Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sunday Smatterings



What is your concept of an afterlife if you believe in such a thing?

I find out here on the Edge, for the most part, the concept is of a life just like ours here on planet earth, bingo is still played, pubs still attended, birthdays (the earthly variety) still celebrated and Facebook is used as a message centre for the Great Beyond. As in "Happy birthday Dad in heaven, I know they have your favourite beer up there!". "Happy anniversary Mom, are you now baking your pies for God/Jesus?" I have yet to see a response, but it would be lovely just to see the reaction.

As for me, I believe we live on after we die in our very original form, as in stardust, I can't ever imagine us rising from the dead on Judgement Day and the concept actually gives me the willies.

This one wild and wonderful precious life is all we have I think. But I am always interested in others' beliefs.

But I also believe there are billions of other planets, like ours, many far more evolved where time travel exists and I like playing around with that concept in my head. As in our planet keeps going back to square one and a massive culling takes place every couple of hundred thousand years and yes, time travellers from the past walk amongst us watching in disbelief as we continue to eff everything up yet again.

I look out my window tonight at a sunset of rose, the wise crows perch on the wires and the gulls soar overhead, with a pink blush drowning the white of their wings and I am gobsmacked at the beauty. And I wonder if the Trumps and the Johnsons and the Putins et al were forced to watch such magnificence would it change their view of this world. But somewhere deep inside, I know it wouldn't. We are accelerating towards climate collapse at an ever faster rate and the kings will stay in their counting houses. And yes, they would shoot those goddamned birds for sport.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Words for Wednesday

I decided to participate again in this Wednesday stimulant. My creativity got fired up with these words so generously provided by Elephant's Child

This week's prompts are:

1. Deviled/which might also be spelt devilled*
2. Interdependence*
3. Watery*
4. Figs*
5. Zoom*
6. Headphones*

1. Gargled*
2. Presence*
3. Yelling*
4. Andalusia*
5. Snowdrifts*
6. Exfoliate*

It was the worst party ever. She cursed her own presence and put it down to her interdependence on her boss, Almighty Violet, who just about ordered her staff here. She needed the pay cheque and Almighty Violet needed her organizational skills.

Internally, she yelled a silent scream of frustration, cursing the position of looking after Almighty Violet. Because that’s what it amounted to, one almighty cursed existence, out in the wilds of Andalusia trying desperately to improve on her Spanish. Yeah, so she lied on her CV.

She selected a devilled egg from the platter on the buffet and winced at its watery texture, faux mayonnaise. She moved her hand over the figs. They were just as she suspected, dry and shrivelled. What happened to paella and those lovely local dishes??

Bloody hell! was that Bart, her assistant, wearing tiny headphones, bopping his head and grinning at her? Tuned out. Clever boy. Hard to blame him.

Ah, her eyes zoomed in on the washroom across the hall. She disappeared quietly inside, closing the door. And rinsed out her glass of cheap white wine, gargling with water from the tap.

For this she had taken a razor and exfoliated herself? Even her legs which grew hairy in the winter and were excellent insulation against the snow drifts surrounding her cabin.

And six months more to go on her contract. She’d better find those Speaking Spanish Like a Pro podcasts. Ah Bart would know! Of course!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

What did you do in Snowmageddon, Mummy?

Well, our State of Emergency still exists, limiting purchases and trips to grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. But the peaceful silence of no traffic continues. Military helicopters overhead sort out areas to still be shovelled. And so much snow. So very much.

I admired my plant which bloomed in spite of the snow, taking my breath away. considering it was one of those plants I wanted to throw out as being gawky and, well, ugly, it must have sensed it so threw out masses of blooms. 9 at last count.

This is the side doorway going into our building. Bear in mind this is a sheltered doorway.

So I designed and started knitting a "Storm Shawl" after 2 frustrated rip-outs I was pleased with this one. It is a variegated yarn and goes by the name of Violet. It will be more in the nature of a scarf-shawl, drapey and matchey to the winter goose-down long jacket which daughter gifted me with. It's a lovet green and I've always loved those greens with any shade of purple.

