Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid-19 (Day 16 of Self-Isolation)

In the year of the Plague it's all fine and dandy for a while and then cranky sets in. I'm trying to drag myself out of it. Irritated with myself - but not with others who are valiantly doing their very best - as we all are. Counting the blessings ain't working today. Most days, well yes. I'm not perfect (surprise, surprise).

I believe in the concept of Gaia. And have for a very long time. The hypothesis is explained quite well here, James Lovelock, in the sixties wrote extensively about it.

Here's a good summary:

The Gaia theory posits that the Earth is a self-regulating complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere,
the hydrospheres and the pedosphere, tightly coupled as an evolving system. The theory sustains that this system as a
whole, called Gaia, seeks a physical and chemical environment optimal for contemporary life.[1]
Gaia evolves through a cybernetic feedback system operated unconsciously by the biota, leading to broad
stabilization of the conditions of habitability in a full homeostasis. Many processes in the Earth's surface essential for
the conditions of life depend on the interaction of living forms, especially microorganisms, with inorganic elements.
These processes establish a global control system that regulates Earth's surface temperature, atmosphere composition
and ocean salinity, powered by the global thermodynamic desequilibrium state of the Earth system.[2]
The existence of a planetary homeostasis influenced by living forms had been observed previously in the field of
biogeochemistry, and it is being investigated also in other fields like Earth system science. The originality of the
Gaia theory relies on the assessment that such homeostatic balance is actively pursued with the goal of keeping the
optimal conditions for life, even when terrestrial or external events menace them

I've often been labelled a crackpot for believing this planet is a self-healing organism, wondrous in its capacity to adjust and correct and attempt now and again to throw us parasites off into kingdom come in a desperate effort to revert to its natural balance.

And now here we are, a world slowly falling silent. Skies clean, oceans breathing. Factories ceasing to belch. Gas fumes not spewing from silent cars. Everyone looking at larders, looking at minimums, decrying excess. Getting comfortable (or not) with their own vibrations.

Taking time to think.
To ponder individual journeys to this point.

This crackpot apologizes to Gaia every morning in meditation.

We have dug deeply into her core, she is bruised and bleeding but her weapons are far, far mightier than ours.

She will help us huddled masses to heal.

If we listen to her.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Covid-19 (Day 11 of Self-Isolation)

Sorry for the gap. A wee bit overwhelmed with the Covid-19 site and my emotions too of course. Two of my moderators stress-quit, I took a short break. It is difficult to process all the news reports every day and realize that most countries are so far behind the ball that it is enormously distressing anticipating the rising toll of deaths. Our island didn't shut down as most wanted but put people rolling in from sunnier climes (we call them "snowbirds" here) on an honest self-isolation and you can guess the rest. Strolling into grocery stores and coffee shops and hugging neighbours. Not understanding or not caring what social distancing is or quarantine for that matter. I would have incarcerated them for 14 days. Without exemption. But that's just me. Knowing enough about contagion to terrify me.

Objet du Jour - an owl full of pencils. Owls are my spirit animal and I have many, many owls gifted to me over the years.

We are now up to 24 cases on the island. People from abroad infecting mourners at funeral homes, etc. So we're not on the ball at all.

I am keeping busy with Zoom meetings and modified exercise and my doc booked a call with me today at 3.45pm. That's socialist health care, folks.

The world is changing so rapidly and I read a marvelous article today on how the whole global economy will morph and change as a result. All is not lost. As long as we take every precaution to protect ourselves and those we love.

Here is the article

How are you all doing?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Covid-19 Day 6 of self-isolation

Objet du jour = leftover yarn balls, bowl hand carved by my last gentleman caller a few years back. Signed and numbered.

@@Received a notice under the door that the building is in lockdown so it is most terribly quiet. The library and community rooms are off limits and no visitors allowed. I feel safer and am very glad they are finally doing something though it may be too late with so many wandering willy-nilly all over the city, caring for grandchildren and running to Costco.

@@I can't believe how busy I am. It took me a while to set up Zoom for meetings. Great when it works but because everyone here is just about remote working now the drain on the system means it gets a bit non-buffery which can be irritating. Also busy monitoring items for the Covid-19 site but I have 4 moderators/admins now and that helps a lot.

