Friday, August 07, 2020


I have six crows lined up on the wire outside my window at the moment and I was reminded of that old poem I knew as a child.
One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
four for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret never to be told,
eight for a wish,
nine for a kiss,
ten for a time of joyful bliss.

I don't view such things as portents but I am reminded that I can see that for the past few days that gold has sprinkled my life.

I've had so much support in your comments and personal emails. I took an entire day off and contemplated what I should do.

And the answer as midnight struck was very simple indeed: Absolutely nothing.

Why worry this person unnecessarily with my observations of deteriorating health?

It would serve no purpose whatsoever apart from adding to their already huge stress and other health issues. And what can they do?

What can I do?

Be loving and supportive and work my way around whatever presents itself. I have had practice with my dear friend Lana and prior to her with Chuck.

Staying in the moment. Counting crows. Cherishing the gold - particularly with the support I get from all of you out there. Your words meant so much in a time of terrible distress and worry.

Thank you seems hugely inadequate.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

A Huge Worry

Sometimes, I come right up against myself and realize some hard facts.

My best friends, there were only a few, are gone from my life. The ones I could share anything with without judgement or fear, the whole guts of me. And were supportive and loving and unconditionally there in times fraught with danger and minefields and, well, terror.

A massive worry has stalked into my life in the past few days. Involving a person near and dear to me. And in morning meditation today, as this leaped in and out of my head and tended to consume me, this fact of having no one close to share this with on a one to one basis stood starkly in front of me.

My birth family doesn't deal with any kind of serious issues. Everything is a joke. They never even ask about Missing Daughter or my broken heart. They never ask about Daughter's MS which has had a huge impact on her musical talent and crafting and over all ambitions. Health issues are swept under the nearest rug. If there are any family crises, you wouldn't know. I ask about theirs but usually a stinging silence is the answer. And shunning for no reason are an MO. Dysfunction Junction rooted in abuse. Understandable when one goes through the therapy to dig it out but most have not. They are the last people on earth I would run to for comfort in a storm. As trust and unconditional love are absent. Jokes would ensue and honestly? I couldn't bear them.

My good friend R, who is a harbour in any kind of emotional turmoil has had a recurrence of liver cancer and had another operation these past few days and is still in the hospital. Doing remarkably well considering he's down to a small piece of an operating organ now.

My BFF Helen who died in 2014 would have been a solid wall with great advice and most of all love and concern.

My friend D, who died in 2016 would have gently guided me in the right direction.

Lana would have been wonderful, but she's in the throes of dementia, as is another good friend, P, who worries me.

I have many acquaintances here but even reviewing a list in my head which one I could trust and lean on comes up with zero.

Niece comes to mind but I truly don't want to burden her. She has a hugely heavy plate with young children.

I can't be more specific, I'm sorry. I wrote a journal entry just now and am so full of fear I am throwing it out here too in the hopes of alleviating some of it.

And you know? Just writing it all down, one firm harbour light comes to mind just now.

She's at a distance, but I will call her today.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Elder Challenges

I love a good rant. I'm seeing a few of my blogbuds rant admirably in the last few days so thought to join them. We should have an annual award for the best one of the year.

First of all Home Care Health Assistance.

I'm at the stage where I need this. Not for everything. Maybe a couple of hours a week. It's a vast warren of web-links to get to the mechanics of doing this. Finally I get to the bottom line, and it's call a phone number. Why not put the effin number at the beginning of the pages of meaningless drivel, you bureaucratic morons?

So I call. But it's Covid Time, so I leave a message outlining my situation. I get a call a few days later. The nurse/helper/clerk asks a lot of questions, mainly focused on my body. Can I brush my hair, can I wash my hair, can I brush my teeth, how is my personal hygiene overall. I explain: I have seating to assist me everywhere: shower seat, sink seat, helpful bars. But the problem is, sez I, I can't stand for long periods so I need help with floors, sheet changing, dishes now and again, stove cleaning, fridge, my laundry. General tidying like dusting. Well then, sez she, we can't help you. What, sez I? I have mobility challenges! You're still maintaining personal hygiene, sez she, so that means you're fine. So, sez I, if I tell you I'm a filthy, flea-ridden encrusted old wreck I would qualify for some home care? Well, yes. So you'd rather spend several thousand dollars putting me in an assisted living
home than shell out a couple of hundred dollars a month to assist me to live on my own? Yes, that's right, by the way you sound very young, how old did you say you were? I'll be 77 in August, sez I. You sound so much younger! (Translation: you're articulate, old people are usually senile and believe my rubbish answers.). Needless to say, for you know me well, I am not resting quietly and going away.

Secondly Toyota. Yes again.

My car is wobbling. There's only 20Km on her so fairly new. I had the tire people check to make sure it wasn't the tires. They said it's brakes. She was left out in all sorts of weather for weeks (months?) on end, rust probably. Thank you Covid. I phoned my dealer. Appointment for August 31. What? sez I have an unsafe vehicle, under warranty, I'm supposed to lurch around the city for another 5 weeks? You could bring her in at 7.30 a.m. and wait and see if we have any gaps or cancellations. Oh, sez I, pack a lunch, bring a couple of books, my trusty George (my cane), and wait all day to see if you have the good grace to serve me at some point or not? With my mask on and my sanitizer spraying everything? And to keep coming back every day haunting the place until I get lucky enough to get my crippled car seen to? I didn't pull the age and mobility card.

