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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Driving Inertia



An Teachin's Progress to yesterday. Skylight was installed. Roof nearly finished.

Or is it inertia?

Two days in a row I've tried to leave here. Go to town, visit some friends, stock up my dwindling larder/freezer shelves. I get the fire going in the morning. Gordon-the-Gift arrives to work on "An Teachin" and I wander about the house doing some work, some annual tasks like sorting winter and summer clothing, then baking in readiness for my gluten-free daughter's arrival in mid-December, knitting some Solstice gifts, exchanging writing pieces with a friend for critique, playing Lexulous, reading.

I love being inside, cosy, it seems like just too much to leave here and drive 200km in total to town and back.

And I revel in the fact I don't have to do anything.

So there.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Birdhouse


A goodly walk today with the dog prior to going to a friend's for supper.

This is a picture of the last vestiges of sunset that laced our way back to the car.

I was struck by the birdhouse attached to the shabby old shed as we walked by. So I came back with the camera just as the light was fading.

The house beside it was totally neglected, the lace curtains exhausted, the paint just about gone. The whole building was beginning to seep back into the earth.

And I pondered on the people who must have lived here. Who cared enough to put the bird feeder up. Right in line with the kitchen window.

So I asked my friend about them. And she told me they had gotten the property all fixed up about twenty years ago. And then she died soon after. And he couldn't come out there anymore because of the memories.

And then he died and left the property to the son when he should have left it to the daughter as she cared more about the place.

And no one has bothered with it since.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Duh!


The lumber delivery truck pulls up the driveway as I'm on the phone with a client. It is loaded with additional bits and bobs for An Teachin - the Artist's/Writer's Cabin I'm building on the hill behind the house.

Ansa starts to bark with some degree of urgency so I fold down the conversation on the phone. Something is up.

I go out back. All this lumber, stone and cedar is piled up in front of the garage door.

"Hey!"

"Wha'?"

"My car's in there!"

"Where?"

"In the garage!" (note: I don't say a**h***)

"Why?"

"That's where she lives, b'y!" (injecting a bit of Newfoundlandese here, notice?)

He continues stockpiling in front of the garage.

"I'll need to get my car out."

"When?"

"Later."

"Why?"

"I have to go to town - look never mind, move the stuff to the meadow. OK?"

"Are you sure?"

"Seriously. Positively. I swear on my firstborn's head."

"Well, only if you're sure now." (reluctantly)

"Oh, why would you think I wouldn't be?" (humour me)

"I wouldn't like the look of it on the meadow."

"It's not going to stay there. It's for the cabin up yonder, see?"

"Whatever you say then." Huge, sad sigh, headshake thrown in for good measure.

Ansa = 1. Delivery person = 0.


PS: Yes, picture taken today, yes, grass still green. Weather gobsmackingly gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Climate Refugees


I met my first such people on Sunday.

Sunday afternoons are the rehearsal times for my new play, "Spancel". This wonderful gentleman showed up as a volunteer to paint scenery. He is an incredible artist. His wife will be acting/singing in the play.

He was roped in to reading a timing runthrough of Act 1. And thoroughly enjoyed himself.

He and his wife wound up here four years ago and started an art gallery and coffee shop across the bay. She is multi-talented as well, I had briefly met her in the past and am looking forward to getting to know her a lot better.

As is the way, we traded life stories. They had investigated impending catstrophic climate change and resolved, before it was too late, to come to a cooler climate. They proceeded to check out all the northern states of the USA and followed this with the provinces of Canada.

Newfoundland blew them away, so they applied for landed emigrant status and achieved this a year later.

It will take a further three years for them to attain Canadian Citizenship. They are like me, totally in love with Newfoundland and its people and they are contributing greatly to the bay communities in which we live and the further enhancement of same.

They are originally from Oklahoma and have encountered other Americans who have moved way out here to the edge of the Atlantic, for a variety of reasons.

Oops


You feel good, fully of energy, there are many errands but you are in charge today. You hold a software training session in the morning and then proceed outwards to pick up medicine, a now fixed laptop, your special coffee, fruits and vegetables.

You feel particularly chatty, upbeat, all's right with the world. Dressed in one of your favourite outfits too. Black pants and turtleneck, sparkling white puffy vest. A cold enough day that keeps drying your lips so you keep applying that nice lipstick that rests in its little niche in the dashboard in between the errands.

In and out merrilly you go. It is only when you get to Timmy's and take a break for a newspaper read and your cafe mocha that you realize that there was something about your face that had the cashier smirking a little. So you haul out the little face mirror and spotcheck for something hanging off your nose or your chin.