I also am nearly finished my annual read of A Moveable Feast. Don't ask me of my fascination with this book, I find it hard to justify. It just captures so well a Paris of Joyce and Fitgerald and Stein et al. And no, I'm not a fan of Hemingway - though I did call one of my characters by that name in one of my novels. I guess his youth, innocence and kindness shines through before he gets snared by fame and booze and depression.

And then there was the car moving. Car was dug out and moved to a clean spot and then after waiting for the plow to dig out the spot it was taken from and moving it back in again. Musical Cars in other words. My kingdom for indoor parking which I had at my house.

This picture was taken through a screen but I rather like the effect. You can see the height of the snowbanks around the visitor parking lot.

I had 3 coffee occasions here at the apartment. I was glad it was clean. Catching me when all tidy and presentable is rare. So I felt a huge achievement and even offered bon-bons on a small wee serving thingie. Along with my marvelous coffee. Always freshly ground dark roast beans - in case you're ever in the area and love good coffee drop in. Take me as you find me.

A friend dropped by with an unexpected dinner last night. Moose stew with carrots, brussels and gravy and divine potatoes. Enough for 2 meals so I'll be well fed tonight too.

So that's it for now.

Waiting for the SOE to be lifted.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Hurricanes and Blizzards

It's been dubbed #snowmageddon2020 and fact is I have never experienced a worse winter storm.

This was announced yesterday at 11.00 am.:
As of 11am, the Mayor has declared a state of emergency. All businesses are ordered to close and all vehicles are ordered off the road except emergency vehicles. Please return home until the order is lifted. #nlwx #nltraffic

The city has never been closed down before. We are tough out here on the Edge.

A state of emergency was enforced in St. John's. All vehicles and humans off the roads. The winds roared, the snow flew horizontally, the biggest fear was the power blowing out. It didn't. thankfully.

here is a sample from downtown where many reporters holed up in a hotel. No one could get to their homes outside of the city.

Our local CBC radio station died with no power and the batteries and/or generators weren't working either. The staff were trapped inside of the building overnight sleeping on the floors and wonder of wonders, hooking into CBC Halifax, Nova Scotia, to keep us company for the entire time. It was extremely comforting hearing stories from call-ins. Farmers and stable owners, sleeping in their barns keeping the animals calm. Many opening their doors briefly to catch the awful sound of the peak 167km/hour winds. Windows completely snowed over. Just now the sun came out after over 24 hours of non-stop intensity and partially melted two of my panes:

the plows were taken off the roads due to the danger of being unable to see the road edges or heaven forbid, near the open ocean.

The historic Battery area was evacuated as there was an avalanche which fell into the backs of the houses shown here. No human injuries thank goodness.

And this final story:

Not the baby - but this woman should be premier of this province. She gets things done!

PS, we're still on emergency status here but there is snowboarding on the streets (we're very hilly, a la San Francisco) but we have bright sun.

How innocent the world looks after a storm!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tuesday Tendrils

An old piece of my writing in a journal:
"My life is but one wild brief dance in the ballroom of time."

I was wondering a couple of days ago (not sadly) when was the last time someone called me "darling" and came to the conclusion it was when an aunt, who lived to a great age up to a few years ago, used it as we had tea in front of her fire and she gave me gentle words of wisdom always interspersed with the word "darling". I use it myself, of course, to family members, to cherished friends. It is an important assuring word and we need to use it more to those who are dear to us. " My dear" or"Dearie" doesn't quite cut it, or "honey and "love"for that matter, I find those words quite dismissive and meaningless.

I am not having a good day health-wise, seems to be some bodily reactions going on but nevertheless I persist as best I can and showered and washed my hair and moaned to myself. And then Joanna (my cleaning lady) arrived as I was cancelling my plans for the morning with friends.

