keep it for the family for now but her heart is in her apartment here.

Anyway, we wound up giggling like schoolgirls at this new lease on life we both feel, like we are teenagers again, ready to explore a new world with "parents" taking care of all the endless maintenance and entertaining (her family - me B&B) and animal care and making up beds and wondering when the snowplow would clear the driveway, and what happens when the pipes freeze again, etc., etc.

So we ran off to the Habitat for Humanity store for a while and poked around and then hit our local library dancing around the shelves, stocking up like mad things because now there's lots more time to read.

And savour.

Savour this glorious stage of life.

How very lucky I am.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Moving On


Do you write with your heart or with your head or a combination of both?

I tend to write from the heart.

Opinion pieces tend to be distancing I find and ring false and judgmental as the personal experience is absent.

And passion. Passion is absent from so many lives, isn't it? Being in this lovely village which is my complex I am puzzled as to why it is lacking in so many lives. Enthusiasm. Delight. Joy. Self-deprecation. We need lots more of these. How to stoke those internal fires?


My long awaited custom chair was finally delivered today. I had to send the incorrect one back 2 months ago as it rocked. This one is perfect. I test drove it like a child after the delivery men left. Now I'm finally ready to play with my space.

A perfect bathroom mirror I found. I'd been looking forever.


5 more sleeps till I leave, but it's a busy 5 days, jammed with meetings and a paying tax project which finances part of my travel expenses.

My Cape Breton friend has planned a trip on our second day together to her local wharf to await the lobster boats coming in and then gorging ourselves silly in the wharf cafe on fresh lobster. I will photo this feast.

Travelling by car enables me to pack quite carelessly which I love.


"Not your Granny's dishcloth"

I made this dishcloth and I couldn't believe the response on FB. I've made quite a few more as so many want to buy them.

Sunday, June 03, 2018


It's hard to surprise this old blogger. But sometimes I can be shocked. Particularly by a male blogger who considers himself a feminist.I won't use names here but suffice to say that I've been following and commenting on his blog for a very long time. And he on mine.

Naturally, over the years, we have accrued readers in common who regularly comment. Some commentators are fairly detailed in comments on my blog and on others. A trait that charms me. Imagine readers taking the time to evaluate carefully and comment and offer well thought out, often opposing opinions. Some take exception to that. I watch a lot of this unfold on others' blogs but rarely on mine. A battle of insults ensues, often ad hominem attacks which I have always deemed unfair unless the writer writes from a lofty privileged platform and not from personal experience - i.e. monolithically condemning great swathes of the population for having the effrontery to be fat or alcoholic or consuming mindlessly, take your pick.

I truly don't write to have an army of sycophants worshipping at the altar of my deathless prose. I write from experience and often receive personal emails from readers looking for help with addiction or grief or loneliness or depression or even knitting. Many I meet in the flesh, many are supportive - for instance when Grandgirl was in India, a long time blogger friend offered to look out for her.

But the email I received the other day took my breath away in its condescending mansplaining. I was told, in no uncertain terms, not to "encourage" a female blogger whose comments were "upsetting" him. To stop "taking her side". And please note I have rarely, if ever, commented on a comment on anyone else's blog. And certainly not on his.

I'll let that sink in for a minute there.

Note that my opinion and regard for this blogger was completely shoved aside in his subjective consideration. He just needed to set me straight as to how he "felt" and how her "accusations" and "put downs" were going on a long time. That was all that was important.

Well, heat and kitchen come to mind. Seriously.

I will also note that the blogger he refers to has never, ever, upset me in any way.

In fact she has been incredibly supportive through grief and depression.

I guess I should take my ladybrain and scurry back to the kitchen and forget this blogging business and leave it to the Big Boyz who know what's best for bloggers like me, you think?

Thursday, May 31, 2018


My father always maintained that for a happy life one needs something to look forward to. I'm a firm believer in a one day at a time philosophy but it lifts my spirits to plan travelling or a creative project.

A busy summer is lined up and I'm pretty happy about that. Enough breaks in between to take a breather.

Coming back from this I have Grandgirl coming for a week or so and staying with me.

Next on the agenda would be time spent with Daughter in August for my birthday, perhaps in Labrador and Red Bay, we've been tossing ideas around as her time is limited due to work.

Then in September another friend is coming from Ontario (her second visit) and we plan to visit Trinity, Fogo Island and Gros Morne, all of which I've been to before (in some cases more than once!) but she hasn't.

So all in all cruising through this summer sounds pretty exciting and eventful.