@@I am working on a collection for another book called "Elder Reflections" which will incorporate life stories of people over 65 with a weekend workshop planned for the early fall to finalize. And hopefully publication before Christmas.

@@I heard from three of my four brothers today and I am so grateful for their reaching out. I am again reminded that when the world seems so perilously dangerous, we have all the time in the world to type loving letters and emails and texts and make phonecalls and have have zoom meetings and start new rituals.

@@I was saving a huge book, Pachinko, that grandgirl gave me for Solstice (we all exchange books at Solstice). I started it this morning. Oh the wonders of a beautiful book!

@@So how's it all going out there? I do read your blogs but time constraints are rough on commenting and also on responding on mine. I will get there........

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Covid-19 (Day 5 of self-isolation)

Objet du jour - a little stand I have beside my PC with current mail or favourite pieces, right now one is a Maud Lewis postcard created by my daughter, the other is a note from one of my favourite bloggers down in Oklahoma. The message is of peace in our world and hearts and bodies.

Much more activity on the home front now. And by home front of course I mean my home. I did finish reading a book but got very involved in on line meetings and phone calls and of course monitoring our Covid-19 website. Extraordinary how that can eat into the day. I forgot to have lunch.

I placed my first grocery order from a local merchant who is delivering. It will be dropped outside my apartment door and I will wash hands and wear rubber gloves when I move it inside. And then wash my hands again after I handle it. And then wait a while before opening it. Not sure what protocols are during deliveries for this type of service. I will not face to face with him or her.

I have to say our PM is very on top of things every day. His wife is sick with Covid-19 and he must be worried but he's out there positioning himself as far as he can from the media to keep us informed.

It looks like it's getting worse here. I sure hope not but stats don't lie.

@@ Odd thoughts - why is the history of the world mainly written by men? What have we all missed of women's stories and doings? What were their thoughts, their inventions, their courage and bravery?

Monday, March 16, 2020

Covid-19 {Day 4 of self-isolation)

Objet du jour - my ginormous button jar - some of these are Granny's, some are Mum's. They follow me everywhere.

The website I started on FB is keeping me busy - you'd be surprised at how much time monitoring takes as we aim to keep it non-political and secular. Thoughts and prayers don't cut it. Science might though, n'est pas? One guy started threatening me last night when I removed him from the site, found my email, etc. etc. Thus proving over and over again how inappropriate he was. I threatened police on him for this harassment. And as I live in a building I feel relatively safe. In a house, not so much.

I am enjoying the isolation so far. I find I have more time for music, more time for emails, a kind of much laid back approach to life.

Worry underlines everything though. I have to practice a form of mindful meditation when I go to bed as my heart is palpitating so badly. The stress of the day, I think being on social media and reading so much on this virus contributes to this. Many of my friends are still free-ranging and it worries me. They can't grasp the contagion side of this. As in they might very well be infected already and it will be the 11.5 days statistically before they display symptoms.I am sure I am viewed as a kind of crackpot for pulling away so early. I view myself as a crackpot for not pulling away sooner than that. Every little pain or discomfort in my head I go: oh here it is.

Other items:
@@Free deliveries of groceries here for seniors and disabled. Nice touch.

@@I'm sticking to my routines even more closely: healthy meals, dressing in the morning, getting up at the usual time, Tao meditation, some mild exercise and washing dishes every night.

@@Wondering if I could go outside at midnight and do a bit of walking in the fresh air. Some are doing this.

@@In touch with other self-isolators and corresponding via email as I find my android is straining my eyes and I prefer being on my desktop.

@@I have clean laundry for about a month so not worried on that score.

@@Strange new world indeed and getting stranger by the minute.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Corvid-19 (Day 3 of self-isolation)

Way back in the summer of 1956 my parents took the remarkable step of isolating all 5 (we were eventually 6) of their children on an island off the coast of West Cork.

For the entire summer.

There was an epidemic of polio in 1956 and they took the preventive strategy of isolating their children from it. Self isolating in other words before it was too late.