Yeah, privileged to have these problems, but seriously? I'm not built for these battles anymore. Does life get easier? No, it gets more fraught with absolute effin moronic stupidity.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Blog Jam

It's almost embarrassing.

I have so many masks, so much sanitizer that I could open a small shop and sell consistently for about a week. None of these, apart from one mask which I knitted, have been bought by me. This bounty has been been supplied or mailed by Daughter, Niece and Grandgirl. So I'm good for a couple of years of lockdown. But I get it. It's symbolic in these weird times, isn't it? These guys want me to live and show me this by their munificence.

Covid has started up here again after over 50 days of no new cases. All travel related. One engineer who works on turnaround in Texas, in self isolation, infected his wife and toddler daughter. Another flew home from Asia. Of course these flights are now being contact traced. It is extraordinarily easy to infect others when quarantine isn't enforced, isn't it?

I gifted Niece with her afghan/sofa blanket. I took some pictures with my "real" camera which I haven't downloaded yet - it's complicated as all the USB ports are just about inaccessible at the back of a big heavy screen - huge design fail and irritating as hell.

I hung it on a clothes rack, but you can catch the drift of the design. She was thrilled with it.

You can kinda see the house and certainly the trees of life and the hearts representing her children and the usual Irish symbols of marriage vines and diamonds and honeycombs for abundance.

This bottom one shows the land and see and lighthouse. It's a very large sofa blanket for a large family and impossible to photograph properly, I tried everything.

She is thrilled with it. I'll post photos from the real camera if they are any good at capturing it all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

In praise of pockets

I never thought I'd make a post about pockets.

But seriously?

I bought these new pair of pants online at half-price. They're a lovely shade of lovet green but in that way of phone cameras, mine is belligerent when it comes to certain shadings and produces mud, which seems to be its favourite colour.

Many women have been dying for decent pockets for years. I remember reading a story once about a boyfriend trying to please his girlfriend when she was away visiting her family. He hired a dressmaker and put pockets in all her dresses and skirts as a surprise. She married him. I would have.

Pockets in women's clothing can be strictly decor (i.e. mock pockets) or too shallow for even a tiny wallet. We whine but we put up with it.

So imagine my surprise when I got these pants.

The two pockets (yeah one on each hip. were so large and roomy and perfectly tailored I had to use a seam ripper to open them. A seam ripper.

Pocket size would accommodate a small dog or a pair.

And then, I nearly fainted - there was a huge back pocket

I am now a human knapsack.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Socializing and Updates

Daughter and I have been out twice for meals in the past week. Very strange experiences with staff in masks, us in masks, sanitizers to squirt on entering and exiting and a surreal edge to it all.

We passed closed down malls, lots of businesses which did not survive. I was going to take photos of the empty parking lots and closed stores but I thought about it again and said to Daughter - it feels too dystopian, it's like those novels of the end of days we used to read.

Disposable abbreviated menus to peruse but today was especially great. I wasn't as nervous as I was on Sunday. The place was so utterly Covid as were we. The new normal.

I rested up well after our last excursion, so was able to walk quite far today without distress. I was delighted. These days are so precious when I'm feeling so close to normal.

Doctor has ordered more lung Xrays and we had an interesting chat on the phone. As only about 10% are masked here he is expecting a terrible second wave.

Library now has curb side pickup (I don't enjoy Kindle and gave mine away) so I ordered a pile. I was running low on books.

The Big Knitting Project is coming to an end and I will photograph it soon. I am quite delighted with it. But I will miss it.

The new creative non-fiction work is at 51,000 words. I'm doing the hard core formatting and chapterizing at the moment.

Daughter bought some cute clobber for my sister's twin newborn grandchildren, we oohed and aahed over the wee delights which scream Canada and maple leafs.

Next door neighbour delivered me some spell binding carrot cake.

I delivered her vegetarian lasagna.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Bird Whisperer

The bird watching community out here on the Edge of the Atlantic has to be seen to be believed. Per capita, members of various bird watching groups have to be one of the highest in the world.

One of the members, Randy Jenkins, I've been following for years. Recently he was featured in a CBC segment, and we were all thrilled for him. He has chronic PTSD and though he never gave details of this when he posted on line, he did in the interview. Horrific.

I find the film segment such a testament to the human spirit. And Randy's relationship with the birds absolutely astonishing. He frequently posts morning clips of himself and the birds on Facebook. And now and again when his PTSD gets really bad he goes underground for a while. Also, he has shown clips where birds prefer to talk to him rather than feeding as if they sense his state of mind. Back and forth they go in conversation.

A great blue heron, posted today.

And finally, a funny header on one of the birdwatching groups. I had to laugh. So many were mine in my time.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

A Domino Effect

I wrote about Lana a few times, a dear long time friend who has Alzheimer's. It is getting far more difficult now to have conversations with her of any depth or meaning.

I felt an enormous burden after the last one. She told me her planning for retirement was going well and she was of course very fortunate to be doing all of this as she was in her fifties and had loads of time.

I thought it was a slip of the tongue until she mentioned it again later in the conversation, saying that she really felt more alive now that she was in her fifties. I let a lot slide with her but this time I said you're in your seventies. She didn't believe me and went hunting for her driver's licence and read out the date of birth to me January 1946. See, she said, I'm only in my fifties! I let it slide. I let everything slide. She is fighting with her sons over her estate (a significant one - she was a woman of extraordinary intelligence and financial acumen) and hanging up phones on them and confused as to how she has structured it and can't find copies of it anywhere. She is leaning heavily on me to tell her what to do.