And yes, food is still peaceful, nutritious and appetizing. My clothes are looser and my energy has improved. My arm trouble lingers on so I am going to see an osteopath and I hope to get to the bottom of this. My speculation is boundless but pointless.

Two wee things I just knitted as a gift for a friend who adores both gingerbread men and books.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Dis and Dat

I updated my book list for those interested - and I am gratified some of you enjoy it.

As to Canadian Netflix, it seems to have run out of steam. Deliberately, I don's subscribe to any other streaming service in case it would get in the way of my real life. So I decided to embrace my local library yet again and I'm finding all sorts of goodies which only take up temporary space in my abode. For instance, I just received "Brideshead Revisited" which I haven't seen in a dog's age and am looking forward to revisiting (ha). This is the 1981 version which I remember enjoying. I didn't see the remake and have no desire to.

And yay Ireland on the referendum and all who sailed in to cast votes from everywhere around the planet. I haven't been so emotionally swept up in a vote in a long, long time. Remembering all who suffered and died because of the barbaric nature of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland.


I had one of those "real" dreams last night. Missing Daughter had returned to the fold. Engineered by First Daughter. All terribly complicated but I was holding her and she was sobbing her heart out and wouldn't let me go. I woke up smiling and not crying which surprised me. But I carried a little oomph of hope. I have a major milestone birthday coming up and maybe this is playing some part in this. But I do know about expectations being folly. So no fatted calf or parades in anticipation.

In the past week, I banjaxed my left arm from the fingertips to the shoulder. The pain was brutal and I needed a brace. This happens periodically and we can't seem to source the cause. It feels like a repetitive sprain injury but to cover such a vast area? I've checked seating, desk height, etc. But I'm baffled. A few months ago when it happened I went for all sorts of tests and nothing was found.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


I had this idea. My friend with memory problems that she is working on fairly successfully? I thought to make plans with her. How would that plot work out? And, I thought, the sooner the better.

I looked at a good old Google map and picked a point half way between our dwellings which happened to be St. John, New Brunswick. I'm about 1,500km from there and so is she. I have to catch the winter ferry as the seasonal summer ferry won't start in time for the trip. So that entails a road trip across the island of around 900km, give or take.

I love road trips, so does she.

I managed to find a cabin on the river for us to share for a week. Staggeringly reasonable. it includes breakfast.

On my way to St. John I also booked in for 2 days with a friend who has a cottage in Cape Breton not too far from where the ferry decants me in North Sidney.

She's planning a dinner party and gathering her Inverness clan to meet me. They all sound wonderful, writers and artists galore.

Then I head off from her place to St. John to meet my Toronto friend.

So I leave on the 12th of June.

I feel this trip is very important.

And it truly has been a carpe diem thing organizing it all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Gosh people, it is time to face my reality. Some things I don't write about. Some things I don't share.

And why not?

Because of labeling. Because of fear. Because of the old admonition "be careful who you share with."

But change I must. For today in meditation?

It struck me that I am always sad. Have been for a long time now. Maybe 18 months or longer with a brief respite for about six months. Until Ansa died. I observe life at a distance and often through a veil of tears. Pardon the pun but I'm actually in a vale of tears while behind this veil. Constantly it seems.

Overly dramatic? You're not living where I am.

I can pretend for a while, an hour or so. I can even laugh or plumb my innate Irish wit to make others laugh. But then.

I'm stopped, sliding around in one deep muddy spot, avoiding the swamp that will suck me down.

So the meditation?

I wrote first to my friend Ross who is dying, doing the "next right thing" which is my philosophy of life in a nutshell.

I wrote to my friend Pad who has kicked cancer twice and is a mutual friend of Ross's.

And then finally, I reached out for help myself and wrote to Dr. Patrick my grief counselor who was so helpful in the past, two years ago now and for about 6 months of sessions. I need a current assessment of my mental and emotional and spiritual condition.

For I can't go on like this.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Adoration of Sally

I mentioned in my previous post an 84 year old resident of my building I'll call Sally whose 6 daughters take turns in taking her out each night for dinner.

Our weather has been consistently so glorious that all our windows are open to the front courtyard where Sally gets dropped.

I'd missed some afternoon excursions, obviously, as I'd only heard and then observed the after dinner drop-offs.

It's always hard to miss the laughter when Sally gets decanted by one of her six daughters.

Today at three p.m. she launches out of a red sports car clutching a pair of black pumps in her hand and flaunting her sparkling new bright blue running shoes.

"They're fine, see?" Sally stands on the pavement and flexes one foot at the daughter driving.

"Just as long as they're comfy," replies her daughter, "I can always get you another pair."

"Ah, no need for that," Sally says, "Until I wear them out running around."