This island was primitive, no running water, no toilets, no electricity. And we had to share a very small cabin with another family with 5 children who had taken the same precautions.

But we managed. We roamed the island, played cricket (a lot) and obscure ball games that still come back to me, read every book and piece of paper we found and wondered why our parents were reacting so strongly to something quite vague and invisible. We were 4 to a bed - tops and tails, youngest sleeping with the parents.and meals were in shifts for 14 people, young kids first then the older children and adults. Simple food from local farmers, milk picked up at milking time along with the eggs. We played indoor games when it rained and were marched off to the cliffs to cool off if we got petulant and truculent.
"You're not the only one feeling like this, we all have to get along or none of us do."

Close quarters alright.

And only in hindsight do I thank my parents, for when we finally got back to the city we saw how other children had been affected with this disease. We saw leg braces while many were in iron lungs in the hospitals, permanently crippled.

Mum and dad struck a brave, preemptive strike for the safety of their children, at who knows what cost - 4 parents, 10 children in a tiny, isolated cottage, dear gawd - but we were so very, very fortunate in their concern and love.

And a part of my heart has always remained there. We were right on this beach, the scene of daily cricket (called rounders) and all the swimming we could handle. You can actually see the rusty red roof of the cabin (long in disuse now) just up from the strand.

Friday, March 13, 2020


I realize I haven't been active on my blog or on yours for that matter for about a week now. I was busy with the usual, medical stuff and then Covid-19 got my attention as so many here (including those that should know better - government and health care) on this island were being totally cavalier as to the huge tsunami coming our way. Being elderly and vulnerable I thought to form a Facebook group which is now growing exponentially with global and local stats and articles from all over, particularly Italy, which is one of the canaries in the coal mine so to speak. And of course advisories and personal experiences and recommendations.

For now I am self-isolating but have shopped essentials and as I never in my life have been bored, enough knitting and reading and DVDs and streaming services to make it all pleasurable.

We don't have a case here yet but rumours abound from local people who attended a resources conference in Toronto which now has victims. Along with many returning from sunnier climes where pandemic cases exist.

I think we all fell down when Sophie Gregoire, our Prime Minister's (Justin Trudeau) spouse, came down with it.

If you need a link to my FB Covid page, just fire me an email (wisewebwomanatgmaildotcom) and I will send it to you. As this blog is anonymous, for many reasons, I can't link here.

I had a really good day yesterday(my last self-declared free ranging day for a while) and met with some good friends and essential-shopped and exhaustion seemed a huge distance away. I really treasure those special days as they are rare. A day at a time is how I am living now.

How are you all out there in this new land of Covid-19? Any tips or safety measures or changes or are you feeling safe and not vulnerable and confident in your country's management of this enormous threat?

Friday, March 06, 2020

Friday Fumbles

I was at my second consultant examination this week. Two separate days. Both taking place in the Health Science Centre which is a rambling spreading behemoth of recent design. Poor signage, endless walking, limited parking, limited wheelchairs. In other words incredibly stressful even if you're young and active like Niece and Daughter, but beyond the pale for seniors like me with physical challenges.

So I haul along my friend for these multitude of appointments and insist on paying her for her services as it is a huge chunk of time (often 3 hours for a 10 minute appointment) out of her life and she has to play hunt the parking spot and hunt the wheelchair as, seriously, the walking through the sprawl has to be seen to be believed and impossible for me and George, my cane, to manage.

So it was there, as I was finally in the waiting room, I said to her: "Why in the name of the goddess am I putting myself through all these consults and tests and evaluations? I am completely stressed out and hello quality of life?"

Now I hasten to add cancer is not on anyone's radar, so I am free to say that. Cancer would be another story entirely.

So I saw the new consult, who is added to the team of my healthcare. Which I am so grateful for and all effing free (sorry USA). He is a surgeon charged with managing my anemia. I liked him immediately.

I told him about my conversation in the waiting room and he then proceeded to review what he would have to do to my body to find the causes of this failing blood and tiredness issue.