I ran all this by another long term friend (he's not a friend of hers) and he advised me to back away as this was taking a huge emotional toll on me and anything I said to her would be forgotten in a minute, even though I tell her to take notes. Unless I'm into monologues. So yes, I have to let her go.

He also told me his liver cancer is back, half was removed over a year ago. This does not look good.

Sometimes, I don't think things such as these affect me mentally and emotional and physically. I have this denial mechanism that kicks in and I'm exhausted and dispirited and lackadaisical and sad and confused. Chin up, chest out, people are a lot worse off than you, etc. That's the inner voice.

But old age is a time of extraordinary loneliness (versus solitude, a different thing entirely). I'm aware that showing real feelings is dangerous behaviour. The BORE effect. I tend to lock down and pretend. Maybe this is a living alone protective strategy. But, observing those around me at The Lodge, I realise they are all in lock down too. Reduced to small talk and trivia, rather than the real and actual challenges of living so long as those loved and cherished disappear forever into the void.

And oh yeah, Joanna, my elderly cleaning lady is really losing it. Most notably, she forgot my apartment number even though she's been coming here since I moved in nearly 3 years ago. My name is on the board downstairs along with my apartment number. I found that really alarming.

Not to mention winding up our days in this Covid-19 scene. Something never predicted. We have one new case here after 43 days of none. Like a final domino to me in my downer state.

A view from the deck of my old house taken a few years ago. Oddly, it seems like yesterday at times. I loved that place.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Screaming Into the Void

I'm going to call her Tess, not her real name.

She drinks too much. She's old. She's a very pretty, feminine, soft looking and sounding woman but very conniving.

If she runs out of booze she will find some simple unquestioning neighbour to take her to emergency to get her pills until her next pension cheque. She's running out of obliging neighbours. Her daughters have her number and refuse to engage with her when she gets telephonitis late at night and harangues them on their failures.

I wouldn't want to be inside her head when she wakes up of a morning for this is how she immediately goes on Facebook with many expletives:

Tess inhales her morning swallow
Sorts out the thrum of her inside hollow.
She hits the keys, all caps and spleen
And shouts the world to smithereens.

And this is the kicker - I so admire the restraint of the responses:

Have a good day Tess! Heart emoticon
How's your garden coming, Tess? Flower emoticon
Enjoy your day! smiley face emoticon.

It brightens my morning, it's hard to explain. She says terrible things, sitting firmly on her pity pot with a long list of those she hates or have offended her or died on her.

But the responses never vary, all kind and normal sounding in the face of such abuse. That's what makes my day.

Human nature is magnificent.

Friday, July 03, 2020

An Ordinary Day

I tried my first grocery curb-side pickup yesterday. It was a delightful experience. Everything ordered on the web was in stock and the delivery to the trunk of my car went smoothly and courteously. This freed up "Spoons" to do a pick-up at the drug store and also visit a local shop to cruise (masked, distanced) for little gifts which I like to do but usually don't have the energy for. Little things for some children in my life, a pair of pajamas for Daughter as she had joked some of hers were threadbare from overuse. We are mad pajama wearers in my family. I hadn't been able to do this in a while as all the energy was eaten up for one whole day just with one grocery shop.

My pajama clad leg just now.

I heard a real nugget from a 90 year old on Zoom last night:
"Change is proof of life".
This will stay with me. Life is all about change, and when there is none, there is death. So when change has to be made, and oh how we can resist the inevitable, say "I'm alive!"and proceed.

Joanna is here today, she is coming more frequently at my request and she's making my life easier in so many ways. I took on some extra work (editing mainly) so there isn't too much of a financial impact. And I do love editing, one of my clients went into such a rave about my work that he is fielding others my way. I am really pleased and gratified.

Ordinary days can be brilliant - yesterday was, or just hum-drum (today is, not feeling that well overall) but I'm rolling with them, the support system is in place. Something about rose gardens not being promised.

I've always loved this card I made from 2010. It sold out but I really should get a reprint.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Blog Jam

I haven't moved to New Blogger as the reports I'm hearing from the kind keyboards of other bloggers are not favourable. If more steps are added to the process I don't see where the advantage would lie. Your comments are very welcome with either yays or nays for the new platform.

I did something major for me, which will probably be petty for others. But I ordered, on line, a seat for my shower. This is part of the journey of my acceptance of disability. It arrived ready to be assembled with very clear instructions and nuts and bolts and warnings about making it secure. Well, I sat down and assembled it. And installed it in my shower/bath. I mentioned to Daughter what I had done and she said: It's really hard to wash long hair like yours, you had a choice, cut all your hair off or make washing it more comfortable. I'm the only old woman I know with long hair. We all have our oddities and peculiarities.

After a long sojourn from him, I picked up a Michael Connolly Bosch from our community library and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy his writing and plot and character development. I see that they have made a streaming series out of his books on Amazon, but I'm not sure I want to see it. I have a visual image in my head of how he is and don't want that destroyed. Sometimes we need books that are fairly frivolous and utterly distracting. I will try and sort out the problem with my page reading lists as they're not working on here for some reason.

I am 34 years sober today which is really nearly half my life without the "divil drink". I think I would be long dead if I had continued my love affair with booze. I am so very grateful that all those years ago I found a better way of living my life without the self-destruct button.

