Friday, June 18, 2021

Gone Touring

 I'll be gone to all parts North for two weeks on a family trip of a life time. Visiting the following and lingering which is the benefit of taking time to savour the sights.

On the list is

Gros Morne

Red Bay (long on the bucket list)

Battle Harbour

St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula (again, we visited last September).

Wally the racing red wheelchair was purchased by Daughter to facilitate me on the hiking trails.

Doctor gave me the All-Clear on those brutal tests I underwent and the multiple biopsies.

So this is in way of celebration of precious lives and the trip of a lifetime in the company of those I love the most in the world. 

Here is a picture I took yesterday on my way to see my podiatrist.


I'll post when/if I can.








Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday Selections

I was a member of the East Coast Trail Association here in Newfoundland for many, many years. It has some of the most beautiful trail systems in Canada, if not in the world. The sights are breathtaking and often feature whales, moose and masses of edible wild berries on the routes.

When I had my B&B, tourists would arrive from France, UK, US, Australia and all parts of Europe and Asia just to hike this magnificent trail.

Grandgirl and her partner are now hiking different chunks of the trail every weekend, setting off early and then I go pick them up at their predestined spot. Yesterday was one such day. It was a 15km hike (10 miles) and I picked them up at Cape Spear at suppertime.

She agreed I could post some of her photos on my blog.







 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Tribute Part 4 (Final)

 One of the truly wonderful things Paulina did was draw terminally ill cancer patients together in groups of 4 to 8. All of this work she did without compensation, it was her way of paying back, she said, for all she had been given. And being a survivor of cancer herself, she had a greater understanding of what it was to face death.

She created a series of weekly gatherings in her home, arranging taxi service if needed. She had the participants write down on separate slips of paper the things they most valued in life. These were placed in envelopes, marked with the participant's name.

Each week, they would take one slip of paper out of their envelopes and talk about this valuable thing they had written down. At length. 

In the centre of her table was a large bowl and when they were finished they would set a match to this piece of paper and bid it goodbye. It was profoundly moving but it prepared them in sharing with others who were dying also, like nothing else ever could.

"How on earth do you find them Paulina," I asked her one time.

"You forget," she responded, "That I am very well connected." Word of mouth indeed.

Another wonderful thing was we shared the same clothes and shoe size and Paulina's wardrobe was incredible. I mean it was beyond the pale. Beyond reach of my much smaller purse. I favoured Sally Anne and Goodwill (still do). She had a whole room dedicated to her clothes.

She asked me if I would be insulted if she offered me her clothes and shoes. I didn't need asking twice.

So I became the beneficiary of this fabulous wardrobe of DKNY dresses and skirts, designer woolen coats, the most incredible coats and blouses and designer shoes, sandals and trainers, matching leisure pieces and tops, all in fabulous natural fabrics. 

Her generosity extended to when I semi-retired and moved to Newfoundland. In the mail I would receive all sorts of goodies and when I told her I was performing, she went a little crazy and sent me these fabulous "performance" clothes, drapey skirts and silky tops and demand photos of me doing my "schtick". She never stopped believing in me and praising me for my talents. 

She'd always sense when I was upset and call me out of the blue and said she had a vibe and we'd talk something through, or share old age challenges, some of hers were quite funny. We very rarely strolled memory lane which I appreciated, we were always in the moment, always in the now.

Daughter said to me when I told her the sad news of Paulina's passing: "What a friend, Mum! She stuffed your heart, your stomach, your wallet and your closet!"

A fitting tribute, Paulina dear. The world needs more like you.

I will never forget you.

See Part 1 here

See Part 2 here

See Part 3 here



Friday, June 11, 2021

A Tribute Part 3

 Other opportunities presented themselves for Paulina and I to stay together: weekends, workshops, but I managed to present believable reasons as to why I could not share residential spaces or hotel rooms with her. I do believe she appreciated my setting boundaries.