Dear gawd, I said to him:
"Lights down the stomach, lights up the bowels and like you mention, odds of nicking something, slim though they are. I will be 77 in August. I am stressed just sitting in your waiting room and evaluating all these appointments and my life taken over by monthly visits to each of my team not to mention blood draws and lung xrays. And I beg the question why? What is it doing for me in the long run?"

"You know," he responded, "I can't advise you on this decision, only you can do that. But I can tell you I hear you. And if I was facing 77 I would want to enjoy myself too and not have to worry about procedures like these. I'll let your GP know what we talked about. And try and eat really healthily. It might improve your blood readings, they are pretty dismal."

So there you have it. And I wonder if this is the path I need to take. Disconnect from the medical specialist team, see my GP once a month and enjoy what's left of my life. Apart from routine maintenance and taking my daily truckload of pills. I'm sticking with the beta blockers. I seem to have crossed the hurdle of depression and flatlining. And my blood pressure is in the normal range after so many years of elevated. Wowser.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Monday Meanderings

We had a bit of a melt after the last blizzard and then, wait for it, another blizzard last night. Herewith a pic to give you an idea of the height:

I haven't checked my car yet. I am dreading to do so. Sometimes I get help to clean it off, sometimes I struggle with engine running to warm the car enough to make it easier to brush.

We are working away on the next step to be taken with Support Our Seniors. We finalized a letter to the Prime Minister in a last ditch appeal and are scheduling a series of events to draw attention to the ongoing issue of Senior Poverty in Canada, particularly with regard to women.

We are planning a cross Canada protest, a really serious one, and would like any ideas you out there might have to make this effective. We were thinking to rent a bus and also wheelchairs, etc. for the handicapped among us and blocking a major thoroughfare with signage, etc. We are willing to be jailed which would get the poverty plight massive media attention - jailing senior handicapped elderly women for civil disobedience in protesting their abysmal living so far below the official poverty line? Hello?

Something like this (stock photo). Imagine a row of wheelchairs and zimmer frames blocking a main road?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Blog Jam

I am forcing myself to not give in to exhaustion today for it is stealing my life away. These beta blockers! But enough of that. I just put on the Brandenburg Concertos and have celebrated the fact that much reading has taken place so far this year.

I was quite taken with May Sarton's "The Reckoning" which is about a 60 year old woman finding she has terminal cancer. And has to prioritize the life business of the few months which are left to her.

Some rather wonderful lines:
"Her attachments now are only to those who serve her". When she realizes she doesn't have the energy for family drama or for those fluttering around her or taking her much needed energy.
"The dead are not asleep...for sleep is the domain of the living."
And how gorgeous is this:
"It was pure bliss to stretch out on the sofa then with a Haydn quartet pouring its vitality into her like wine."
"Little by little, we are more peopled by the dead."

It was a slow and wonderful read and I so enjoyed her wanting to be solitary and "desiring a lot of time to think".

I have lent it to Daughter but once she brings it back I would be more than willing to send it to one of you out there. It truly is a marvelous read (published in 1979) and way ahead of its time in many of its concepts. I will hold a raffle if there are a few requests.

As the Lodge Lurches
A rather lovely gentleman, Bill, was taken quite quickly. He was 81 and when I did my laundry on Sunday mornings would come up to the second floor community room (it's a gorgeous gallery overlooking the main community room and outside gardens and golf course) and sit there and chat to me as I went back and forth. I was surprised he was 81 as he had the energy and vigour of someone much younger. He was very good to our common cleaning lady and helped her with her cars and hospital visits. He just had a knee replacement which was followed quickly with his ulcer acting up. That turned out to be terminal stomach cancer and he died within a week of being in palliative care. So 10 days between diagnosis and death. It is such a shame his cancer wasn't "caught" before his extremely painful (and how unnecessary!) knee replacement.
This is the outside wee area of my apartment. The artwork on the walls is mine. Instead of wreaths on my door I have yarn and needles. The two chairs are in one of the many such nooks and cubbies around the building for private talks or just sitting amongst the fine plants.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

One Twist Away

I disabled myself just about completely during the past week. I was behaving like the flexible 21 year old I used to be way back in the last century. Throwing a leg on a bench and reaching for my scarf at the same time.