And the loveliest thing. I was sitting in my office chair letting my hair dry. I have a lot of hair and it is now long (no hair cutting/styling money pit anymore) and she began to stroke it and run her fingers through it and hum a bit and said:

"You know the last time I did this was when my daughter was about 12 and she let me, and it is one of the most beautiful things to do, isn't it? Run your fingers through long hair, your hair is so beautiful."
She made my sad, sick and sorry day.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Inside of Me

Inside of me there's mixed feelings.

This constant tiredness I have, so limiting, so crushing. Raising the old voices: You're lazy, you're good for nothing. Why are you pretending? You can't be this tired. Nobody can be this exhausted.

Inside of me I think, as I park beneath an ice-covered sign, and get George, my trusty companion cane from his back seat, why am I here again, at my nephrologist's, going over the readings: the stalled (I hope) kidney deterioration, the never really controlled blood pressure. He will be dismissive and win the latest award for complete lack of bedside manner.

Inside of me perks up when his nurse talks about my media appearances how all of them are quite impressed at what I have accomplished even if it's only awareness of the crisis of senior poverty.

Inside of me cringes, I've gained five pounds. Not surprised. I am far too good to myself as my people have it.

Inside of me, I'm pleased he meets my eyes many times and apologizes for having to take a cellphone emergency call from the dialysis unit.

He goes over my latest results on his screen and stabs at my blood readings.

You are severely anaemic! he says, did you know about this? Are you exhausted all the time?

Inside of me I flutter with mixed emotions: well that explains it, oh that's a relief. I'm not a lazy arse after all.

This is serious, he continues, and may involve some kind of bleeding. I'm sending you for some tests.

Inside of me I think: Add this to the Test Pile. I'm on this medical testing treadmill now. An old woman who talks incessantly about the stream of specialists and tests cluttering her daytimer and grimly condemning the wallpaper in God's waiting rooms.

Inside of me I yell at my inside classroom: Which one of you is misbehaving? Is it you liver? I haven't heard from you in a while. Not you bowels, you've always behaved yourself. Sort of, as you can be quite secretive and rebellious. You've let down many of my friends. Skin? No cuts or bruises. Good job there, skin. Heart, you keep booming late at night and missing those beats, and that congestive nonsense has got to stop - that's another test coming up. A Holter test to catch you in the act, so to speak.

Inside of me I think: Is all this necessary? Should I just cruise on, oblivious, reading and knitting and tired and wonky on the pins. Does health stress, tests, consults, exams and all the rest of it contribute to a far earlier demise?

And oh yeah:
This is our current weather status here. Worst winter ever. I offer it to my Australian readers, it might just cool you down, if only for a minute, looking at this.

Monday, January 06, 2020

A Letter from my Grandmother

I was reminded of a letter I received from my grandmother when I wrote the previous post. I went through my treasure box of my mother's and father's and aunts' letters (I wish they were all there, my mother wrote to me weekly, long newsy letters before she died just over 4 years after I emigrated to Canada). I am missing hundreds of them. But around 50 are saved.

Anyway I found this lovely letter from my grandmother, sent in the early part of 1970, she left it undated. she refers to my father visiting my mother every day when she had extended hospital stays. My mother was to die just over a year after this letter was written. Granny was never the same after her death. It was a terrible time for all of us.

Granny didn't like letter writing, she always felt embarrassed by her lack of education, she was very young (around 10-11) when she left school to work in service to help support her family. I have corrected her spelling where necessary but I have left her punctuation (or lack of) and grammar stand due to the charm of it and the way I can hear her voice in her words. My mother had that gift too.
I adored my Granny and had the great good fortune to live with her and my grandda for a while in 1946.

