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Monday, May 30, 2011

Manifestation



Manifestation
–noun
1.The act of manifesting or disclosing what is secret, unseen, or obscure; a making evident to the eye or to the understanding; the exhibition of something by clear evidence; display; revelation.


I was talking with another CFA* the other day. One, such as myself, who came here and fell hopelessly in love with Newfoundland. She and her husband are USian and had been looking for an alternative domicile outside of the U.S. for many years. They found it here nearly 8 years ago.

We both shared what we thought was extraordinary and powerful in the ongoing lives we have built here. She mentioned that anytime she and her husband have felt the lack of an essential item in their lives, it has found them or they have found it. A true manifestation. In several examples from the small to the large, she offered the following - she had a desire to work for the Canadian federal government. In her husband's case it was to be a full time artist and to build a sustainable life style. They are also both environmentalists. She is now working for the federal government and he is an artist. And they grow most of their own food.

In my life here, the strongest desire was to be a full time writer and that has manifested itself amazingly with the debut of my play very soon. Along with a slew of other manifestations too long to list. But I will sometime.

What shocked us both was the level of intensity around our feelings for this island, which is not the land of our birth. We were both almost embarrassed, shy, to admit to the Newfoundlandlers around us that our feelings for this wonderful place gets more deep as each year went by. And this had never happened in our lives before.


*Come From Away

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A real thing in a real world department



For those of you who think women have come a long, long way: think again.

This fridge magnet is being offered for sale. And sales are excellent.

I will not link to the store.

Gee whiz, I never knew all the females in my family were so ugly. And went on to breed other uglies (a couple of math professors, bankers, accountants, et al).

Stop all that math, girls! We might get pretty!!!!!!

Blog Jam


Stuff that should be banned but isn't, thank the stars: Double Smoked Cheese. OMG!
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Major contenders for the Darwin Awards: Drivers who drive hulking grey hummery ess-you-veevy type vehicles in a peasoup fog with no headlights and naturally, no tail-lights either.
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Those who should get Kind-To-Canine medals: the waitresses at my local Chinese diner who always give me a pot of bones for Ansa.
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Yet another accolade for the internet age: My cry for help on FB as to how to cook/preserve/freeze some local organic produce and the lovely flood of responses, within seconds.
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A person who tells me their life is an open book yet are incognito on FB and confide to me their alias in a hushed whisper with a plea not to tell anyone else. Erm - why?
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Running into a couple tonight in said local diner that I hadn't seen in about 9 months but who knew absolutely everything about my recent life and asked me about it: the play, my trip to Ireland, the progress of the wee house on the hill, my potatoes being planted last week and how was the care of my dog while I was away and when was I getting those chickens anyways? I am always poised on the knifeblade of being affronted at the gossip I create and being charmed at the intense interest in my doings.
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And then some stuff just twists your heart until you sob: my gorgeous grandgirl has a tight pack of eleven friends: one of whom attempts to take her own life last night. A very serious attempt. She was rescued by a police officer at the last minute. She is still in the hospital. The pack are shattered. Things will never be the same. And my heart breaks. You never want them to grow up so quickly and so painfully. And now she has. And sixteen is not so carefree and fun anymore. Her voice was different on the phone tonight. Older. Wiser. But worst of all: Cynical.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Swimming in the Sea of Me


~~Photo of sunset, from my front deck, a couple of nights ago.

~~
Facts about me:

Even if I lived in just one room, I could not live without a cleaning person. I can make an instant slum of any room, anywhere, in about 2 minutes. I scatter into peripheral bits: books, pots, hair bling, PJs, favourite pillow, shoes, towels, journal, meditation assists, clothes sorting, laptop, cords, printer, coffee mug. You get the picture.

I still get totally insecure around a male who takes an interest in me.

I would be considered a 'best friend' by at least four men and five women.

I've never been bored in my life.

I could talk the hind leg off a donkey.
BUT
I am a very good listener.

I am a foodie who can't keep cookies, candies, sweets, chocolate, biscuits, icecream, cakes or pastries in the house as I don't have an OFF switch. Sorry, drop-in guests.