Photograph is of Woody, a pink elephant, whom I treasure, given to me by Younger Daughter 33 years ago.

Friday, June 26, 2020


An old photo from the old house, lovely lilacs that always bloomed late June, early July.

I said I'd write about this process here. I just checked the web and I see nothing formally written on it which surprises me. Because, like, everything's on the web now, right?

So basically this is what I would do before, when I was deep in therapy for childhood issues and resolution, forgiveness, understanding and attempts to reinvent myself as a worthwhile person.

This is an actual example from an old journal:

I dread having my father coming to stay with me every year.
I am always tense and afraid around him.
I am angry at the way he treats me.
I could never stand up for myself when he abused me.
I am afraid he will hit me and shout more abuse at me.
He is an angry and abusive man
He doesn't know how to be loving and kind towards me.
He never learned when he was growing up
He was born
There was love.

So then a decision had to be made. I return to self-love. I could show him love but I made the decision not to have him for extended stays in my home anymore as he continued his modus operandi which was to strongly favour one of my children over the other and abuse me verbally if I did not give him enough attention when we holidayed together. He was unable to show me love.

So applying it to today and my physical challenges:

I hate not being able to run and hike and walk anywhere.
My legs and back and now my neck hurt.
I smoked like a savage for 25 years
I had an addiction to nicotine
Nicotine is the only known antidote to anger
I had unexpressed rage
I was abused as a child
I was born.
There was love.

Decision time: I was born. There was love. I return to love. I deserve a good life. I am disabled. Say the word again. I am disabled. I dealt with my past life in the only way I knew how. I was strong: I chose addiction over suicide. I now choose to say I was born out of love and I am now disabled. I will ask for help. I will treat myself with love and care. And not anger. I will put systems and items and people in place to support me in my disability. And embrace my limitations.

It's like coming out of a closet full of mangled emotions and disagreeable resistance and an inability to express what's really going on beneath a pile-on of inarticulation.

This aging business is a journey, and has endless possibilities once I face my own limitations head on and return to love, of self, others and this wonderful experience called life.

Stone and rocks and sea and sky. June 2016

Saturday, June 20, 2020


An outrageous sunset from 2010

Talking about concessions to old age here.

I keep running into myself, the old self. The one who thinks she'll wake up in the morning and she'll have been "fixed" overnight into what she used to be. You know, tennis, marathons, hiking. And that's just before breakfast.The acceptance of where I'm actually at physically has taken forever to penetrate. I've gotten glimmers, of course, but not complete acceptance. And I know that acceptance doesn't mean approval.

But I need to deal and stop this magical thinking. And I think I've made headway in the past week.

I had a terrible experience during the week where I did too much in one day, didn't pace myself, and nearly collapsed in a grocery store, felt ill. Completely out of steam. Pain like gawd knows what.

I called my Whine Buddy the following day after first of all brushing off some smaller commitments as I was cranky, upset, overly tired and felt like a blight on humanity.

I always feel like a new woman, freshly invigorated, after talking with her, she is only in her fifties but has challenging physical issues of her own, compounded by an elderly parent now in hospital. She has to use his old walker to visit him, she's the only designated visitor due to Covid. And the interminable trudge through the poorly designed Health Science Centre here has to be seen to be believed. Instead of pushing the design upwards, they went all over the map into a massive sprawl of unmarked corridors and cul-de-sacs. this with an aging demographic. I've had to be pushed though it in a wheelchair just to get from clinic to clinic.

But I digress.

We started coming to terms with "I'll have to ask for help" which is something we hate to do. I just know I can't face another day like Wednesday where I thought I'd be one of those carted off, unconscious, in an ambulance. Afterwards I went to the lake and bawled like a baby. This is an honest blog.

I need to explain myself better to those who care about me. And stop pretending. Say no without fear. Accept the help of a friend recently who said she help with some physical therapy. Accept the help of loved ones who offer to pick up groceries. Have Joanna come once a week to do what's necessary here. Stop complaining about the increased cost of my podiatrist.

And every time I start to feel I can't carry on ask that old question a therapist way back had taught me."Because?" If you've never heard of it I'll post about it the next time. It's enormously helpful and I had forgotten about it until someone in Zoom mentioned it recently.

So I've hauled it out.

And I tumbled across this photo looking for something else. How Ansa, the Wonder Dog, loved to pose. 2009. She makes me smile now, it took me years to stop crying over photos of her.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It's Grumpy Old Geezer Time!

I talk to myself. A lot. But I'm aware of it. Does that mean I'm sane. Or, maybe I never was. Or? I would talk to Ansa, the wonder dog quite a lot. Now that she's gone, it's empty air, but I don't seem to mind. I just carry on. Cheerful mutterings most of the time.

When do you know you've teetered over the edge?

I was commenting on someone else's blog yesterday. The Black Lives Matter and toppling over every offensive statue ever made movement. Will anything change? Nope. Again. Nope.

Did ERA (Equal Rites Amendment) in the retroactive USA ever get put into law? Nope. When you treat over 50% of your population as less than the rest, what hope is there for blacks? Seriously?

And WTF New Zealand? You let in these carriers after all that work?

I can see it happening here too with everyone wandering around without even minimal PPE or distancing. And we're doing so well. Just wait you Covidiots, just wait.