Another issue with her was, being 5 years older than me, musical tastes. She had missed the musical revolution. When sharing a dinner out, she couldn't abide any "loud" music. Our definitions of loud were 100 miles apart. The gentlest of Beatles songs would set her teeth on edge and many a time she'd summon our server and politely request the music be turned way down. Some would protest about the lack of ambience and managers instructing them otherwise. Some talked mood. But she was adamant. A few times I asked her if she would be more comfortable leaving. But she'd stick it out. Oddly enough it didn't irritate me. I felt enormous compassion, for in my heart I knew she felt noise and scents more keenly than I ever would. And I had far more ease navigating the world than she did.

We grew closer, she never stopped learning and became an expert on conflict resolution and very respected in that profession and it kept her very busy. I don't think in all the time I knew her, did she ever lose her temper. Or get angry. She worked very hard in different disciplines like Reiki and Therapeutic Touch and would go out of her way to help those in pain and distress. 

She didn't watch TV or indulge in newspapers or novels but read self-improvement books continually. These were  passed on to me with a note to read them too, and subsequently pitched aside by me when I got home as I defined them as "Self-Help Hell". I told her my escapism was into fiction and tossed some books her way but I knew she felt as I did about hers and these books never had her eyes fall on them. 

Our bonding was based on trust. She trusted me implicitly and gave me more and more of her business to take care of including a large downtown store with a board of directors sometimes at odds with each other. We confided in each other at a deep level. Including our issues with our adult children and our infatuation with our adored grandgirls.  

One major issue I had was with my adult daughter that became completely out of hand for a while. I challenged Paulina to solve it, to find some resolution to our ongoing battling.

Oh, I wish all conflicts were as easy as that! She responded, laughing.

As I see it, she said, your daughter rents an apartment from you, your daughter is also an employee, you're also, basically, co-parenting your grandchild, and you're also mother to your daughter. So now you have 4 hats. Landlord, employer, child carer and mother. So every time you deal with your daughter you tell her what hat you're wearing.

And Reader, it worked. There was no longer this muddling, every-angry-issue-ever-raised with Daughter and me. Peace reigned.

We shared intimate personal stuff we shared with very few in the world. We understood each other and had huge respect for one another.  And could do that wonderful thing: laugh at ourselves and each other's foibles and quirks without fear of offence.

For instance she couldn't abide coffee. But, oh boy, herbal tea and lemon water to start her day were de rigeur. Richard, her partner, loved his morning coffee, dark beans, fresh ground, strong. If he was home, he would make it for me, if he was going to be out, she would instruct him to put it into a thermos for me. She just about gagged at the smell, but wore a lovely, bemused tolerance on her face and a slight eye roll :" "You Two!"

She met Richard in New York at a conference. She put her eye on him at a workshop and as the group of thirty were crossing the street to go to the theatre that night on Broadway she linked her arm to his and said "I believe you and I are together from now on." He was ten years younger, tall, handsome, very British. And they were together for over 40 years when she died. And incredibly content in each other's company: supportive of each other and the most important quality to me: respectful. Always respectful. I truly envied the way they looked at each other.

To be continued

See Part 1 here

See Part 2 here



Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Tribute Part 2

Paulina, though a generous and gracious woman was not an easy woman. She expected a very high quality of work. One of her demands from me was that I encapsulate the status of my work for her verbally. This is how she understood the complexity of her financial status. I positively hate oral presentations of this nature. Pausing to clarify her questions and formulating answers wasn't easy for me. I am much better at written reports. 

She was very sensitive to this, she was sensitive to everything. I would come to her house at least once a month and perform the work and give her my verbal updates, she would question, I would stumble and falter and refer to my notes and try to grasp what she was attempting to understand which to me was so obvious. I was fed lunch, I was told no perfumes in her house, I was told not to use scented detergent or soaps, I was told she and her partner only used organic products. For everything. I viewed her as quite persnickety until she shared that she had beaten cancer which had brought her to her knees.

She began to really like me and this was reflected in much laughter over child raising, first marriages, career women balancing everything, in our now more frequent meetings. She then told me there were other businesses she was involved in, would I be interested in working for them and for friends of hers who owned businesses?

So thus we began on this long journey of business and friendship. She hauled me along to lectures and clubs, I met her friends, I was invited to her dinner parties. I was invited for a week long stay to her cabin (while her partner was in England) in the Laurentians in Quebec which turned out to be a disaster.