My dear Mary

Thank you ever so much for your lovely letter and present you never forget me Mary and thank God to hear you are over your trouble and that God sent you a lovely little baby girl a sister for O*** please God time won't be long slipping Mumma told me that she is very tiny but don't you mind that Mary they run up better than the big babies

Mumma (my mother) was the same too I could only bath her evening second day she was very hardy and Mary Mumma is getting stronger every day thank God for that I suppose you heard she was down to see us and she is coming down on Sunday so I will have this letter ready for her

I was thinking Mary that you will have the summer before you now and you will never miss her getting big what a lovely name you gave her Mary you are great I suppose T** had a say in that I don't think I hope the little darling will enjoy her name what do O**** think I suppose she is great looking at her and her little smile

O must be getting very big please God we will be seeing ye all in the summer and dad and all the boys are very good tis great that G***** (brother) got the bank and that he is very happy. J*** (brother) was down after Christmas he is getting to be a lovely boy he is after getting fine and fat thank God for that

I often felt very sorry for your daddy and the way he used looked after Mumma he never missed going up and down to her he was great to cheer her up thank God for that they are both very good and we have her to go to here for our little chats she is one of the best in the whole world

I am here at 51 Main street and am very happy which is a great thing Mary the flu was very bad thank God I did not get it so far all the families are going on great.

J--- (my cousin) is doing a line with a very nice boy he gives her a very nice time and she likes him

Mary dear I will ring off now and will give this to Mumma when she will be down on Sunday

I hope you make this out.

Good bye and love to Mary, T** O*** and J******* from Grannie xxxx

(PS) Tell T** I was asking for him it won't be long slipping when I will see all the family love Grannie

Saturday, January 04, 2020

A Letter to My Granddaughter

Darling Girl Woman,

You continue to astonish me both in your academic career (Master of Economics, how brilliant you are!) and in your conduct of your life.

I feel so fortunate in having watched you grow and to spend so much time with you, whole weekends, whole weeks, having you in my office every afternoon after school for many years, having you and your mother living in my home in Toronto (albeit a separate apartment) for years.

I have so many treasured memories.

I remember one time picking you up from kindergarten and you clutching my sleeve and said "Grandma, are you warm enough?" Such concern from a 4 year old was indicative of the wonderful, kind person you would become. I remember when you got your first skateboard and I found an empty underground car parking lot and took you there and we spent 2 whole hours (and many times subsequently)while you skated and skated and whooped and jumped.

I remember riding the subway rails with you in Toronto with no destination in mind, just sitting behind the driver and watching the tunnel ahead of us. Getting off, so we would chat with the driver and sometimes getting back on again or sometimes riding the odd escalator and going down once more to ride with no destination.

I remember reading to you and singing to you ad infinitum. And writing stories with you.

We always pool our music and make playlists together and I love that you sometimes find new versions of my "old" music (Elvis!) and adore Ella Fitzgerald and my weird folk music tastes as I love your Pink and Lord Huron and you my Radical Face.

I remember our annual vacations together and the fun we had, it was hard to tell who had the most fun, me or you. I remember us two riding ferries and trains and hiking and playing pitch and putt and me watching you for hours as you rode carousels and switchbacks. And you playing all afternoon on the beach with your imaginary friends.

Oh hiking, lots of hiking. You would always spontaneously offer me your hand when we forded streams and came down cliffs. You would always point out the "safe" rocks for climbing. You were fearless and courageous. And still are.

Which brings me to now, and the time we spend together, you 25, me 76. You are endlessly kind and caring. I never have to ask you for anything. You hold my hand when negotiating icy sidewalks, you ask me for shopping lists so you can lug heavy or awkward items up to my apartment (and you include some desired items without being asked), you wash the dishes without my noticing, you display endless patience with the physical challenges I now face.

You are so wise. I can ask you for advice and you reflect deeply before responding. You are joyful and intelligent and highly sociable. Many comment on your beauty and you truly are very lovely. But it is your inner that shines, how much you care for your mother, your partner, your friends and your colleagues.

You truly are one of a kind. And I am so incredibly blessed that you call me Grandma.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

The Books of 2019

Not as many books read as I had hoped. My knitting interferes with my reading and vice-versa.