Today, a friend is forced out of her home because she can't afford it. She just turned 70. An actor, prominent in the arts. On Old Age Security coz no decent pension. Like me. Like all single mothers with minimal support. I'm going to try and get her into this building. She would be a wonderful addition.

Today, a dear friend writes from Ireland that her sister's husband was having an affair with their brother's daughter. She threw him out and now she takes him back three months later as he begged so much she got exhausted. Tell me what kind of wreckage that creates in a family. Does it ever recover? What would you have done with can't-keep-it-in-his-pants and what family member is now safe? "But I love him." What exactly are you loving? Is there a specific part? It can't be his fidelity. Or his decency.

George (my walking stick) and me. But with jeans and backpack.

Gawd I feel better.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Blog Jam

Sometimes I feel like a pretzel when I get out of bed.

I sit on the edge, waiting for everything to uncontort itself, to unwind. Sometimes it takes a while. I take the opportunity to reflect on the day ahead and tick off some internal boxes. Enough food? Enough books? Enough meds? Enough contact with those I love? Enough knitting? Enough writing ahead? Enough ideas? Enough games of delightful and amazing Scrabble with the 12 daily games I've been playing since the invention of the internet? Enough Zoom meetings? Enough money to pay the bills?

Not necessarily in that order. But you catch my drift. It keeps me in gratitude. Because there is enough. And sometimes, if I need to shop for essentials, I find the body rebels that particularly day so I take it easy on myself and look in the freezer or the cupboard and laugh out loud. So much food.

A breakfast I bake regularly.It's good hot or cold. And is one the healthiest ever as it is completely balanced. This has 4 servings.

I was thinking on kindred spirits. Some tell me they're my kindred spirits but I believe a kindred has to be an innie if we're "getting" each other at that level. I wrote about it here. Nothing has really changed since that post. I don't need lectures that I read too much or I write too much and I should get out and "shop" - retail therapy. An Innie would never do that. But the Outies do.

Most of my readers are kindreds, I can just tell, they are thoughtful and have dug deep into their inners and continue to do so judging from comments and their own posts. It is so delightful we find each other on the interwebz.

I picked up this from my mailbox yesterday. A postcard from Daughter. I absolutely love it.

Grandgirl is planning on coming for a month starting mid-July. She will self-quarantine. Her city, Toronto, is doing really poorly with Covid, we are doing remarkably well with no new cases now for a month.

But not everything is open yet. But "caution exhaustion" is setting in with its consequential carelessness. Only 1 in 10 are now wearing masks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

If This Time

A friend sent this to me this morning. And it's a magical combination of his voice and the words. I've played it twice already and will play it again and again.

A powerful tonic.


Monday, June 08, 2020


As a woman and girl, having navigated patriarchal capitalism and its handmaiden religion for nearly all of my life I found this nugget today:

"Your anger is the part of you that knows your mistreatment and abuse are unacceptable. Your anger knows you deserve to be treated well, and with kindness. Your anger is a part of you that loves YOU."

In later life I was told that anger was toxic and could really damage me. That my life would be so much better if I could just forgive.And boy did I work hard on that. Owning my part in the RESPONSE to my own abuse and mistreatment. Imagine.

But does forgiveness mean forgetting? How does one forget? I've asked many times is there a magic bullet? Because depression is the polar opposite of anger. If you repress anger, black depression ensues. And you know what? Most people I know are on sedatives, tranquilizers, call them what you will, to treat a "chemical imbalance" in their brains. And if they open up at all about their lives behind them there's a trickling seam of rage underneath, which is quickly shut down. So is chemical treatment of anger an optimum solution? Isn't part of the spirit then quenched?

So anger can be a powerful positive force. And maybe that's why I'm an activist in a world of so very few when you compare total populations. I've channeled my unapologetic anger into advocating for those less fortunate and I speak up when I'm treated badly and I set firm boundaries. I do not use it to hurt or destroy but I will not colour my past with rainbows and unicorns.

As I write my new book (31,000 words and counting) I'm once again the twenty-three-year-old I was, feeling that helpless rage that saw me banished from my native land when I needed it the most and navigating a baffling new country. I feel for her, fifty years ago, forced to bury her short former life, the one that formed and shaped her, and invent a new one. She was so desperately lonely and didn't know how to be angry, carrying it deep inside for decades - an old septic wound waiting to be lanced.

And PS. I am so happy when writing this book, I need to add that. I look forward to it every day. I ignore social media and almost resent phone calls for interrupting me. I am enjoying revisiting the Toronto of long past as it flows past the words on my screen.

Saturday, June 06, 2020


This is a repost from March 2009 about one of my favourite movies

Who doesn't love this movie? I just never get tired of it. I don't know how many times I've seen it and dialogue along with the stars: "You played it for her, you can play it for me" and "this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" along with the stars, sing: "You must remember this" as Dooley plays that piano and whisper: "We'll always have Paris" to myself.

This picture says it all, doesn't it? Romantic love sacrificed to a great cause. The noble fine gesture. Country before self and all that.

Was Humphrey ever so tough and manly, Ingrid ever so fragile?

The thing is, in real life Ingrid Bergman towered over the diminutive Humphrey Bogart.

So much so that he had to wear strapped on platform shoes. Here is a shot taken of his feet, relaxing between takes of the unforgettable movie, Casablanca:

Things are not always what they appear, n'est pas? Humphrey tottering around on these kinda spoils the image of the tough, shoot from the hip guy with the heart of gold.

And I truly wonder how they both kept straight faces during the filming.