I know I don't have to supply you with all the grim details. Suffice to say is, in spite of fiction writers, there was no sound just a horrible sharp discomfort which worsened. And worsened. To the point of, you know, squealing every time I moved.

I did not look as good as the picture on the left side here...Crab was the position I favoured and even then it was accompanied by a symphony of different sounds I didn't believe I was capable of anymore.

I doused myself liberally in Tylenol 3s, Voltrane and CBD oil which took the peak edge off but on the whole, exhaustion took me over quite frequently and a fetal position seemed to work for pain easement on the bed. And my blessed recliner which I have never regretted buying.

On top of all this my doctor had requested I go back on beta blockers for 3 weeks to see if my body would handle them a little better than before (Symptoms: concrete body and constant irritability and exhaustion). Do not give up he said to me on Monday.

So the Twist and Shout happened on Tuesday. It is now Sunday and though still in pain I have moved to a slightly tilted (think Leaning Tower of Pisa) position. Daughter drove in yesterday (goddess bless her, it's a 2 hour drive in) and went nuts in the grocery store. I swear I could live for a month or more on all she brought in. Stuff I would never buy. Mexican, Indian, coffee beans, cans it. She hauled it all in and ran out of shelf space.

I am so grateful that both she and Niece are close by. I can't imagine not having family close by. Incapacitated like this would be a huge challenge for anyone.

I am at the stage of life where I take nothing for granted.

The smallest gesture of kindness just about does my head in with gratitude.

I am reminded even more clearly that many of us, in our old age, are just one twist or fall away from complete dependence.

Be careful out there, my friends.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Time Out

At times I am so overcome with sorrow and compassion for another that the only relief I feel is in a poem.

We can be unaware of our privilege at times. I am lonely very rarely. Many are lonely all the time. A huge hole inside them with the cold wind blowing through and hope a word they read about but have long abandoned as being applicable to their own lives.

I was quite devastated after this visit from someone who broke down in her despair as her last friend ("in the whole world") was moved to palliative care that day.

Her Grief

She wept on me today
With her broken heart
Leaking from her eyes.

Her grief led a procession
Of other losses, other hurts,
Other days, other cruelties

Pouring like a river
Over the bumps and
Potholes of her life

I do not know her
Well enough to
Hold her tightly

But I listened to
Her lament of loneliness
With my heart and hands

And stuffed my own avalanche
Of sorrow deep down
In my own graveyard.

I am posting this not as a "downer" but as a reminder for all of us to recognize our own privilege in the face of such appalling grief.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Beautiful Obituary

In these troubling times it's good to be reminded there's an amazing and enthusiastic bird watching community in this province. They monitor the bird life zealously and record the "blow-ins" - those birds sent off course in storms and all things avian. The photos are stunning.

One of the more diligent and observant amateurs is Shawn Fitzpatrick. And he posted this on his FB page yesterday and I thought to post it here.Quidi Vidi Lake is right where I live.

Gary is Gone
Copyright(C) Shawn Fitzpatrick
Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John's NL 20200215
The familiar and resounding call from Gary.... his calling card... Hooooonk...Hoooonk _______ Hoooonk Hoooonk!!! It will sound no more 😞
I took this photo three days ago at the lake in blustery and at times white-out conditions.
I have taken many photos of Gary since he graced our beautiful central city lake with his presence.
During his tenure as self-appointed leader of the waterfowl there, he kept an orderly operation. Sometimes he'd scold the Double-crested cormorants for taking up too much real estate for too long.
He was always polite with human patrons of the lake and particularly gentle with children there with their parents feeding him and the ducky's!
I always talked to him and called him in when I went down to feed the crew at the west end of QVL. Gary would always only take a little, never seeming to want to hog everything. It was as if he sensed that the food had to be shared around as best as it could stretch out. So, he would gently eat right from my hand and then move on back out to the water, keeping an orderly eye on the assembly of his waterfowl family.
Gary was a Graylag Goose. He showed up at the lake after being coaxed along by a couple of bird lovers after being first observed along the roadside of Logy Bay Road a few years ago. He was lured to the Virginia river and onward downstream to where it opened up near the Legion into the lake. The rest is legacy 🙂
I started calling him Gary the Graylag and happily enough, it stuck. I think his name suited him well.
From there, he established himself as a much loved fixture. At times keeping the rowers on the water practicing for the regatta on their game, by policing them.
He was known by many, and photographed plenty.
We are going to miss you Gary, you beautiful, handsome goose! I hope that your end was natural, and painless.