(1)Asymmetry - Lisa Halliday**
(2)How to Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan***
(3)Great House - Nicole Krauss - I'm stuck
(4)A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles*****
(5)Latitudes of Melt - Joan Clark*****
(6)A Ladder in the Sky - John Boyne*****
(7)A House in the Sky - Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett*****
(8)The Great Believers - Rebecca Makkai****
(9)The House of Allsorts - Emily Carr*****
(9)The Magnificent Spinster - May Sarton****
(10)We all expected to die - Anne Budgell*****
(11)Our Homesick Songs - Emma Hooper 0
(12)Rules of Civility - Amor Towles ***
(13)Feeding My Mother - Jane Arden*****
(14)Small Fry - Lisa Brenner*
(15)Gaff Topsails - Patrick Kavanaugh 0 {DNF} {BC}
(16)The Beginners Goodbye - Anne Tyler****
(17)Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing - May Sarton****
(18)A Slipping Down Life - Anne Tyler***
(19)Digging in America - Anne Tyler****
(20)If Morning Ever Comes - Anne Tyler***
(21)The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris**
(22)Noah's Compass - Anne Tyler*****
(23)The Boat People - Sharon Bala*****
(24)Milkman - Anna Byrne*****
(25)August Gale - Barbara Walsh {BC}****
(26)We Were the Lucky Ones - Georgia Hunter {DNF}
(27)Providence - Anita Brookner****
(28)The Crow Trap - Ann Cleeves***
(29)Beneath The Earth - John Boyne ****
(30)A Mother's Reckoning - Sue Klebold{BC}****
(31)Growing Up Next to the Mental - Brian Callahan 0
(32)The End of Absence - Michael Harris*****
(33)The Power - Naomi Alderman*****
(34)Left Neglected - Lisa Genova***
(35)A Misalliance - Anita Brookner****
(36)Normal People - Sally Rooney*****
(37)This Glorious Country - Florence Clothier {BC}*****
(38)Sum - David Eagleman****
(39)Boy Swallows Universe - Trent Dalton*****
(40)The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker**
(41)Send More Tourists the Last Ones were Delicious - Tracey Waddleton****
(42)A Private View - Anita Brookner*****
(43)Hotel du Lac - Anita Brookner*****
(44)City of Girls - Elizabeth Gilbert*****
(45)Mrs. Everything - Jennifer Weiner**
(46)Invisible Women - Caroline Priado Perez*****
(47)Stay Where you are and then Leave - John Boyne ****
(48)Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Grace Honeyman ****1/2
(49)The Innocents - Michael Crummey ****
(50)No Time to Spare - Ursula K LeGuin*****
(51)Dear Evelyn - Kathy Page*****
(52)We are all simply Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler*****
(53)Emancipation Day - Wayne Grady{BC}**
(54)Pond - Claier Louise Bennett*****
(55)Salt Path - Raynor Wynn*****
(56)Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng*****
(57)The Best of Adam Sharpe - Graeme Simsion {BC} 0 DNF
(58)Everyone Brace is forgiven - Chris Cleave*****
(59)Three Women - Lisa Taddeo***
(60)The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead*****
(61)The Forbidden Dreams of Betsy Elliott - Carolyn Parsons**

The very best were 4, 13, 23, 24, 32, 36, 39, 43, 44, 46, 51, 54, 55, 56, 58, 60.

Some were book club choices, some I couldn't finish due to a preference for watching my fingernails grow. But on the whole, some truly great and immensely readable and enjoyable books.

All the books read over the years of blogging can be found here.

I am also on GoodReads if you'd like to find me there.GOODREADS WWW REVIEWS

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

For your pleasure - one of my favourite Christmas Albums - the Bells of Dublin.

Enjoy yourselves wherever you are, whatever the weather, and peace. Most of all peace.

And thanks for the comments, the wee gifties, your presence in my life.

Monday, December 23, 2019


I'm into the sunset pictures I've taken over the years lately. Please don't Freud me, for I Freud myself. Smile

*English spelling.