I was a two pack (50) a day smoker and quit cold turkey over 23 years ago. I would have a carton in my car, in my office and in my house. I never ran out of ciggies.

I am a news junkie.

I take on too many things at once. See NOW.

I am one of those rare birds who knows she is happiest living alone. Well, okay, with Ansa.

I would be considered an eccentric oddball by my siblings.

Best description of me would be a "Gregarious Loner".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hi, I'm a Rapture Reject

Dim Bulbs


Hapless.

That's my daughter's word for a few of my clients.

As in clueless.

Well-intentioned but in an oblivious fog of never, ever connecting the essential dots of life.

As in what kind of eejit sends their accountant a box full of papers covered in small coloured stars that immediately cloud the floor, the desk, the computer, the table, in a shimmering sticky rainfall?

Years from now we will be finding these tiny bits of tinfoil.

And oh yeah, an envelope inside with a card extolling my virtues along with a retainer.

And um, yeah,right, the envelope held another avalanche of confetti.

*Head* *Desk* *Sob*

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Moment



I was working away in my office today and on the shore across from me was this woman of indeterminate age with a boy of approximately three years of age, I would think her grandson.

He goes around and painstakingly picks a bouquet of dandelions for her. Once he presents them, she refuses them. Instead she puts him sitting, holding the flowers, on a little platform my daughter created last year for meditating. I had placed a bag on it, weighted with stones until full, to hold the jetsam and flotsam I pick up off the beach. She empties this bag all over the shore and then places it on the wooden platform for the boy to sit on as she snaps his picture. He again offers her the bouquet and she grabs it from him and tosses it just as she had the garbage.

He kicks around the shore, disconsolate, as she continues to take pictures of their surroundings and then he heads off to the water and begins to throw all the rubbish she has tossed around the shore into the water as she continues to photograph him.

There is no interaction between them, the woman (a stranger to me once I check her out with my binoculars) might as well have been a stranger to the little boy, so obsessed is she in capturing The Moment© for posterity. This Hollywood moment only existed in her head, of course. The only real moment was when her grandson attempted to give her the flowers he had so carefully picked and she had tossed them to the wind along with the garbage I had so very painstakingly gathered from the very same beach.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Countdown


There's a frisson in the air around me as we rehearse and plan and plot and have random outbursts of exuberance around The Grand Opening of The Play.

I am reminded once again that building a passionate life for one's self is the only way to live in this short and often damp-squid infested paths we are on.

For who hasn't been beset by disappointments and frustrations and just trudging along raising the children, working in jobs we often hate, putting food on the table and a roof over all of it? None of us have that exemption certificate. We often have to defer the day when we can live in our bliss and do what we damn well wanted to do for the last twenty-thirty-forty years. If we are still alive, that is. Or it hasn't been kicked out of us.

I feel incredibly fortunate that I can bloom this late in life. To sit down in a lovely old Newfoundland pub yesterday and meet with some other late blooming kindred spirits and chew over plays and books and short stories and funding and arts grants and lighting and sound and the best stages and Irish playwrights. And feel part of this creative force. And be asked to maybe act again. Something I hadn't thought about at all. And a director suggesting a film of my play. (What?) And secretly nursing the knowledge I had recently been awarded an arts council grant for who wants to brag. Me. Artiste. Validation. Small grant. But an affirmation of value as I had to submit my play to the committee.

Another lovely thing. I was five minutes late to the rehearsal last Thursday through no fault of my own. And as I walked into the theatre, I was greeted by music - the cast had already started working on some challenging harmonies. No one sitting around waiting - loving the play so much they had already begun without their director.

I pinch myself. As if this is some kind of dream I am living and I will wake up.

Never in a million years did I expect this kind of life.

Yeehaw!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Scavengers


In my day job I reconcile a lot of bank statements, both personal and business, from my diverse customer base.

The bank charges exacted by the banks never cease to astonish and disgust me.