PS When Shawn was asked if he had seen the body, he said he had and it was a natural death.
When asked if he buried it so Garyfans could bring flowers and mementos, he said no. He left it there for the bald headed eagles to feast on in the cycle of wildfowl life.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Sunday Smatterings

Thank you France!

It was a shock finding this package of Brioches Au Lait. Actually baked in France. Probably shipped (literally) to our island frozen and then tossed on the bakery shelf. Delicious. I make cheese and tomato rolls with them. I remember trying this particular delicacy on the Channels Islands way back in the mist of time when "Hey Mister Tambourine Man" was a big hit and what happened in Jersey stayed in Jersey.

Web hunting looking for an attractive device to hold my hair (none found anywhere here) I found this. Made in France yet again. And in true La Belle France elegance it came in its own organza bag with a wee satin ribbon. And my dears everyone likes it on my head with my hair piled happily beneath it. I look organized and librarian like. My look. Deceptive.
I've had two excellent days in a row. Where walking has been less painful and I got all my mountain of laundry done. That sense of overwhelm was absent. I treasure these days more than I can say.
As the Lodge Lurches
In the "what we don't know about people" department.
Grace's son, all 70 years of him, supervised his "muscles" (his word) - his two grandsons - today as they removed the big furniture from her apartment. A huge amount of it. Eight bookcases. Full of classics and great women writers like Margaret Atwood. This made me sad. If only I had known I would have enjoyed a cuppa with her and a good discussion on our reading habits. She was never one for newsbagging (marvellous Newfoundland word) around the halls. Like myself.

And how has your week been?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Out with the Old

I don't know about you but I am always reluctant to throw out objects that can still be "useful" even if I have a brand new replacement object sitting in the wings, waiting for an opportunity to serve me. I struggled with this old keyboard, even to the point with all the letters gone I meticulously glued little cut out letters to the blank keys.

These pasted letters were wearing out too and I was contemplating making new ones when my head exploded.

For two years I've stored a brand new keyboard, just in case. I do this with mice mouses too. They are not expensive here, maybe $10. But you know, throwing something out which is still fixable, even badly fixable, is alien to my nature. Why not suffer on with a terrible keyboard. struggling with taxes, writing, etc.

So I did it - I threw it in the rubbish bin. Far less typos and repeated efforts to peck at wayward keys now on this spanking new keyboard.

So I'm making this grand announcement of what I have done here. As I struggle with tossing cranky old wastebaskets and holy-hell-lady laundry baskets while brand new replacements sit ready and waiting patiently in closets.

As the Lodge Lurches 2

Grace's 5 elderly daughters were in the hallway yesterday carrying out boxes and bags of her belongings. So I stopped and spoke with them. Commiseration. Sympathy. She died in her sleep. Silently, peacefully. They were happy with her lovely ending. The five are all grandmothers themselves. Grace was a different era, a different generation. Never wore slacks, always skirts and blouses and cardies with her silver hair permed regularly. Classy slippers. Panty hose. I thought of the line from a book I'd read recnetly: "Things are so useless when they no longer belong to someone" as I briefly surveyed what they were carting out. I didn't share it with them. Just told them how lovely and quiet she was and that she will be missed. How lucky these almost 70 year-olds are to have had their mother for so long. Grace grew orchids outside her front door.
Books Read and Rated Update - see sidebar for 2020.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Sunday Smatterings

A typical lodge of the 18th century in Ireland. Many of these still existed when I was growing up over 70 years ago.

I live in a place which has the title "Lodge" in it. This is either a glamorous or depressing word depending on your history with it. If at all. I was raised in Ireland where there were many lodges, most notably those small houses holding a gatekeeper at the end of a long curving driveway leading to a mansion of the landed gentry. The lodge keeper would come out, tip the forelock if you were recognised, or run you off if you weren't. Then there were hunting lodges for the mad fox persecutors with their baying hounds and horns. But I digress.