I was thinking this morning about how much is someone's life made up of pretence? Acting as if we're happy. Acting as if stuff doesn't bother us. Being brave when we feel like crying quietly on our beds. Is it a disservice to ourselves and/or others. Do we do some things out of a sense of duty even though we don't want to, or is this pure selfishness on our parts. What is selfishness? Is it firm boundaries?

I then read my previous post's comments and a commenter had affirmed my using my blog has an honest recounting of feelings and emotions while others hold back. Why? Fear of exposure? Exposure to what exactly? Derision, contempt, disrespect?

A pile on of questions here.

I think many of us are afraid of shunning by those close to us. I have been shunned by family for speaking my mind, for not toeing the line, for not behaving myself, for not reaching whatever standard bar they had set for me. For not being myself in other words. And you know what? The worst happened. They shunned me anyway. And I survived. And life was a little easier as I didn't have to walk on the eggshells I used to walk: Not being overly feminist, not mentioning male privilege, not being critical of male violence, not speaking up to defend the defenceless, not talking about the wreckage of childhood and the influence of the RC church and its vicious control on so-called "family values" resulting in my decision to emigrate from all who would support me in a kinder world in my worst moment which should have been my best.

So yeah, I speak up. And try to set my boundaries, and do what brings me joy and not suffer under the halter of duty or obligation. But it's taken me 76 years to get here. 76 effing years. My 25 year old Grandgirl is galaxies ahead of me when I was that age. For one, she is extremely well educated, her tolerance of crap is zero, her boundaries are clear, her opinions are well thought out and she can argue them intelligently and quietly and reasonably, her self esteem being always intact.

Old age is not easy, acceptance is not easy, but some days, like today, give me room for reflection and careful consideration.

And I can nod quietly to myself and think: It's a good day, there has been joy.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


I must have written about this before. Acceptance.

One thing I know for sure. It is not a constant. It waffles and wavers and falls down and gets up in a different form. It can leave the room slowly or gallop off like a horse.

I'm still not 100% of where I was even a few weeks ago. I have Grandgirl staying with me and it really puts my health into a floodlit situation being around her. The energy my dears, the energy is just not there. And I have had many a private cry and an appalling one in front of her this morning after a miserable night of it.

Don't get me wrong. She is amazing and kind and lovely. Just this pity pot seems very handy for me to stick my head in now and again when I am alone.

I feel the Black Dog lurking patiently, panting in eagerness. And I know I am struggling one more time with the acceptance of my failing body.

I had to get another chest X-ray this week and I hauled myself off but I couldn't get parking and so I circled the hospital for about an hour, just about whimpering. Acceptance I kept saying to myself. Ask for help. Stop feeling like such a burden. One friend could use any money I offer her to assist me as she is impoverished at the moment. Rise up. Count the blessings. Accept where you are and carry on.

As I type Grandgirl is making supper. Kale and tortellini and goat cheese, etc. There is an odd shifting of balance between us. Inevitable. I am so grateful I live long enough to see her grow into this lovely, brilliant young woman who has a wonderful future ahead of her. She's a happy person. Content with her life and her partner and her large circle of friends.

I am reminded of my own beloved granny who didn't do so well in her latter years. One of her daughters insisted on her leaving her home and moving in with her and her rambunctious household that also included her mother-in-law and that was not a good move. Granny missed her village and her friends and her chickens and dog. Independence is truly all important in our senior years as long we it is even remotely manageable. Closing our own doors on the world when we need to. I imagine as I fall into some decrepitude Granny is haunting me a little. But she also had the huge burden of a dead daughter (my mother) which was devastating for her.

I need to accept life as it is today and move away from the "not any mores" and the "neverness" of things I won't be able for again.

Just writing all this turbulence down has really helped me today.


I need to work on it some more.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Off the Ball on Sunday Smatterings.

As an opposite to on the ball. Things evade me at times. I wonder about my brain, But it is not degenerating in that downward elderly direction, it seems to have been always this way. Obvious solutions to little problems evade me. Give me big ones and I'm your woman.