It started when I arrived and parked my car. She came out to greet me and then apologized and said I hadn't parked my car properly and I needed to do so. I was confused. It seemed, in this vast area in front of her house that I needed it to be "straight."  It turned out to be in alignment with the side of the house not at an angle. "Aesthetics," she explained. This did not bode well. And it got worse.

I wasn't aware that black fly season in the Laurentians had just begun. And sitting out later on the deck, I was eaten alive and I had a severe allergic reaction in that my body blew up. She gave me some organic salve which didn't work and I spent a miserable night, made even worse in that were was no bedside lamp to read by and distract me from my sore and bloated body.

The following morning I told her I was going to find a drugstore and get some medication for my condition and she was appalled I would think of using chemicals. I wouldn't be bitten again if I wore this type of beekeeper suit she had in her shed for guests who might develop this reaction in black fly season.

Conflict. Big.

I stood my ground, marched off to my perfectly aligned car and headed into the local town, reviewing mentally my poor French in order to confront a chemist and request some efficacious treatment for my grotesque appearance. 

My French worked, my appearance alone horrifying the chemist, and I found a bathroom to slather myself with her recommended product. The immediate relief had me just about crying.

I returned to the cabin, defiant, parked "properly" and found her in the kitchen surrounded by the aroma of her marvelous cooking.

"Are you feeling better?" she asked me gently, her kindness as always showing in her eyes, in the way she reached out to touch my arm.

And it struck me then, as it strikes me frequently, the best of friendships aren't formulated on our similarities but on our differences and how we tolerate them in others.

She never complained about the chemicals on my body, I sucked up the fact there was no bedside lamp and I just stayed up a little later in the living room reading until it was time for bed.



See Part 1 here

To be continued.....




Wednesday, June 09, 2021

A Tribute Part 1

 In that way of life yesterday, I was looking through an old photo album (remember those?) And came across this, an afghan I had designed and knit while ensconced on the island of Sherkin for the month of August, maybe 20 odd years ago. I only knit these for those I love and value greatly.


So my immediate thought was Paulina* hadn't responded to my last email which was completely unlike her. So I went to the web and threw on her name and found to my utter disbelief that she had died. The only notice of such death posted by one of the many business groups she had belonged to. No obit. No articles or memorials about this remarkable woman.

When I first met Paulina, some 30 odd years ago it was at her home office in a gorgeous house on the Beaches (a very expensive residential area) in Toronto. 


She had some messy accounting work for me to clean up which necessitated absolute confidentiality. She was a referral from another client (as nearly all of my business was) so the preludes were dispensed with as she trusted him implicitly.

 She told me the situation briefly, handed me ledgers and agreements and told me I was free to set it up anyway I wished as long as she could make sense of it when the job was completed. In those days her hair was an expensive vibrant red and she had this aura of confidence I envied. Her clothes were linens, rich cottons, cashmeres and comfortable and co-ordinated in soft pastels, and whispered money. I drooled internally at her clothes.

I noticed there were many women working around the place. One outside in the back garden, landscaping, one doing measurements of walls and windows around where I worked on her huge dining room table and one upstairs who popped down now and again to consult quietly with Pauline, reading quietly in the living room, showing her designs. Another was obviously the cleaner who moved around quietly. Nobody was intrusive in anyway.

Paulina asked me how things were going, I asked her some brief questions from my notebook and then she left.

There were kitchen sounds and aromas, and at just before noon Paulina asked me to move my work from the table to the sideboard as she was about to serve lunch for everyone. All the women working for her gathered around the table which was loaded with platters of roasted vegetables, breads, salads, fruits and a tureen of Incredible homemade soup. Paulina was a vegetarian.

She introduced us all to each other as she served us, telling what each one did.

When she reached her cleaning lady, Anna, she said:

"Sorry, but Anna is the most valued one of all of you, for she cleans my toilets."

And those gathered over this marvelous meal, shared life stories and business ideas and backgrounds with Pauline encouraging us every minute of the way, quietly observant, making sure no one dominated the conversation. I've never seen, before or since, anyone who could draw others out like Paulina could.

And this was my first introduction to Paulina, Swiss born entrepreneur, one of the first female vice-presidents of IBM among many such notes of distinction, who became such an important part of my life in so many ways.

