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Friday, May 31, 2013

My Dumple Pan



Doesn't that sound delish? Dumple Pan. My very own word. I don't often get to use it - maybe twice baked potatoes, mini-Irish pies, those wee hors d'oeuvres with shrimp encased in a light pasty that you're sorry you started to make but now that you have and the shrimp are defrosted and omigawd there are so many, kill me now.

But today?

Thanks to the interwebz, I've collected and sent out more recipes through blogging than I ever have F2F. It is a great distraction from the angst of the world. Well, make that the end of days as we know them. We all need something to entice us and since drinking and falling down or eating till I explode are no longer options, well, recipes do the trick.

So one of my good blogging buddies - My Journal to Mindfulness - shared her recipe for cornbread. I could never master cornbread. Maybe it was the buttermilk or the bacon drippings I lacked, or proportions of everything or who knows. But today?

Today I hauled down my dumple pan and right up there is the result.

Splendid doesn't cover it by even a quarter.

Magnifique.

Here's to you, Ernestine!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Death. And Life.



"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living." Marcus Tullius Cicero

E is a good friend. One of those people that I'm attracted to. Full of life, open to change, supportive and demonstrative. Quick to hug, to hold your hand. Very beautiful in a round way. Beautiful round eyes. Round bob of hair. Round glasses. Someone you would hate to hurt. Her eyes fill with tears readily. If you are having a rough time she'll sit with you and weep too. It's impossible not to love her.

Recently her adult kids swept through her townhouse and dejunked it. She was a self-admitted queen of clutter. She was not open to the idea at the beginning but then came around to it and showed me pictures of the before and after. Especially her kitchen where they had created a nook for her to do her morning meditations by a window where they had installed a bird feeder outside. She even took pictures of the inside of her kitchen cupboards where she could see exactly what she had on hand: her supplies and how she was down to one set of dishes and pots and bowls. Unless one is superhuman, I think it a good idea for someone else to de-hoard a hoarder.

Then her world crashed around her. Her beloved only sister, C, a Type 1 Diabetic, had catastrophic organ failure with attendant myriad other health issues. She lapsed in and out of a coma (and horrific pain) in the past three weeks and died two days ago.

C's life ended on a rather high, though tragic, note. Her abusive marriage had ended a year ago and it seemed like immediately, her high school boyfriend, himself a recent widower, found her on FaceBook and they fell back in love, intensely and completely. C was the happiest she had ever been, E told us. And he held her tightly through her last days, hoping against hope.

I was at the funeral home yesterday. I'm there for E. I didn't know C and I get uncomfortable around the caskets of people I don't know in life. I hesitate to approach the corpse in case my interest would be perceived as prurient. And it is surely? We are all curious about death and the way we present it, aren't we? So I do my best not to gawp at the stranger-corpse for we are there for the living are we not? From my peripheral vision of C, the remains of C, I saw how young she was. Another friend whispered to me that there had been over 60 perforations in her bowels which caused her such agony in the time before her merciful death.

E came over, remarkably dry-eyed ("I'm all wrung out" she said to me as I held her.)

I met her mother (oh, to lose a child, how heart-wrenching, how painful and inutterably sad) and then E took me aside and said: "I can't believe it, you know what's happened, who's been my pillar of strength through all of this? My ex-husband, father of the kids. I don't know what I'd have done without him!"

Where there is death, there is life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mixed Feelings



I was sorting out the summer wardrobe which resides in a chest on my large landing. Reminiscing, as I do, over happy events where I inhabited these clothes.

And then the moment of horror and joy, when I realize that none of it fits me. I've been a long proponent of only having in my life - in racks and closets and drawers - only the clothes and underwear that fit me. Everything else, no matter the price or style or memory, gets tossed. I do not want to evaluate myself by a size number or a perceived dietetic or physicality failure. And my size has fluctuated wildly over the years.

Even my designer outfit, which I wore to my Seanchaí debut is now kaput, a good friend remarked: my gawd when did you start wearing a tent? I hadn't noticed, being swept up, as I was, by my patron's generosity. So yes, two of us could have resided quite happily in the yurt of my top. See above. Yes, a picture of the debut as promised with, through the kindness and skill of my friend Ramana, my anonymity preserved.

So today, as I was sorting through these linens and cottons and silks (Oh joy, summer is sorta here in Newfoundland) only a few of the items fitted. One I had trouble releasing, a favourite linen beige pants, which I upheld with a belt but when I looked in the mirror a drindl skirt effect was evident. Pleats and bunches surrounded my waist, lapping over the belt, drooping in folds, like a toddler's wet nappy, across my smallish arse. Toss.