Case in point: I have this cheap reading/crafting light I bought in New Brunswick last year when I was on that week with my dear friend Lana. I had to buy it as the cabin we rented was high ceilinged and no bedside light. Something like $10 at Walmart. Honestly? It is one of the best focussed lights I've ever had. But the switch at the top of the shade has gone temperamental. As cheap switches do. The threads wearing out on the cheap connectors. So I struggled the last time I switched it on. It took several minutes and I sighed and thought this effing disposable consumer culture we have. Even though I contribute to it by buying cheap lamps at Walmart. So I was on the point of wrapping it up a couple of hours later when I thought: It will still work if you just plug it out and plug it in when you need it. I felt inordinately proud of this moment. Would you have arrived at that conclusion immediately?

This place goes mad at Christmas, cookies and chocolates everywhere. Parties with live music. Doors dressed in snowman gear. Here's a few samples.
Mr. & Mrs. Clause

I've always loved lit miniature villages, this one covers the entire mantle piece in the upper gallery.

This is a bit blurry. But this is the scene looking down to the main community room from the gallery at the Xmas Tree and all the lights.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Shrunken World

Like a shrunken head. Mine.

Now that I am free from all "outside" activities I enjoyed my first day of mobility and breathing yesterday. I proceeded to reorganize my office, which some of you may recall is a part of my bedroom. I moved a very high wooden yarn shelf in from my locker room and began sorting all my writing binders - oh those novels, oh those short stories, oh those plays! - into some semblance of order. it also serves as a kind of room divider. I think I will throw a spider plant on the top shelf. I have quite a bit to go yet but I am so very pleased with how this is all coming together. I'm one for keeping note scraps on story ideas and scenarios, I'd love to have a system for these. Any ideas? They would need sorting into headings or some such, not sure. Some are barely legible but meaningful to me.

After enduring abuse from an anonymous commenter on this blog, I will no longer allow such creepy trolls with their own sick agendas to comment. They will be deleted unread. I recommend if you suffer similarly.

I believe I needed this health wake-up call to pay attention to my own inner creative spirit. I see my doctor tomorrow for followup.

My 80yo cleaning woman couldn't make it as scheduled today as she was worn out from cleaning another client yesterday. I told her to take time off any time she needs. She can't survive on her tiny pension and OAS. It is heart-breaking. Our MHA shows up today to party with the residents. He's the one who read our petition in the HoA. He's going to present a copy of the petition to my SOS founding partner. She's game ball. I'm not. I might want to physically assault him and scream "We want action, not words!" She's far more intimidated than I am but we make a good team. I do the yelling and plotting. So to avoid prison I stay away from him right now. And strategise some more.

I love this picture of a place very dear to me taken in 2014.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Nothing worse than blog silence is there? I know of many who dropped off over the years never to be heard from again and one wonders.

I decided many moons ago not to do this if it all possible. After all, 20 years of blogging, or close to it, (I haven't checked timeline lately) has a wee audience and camaraderie and a vested interest (we hope) in our well-being. Not the royal we there but referring to us valiant bunch of bloggers.

So on followup from previous post here I am with a leaky lung (hello breathlessness!), I was just full of fluid, in a retention competition I would have been in serious running for the gold cup. And, oh yes, congestive heart failure which scared the bejaysus out of me. He showed me the lung xrays, good gawd, sez I how was I walking around?

You did very well in coming in to see me so fast, many put these symptoms down to a bad flu go to bed and well, sez Doc and gave me a sad look.

He measured the diameter of my lower legs, my left was 2" bigger than my right. All fluid. So 8 pills, heavy diuretics, confined to barracks until Friday when I see him again with (hopefully) my breath back and my lungs released from their misery and bonus - matching legs.

He is meanwhile lining me up with a cardiologist, an echo chamber cardiogram and a halter for 24 hours to check on my errant heart and is very busy assuring me that with modern medicine, this is not overly serious but will need the consistent and ongoing attention of my newly expanded team of specialists.