And horror percolates through your entire body when you realize you had walted around to all these ports of call with your front teeth covered in bright pink lipstick.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peel or Feel


How's everyone feeling about this latest invasion of our civic rights, this one the most invasive yet by a long shot.

Now we get a choice of a full body scan which reveals everything there is to know about our bodies down to mastectomies, circumcisions, surgical scars, etc. Or the probing fingers or other blunt implements into our bodily orifices.

All to protect our "freedoms". Oxymoron much?

The most interesting and informed critique I read of this is at The Smirking Chimp

He writes:

I encourage nudity, but I also believe it should be voluntary. And despite assertions to the contrary, the machines that make the images are designed to store and transmit them. Besides, anyone can take a picture of the screen with a cell phone or camera and the image can be distributed that way. It has already happened. In our modern world of pervasive titillation, how long will it be before a public figure finds his or her naked image, captured at an airport security checkpoint, all over the internet? How about a small child?

Sickened, yet?


And

If you are a survivor of rape or other sexual abuse, this procedure is no less a nightmare than the naked pictures. If you have deformities, injuries, or your body doesn't look or feel as expected, you will be singled out for further attention. What about transsexuals? They have little of this, a little of that, and I'm going to guess the screeners will have a hard time figuring out how to respond to it. What gender should the fondler be? How do we ensure the screeners looking at the nude pictures focuses on the job, not the equipment?


And the damage done by these X-Rays have not been assessed either.

Are we being numbed like sheeple into complete submission to Demz Wot Rulez? I, for one, am really, really happy I don't have to fly on business anymore. I am totally sympathetic with the frequent flyers who do.

Isn't there something horrific about being assaulted like this and then further demeaned by being squashed into a tiny seat with your kneecaps around your ears while the attendant shows you the vomit bags and the oxygen mask?

Blech.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Benny and Maggie

Ladies and Gentlemen:




On one hand I give you Margaret Atwood, esteemed author, who today suggested that Canada should set up a dictat-o-meter.


While Atwood delivered her dictat-o-meter suggestion with humour, it was only after she warned: “The tools for repression and control are multiplying very quickly. Our government: What happened to ‘open and accountable?’ … What happened to democracy?”

and

And she did not spare the current government any pointed criticism, saying they had turned into one that’s all about “airplanes and jails. “The airplanes are useless against the real foes we face, which are scarcity and inequality.”

As for the jails, who will fill them? she asked. “Is it a case of build it and they will come?”

She suspects what they’ll do to fill those jails is just lower the criminal bar so they will have enough people to fill the jails. And then they can say, we told you so.

“Is the big idea really to bankrupt the social welfare system … by spending all of our money on planes and jails?”


Read more here.




And then we have wee Benny. Ah Benny. Dealing with the really serious issues of our time.
Finally, finally, endorsing, OMG, condoms. CONDOMS!!!

Oh. But only for male hookers? Male hookers.

Pope Benedict says condom use may be justified in some specific cases, such as when a male prostitute is trying to prevent HIV infection, in a new interview that has the pontiff deviating from the Catholic Church's line on contraception.


There is such a richness of comedy in this proclamation that I simply can't add any more.

Oh the humanity.

And who would you rather have dinner with?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Ones Who Got Away (or the might have beens)


Reminiscent fond thoughts of old loves coast through our minds as we reach the so-called declining years.

We drench these lost loves in a golden hue of iridescence, the dream of the possibility surely out-romancing the hard practicalities of the shared domesticity that would have ensued.

I was reminded of this as I did my round of blog updates this morning. One of my favourites is my friend Twilight's over at Learning Curve on the Ecliptic where she wrote about Princess Margaret (sister to the queen) and her doomed love affair with Peter Townsend, her father's equerry.

I've had a few of these in my time.

I remember Tony, tall handsome Tony, who came upon me one day as I played piano in my aunt's house. He was the first cousin of my first cousin on the other side. Home from English boarding school for the summer. Talking like a toff. We were both sixteen. I fell in love with the lock of blond hair falling down his forehead and the way he spoke as if marbles were in his mouth. I can still see the cravat (a paisley pattern) he affected at the throat of his cream coloured shirt and the jodhpurs he wore (though I never did see a horse underneath them).

He was intense, was Tony, talked of Greek and Latin and "Lit" and Oxford aspirations. He gripped my hand so tightly in his before he kissed it. Bemoaned the fact that his fellow townspeople, a hotbed of Irish republicanism, now mocked him for becoming a "West Briton". He was misunderstood, he was isolated. I thought of Byron when I listened to him, of Childe Harold. I thought of a wedding in June when we were eighteen and his family's wealth giving me my very own horse along with matching jodhpurs.

And then his family and my family put a stop to all of it. No more picking flowers in meadows and him reading now forgotten "Lit" to me.