I lit a candle for her yesterday as I grieved and remembered, startled at the depth of our long association.



To be continued...... 

*not her real name

See Part 2 here


Sunday, June 06, 2021

Well, blow me down!


Darby and Joan from an old English painting, artist unknown.

At my stage in life it's really, really hard to surprise me with how people behave and act.

We are veering into normalcy here with regard to Covid. Most are lined up for our second jab if we don't already have it and visits and drop-ins by friends are re-starting. 

A friend dropped in yesterday for coffee. She followed me into the building about a year after I moved in.

She's more social than I am, much to her grief now, as she has been taken advantage of and is really angry with herself. I had said to her to be careful when she moved in. A dear friend of mine who had lived in the building for yonks and who had introduced me to the possibility of my getting  on the waiting list here had put a word in my ear about getting close to anyone here when I eventually moved in. 

I don't need much warning of such things as I am a gregarious loner by nature and have different criteria for selecting friends which usually don't involve the coincidence of geographical proximity. I am useless at small talk and it abounds in this building. So I have kept my polite distance.

So I mentioned to Terry (not her real name) that I had noticed a remarkable thinning of the ranks when I traversed the community rooms and the halls with some apartments absent their usual festoons of art and décor around their entrances.

"Oh, there's quite a few have moved out," she said, "I suppose you don't know."

"Know what?" I responded, concerned as to possible infestations of rats or plumbing outbursts.

"Silver Seniors."

"Holy Mother of God, what?"

"Covid has sent so many here on the online hunt for a partner - and many have been successful, they're leaving in hordes with the new fellahs!"

I'm still flabbergasted, still laughing. Still amazed at all these white haired older women suddenly partnering up and leaving their independence. 

Carpe diem indeed.



Friday, June 04, 2021

Small Things

 I seek them out, both the moments and the noticing of small accomplishments. I've had to adjust mightily to the restrictions of my life now. And none too happily.

So here goes with the small things.

I finished the afghan/sofa blanket for one of my nieces and here it is: Stone and Sand and Sea and Sky.


I also finished one of those picky dishcloths (every row a different pattern) and started another to teach me to slow down and just enjoy the process, reciting the pattern aloud to myself as I move along the row. Like a dirge, or a mantra, or a song of praise. Very therapeutic.


I make notes for this memoir I'm writing, it flowed well for a while and now I'm running into mental obstacles. But I persist as ideas strike me. Reshaping, remembering.


I found this quote on reading. I'm so grateful my parents were avid readers, my dad got me my first library card when I was four. Daughter, Niece and Grandgirl are all voracious readers. I must have read thousands of books in my life.




Saturday, May 29, 2021

And a PS to the Etc

 Dear Joared and DKZ

Your blogs kick me out after I comment which is very frustrating. Can't figure out why this is so. Can you figure it out? Other blogs do not do this, much to my relief as I could become quite paranoid.

I've been tossing books lately with a DNF* note in my book journal. I resent the time I spend on them before this act as I could have been reading a good book. Know what I mean?

I'm into fiction in a big way. I like the escapism provided by a good author. Good in my estimation, maybe not in yours.

I persist sometimes when the books are both gifts and best sellers as these last two were.



But finally I just threw in the towel on both and picked up my emergency Michael Connolly who never lets me down when Bosch is involved. And PS I can't abide the actor portraying him in the Bosch series on Prime.


I will update my 2021 Books Read Page soonest as I have enjoyed some smashing reads this year.

And I will mention now, albeit with connection to reading, that my right eye, one day after the hospital procedures has gone semi-blind. A grey fog has descended. What next, I think, sitting on my pity pot. I have an appointment with my eye guy first thing Tuesday and we'll take it from there. 

But at least the left eye is behaving itself. And there have been no alarming calls after two biopsies on last Tuesday.

And, I always think, and I pass this on, who would trade places with me right now? So many worse off, so many in desperation and pain. So many, and I know one dear one, who are facing their own mortality.

*Did Not Finish.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Etc.

I was encouraged today by a friend, a best selling author, who wrote of the mundane in his Facebook post.

There is always something to say.