And PS: Apparently during the shooting of this movie, Humphrey's wife of the time, Mayo Methot, was so jealous of Ingrid she forbade him to speak with her and all through the shoot, he didn't. What great actors they were to produce such amazing love scenes!

Friday, June 05, 2020

This Too........

I was at a Zoom meeting last night and a guy from Texas shared (almost humorously, almost defeatedly) that:

(a) his country was burning to the ground
(b) there's a massive pandemic killing his fellow citizens at a galloping rate
(c) police and blackshirted unidentifiable guys are shooting fellow citizens, focusing on blacks.
(d) there's an asteroid hurtling towards Boston, or maybe what's left of it by the time it gets there
(e) there's an absolute lunatic in charge of the biggest asylum in the world, his country
(f) any advice as to what he could do?

He was ex-military and one of his kids (military too) was flown back into Texas and armed up and put on mob detail.

There were two other Canadians at the meeting and honestly, our troubles just vanished away. I think most USians must be in a state of paralysis (to be quickly followed by PTSD) as nothing is making sense and the words "MAGA" bandied about so freely as something to return to rings extraordinarily hollow for most thinking USians.

But what a summary, succinctly put.

No advice of course, apart from just stay inside safe, hang in with us, hang in with those of like mind, wait for this nightmare to be over, because over it will be.

As the old wags had it: This too shall pass.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Covid and Hospitals and Food.

A good man died yesterday. He'd been in the hospital with heart trouble for a few weeks and of course there were no visitors. That must be horribly lonely, you're there, some part of you knows you're not leaving, and the family can't visit. Plus the food is usually pig swill so if you're lying there, all intubated and breathing assisted, what's there to look forward to? A decent meal? No. And in this time of Covid: no flowers or wee fruit baskets or some decent chocolates.

He was always very kind to me, about 5 years older than I, but there was a sympatico between us even though our lives were vastly different. He was a fisher and farmer and raised sheep and suffered from periodic depression which I totally understood. Late in life he went on a plane for the the first time to see an adult child in Alberta. It was a huge event, he was of the school "if we were meant to fly, God would give us wings" but after that he was inspired to get his driver's licence at the ago of 68. He only drive tractors prior to then and cheated the odd time in a car so his test was a cakewalk. He came to all my performances and applauded me vigorously.

I will miss him. He was very generous of spirit and quite shy until you got to know him. I cried for quite a while last night. He did leave footprints on my heart.

Another friend has her 96yo father (who she lives with) in hospital for the past week with pneumonia and can't visit him. It must be so very challenging as he is anxious to eat a home cooked meal and they can't bring it to him. An acquaintance had her 84yo mother fall and break a leg 8 weeks ago and she is also in the hospital with no visitors. I knew her well, played a lot of cards with her and admired her. A very cheerful woman and extremely well put together, always the lipper and bright blue eye shadow and high maintenance hair styles. She described the food being served at the hospital which sounded completely inedible, dried up meatballs and rubbery eggs and soggy margarined toast. She has lost about 20lbs as she won't eat so her daughters are really worried.

I remember the days when hospital food was nutritious, appetizing, and cooked in the actual hospital kitchens. Now it's all outsourced to the industrial "catering" industry who make obscene profits on feeding the sick and dying hospitals and hospices by serving cheap bland swill.

You'd think that hospitals would lead the way in serving local organic well balanced meals to entice the failing appetites of the sick and dying under their care.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Irish Loop

We have this marvelous meandering coastal route called the Irish Loop. It's where Irish settlers came and - ahem - settled going back as far as the early 17th century. Little villages and towns scattered along the whole 300 km of it.
Here's a map with the route marked in dark blue. Every turn in the road has a breathtaking view.

I live in St. John's. Daughter lives in St. Vincent's (where the whales roll in by the hundreds every year) so we decided to pick up a Jiggs Dinner in Fermeuse (approximately an equivalent drive for each of us)- all restaurants here are doing a roaring trade in safe takeaway as long as you pre-order and then they tell you what time to pick it up. What a meal this was!

This is what we overlooked as we ate in Port Kirwan:

Then we visited a local wood sculpture, I love his owls (my spirit animal):

Then we realized we had friends in the area so did a safe drop in and had tea and a slice of boiled cake, overlooking this view:

On the way back I stopped at St. John's Harbour to look at the ships that are in (one of my favourite things) but that sky caught my attention again.

What an absolutely splendid day, and yeah the lovely sun, and skyscapes, how magnificent are those?

Thursday, May 28, 2020


I take politics far too seriously. I think I've learned my lesson. My detachment from all social media is complete. I will only fight now, post-covid, for senior fairness and bringing the many of us living in Canada to the official poverty line. I know. Small potatoes but essential for survival here where many elders make $5,000 per annum below it.

So now. I can't get over myself. I am experiencing gallons of joy for the last four days and I hope I'm not jinxing this. I am reading a marvelous book called H is for Hawk by Helen Mac Donald

The rating isn't that great on Goodreads but I get why it wouldn't be to everyone's taste. It is a memoir by a woman whose father has just died and she gets into the business of training a groshawk, one of the most challenging of all falconry enterprises. I am learning so much from it, another underbelly of life unexplored. There are so many.

I have 21,000 words written on the new novel and it is taking me to extraordinary places. I am living and breathing it every day. I am also busy on the blanket I designed and have about 1/3 complete.