Enough, they said. Quite enough. He's your cousin. Sort of.

I mourned him for a solid month when I was banished back to the city of Cork. A whole month is a lifetime when you're sixteen.

He wrote me care of a friend. Twice, I think. I wrote him back, I think. And polished his memory a little brighter whenever I thought of him, infrequently, over the years. He had an unfortunate marriage in London they told me and had never made anything of himself. He wound up as a London cabbie.

I didn't want to hear that, of course. I wanted to think of him as an Oxford Don, spouting "Lit" from a podium to his enraptured pupils. His blond locks still tumbling attractively on his forehead as he emphasized a point.

These long lost loves, never grow old or bald or have prostate problems or bad breath.

They lie burnished in satin lined boxes, glowing in the bloom of everlasting youth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The View from Here

I feel cast out in an alternative universe. Observing the ants running around on earth. Scrabbling to (or pretending to) fix the unfixable.

Ireland's economic woes being what they are, billions are now being offered by the IMF to inject some more coin into the broken piggy bank.




Is anybody else struck by the irony of the old man begging beside the bankers on their important, oblivious walk through the streets of Dublin?

The US warns Canada that we are facing the same housing bubble burst that they are continuing to deal with. Well, duh. We never knew.

I've been saying for oh, well over a year now, that Sarah Palin will be the next US President. It seems fitting. It seems right somehow. In that appalling, awful, doom-ridden pall of a nightmare that has descended upon the world. A fitting finale to all that has transpired.

And will Barrack Obama go down as one of the most ineffectual presidents ever?

Did anyone else want to barf as the Bushling ran around with his book launch (with 650,000 copies sold in the first few days) and strutted proudly on to talk shows, waving his breach of the Geneva Convention by authorising horrific torture like a flag?

And Stephen Harper, our prime minister, with the assistance of his appointed Senate (a pork barrel reward system that he promised to end to get elected and of course did not) terminated the climate change bill in another strike against democracy (see also proroguing parliament when things got too sticky for him) with another almighty f*** you to this broken planet.

The only good news I see is so very many people both here and elsewhere turning their backs on the whole sorry mess and striking out recreating their daily living from the ground on up.

Like I've said before, we, the downtrodden, are on our own. Self sustainability and off the grid living should be a priority with any thinking person.

We have just witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth from the peons to the wealthiest few in the history of mankind.

But stop all this nonsense. Don't we have the wedding of the decade to look forward to?

Thanks for cheering us all up there, Wills & Kate!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Need a Good Laugh?


It's not often I blog about another blog.

But this one: Catalog Living never fails to lift me on a daily basis.

The writer takes a marketing picture from a catalogue or website and writes her own description.

Go visit. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thunder and Lightening


My father had a term for it:

Thunder and lightening in the stomach.

He wasn't a particularly creative man but came up with these zingers now and again that are highly descriptive.

That descriptive is me now.

I had lovely plans for today, starting off with a routine doctor visit and ending up in my favourite wool store and then heading home for the weekly community card game. Well the doctor happened and then bingo the aforementioned storm broke out in the mid regions and I headed on home and straight to bed.

I'm obviously up now for a while and still feeling queasy. But any time something like this happens I always ponder on the people who are far worse off. I view my little ailments as a halt and reflect. And realize how lucky I am when many would exchange conditions with me in a heart beat.

I'm sure it's either stomach flu or something I ate. Either way I have the confidence that there is an ending in a day or so while others do not have that luxury of thought.

A blessing. Even a gift. Seriously.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things I have learned


Never place any kind of liquid whether in a bottle, glass or cup on the same surface area as a laptop (lesson learned twice).

The best your new man is ever going to be is on your very first date.

If a man isn't successful in life by the time he's forty, he never will be. (This has nothing to do with money.)

A woman is at her most creative and successful post-menopause.

The day your bathroom is at its messiest will be the day some fussypants will want to use it.

There is no deferring the resolution to change one's life for the better.

I've learned more about others by the way they treat servers and attendants than anything else they do.

People who unconsciously wear pet hair as an accessory are my favourite kind of people.

Whatever unconscious faults, defects, irritations and shortcomings are present in a person at thirty will be completely amplified by the time they are sixty.

Beneficial change is possible at any age.

If you want anything done in a hurry, give it to a busy woman.

Unconditional love is an impossibility. But we get closer the more we practice.

My rights end exactly where yours begin.

Freedom is an illusion.

Religion is legalized mind control of the worst kind.

There are no winners in wars.

There is more to be learned on the journey than in the destination.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dream (E) Scape


A scattering, a smattering:
Thoughts flying hither and yon.
Was it ever thus and always
In the sanctity of my dream lobe?