I spent two days both prepping and undergoing some pretty brutal hospital testing procedures, under partial sedation and with minor surgery, Grandgirl never left my side and I am still in awe at her courage, competence, determination and organizational skills, down to sitting in on the post-op consultation with my specialist and handing me my bagged post event safe snack. There are two cat scans yet to come, as some diagnostics were inconclusive and need further analysis. I could never in a million years have foreseen her in such a role and frankly, it moves me to tears.


I offer you a glimpse into a budget journal former husband and I maintained to track every single income and expenditure in 1969, no matter how small. We emigrated from Ireland in January 1967 and bought our 1st house near the Beaches in Toronto exactly 3 years later.

Hair bow and pack of gum        $1.07

Lunch                                         $0.70

Groceries                                    $0.39

Present for Marion (?)                $1.00

Cigarettes                                    $1.45

K-Mart book & record                $1.76

Booze for party                            $3.00

Outfit for Daughter                       $1.29

Bell Telephone                            $10.00

2 Theatre tickets                          $8.00

Baby sitter                                    $3.00 

Seems almost prehistoric, doesn't it?



Daughter is exploring her inner artist and I am the beneficiary of some of her work.

This is an exquisite rendition of a whale. She lives where the whales roll in every year much to the delight of so many tourists who come in from around the world to see the spectacle. The whales ride in very close to the shore as the sea drops dramatically there, affording an up close and personal look at the breeching and spouting.



Friday, May 21, 2021

A Picture is Worth.......

I'm focused on photos.

Sharing them.

Grandgirl was over last night with all these ingredients for dinner, her go-to recipe. It's tortellini, this time she found a sundried tomato with mozzarella variety. She adds fresh kale (our fave veggie) garlic, a splash of cider vinegar, loads of butter and tops the lot with a good French goat's cheese, crumbled. I can't tell you how good it is. We thought we might had a tossing of walnuts to it next time. I remembered to take a pic tonight of the leftover I had of the leftovers. It's a challenge not to inhale it.


An up to date pic of the sofa blanket/afghan which I've called Stone and Sand and Sea and Sky after the song of that name. The couple it is destined for are mad about the sea.  It has about a foot more to go.



Niece and I had breakfast today which then evolved into lunch as we chatted non-stop for nearly 5 hours where we sorted out the world. She always brings knitting. I do if I have a small piece. But I was struck by how her bag matched her yarn and found the image quite beautiful.



It was marvelous to have fairly normal social interactions outside and in coffee shops. But there has been a new cluster way north of here. Remote workers coming home. So still vigilant and masked.





Monday, May 17, 2021

Confined to Barracks



 It's Day 5

A gradual sliding down the scale of energy to multiple unending naps and barest participation in a life much restricted.

Grandgirl and partner are out of quarantine and I am unable to participate in the celebration. Two (yeah two) interviews with CBC on two different topics had to be cancelled. As my computer also crashed and I need the large screen I've had to cancel tax clients too. And my podiatry. And other stuff. Life cancelled. There's a title.

Life is brutal sometimes. I tried to get hold of my doctor today but being Monday lines are constantly busy.

My big tests are on Tuesday 25th coming.

I'm  not worth much, I don't wish to see anyone. I finally consented to Grandgirl dropping by and then agreed to Daughter. They cheered me up a bit. They've booked a weekend away for all of us next weekend. Fingers crossed. It will probably mean just changing beds for me. *Hollow Laughter*

Mentally I'm a bit of a mess. Crying at the drop of a hat. Finding passive distractions when I'm awake. Knowing that I've been fighting depression for a while. Understandably.

Should we/I write about such challenges and downward spirals?

I made a long journal entry yesterday but haven't read it.

I note many bloggers don't write when they are suspended in illness and pain and mental disruption. And then they fade away. And I wonder.

I'm going to continue writing as much as I am able, I've decided.

I am grateful for the small things. A couple of texts from friends who care. My daughter and granddaughter who respect my boundaries (I  have difficulty asking anyone for help but they have found a balance that seems to respect that and not be intrusive or demanding). And I truly hate being "seen" when so low.

Any words of support would be lovely and feel free to talk about your own challenges and concerns about personal health, aging, and well being.



And the last time I was "out" in my neighborhood I took this pic of the rowers out practicing for the coming regatta. You might have to embiggen.