“Service charges”

“Overdraft Fees”

“Electronic Services fee”

“Item Deposit Fee”

“Administration Fee”

“Loan Acceptance Fee”

“Shared ABM Fee”

“Monthly Service Fee”

“Cheque Viewing Fee”

"Tax payment Fee"

“Hard Copy service Fee”.

“NSF Fee” - going both ways at $42.50 per for a $25.00 cheque bouncing because my client's client bounced their cheque. This must be the award winning scavenger hunt prize of the year for the banks due to the domino effect on multiple business accounts of one client bouncing their cheque (it has happened to me).

And on it goes.

There is no professionalism or dignity in a bank charging an o/d fee of $10.00 for a client short-falling by $2.00 one day only to deposit a $10,000 cheque the following day. With no interest given by the bank for the month they sit on it.

Some of my clients pay $80-$120 a month in fees, that's over $1,000 annually, money they can ill afford. Particularly when the bank makes sockloads of interest on their often significant deposits.

And another thing: who gets the interest on all those transfers that are held, sometimes for 2-3 days, sometimes longer, when one is merely transferring from one bank account to another within the same branch or bank​?

No wonder their profits are through the roof and their bonuses obscene. All at the expense of us peons.

I closed my business account last month. I could no longer afford to maintain it with my reduced client base.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Charities?


I don't know about you but I get completely incensed by these charities that send me cards, personalized notepaper, sticky labels and pens.

I immediately drop them from my contribution lists.

I don't want my donations invested in this craptastic junk.

Apart from anything else, don't they realize I get thousands of labels, 200 cards, at least 50 notepads and 12 pens from their 'competitors' every year?

And then there's the matter of their thinking that I'm a quaint Victorian lady spending my mornings catching up with correspondence with my quill pen and delicately applying the flowery labels to my creamy bond envelopes. Such an inherent contempt for my intelligence chaps my hide.

Seriously, marketers? Talk of a turnoff. Hear me: I will not support you anymore.

But at least now I have a stockpile of stationery unto my 10th generation.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ask Me, I'm Irish



Q. Did Blogger do a belly flop over the last few days?
A. Yes, it did.
Q. What did you do about it?
A. Checked other blogs on Blogger Flop and confirmed, yes, I wasn't the only one marooned out in the ether without a paddle or a post or...
Q. Excuse me, you digress.
A. Sorry, I'm Irish. We're tremendously excellent at monologues.
Q. Did you lose posts?
A. Yes, I did, but they're now back up again I see, along with the esteemed comments from my loyal readers.
Q. Are you keeping your blog on Blogger Flop?
A. Well for now, yes. They were awfully honest about where they were at with their crash and what they were doing to fix it and on promising to retrieve the missing last posts (as in Reveille, get it?)
Q. Oh you do bloody go on.
A. I know. That's why I have a blog.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wirestrung


There I was, literally hamstrung by wires, around my stomach, across my chest, around my upper arms, not to the point of pain, but to a strong restriction in movement.

I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to get a pincers and to lift my shirt and release me from them. I knew I had to do it myself without any tools.

Meanwhile, I participated in life as best I could. I had a big blue handbag and inside the bag was my wallet and my change purse and they rattled around loosely in the bag which could have held a lot more stuff.

I found another handbag in a washroom that was crammed with all kinds of things: colourful scarves, jewellery, bling, money, camera, books, netbook, writing pads, colourful pencils and pens so I took it and hoped to find the owner but I was baffled as to where I would put up a notice and what information I would release. Red handbag found? There was no I.D. Anywhere on it. Anyone could claim it.

I went off to a family dinner in a very loud restaurant where everyone had shown up, from the tiniest baby to my old uncle of 95 (who died last week). The noise was deafening. I tried to find the owner of the red bag until someone said to me I was being foolish, the red bag had always been mine but I had misplaced it and then bought the blue one to replace it but was never happy with it. I sat in a big comfy chair and started working away (quite discreetly) on my wires which were intertwined but quite loose once the first one was untangled. I knew the one that was tied at my back would be a hard one to release but I rubbed up against the back of the armchair and worked away at loosening it.