I packed a huge bag up for charity, glad that someone could now avail of these somewhat lovely clothes. These cottony bits and pieces that no longer belong in my life.

I am simplifying and minimizing.

For after all, how much clothes do I really need?





Sunday, May 26, 2013

Retreat



re·treat

/riˈtrēt/

Verb

(of an army) Withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat.

Noun

An act of moving back or withdrawing.

Synonyms



verb.

retire - withdraw - recede - fall back - draw back

noun.

retirement - refuge - withdrawal - recession - shelter


Shelter. Refuge. But mainly withdrawal for me. A time of reflection and a gathering of spirit. Refreshment - to revitalize. Affirm the beauty of the earth. Invigorate the spirit.

Know that the power of goodness, kindness and love exists in this world and we can make it in this image rather that those of the opposing forces which are all about money.

I project love. Love returns.

Back from a weekend of spiritual retreat, where the sun shone and stones were cast in the waters of the lake as we stood barefoot in the sand while the wind blew around, through and on us, unwrapping layer upon layer of self. All is exposed to the light of day. And drums beat to the rhythms of our hearts far into the night. And joy shook me to my foundations.

All is well.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bang Bang



Now and again my head explodes with the devastation inflicted on our little planet. By the greed for money. And the secrecy behind the money.

Seems like in Harperland (our country's not even recognizable as Canada anymore due to the arrogance and criminality of our prime minister, Stephen Harper) spends $16,000,000 of tax payer funds promoting filthy oil extraction and shaky dangerous pipelines. Oh yeah, he also rigged the voting last election. Prosecution? Are you joking? And bailed out one of our senators, a Mister Mike Duffy, from his false expense reporting. To the tune of $90,000, hiding behind the skirts of the House Speaker. I could go on. You get the picture of our emperor.

Then for good measure I read, from reputable sources - now, what is reputable you might well ask in this shoddy world we've created - that the devastating effects of the Fukushima blowout are being withheld from us simple peasants. 14,000 in North America and Canada already dead, foetal abnormalities and child cancers to come, not to mention the mortality and cancers of the Japanese people. Business as usual, of course.

And do you, like me, wonder if the pensions held in trust by our governments are already plundered and gone, one thread connecting to another in the economic melting pot that our governments dip into like it's the candy jar? And no accountability. I always beware when I hear the word "transparency" tossed around by these yokes. It never, ever is. My friend, R.J. Adams sums it all up quite beautifully in his post.

And that the Koch Brothers, those stellar saintly profiteers, the archest of arch conservatives they, are buying up USian Newspapers, something to do with their own rightwing agendas you think?

I needed to rant. It's good for the gas build-up in my brain needing the release of words. I'm sparing you the 100 other pages of derring-do that nest in my skull. This is enough for now.

As a counter balance to all of that, I bring you the view from my deck this morning, fog lifting like a curtain. All is well, just for today. Tomorrow? Who knows?

Do we still have free speech? Have they redefined "freedoms" while my back was turned? They did? Well, I never....


Monday, May 20, 2013

Post Performance



Wow! Wow cubed!

As promised, a report on the NIGHT.

Nerves vanished as soon as I sat on stool to Seanchaí myself: miked, filmed, applauded, dispatched to bar, where I met with many of the audience. The craic was ninety. There were cameras lurking in every corner as the crew who are making the series on the history of our bay want to catch the atmosphere and flavour and charm of rural Newfoundland. So into this melee a tourist from Boston, Mass. walks in to the bar to book a room at the inn for the night. First visit to Newfoundland. One couldn't script this. The place was packed. He is stunned at his reception, applauding the fact his family is from Mayo originally. So Cork meets Mayo in a Newfoundland inn on the edge of the Atlantic. I think the guy's head is still spinning at the level of the welcome.

The music was incredible, the talent awesome. Only in Ireland do you get the equivalent of a Newfoundland "time". Oh, well, of course, most of the inhabitants around the bay are descended from Irish stock. And brought the ceol (music), caint (talk) and craic with them.

I'm beginning to like this. A lot.

PS Anyone know how to pixellate a face out of a photo? I tried pikasa and can't seem to work it. As promised, I was going to post a picture of myself but with my anonymity preserved.....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

No Time for Nerves



You know the way of it with something important coming up. The nerves take over a bit. Well maybe not for you. But certainly for me. Especially for public speaking. But only if given lead-time. Catch me by the seat of my pants and interview me on TV, so to speak, and off the cuff, I'm grand, just grand.