Daughter lives in a Cove and keeps a journal of "As the Cove Turns" which provides weekly entertainment for us both, so I started my own particular journal.

I decided to do occasional little updates on where I live, in my lodge with 48 other apartments. Yes, I am "lodged" here but am not a "lodger" which implies dismal cabbage-smelling boarding houses in Bournemouth. Amazing how one word opens up so many other interpretations and riffs.

As The Lodge Lurches

My next door neighbour, Grace, 91, just died. I didn't know her well, just to chat with in passing. The Lodge is a small village. Like high school, little cliques, chronic complainers, recluses (me, selective), drunks, flirts, it is a microcosm of the human race. Little battles break out about usage of the two fine and beautiful common rooms, bingo and cards and darts versus piano practice, workshops, scrabble games. I hear about them in passing and don't participate except to ask the most wounded and hurt "And why do you listen to gossip about yourself?" Because they do. Gossip is the currency. I had warned a friend who moved in here to be truly selective as to who she hangs with and she made the mistake of befriending every lost soul and their troubles and now they bang on her door at 9 at night and because she's nosy she opens the door to them and is going mental so comes up here the odd time and pours out her distress at being the target of so many strays and being unable to stop. So now she gets drunk with a few of them every Saturday night. Old age is complex and almost child-like at times. I keep my distance and am happy that way. My boundaries are clear and I am not afraid to enforce them.

I sign off with this:

Wednesday, February 05, 2020


So it turns out my lung didn't heal so that explains the massive exhaustion and feeling like death on a platter. It's a relief to know this. Seriously. I can never shake off the feeling of being a boring old crank given to organ recitals and a long list of her medical staff and appointments. So back on diuretics and doc spots a suspicion bump on my face so will burn that off in a couple of weeks once I'n feeling better. Blood readings improved slightly and his gut feeling is I am not bleeding internally but will have me see the internist to confirm that. And oh yes PVD in legs has not worsened so no stents in my future.

But the best part of this? And a big item on the gratitude list, was that a friend texted me and said meet me for coffee after the doc visit and when I arrived at our local cafe there was a little gang of friends waiting for me to share the latest on the medical front. I was incredibly moved. It meant more than I can say.

Niece was over today to share lunch and writing. Butter chicken, rice, Greek salad, cheese and fruit platter, sweet potato crackers. It was a marvelous 4 hours as we had ourselves a bit of a knit too. And made suggestions to each other on our writing.

My doc had never heard the Irish phrase "I lost the run of meself" which I really had in the last few weeks with the awful breathing and palpitations. He absolutely loved it for its accuracy in describing a down slide in health. In Newfoundland, many Irish phrases have crossed the Atlantic but not that particular one. I sure had lost the run of meself. And how frightening that is. Wilderness indeed.

I am very well taken care of by doc. And I told him this as we parted and he responded that my words and the words of patients like me, sustain him through the mountains of paperwork he has to complete late at night.

I only plan one item (social, activity) a day at the moment to save my energy and try and get well again. I am paying attention.

And here's a song by The Once - their voices are haunting and I think of my grandparents and their kitchen when I hear it.

Sunday, February 02, 2020


Thank you all for the comforting words on my last post. They meant more than I can say.

A mixed bag of items here.

To start with the weather outside as I hit the keyboard:

It is hard to believe that this continual assault of terrible weather has not lessened as we brace ourselves for more. That is our building manager outside, struggling with the snow blower. The snow goes upward and horizontally in the driving wind, a blizzard.

Gratitude # 1
I live in this building, protected from the elements, knowing the snow is going to be taken care of.

My niece let me know about this Geist competition - a postcard story, and asked me to look at her two entries which blew me out of the water they were so fantastic. It fired up my own story brain and I hauled down this card sent by an Ontario friend last year which reminded me of a crow story I wrote about in my blog and I didn't check the blog entry out as I thought I would delve into memory and see what I recollected and maybe enhance it or dramatize it. So that's what I did.