It finally released and I slowly was able to unpeel all the wires from my body. I twisted them into a huge ball and held them out.

“Look,” I said, “I've finally managed it. And all by myself!”

And then I woke up.

I have learned more about myself and my current blahs from last night's dream than any therapy or textbook could possibly teach me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Icebergs and Me.


Iceberg Alert from Today: click to enbiggen


May, June and sometimes July I get a daily report on the iceberg action in my area.

Gawd, I love what satellites can do for us, don't you?

I have been known to jump in the car and give chase.

And then stand on the shore and gawp, slackjawed, at their majesty.

To the shock of locals who take such sightings in their stride.

I'm a poor little CFA* who knows no better, you see.




*Come From Away.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Da Blahs


I don't even know why I'm writing at all. And I notice you aren't either. Is this Spring? Do I feel this crawl of endless stuff-to-be-done winding itself around my proliferating To-Do lists until it chokes me?

I gave up being depressed a while ago. Well, I think I did, but what do I know. Now I just get blahs. Nothing seems to lift me out of it. Even a good intense rehearsal of the play's music tonight. Or a lovely prize from just entering Laurie's rah-rah Minnesota Readers' Choice Award (a real official-like press bag with matching mug and offical-like reporter's notebook, since you asked). And yes, she won for her book, Yay Laurie!

Even cheery notes from family members missing me at a family picnic fail to disperse the bluesy blahs.

I look around me and I always want to be doing something else. I feel such a need to write, to edit, to just BE and all I get are emails or phonecalls always wanting something from me. I am surrounded by files, by tax returns and even the census to complete and it all seems to be too much. I feel my spirit has raced away from me and I'm just too darned tired to catch up to it.

I know many would trade my life for theirs but thinking that doesn't help MY blahs. Not one bit.

It could be the world, right? Shaky little planet and shady people running it. I think this low level blah thing is affecting many, many people.

Change, she's a comin' round the corner. And I don't think she's going to be good to any of us.

There be dragons, b'y.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Simple Home Remedies


1. AVOID CUTTING YOURSELF WHEN SLICING VEGETABLES BY GETTING SOMEONE
ELSE TO HOLD THE VEGETABLES WHILE YOU CHOP.

2. AVOID ARGUMENTS WITH THE FEMALES ABOUT LIFTING THE TOILET SEAT BY
USING THE SINK.

3. FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SUFFERERS ~ SIMPLY CUT YOURSELF AND BLEED FOR
A FEW MINUTES, THUS REDUCING THE PRESSURE ON YOUR VEINS. REMEMBER TO
USE A TIMER.

4. A MOUSE TRAP PLACED ON TOP OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK WILL PREVENT YOU FROM
ROLLING OVER AND GOING BACK TO SLEEP AFTER YOU HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON.

5. IF YOU HAVE A BAD COUGH, TAKE A LARGE DOSE OF LAXATIVES. THEN YOU'LL
BE AFRAID TO COUGH.

6. YOU ONLY NEED TWO TOOLS IN LIFE - WD-40 AND DUCT TAPE. IF IT DOESN'T
MOVE AND SHOULD, USE THE WD-40. IF IT SHOULDN'T MOVE AND DOES, USE THE
DUCT TAPE.

7. IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.

8. IF YOU'RE BORED WITH HOUSEGUESTS, REMEMBER THEY CAN SOON BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE IF YOU PUSH THEM DOWN THE STAIRS.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Beginnings of Austerity?


I live alone. I am fortunate in that I no longer feed a family. I am watching the economy carefully as the prices on the grocery shelves continue to climb and wonder, albeit fleetingly, what accommodations I will have to make to my food budget in the coming years vs the ones I have started to make now.

My daughter finds it shameful I have to continue to work to maintain what we won't call a lifestyle but living. She knows I would prefer to be writing fulltime but I can't afford to do so. I do apply for grants (none achieved to date) and I am paid a little for the writing commissions I am getting. But this does not sustain me. I track all my expenses meticulously so that in any given year I can tell what I have spent on haircuts, or shoes, or lipstick (very, very little)and groceries. My savings erode a little every month in spite of all the efforts I make to supplement my government pension and earnings. Many in my age group here do not have savings. Of any kind. I wonder how they feel when they face the grocery shelves.