But I've been so busy over the last few weeks, there hasn't been a minute to fret and worry and construct and tear down the debut of the Seanchaí this weekend. Not to mention the thousands of "what ifs". I scheduled an hour for all that yesterday. I was in the city getting the car serviced and alloted the time between 6 and 7 pm for all that mulling while I rounded a "pond" (i.e. lake in any other corner of the world) on my daily constitutional. But it started to get mauzy, in that way of St. John's and there was a lot of business with the hood and and the zipper and keeping the socks dry and then I had to talk to the widower swan that everyone's paying attention to. He's an angry soul by the name of Oscar and attacks all who try to feed him and then there's his whining babies, the wee cygnets, swimming about. He is completely stressed out, what with the dayjob, the kids and the grief. So by the time I got back to the car, very damp, I realized I hadn't done any stressing myself. Ripped off by selfish Oscar.

And then the work, and a few calls and emails and today is just about shot as I have to be out of here by 5.45 to do some pro-bono work up the road. I say up the road, which is a laugh here. 20km is up the road. So I'm going to allocate 15 minutes in the car to stress and to worry and to fuss about Saturday night.

I'll let you know how that works out. I'm way overdue a good fretting session.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother Stuff


My mother and me. When I was her only.

This mother-stuff is so very complicated for some.

I've often said, and kinda half meant: I wish I wasn't so complicated. I'm fairly intense at times. And I feel. Oh, boy do I super-feel. I've heard addicts feel things seven times more intensely than non-addicts. Hurts, slights, dismissals, wounds. I've nothing to compare to, right? So how would I know? All I know is I can feel demolishing pain at any kind of betrayal, whether real or imagined. It's all the same to me. So I talk to people who are just like me and who feel the same sense of hopelessness and sadness and loneliness now and again over, well, the mysteries of life.

Some days I can be over the moon, really happy. Next day, and for no earthly reason, I will wake up in the depths of despair. Analyzing doesn't help at all. Picking up the phone often does and gentle listening and soothing and often laughing at how ridiculous life is, can comfort like nothing else.

I'm guilty of loving my daughters to death and also another "daughter" who, at times, felt more close than my birth daughters. For we do the best we can with the love we have to offer.

But maybe it's not the kind of love that they want or need. I get that. And maybe they've given us all the love they're capable of and there's no more in the bucket or they've moved beyond needing a mother and thus sever all contact.

And that's the part I don't understand at all.

Every day I think of my own mother and how valuable and wonderful she was in all her humanity. She wasn't perfect, none of us are. But I miss her with such an intensity at times it takes my breath away. Her little phrases, her wit, her creativity, her positivity, her support of me, her only daughter for many years in a household of males.

So today, Daughter and I chat for long time. She was upset. Her daughter had broken a promise to take her for Mother's Day brunch. And I felt her pain deep in my heart. But we talked it through, we managed a few laughs over pictures she had posted on Facebook and the lovely things she'd said about me there.

And I focussed on this most precious connection with her.

And then I lit a pair of candles and incense for my two other mother-beloveds locked in my heart but never out of my mind.

Happy Mother's Day to all celebrating on this side of the world.

May your mother-stuff be the size of a lunchbag and not of a trunk.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Surreality



>>>>>mein host behind the bar today in the midst of crew and mikes and lights<<<<<

So I get to the rehearsal today for the Debut of the Seanachie (she appears next Saturday night).

"What are all these film crews and cameras and lights doing?" I ask, shocked.

"Oh, didn't we tell you? Oops, sorry! The History Channel is here doing a documentary on the area. So, if you don't mind, could you sign a release form and then chat up your show next weekend. And your new play if you like as that's about the end of a way of life in an outport, so all part of the history, right?"

"Oh, OK."

Feeling oh, so glad I'd put on some non-jeansy type clothes and dabbed a spot of powder on the gleaming nose, and sorted out my hair before I arrived. Luck of the Irish as some calls it.

So we test the stage and head for the bar where the interview happens and I get such a strong feeling as I talk that a family member is present in spirit, a really strong feeling along with "He would really love this, it's like an Irish snug-in-a-pub even with all the lights and the action and crew everywhere."

And we wind it up. And it's all good.

And I drop in on a really good friend on the way home afterwards to tell her and she laughs and says, "They followed me as myself and a crew cleaned up the old graveyard earlier on today and I was able to tell them about the old gravestones -they're talking of a series in this area."

And I say "Yeah, they want to film some of our play rehearsals too."