Monday, May 10, 2021

Worry


 I was thinking about worry recently. I like this time of my life when I can let my mind drift where it may and ponder ideas and thoughts that I never had time for in the Before Times of job and bills and social activity and routines.

I'm not a worrier by nature anymore. I realized a long time ago now that it was a huge waste of time and that things had a way of righting themselves.

I had a life lesson in the form of an experience I had when I was in my late forties.

I lost a good position due to an enormous clash I had with my boss, the vice-president of an American Corporation. It was an ugly exit. He was an ex-marine and ran the Canadian division with military precision, making outrageous demands on the staff which resulted in him being a hero for maximizing  profits based on unpaid labour. I was the Canadian controller of the firm. We did not see eye to eye on just about anything.

The month before I had sold my townhouse in the suburbs and moved into a detached home in Toronto - small, but my dream home, right on the subway line with a good sized mortgage.

My exit was handled by our lawyers - that will tell you how acrimonious it was.

The relief I felt on leaving was enormous and my exit package was enough to carry me and expenses for about 4 months. But after some 5 or so years with this company, I knew good references would not be forthcoming.

So I sat in my new-to-me house, my dream home, and stewed and fretted, envisioning the foreclosure, wondering where I was going to live, maybe a rat-infested dingy basement apartment, as I slaved away somewhere equally dismal on minimum wage.

Six weeks into this enforced idleness, with very little responses to my resume sent hither and yon, worry and fear consuming me, I had a call out of the blue from the president of a Toronto company, right around the corner, saying he was shutting down his manufacturing facility within the year and he needed a controller to manage it for him, staff, finances, diplomacy.

I met him and he hired me immediately. So for a year I had this lovely position, my confidence was restored, there were two incomes coming in for a while and in meditation one morning, I resolved never to worry again. 

Everything works out as it should. And the waste of that six weeks taught me a huge lesson in the uselessness of the word.

Right now, this minute, I could give you a list of things I could worry about health wise. Tests coming up, loss of appetite, skin troubles, and on and on I could go. But what's the point? It's not going to "fix" me at all and just make me sicker.

Often, we just need a kick in the old keister to wake us up and smell the coffee and turn around our own dyed in the wool behaviours.

If you worry, what do you worry about?

If not, have you ever and how did you change?



Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Wednesday Whispers From the Past

 


I offer you this.

I am curious about the man behind the camera. He's far from being a man of means.. He is the husband of the woman shown and the father of the child.  They live in a small flat above a chemist's on the main street of a small town. He's the town clerk.

He feels it important to capture the moments in his family's life so (I imagine) he bought the camera at a discount from the chemist shop downstairs, where he gets his photos developed. It's a Kodak Brownie.

The threesome have cycled a good distance today for he has had a special cast-iron seat installed on the crossbar of his bike to accommodate the child.

Their picnic is in the basket of his wife's bicycle. She doesn't want the child sitting on the bare cast iron seat so she uses the child's baby blanket on top of it to make sure she's comfortable. And they then sit on this for the picnic.

They're all a little tousled after the cycling. The mother has rigorously curled her own hair and that of the child the night before. And as the father readies the lens on the Brownie, she takes out a comb and fixes her own hair but devotes more time to the child who squirms as she reties the bow in her hair. 

The father jokes with the child to make her laugh and as she does, the mother smiles, holding her daughter's hand. 

He snaps the perfect picture, beautifully framed.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Monday Melange

 Life seems to have returned to normal here out on The Edge. Stores, restaurants and pubs along with theatres are open. Downtown is brisk with shoppers and walkers, new restaurants have opened along with beer gardens and art galleries.

Still.

A ship is anchored in the harbour with 11 cases of Covid aboard (at last count) and one case was boated off to hospital. The ship is in quarantine.

Any new cases on the island have been identified and isolated so there is no community transmission.

Still.

I realize we are all leaning on the trust of our fellow humans.

Grandgirl and partner arrived here safely and were interrogated thoroughly at the Newfoundland border. Which is a relief. They are now in quarantine. I saw them at a distance yesterday when I was dropping off some supplies. The desire to hug was so strong it brought tears to my eyes. But we didn't. I have now more relatives on this island than I ever dreamed possible.