Gratitude #2
My creativity hasn't abandoned me.

Daughter can't seem to do enough for me. It truly overwhelms me at times. A lot of small stuff but it is the small stuff that is always the most important. I had briefly mentioned that my Amazon order was delayed as ferries weren't running and it had my annual load of TP on it. I laughed as I was going to borrow a roll from a friend to - ahem - tide me over. And Daughter shows up yesterday with a cartload of TP and stocked me up along with 2 lbs of my favourite dark roast coffee beans and took me out for a fabulous brunch (Croque Monsieur, fresh fruit, home made hashbrowns) at Baystar. We forgot to take pics as we fell on the food so fast.

Gratitude #3

The tiny gifts in life are by far the most important of all. And nothing is as precious as the care and attention of a loved one.

I could write loads more (I have had two trips to the hospital for more tests with the support of a friend) but this is enough for today.

I am in a place of gratitude and I want to savour it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Wilderness of Old Age

Good days - rare
Bad days - many
Isolation - sometimes deliberate
Body a temple to pain much of the time
Serious consideration of sedation/tranquilization to ensure a hazy nirvana within.
Avoiding questions like "how are you?" feeling no one wants to know the truth.
Feeling a bore in the doctor's office, reading the list of all that ails me off my phone.
Feeling inadequate and whiny when other elders seem to surmount all that challenges them and put on the cheery face and the lipper/shave meticulously and go out and greet the world sprinkling stardust in spite of/because of. I wish they would package that up and sell it to me.
Feeling death stalking some days and being brave. Alone but biofeedbacking myself.
Crying easily.
Living in the past at times, not consciously, but uneasily when aware of it.
Having difficulty planning something to look forward to (my father's way of negotiating old age) as my good days/bad days are so unpredictable.
Thinking of my granny turning her face to the wall and thinking "now I get it."
It is a very confusing time for many of us. There is no pattern but reaction. I can mantra my brains out but I'm still left in the wilderness.

On the upside:

I do make my bed every day.

I dress some days, others are pajama days - my favourite. When I dress I venture more outside my perfect little nest and I know that's good for me.

I read every day.

I knit every day.

I try and write every day (herewith)

I immerse myself at night in series like "Doc Martin" which helps.

I am really careful who I share with as being left hanging, blowing in a cold wind with no response, makes me feel worse. And that happens more than one would think.

I am very, very aware that others I care about, including some bloggers, are in far worse shape than I am. If we compare our health deficiencies. We can't really though.

Our ill-health bubbles are ours alone, and sometimes there is no map or compass to find the way out.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sunday Smatterings



What is your concept of an afterlife if you believe in such a thing?

I find out here on the Edge, for the most part, the concept is of a life just like ours here on planet earth, bingo is still played, pubs still attended, birthdays (the earthly variety) still celebrated and Facebook is used as a message centre for the Great Beyond. As in "Happy birthday Dad in heaven, I know they have your favourite beer up there!". "Happy anniversary Mom, are you now baking your pies for God/Jesus?" I have yet to see a response, but it would be lovely just to see the reaction.

As for me, I believe we live on after we die in our very original form, as in stardust, I can't ever imagine us rising from the dead on Judgement Day and the concept actually gives me the willies.

This one wild and wonderful precious life is all we have I think. But I am always interested in others' beliefs.

But I also believe there are billions of other planets, like ours, many far more evolved where time travel exists and I like playing around with that concept in my head. As in our planet keeps going back to square one and a massive culling takes place every couple of hundred thousand years and yes, time travellers from the past walk amongst us watching in disbelief as we continue to eff everything up yet again.

I look out my window tonight at a sunset of rose, the wise crows perch on the wires and the gulls soar overhead, with a pink blush drowning the white of their wings and I am gobsmacked at the beauty. And I wonder if the Trumps and the Johnsons and the Putins et al were forced to watch such magnificence would it change their view of this world. But somewhere deep inside, I know it wouldn't. We are accelerating towards climate collapse at an ever faster rate and the kings will stay in their counting houses. And yes, they would shoot those goddamned birds for sport.