You will note the completed lighthouse, the partially finished house and of course the familiar diamonds of vines and cables of Irish knitting. On the left you will see a cream and black cord (it will wind up a marble-like frame for the work) which I knit away at as it is mindless when I attend Zoom meetings. The main body requires concentration due to its complexity.

You're the first in the whole world to see it as I'm not posting it elsewhere.

It brings me enormous joy. Plus I keep a notepad by me and jot notes for the book as they occur to me.

I think it's the first time in my life I feel undistracted as I write with no other responsibilities apart from feeding myself and basic maintenance.

Hence joy.

Monday, May 25, 2020

A New Life

A photo of my beautiful city, St. John's, Newfoundland.

The skin of all this politicism and activism has peeled off me and I am as newly re-birthed.

I am no longer gripped by Facecloth and all its doings or Twister and its evil manifestations and counterpoints scored and activists removed without apology if they don't toe whatever is the party line of the day.

I honestly don't care.

One thing still lingers in that tomorrow the newspaper is publishing what I wrote in my fit of disdain on the weekend and tossed off in a blast of the last volcano ashes of the rage I was feeling. That should bring out the pitchforks for me. But a staff member did call me today and assured me that, contrary to all Twister and Facecloth feeds, the journalist in question had not been fired but as personal threats had been made on him and his family he chose to fade into the background of other responsibilities within the newspaper's framework. Par for the course here, I have been attacked for speaking my truth and I fully anticipate this will happen tomorrow when the paper hits the stands or the devices. Negative opinions are not tolerated here. Critical thinking is unheard of and everyone knows someone employed by government. The smallness of the place can be such a negative. The record breaking show "Come From Away" tells one side only. There is a darker side. As there is in all places.

Enough on that.

The novel I am working on has come to life marvelously well. There is so much time to reflect on it and sit and be still and play music and think and reflect some more. I no longer have distractions so I can place myself in sixties Toronto and breathe in the aroma of that narrow wood paneled coffee nook with the huge spitting urns and the fresh pastries stationed in the lobby of the building I worked in and say good morning to Brenda the elevator woman (called "girl" in those days) who wore white gloves and never smiled but nodded politely at all of us as she pushed her lever and only asked for visitors' floors as she knew us all and our landings. All day, she sat like a queen on her green leather stool.

Every morning at eleven, one of the servers in that standing room only coffee corner would wheel up a trolley in that very same elevator and bring coffee and tea around to all of us with real mugs and small plates, along with more pastries, and pick our detritus up an hour later. A silent, cheerless grey haired woman ("tea girl"). None of that British lovie-have-a-cuppa stuff in her. I did wonder if she was related to Brenda.

So there you have it.

As one of our wise ones commented "Enough".

I have taken it to heart.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Wasting Time

I had one of those moments last night as I was responding to a long commentary on a journalist who resigned was fired after writing a column on public sector workers being paid full salaries during the pandemic and many private sector workers facing financial hardship. The views on this article were more than 10 times the views on a previous column in which he wrote about lifting all to a guaranteed income, even if it was just to the poverty line (my pet soap box advocacy as you all know).

The pitchforks came out for him and I defended him and his right to his opinion. Suffice to say, as I engaged once more with Facecloth and Twister and the privileged defending their rights to substantial pay-cheques, pensions and benefits while the peasants pay them through their income taxes, I thought: what the almighty hell are you doing wasting time on all of this?

Ever have one of those moments? It was around 10.00 pm as I read the latest attack on my miscomprehension of their rights. Did I not know that these same public sector workers did not complain when the oil sector workers were making more than they were? cos, you know, we are all in this together! This from a dude making both public sector and private sector income in his spare time from his public sector job. His income? Pushing close to $200,000. Nearly 10 times the poverty level. The air is thin up there when you can only count your own privileges against those making even more and think "bootstraps" for the rest of us if you have time to throw a thought our way at all.

So my moment came and I thought: stop it now. Make your life count for more than these ridiculous meaningless verbal sword-fights and just do exactly what you want to do. Stop the fighting. Remove yourself from social media. Cancel the subscription to the paper in protest of their pandering to the elite.

I had a dream last night of being swept away in this kind of tidal wave. I wasn't frightened. I landed on a huge rock and just calmly trudged on. I had a purpose and I was committed to it. The rock was washed clean by the wave every minute. It held a lot of meaning for me.

Write. Read. Knit. Disengage from politics and social media and meaningless debates. Make every day of what's left count. Read my blog buds for sustenance.

So here I am.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

To-Do Lists

I don't know about you but mine get painfully long and then a few fairly sleepless nights and the overwhelm sets in. Havoc is created when I don't return calls or forego what I think would be manageable commitments (will I ever effing learn?)and the guilt streams over the top of my head and I sink beneath that wave for a while.

I'd like to blog every day. I love blogging. But I find that the pleasurable tasks on the To-Do get drowned in the "shoulds" of what I need to do first and then nothing happens. Exhaustion hits me too, those sleepless, crazy, nightmarish nights underlaid with the anxiety and stress we're all feeling.

"In my remaining lifetime allotted," I announced pompously to some poor souls who indulge my ranting, "I will not see normal again."

So yeah, what do I intend to do with such limited options?

Good question.

I have absolutely no idea.

So I knit away on a startlingly large project with took me eons to design as the mathematical calculations are not as free and easy in the brain as they used to be. The designing is now painstaking and slow if I want to avoid ripping out madly. So, yeah, it's looking quite lovely in its birthing. A long way to go but it keeps my brain subdued as I work it a few times a day.