I took this picture on Signal Hill the other evening. A slight fog. You can barely make out the ships in the harbour.


This gave me pause:


And this made me laugh so hard.


Peace out.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Words for Wednesday





Words for Wednesday will be here for the Month of April. All the way from Newfoundland, Canada, which has its own time zone - 30 minutes ahead of the rest of Canada. Thanks as always to Elephant's Child for keeping this feast going. 

This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. 

Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...  We can use some or all of the prompts, and mixing and matching is encouraged.

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme, which includes cheering on the other participants.  If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.

Here are the words for this week, In two batches with an image in the middle, use some or all of the prompts. Thank you so much for the opportunity to host W4W - I have enjoyed it immensely! I had fun with this week's prompts. The painting is "Back from Market" by Chardin. The prompts are from the poem that Eavan Boland wrote about it.

Good luck!



Congregate

Impulse

Market

Peasant



 Wine

Surging

Light

Hazard


 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's mine, I used all of the prompts:

Claustrophobia was what she had to live with since she was twelve. It rendered her a recluse - for being in a confined space was impossible. Like now. Yeah, she had all the therapy, thank you very much. But even Dr. Herzel's large office was torture. Being told to stay with her feelings, let them wash over her, blah and blah cubed. Her impulse to run away and out onto the street always won.

Here in the small church where The Disciples congregated every Sunday at 9, was torture too, hemmed between her parents like a child. She was twenty one for God's sake. Home for the weekend from college.

The sounds of the Sunday Farmer's Market surged through the open church windows on the golden light from the morning sun. It was calling her name and this time she obeyed. The minister was pounding the pulpit in rhythm to her heart as she broke free, pulling her arm from her father's restraint, not caring about the hazard to his failing heart that he guilted her with every time she came home, "You'll be the death of me, child," clutching his chest over her latest innocent exploit, like drinking a glass of wine.

She flew outside the church door, mingling with the heady mix of peasants and the well-to-dos who stayed at a manageable distance from her, as they crowded the stalls of vegetables, fruits and meats.

She breathed in the intoxicating smell of freedom as she moved around.

It was high time indeed to deal with the undeserved punishment of her father locking her for five hours in the cellar's dark cold room for innocently kissing Albert in the school playground all those years ago.


Monday, April 26, 2021

The Welcome Mat

 I live in an apartment building that is only two storeys but extends expansively across a few acres of land, with a great view of lakes and hills and a slice of ocean.

Many of the tenants, including me, enhance our entrance ways with art work, floral arrangements and plants. and statuary. seasonal wreathes and vases. Some of the art work extends into the walls of halls, which look like art galleries. All very inspiring and quite beautiful and remarked on frequently by guests.

A new tenant, who replaced our dear belated Betty who was moved off into a care home due to dementia, has made this stark statement outside her door. I just had to take a photo. There is no other ornamentation outside her doorway.


It gets me to thinking about the insides of this new tenant - I haven't met her and really, I think we would have nothing in common. Perhaps a compulsive housekeeper? I'm one of those who's never had shoe-rules of any kind. You can throw your shodded feet around my floors any time you like. I would never make such demands on a welcome guest who would visit me for my company and not for my shoddy house-keeping. 

What do you think of such a "welcome" mat? And the person behind it?



Sunday, April 25, 2021

Good Exhaustion/Bad Exhaustion

 Why did it take me all my life to sort this one out?

If I'm performing creative/interesting/inspiring work I can be tired but happy.

If I'm doing basic maintenance of self and surroundings, I can be tired but cranky and irritable.

It all takes the same amount of energy (the spoons) but the end result is far, far different.

Dishes can knock me out, standing, even meditating (thanks Kate), slopping around in the water, does me in. A cheery heart while doing mundane tasks does not come easy to me. Gratitude for being able to stand at all evaporates.

What I resent most about bad exhaustion is that is zaps me from any other activities. I'm not a methodical person by nature and I've tried everything - a reward of, say, a phone call, after the dishes are done doesn't work for me. I am too tired.

Whereas working on crafting (currently that sofa blanker is now heading into the stratosphere of 2 feet, thank you very much after so many fails), can see me making the call and knitting at the same time in complete bliss.