I made my first shopping accommodation this week as I looked at the price of my favourite coffee. It had gone from $9.99 a lb to $10.99 in a month. A 10% increase. My intention was to stock up about a 3 month supply (I freeze whole beans) due to commodity price escalation forecasts. My eye dropped to the shelf below, to Melitta Dark Roast which was retailing for $16.99 for a 2/lb bag of beans.

Regretfully, I chose the cheaper. I saved $10.00.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Guilty, sez Lahey



Do you ever wonder, like I do, when these former princes of the Catholic Church admit to limited paedophilia charges as the former Bishop Raymond Lahey has done, and so quickly, as to what deeper and more horrific crimes against children are not being admitted?

As if by this very admission there is a huge cover-up? And then this is followed up by maybe a slap on the wrist of a year's incarceration?

This deviant so-called human being was caught importing images, videos and texts involving male children, some estimated to be as young as 8, on his laptop. I wouldn't call him an animal, because I have yet to hear of any animal raping the young of its own species. He was caught by Canadian Customs and promptly reported to the police after the images were discovered upon his return from a trip to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, noted so called "sex-tourism" destinations. Though sex is hardly a term I would want to use. Predation, paedophilia and child rape destinations, surely?

So little regard ever given by the Catholic Church to these little children, used, abused and possibly subsequently killed. Certainly maimed for life. To satisfy some brief, casual lust of some high-ranking deviant cleric who quickly moves on to the next unfortunate child, blithely unfeeling as to the pain and damage he is causing to his God's creatures.

Anyone I know of who has been a child victim of such predations, has not sued and has no intention of it due to the machinations and onus of proof and years of legal wrangling involved. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Suffer little children indeed.

Is this how you interpret the gospels, sir?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Blog Jam


Map of how Canada voted yesterday. Thanks to CBC. Click to enbiggen.
So we've given Stephen Harper a majority Conservative government. Finally. It took him three elections. This is the man who prorogued parliament twice when things got too sticky for him and also he has been held in contempt of parliament. A man known as "Bush-lite" for his fundie principles and his belief in reducing taxes for the rich. A man who makes a lot of promises but has yet to be seen to fulfil any of them.

The good news is the Bloc Quebecois, a thorn in the side of federal Canada with its demands for independence, has been virtually wiped out by the NDP (thank you Jack Layton). AND our first Green member has been elected. Thank you Elizabeth May. Newfoundland and Labrador did not let me down either and turned their backs completely on the Conservatives and went Liberal, just about, all the way. Ontario, my old province, supported Conservative. Overwhelmingly.

The NDP were the huge surprise in all of this, gaining many seats and are now the offical opposition, crushing the Liberals, led by Michael Ignatieff, a man no one seems to like - wishy washy, non-charismatic, milque toast, his reputed intelligence never visible. He had the added humility of losing his seat.

Interesting times. Harper has always terrified me. He was held back by his minority status in the past but given this majority standing, I fear for our environment, our health care system, our arts and culture programmes and the status of women.

Elsewhere, the bloodlust for Osama Bin Laden is, well, unseemly at best, degrading and demeaning at worst. Reminiscent of the barbaric treatment of Saddam. The high road is always preferable and the speedy disposal of his body raises many questions. The cost of this so-called 'hunt' is in the millions of lives lost (countless innocent children among them) and trillions of dollars spent. It all appears sad and ludicrous when one takes the two steps back and will not deter any future 'revenge' killings on behalf of the extremists.

I wonder who is going to be the next bogey man the US holds high for target practice? The "defence" budget, and its beneficiaries, the mighty industrial never-ending war machine, must be kept in the lavish lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. Right?

Meanwhile the real bogey men: Wall Street criminality, economic collapse, lack of health care, childhood poverty, 55 million and climbing on food stamps, peak oil, homelessness, climate change, et al, will never be addressed.

We are such a sad little planet, aren't we?