The only place within me
I could ever run to anytime
Safe. Warm. From tiny child
To elder child still exploring

All that surrounds me
And bring it inside me
To examine in wonder, in awe
Then take what I needed

To shore me up on days
That are bleak and sad
And thick with the ghosts
Of booby-trapped memories.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

103


I was a tagalong today on a visit to an Old Age Residential Facility. I was in the lobby when I remembered the woman who used to own the old house my daughter now owns here was a resident of this home so I went and visited her.

She is 96 years old and reminds me so strongly of my beloved Auntie Francie that my heart broke just a little when I greeted her.

She is as sharp as a tack. I told her we loved the house she had lived in and my daughter was slowly renovating it. She was delighted.

I know very little about her apart from the fact she got married very late in life to a long time bachelor and "they danced in their kitchen every night of their married lives."

I told her my daughter had put a lovely photo of herself and Benny her husband on the dining room wall. At the mention of Benny she started to cry and told me she missed him every day, he made her so happy. Late gifts were all the sweeter when you waited so long, she said.

To distract her a little I asked about her childhood.

Her mother died when she was 5 she said and for 14 years she was put in a Catholic orphanage in St. John's. The Belvedere, run by the Mercy sisters. And didn't get away from there until she was 18 when her father demanded she come home and take care of his aging mother and him which she did.

"You know," she whispered to me, "I can tell you the secret names of all the girls in the Belvedere".

"Secret names?" I said.

She began to list all the names, ordinary names, Annie O'Brien, Mabel Riordan and so on.

"They don't sound like they should be secret names," I said, smiling at her.

"Oh my darling, but they were, they were. We just had numbers there. I was 103."

I'm a Stranger Here Myself


I got the hair 'done' yesterday. I don't know what happened. You know when something starts up outside of your control and like a runaway train you can't jump off, it is all going too fast?

That was me yesterday with a stylist I've used once before with pleasing results. This time it was different.

First it was the colour of the glop she foisted on my head and then it was all this hair cascading onto the floor. Masses of it. And then it was me with a black head and hair far too short in the back and a kind of curtain on each side of my ears.

I did express displeasure and was not assured with the words:

"Sure it'll all grow out and the black will fade to a really nice shade each time you wash it!".

Not yer standard reaction from a stylist surely? (Translated: This atrocious mess will fix itself when your hair decides to grow out but wash it a lot to overthrow this appalling colour that doesn't suit you one bit.)

I've never had black hair. It takes some getting used to.

Meantime every time I pass a mirror I jump. WTF? I say, Nasty little 'do on you!

I took it out today for an airing. I also packed my knitting to take my mind off it and distract others from focussing on my pale, pale face beneath my black, black hair.

Everyone was kind enough to just look at the knitting.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Saving the Good Stuff


It was lunchtime today and I was putting it together, I try and plan my meals a bit ahead so I don't go all slackjawed when gawping inside the fridge. A look that can be cute when you're 21 but certifiable when you're 60-mumble.

So there I am today thinking I should add some portobello mushrooms to the tomatoes and I had this thought: "No, save the mushrooms, they're gorgeous, you should share those."

Well there I go again. I live alone. Who am I sharing it with? And last week I had to throw out the leeks, I was 'saving' them too.

It's like I'm just not good enough to actually serve myself some lovely food, gourmet food.

And I thought I was all through with that kind of thinking with daily useage of the good china and glasses, etc.

This reminds me of a workshop I held on self-esteem for women and I asked everyone with lovely underwear on to put up their hands and out of 18, only 2 did. 16 were wearing decomposing underwear. A huge signal of low self-esteem. Now I've never held a workshop for men but would imagine the percentage of men with good underwear on when they don't expect to be flaunting it is a lot higher. No? Yes?

And yes my underwear has been quite lovely for the last 20 years. I actually throw out the tatty ratties or at least recycle them into rag mats. Thanks for asking.

But this food thing was an eyeopener and I wonder in what other aspects of my day-to-day living I unconsciously dishonour myself.

The portobellos were gorgeous.

Monday, November 01, 2010

An Open Letter to Stephen Fry


Dear Stephen:

I've been a fan of yours since God was an altar boy.

I've seen all your films, read your books, listened to your dulcet tones on radio.

I've been in love with you since you Tweeted from the inside of a stuck elevator.

I love your shaggy, craggy face, your intelligence and I went physically weak with devotion when I heard your thesis on atheism on CBC.

I actually modelled one of my characters in one of my inedita novels on you.

And now Stephen, you go and spoil it all by saying that women don't really like sex?

That sex for women is

"Only the price we're willing to pay for a relationship?"


I only have two things left to say to you, Stephen.

How the F*** would you know?


and

We're through.


Yours sadly,