Finding a balance is difficult for me at the best of times. I do plot out my days, I do have an agenda with all the necessary tasks listed, nothing ambitious or even moderately over extending myself, but the overwhelm is present just about all the time. Call it Irish Catholic Guilt, engrained since birth. Today I feel up for the weekly family Zoom.

I attended an online retreat this morning, I wrote two cards to friends, made my lunch, took my gallon of pills, started on the Words for Wednesday post, read a couple of chapters of my latest book, played 14 games of Lexulous (stretching the old brain, a daily event for like, 15 years now).  Meditated some. Worked on a memoir and a poem for a competition.

And yes I got dressed, braided my stupid long, long hair, and am now writing this post. I will march shuffle the 10 miles of halls to drop the cards in the mailbox in the main lobby later on tonight and see if I can stick my name on the weekly Covid laundry schedule and then fingers crossed, I am actually not too exhausted to fulfil that obligation.

So on it goes, a peak into my day.

And the dishes sigh on in the sink. But I am good exhausted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Words For Wednesday

 


Words for Wednesday will be here for the Month of April. All the way from Newfoundland, Canada, which has its own time zone - 30 minutes ahead of the rest of Canada. Thanks as always to Elephant's Child for keeping this feast going. 

This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. 

Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...  We can use some or all of the prompts, and mixing and matching is encouraged.

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme, which includes cheering on the other participants.  If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.

Here are the words for this week, In two batches with an image in the middle, use some or all of the prompts.

Good luck!

From "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway. Photo from front cover of book. (an annual read for me)


Colourless*

Slaughter*

Moustache*

Jockey*



Eliminate*

Whiskey*

Thermometer*

Wickedness*

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Here's mine, using all the prompts and the picture.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Roseanne pulled the curtain aside and looked down at the colourless shell-shocked road four floors below. The war seemed like yesterday, she still couldn't get used to the silence. Normal life had not returned even though the armistice was a few months ago now.

She sighed and glanced back at the bed where Antoine was lightly snoring, his grown-up moustache still strange on his face. He had changed in uncountable ways. He had witnessed and participated in acts she could barely comprehend, slaughter and wickedness which would never be eliminated from his fun loving spirit, now gone forever.

Her deep love for him was now jockeying with feelings of pity and revulsion for what he had seen and done. The unknowable within him.

Last night at the café where they had met with his comrades in arms the whiskey had run freely and the ribaldry and war stories had pushed the atmospheric thermometer to an unsustainable pitch.

She had wanted to walk out the door. Antoine, her gentle artistic fiancé, had vanished forever.

But a few old strands were still not unravelled, holding her there with thin threads of hope.




Saturday, April 17, 2021

Update

Sometimes we feel stress in different ways, don't we? Not quite aware we are in stress but the evidence of our own compromised presence in our lives becomes evident.



Example:

I nearly went mad from this knitting pattern I had designed. The first time I ripped it out, I had a chuckle. I had forgotten to take into account increases for the Aran part so I wound up with the beginnings of a bedspread rather than a throw (sofa blanket or afghan).  So rip down and start again. Great. I'm on top of things now. 6"inches in, the thing is decreasing in size. With no known cause. 

Closer examination shows no dropped stitches. I was close to weeping. I've been knitting non-stop just about since I was seven so I thought: give up now, as I tossed it in a basket, dementia has set it. Give up, stop knitting. And there it sat. 

I finally picked it up during the week and ripped it all down again and restarted, counting the stitches on every row and the thing was haunted, it was shrinking yet again. I read my pattern aloud a few times and realized I had consistently forgotten a vital increase to compensate for a double decrease in the pattern. Small beans I know to a non=knitter, but I have been knitting for seventy years. Yeah, seventy years and know my knits, cables, purls and lace.

In chatting with friends and family and sharing this, others offered stories of their own realities. Such as awkward stuttering when engaging in conversations, losing really, really obvious nouns when on the telephone, misplacing every day things and sleeping a lot - or the opposite side of that coin, waking a lot. And inappropriate hysterical laughter. I'm sure there are many more.

This pandemic has taken its toll in all sorts of ways, some of which we are not even aware.

Have you any odd or funny or alarming pandemic behaviour responses?