My "other" writing has died much to my dismay. The muse has fled appalled by my inertia and my "woe is me"s in this awful pandemic.

But today, I got myself upright, metaphorically at least, and started ticking some items and lined up some apologies to be given to those who I have abandoned but not forgotten.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

I Hate Downers (Day 50 of the Year of the Plague self-isolation)

This past week has had me with spasms in my back, sharp and exhausting in their frequency. Aging means not bouncing back. I find the pain sucks the creativity out of me. I don't return calls, not wishing to burden anyone with my whining. I sit in a pool of misery, wanting to sleep the day away and quite succeeding in that accomplishment and shocked that I actually can sleep through some nights and then maneuver out of my bed slowly and carefully. It seems like soft tissue as it's not near the spine, so some kind of sprain.

I will call the doctor on Monday as over a week of this is quite distressing. Along with that my BP shot through the roof and I don't know why. My old BP monitor whimpered and died and the readings from the new one reflect these new alarming readings.

So there you have it.

One 1 case in the last couple of weeks here so we are now in a progression of loosening restrictions, basically following NZ but without reopening schools. We are moving from Alert Level 5 to Alert Level 4. Really good news. Slow and steady is the plan.

I'm getting around to your blogs, slowly but surely.

Objet du Jour

4 healing vials sitting on my windowsill in my bedroom with little messages of comfort within or attached. My two young friends made them for me.

Facebook have a new emoticon which is supposedly created to show care/sympathy/compassion. Consensus is it's a Big Fail but great suggestions have been offered to expand their reactive images. (sorry for the quality of image)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Day 45

Objet du Jour - old castiron railway clock in my office, it follows me around, loses time unexpectedly but responds well to TLC

I went through the email inbox this morning and answered everything I had been throwing on the long finger as "tomorrow" or "when life gets more interesting."

It is not even 11.30 yet but I was up at 6.30.

I find time is truly flying. I judge it by when I feel my weekly pill boxes. Yes, 2 large ones. Lots of pills. And as I was filling them today, Saturday, which is the day for filling, I thought: didn't I fill these just yesterday? Well no. The week slid out from under me. Also my mornings warp speed by. I think it is 8 but often it is closer to 10.

I'm reading this, sent by Niece and totally enjoying:

I'm playing Enya, it's that kind of morning. We've had a last outburst of snow last night. Enya always reminds me of spring. A long playlist. Sample:

I wrote a poem this morning. There's a poetry contest on CBC, deadline May 31st. I always hand write poems first. I like the sound of the pen on the page and how the poem can evolve as I read it and stroke and amend for clarity. Poems are succint. This one was complex and startling and I hesitate to share it but maybe I will eventually.

We've had no new cases here for 7 days now. So maybe, just maybe?

I hope you're all doing well out there.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Your Thoughts on the Year of the Plague.

I've been asked to do a radio interview on the effects on seniors/elders in the time of Covid 19.

Most of mine are positive as I do love my own company and my own activities and am not one for small talk and fluffy social gatherings that involve bingo and cards and darts, etc.

The down thoughts are as follows:

Not seeing my daughter as much as I normally do. Especially on Saturday which was her birthday.

Not seeing my niece and her little ones.

I miss going out for coffee with friends.

I miss meals out.

I miss theatre and other live cultural events.

I dislike the hit or miss quality of my grocery deliveries.

I fret about the cavalier and careless visitors without masks or gloves entering my building, cleverly evading our superintendent who is trying to police the building from such violations.

On the other hand, on the weekend, I watched a large family of young adults and children performing a dance in the front lawn of my building all wearing masks and gloves to entertain a grandparent watching from her window.

I also think (but not depressively I hasten to add) - is this all there is? Are these my final days on planet earth? What happens if people start dying in my building?

And large thoughts: what happens if there is an entire economic collapse. How will elders survive without pensions or savings and in possible ill health?

Have at it.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Notes from the Year of the Plague

It truly is not a poor existence.

I get to play indoors.
I get to not have to engage with the covidiots roaming freely and laughing at the rest of us.
I realize my privilege in having groceries and medications delivered.
I get to choose who to respond to in both my messages and texts and phonecalls.
I have all the time in the world to watch a series on a streaming service.
I can read all day if I want.
I have the luxury of designing a new blanket and surveying my yarn stash for colours and quality.
I can play a playlist from start to finish. Mozart, Beethoven, The Chieftains, Enya, Peter Paul and Mary, et al, et al.
I get to watch the birds nesting and hear their calls to each other.
I get to play Lexulous with those with whom I've been playing for countless years.
I get to slow-read newspapers
I get to kick off misbehaving members from my two FB groups (I know, a bit petty there but oh so satisfying)
I get to buy an expensive necessary gift for Daughter on line for her birthday tomorrow. After researching reviews, etc. Coz I've saved money on gas and going out, etc. She will be thrilled but not saying anything about it here as she may read this blog post.
I get loads of time to respond to so many interesting requests like a youth group hooking up with SOS in any way we deem helpful once this plague is over. A couple are writing a book on non-state terrorism and asked me assist with material I have collected over the years. And on.

So some pics:

My Easter dinner was dropped off safely by Nephew. I had 4 meals out of it.

Writing away, I was struck by this, we have loads of opportunities here, right?