"Who's turn is it to take you tonight for supper?"

"I forget," says Sally,"But one always shows up and I'll be ready. I should wear a tracksuit to match the new runners, right?"

I am obviously fascinated by Sally as she is completely oblivious to this charmed life she leads and treats her daughters as mild nuisances for I've seen her bat them away on the stairs (she scorns the elevator) when they follow her up, telling them she's got plans that don't include them and to go home. They look literally crushed with disappointment that they can't spend more time with her.

Of all my neighbours on this floor, she is by far the happiest, the joy exudes from her.

I must sit down with her and hear her life story.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Blog Jam

My mornings

Water bottle
Tao meditation
An Indian Ocean sunset from a blog friend received in the mail yesterday.

Elder Daughter

She researched a little on how mothers might live longer. Discovered that daughters, spending more positive time with their mothers, extend their lives immeasurably. Every time we get together now, she calls it "my life extension programme." I have a living example in my building. An 84 yo woman - who would put women half her age to shame - bounces out of a different car in the parking lot around 7 each night. Turns out one of her six daughters take it in turns to pick her up for dinner each night of the week. I had wondered why she was always so happy. She should live to be 180.


I had been looking for a headboard for my bed for a long time. Nothing appealed. Then Daughter arrived on Mother's Day lugging this beauty along with her tool kit to install it. It is so perfect I could weep. My bedroom doubles as my den so I like the distinction of the sleep area. Plus: bonus stuff holder.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thin on the ground

Friendships can get thin on the ground as we age. I imagine mine are more precious and important to me in the absence of a significant other. Who do we we bounce ourselves off unless it's a friend, usually long term, usually a cornucopia of memories enriching the shared experience of our lives.

That's why it's such a shock when a long term friend, supportive, kind, carrying each other through a myriad of downers and uppers and inbetweeners comes out of left field with some rather appalling shyte yesterday.

For instance:

(R) M, you'd be far better off if you weren't so passionate about things, if you weren't so keen on feminism and politics and all that other stuff you do like writing. If you'd let all that stuff go and just confine yourself to a smaller world that would take far less energy, and you wouldn't get so worked up about stuff.

(R)I can think of all sorts of people who are mentally ill. We are far too tolerant of mental illness. For instance gays: gays are mentally ill. They are rebelling against the laws of nature.

(M)I don't know why you're talking like this. One of my children......

(R)Oh yeah, I forgot, one of your kids is gay.

When I am completely shocked I go into withdrawal mode. Yeah, I engage for a while but my bafflement and confusion takes a while to kick in. Usually long after the conversation is over. Today I am saddened and disheartened.

He has never spoken like this before in all the years I have known him.

When I am attacked at a core level, when my very spirit is attacked, the wound runs deep: has he always thought this way and didn't verbalize it? Had contempt for my passions and creativity? He knew and engaged with my gay child since she was 15. Is that how he felt about her for all those years?

Wow, I honestly feel as if I don't want him in my life anymore.

Yeah, I'm devastated and so very sad.

Monday, May 07, 2018

The World I Live In

The World I Live In

I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
what's wrong with maybe?

You wouldn't believe what once or
twice I have seen. I'll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.

Mary Oliver

I was raised on having my own personal guardian angel. Someone appointed by God but only if you were raised in the One True Faith. Angels weren't allocated to heathen or infidels or protestants - those breakaway Catholics who were sex obsessed and didn't have REAL communion like us.

If I listened closely I was told the angel would instruct me as to my behaviour and if I disobeyed, I would be reported to the Big Whitebearded Himself in the Sky who would arrange for punishment with the Big Horned Himself in the Everlasting Fires.

I had questions like these for the brainwashers:
(1) Is my angel a boy or a girl?
(2) How tall is my angel
(3) What's his/her name?
(5) Why does God talk to Satan about me?
(6) Where does (s)he fly to when not with me?
(7) Why can't I ever see him/her if I'm supposed to be listening all the time.
(8) How fast do they fly?
(9) Do their huge wings make a huge noise?

I was told to sit down and be quiet and stop questioning God who was sick and tired of me doubting Him. I was 6, just before my First Holy Communion when all such matters would become clear due to my soul being all sparkly and new along with my creepy bridal dress and my pleased, no doubt, nameless Guardian Angel.

In case you think this is all so very quaint and antediluvian, have a gander at the more recent witterings of the pope himself. I gather my angel got an upgrade to "ambassador" now. Like moving to first class, free, on a flight.

Which all brings me to the poem. I am a fan of Mary Oliver.

Angels in my head? Well dreams. I have dreams. Don't we all?