And we're quite gobsmacked over dinner and can't stop grinning at each other (she's the executive producer of our theatre company). And sqweeing in disbelief. She had a feeling I'd show up so she threw my name into the pot of heavenly slow-cooking beef stew earlier in the day.

And I came home and swear to gawd, the brother I'd been thinking so intensely about was on the phone from Ireland and said to me: "I've had such strong thoughts about you today. Like you were here. And then I said to myself I've got this big birthday coming up in the autumn and the biggest present I can give myself is my sister here for it."

And then we talked for nearly three hours.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Come Play with my Toy


~~~~click to enbiggen~~~~

I was reading somewhere that 99.9% of adults forget how to play just for the sake of playing. Running/walking becomes a grim business of time and distance checking, cell phone manipulations and exhaustion. PBs (personal bests) join career achievements. Races and competitions become de rigeur. All the absolute fun is removed leaving the same stress levels as are on the job. I've been there with tennis, running and bridge.

I've made the decision recently that if it's not fun I'm not going to do it.

With that in mind I added a new toy to my life, see above. Yeah, I bought this second hand for a couple of bucks.

I can't stop playing with it. The lighthouse flashes, the water pours down the mountain into the sea and the gulls call and cry to each other.

It's like I vacuumed my brain.

I recommend.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Shut up Clint!



I bring you Clint Eastwood SINGING "I talk to the trees". Who'da thunk it? I came up with this version after an effortless Google for the song.

And why, pray tell, do I bring you this?

This song has never stopped irritating me since it was released in 1951 or thereabouts. it's from "Paint Your Wagon" a musical from that era. I do have a video of it kicking around in my overly vast and OCD movie collection. I think I stopped watching it when ol' Clint came on and sang his song. To add to my outrage, it became a party piece in Ireland back in the day and I'd grind my teeth at the lyrics as some oul fellah got up at a wedding or party and bawled it out. Part of me wanted to fall down and laugh myself into a coma imagining the kind of talk old Paddy would give to a tree.

I should add the melody I can tolerate in an instrumental rendition but, please, hold those words.

Why do I dislike it so much? I could never nail the reason until recently. I walk a lot. And the many areas where I walk have a lot of trees. And I don't do earbuds. I like to listen to the many sounds of nature. The sea, the birds, the many animals darting around and the trees. The trees.

Seems like Clint got it all wrong. He shouldn't have been talking to the trees.

He should have listened as the trees talked to him.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Avast



There are some that are fearful of the vast quantities of time that can open up at one's feet and suck you in to nameless dreads and freefloating anxieties when the day job is no longer there to fill the vacuum. I know a few.

As I am wrapping up my own day job I begin to see this. Part of me is excited at not being so constricted by this career that spreads its ooze more times than I care to admit into my nights. Plus there are vast swathes of time where I see clients, talk to them, soothe them, answer questions throughout the year, plan with them, etc. Da Schmooze in other words. Part of any job be it MacDonald's or Google or Bill Gates is the ability to schmooze. It takes up a lot of time. For me anyway. Usually there's an average of one business email a day througout the year, then software updates, professional associations, webinars, continuous learning as tax regulations change and permutate.

I have to be wary of this final announcement to quit the business. I gently severed some clients last year, ones that were at a major geographical distance or their businesses were expanding rapidly but then, guess what? Some of them didn't settle my final billing to them. In spite of repeated requests. Bummer, yeah? So this year I am withholding this announcement from the balance of my clients until I'm paid. There's nowt as queer as folks, even clients who were friends tell me they'll pay me once they have the funds but meanwhile could I help their new accountant in the transition. What do you think? Put further work into the dead horse or walk away with my precious time?

I admit to feeling exhilaration at the idea of my life opening up afresh without the constant rattle of accounting in the background. I haven't knitted in ages. Or read a book in a day. Or visited my Writer's Cabin. Or meandered around my village in the afternoon. Or edited novels. Or work on the new play. Or....

I am ready. Avast!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Doors and Windows Open Wide



I'm a firm believer in that if you put something out there, hang a hypothetical sign "Open for New Business", then it will come. Manifestation. Yeah, too woo-ie for some to swallow, but seriously, it has always worked for me.

Today I got a message when I was out, training for the Tely 10.

"Hey----, someone referred you to our company. We're having our annual meeting at W----- Golf and Country Club and we understand you are a story-teller and we would like you to perform after our dinner on June----, if your fee is acceptable to us, are you interested?"

Am I interested?

Can you believe this?

Talk of the speed of a bullet?

Manifestation. I bow before you.