Elsewhere, I resigned form all boards, committees and upcoming teaching projects and my life is now an empty blackboard filled with sock-making, reading and writing as I await further marching orders into the maw of medical speculation and testing.

And seriously? I can't praise my medical team highly enough.

And universal health care. Every country on the planet should have it. It is a human right. Like water.

Herewith a pair of socks I knit for Daughter - just to cheer us all up.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Waiting Game

I had all the tests done today. Boy did it take a whack out of me. I was so fortunate my niece was with me and did the wheelchair thing and waited and amused and conversed. I went to a smaller hospital, St. Clare's as I find them more intimate and friendly compared to the massive Health Science Centre which is exhausting even in getting parking before you begin the trek of endless halls and poor signage.
St. Clare's
Health Science Centre

So it was efficient with all the tests and the wheelchair really helped as my breathing after even a few steps is, well, rotten. EKGs are amazing now, none of that cold gel I remember but all these plasters, very fast and efficient and with a sports bra (ha! irony) one doesn't have to strip anymore for the lung Xrays.

Niece and I rewarded ourselves with a large farmer's type breakfast afterwards. We inhaled it.

SOS had a reading of our petition in the House of Assembly here in St. John's this afternoon. I hated missing it but I can only manage 1 or 2 events in a day and the hospital tests had wiped the floor with me.

House of Assembly

I'm so relieved to be home. Several people I met today were being admitted in various stages of distress and anxiety. I thought I might be amongst them and had felt so very sad leaving my apartment this morning.

I am so grateful to be home and just waiting for results and I am pretty positive in my outlook.

Thanks for all your support dear readers. It means more than I can say.

Monday, December 02, 2019


This is exactly the view I had tonight when I went part way up Signal Hill in St. John's, just to comtemplate, to think, to accept.

I had some health episodes at the weekend and had seen my doctor this afternoon, thinking I had heart failure happening or at least some terrible growth in my lungs.

I had difficult breathing even after about 10 steps and had to rest. I'd been thinking it was the end. Maybe not of my life but of freedom. I got quite down and depressed and incommunicado. One friend that I had called in distress on Friday night (we had a coffee date, the only reason I called her) and she mentioned everything it could be (but not what it is, interestingly) as she's a home care worker when she is able.

We take oxygen for granted, don't we? Like water. Like health.

My doctor did a battery of tests in his office (I am consistently shocked now about what can be done in offices) and ruled out lungs and heart. I sat in disbelief. Until he said I do suspect further deterioration in your kidneys. He then proceeded to explain how this has a detrimental effect on the heart and lungs as they try to compensate for the lack of kidney co-operation.

I have been in complete denial about my kidneys. Seriously. Even though I see a nephrologist (kidney specialist)twice a year and have for many years. Things had sort of flattened out with my ks in the last few tests, they don't function well (only at about 50%) but hey, why worry. I had kidney "trouble" as a child, I remember getting extra doses of pearl barley (the cure-all for kidneys then) along with hot water bottles on my back for infections.

He arranged all sorts of tests coming up, EKG, lung X-ray and kidney function tests but he's laying money on the kidneys, "Renal failure," he said,"is written all over my report to the technicians but don't be alarmed, it's just med. terminology." Hello?

I'm better off alone when things go south with my health. I have a little cry on my pity pot. And take myself to a beauty spot, I drove along the harbour and looked at the boats and then drove up the hill to look down and realize how tiny I and my troubles are in the overall scheme of things.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ramblings from 2012

Ansa the wonder dog and I hiked and rambled a lot back in the day. Many photos of these times pop up in my google feed regularly.

This was a day we spent walking around Brigus and Cupids 7 years ago. How times such as these vanish in the batting of an eye! Those days I would throw my good camera in my knapsack and pack our picnic lunches and her bowls and our water and strike off for parts unknown to both of us. Happy days and still vivid in my memory bank. Having a dog like Ansa allowed me to meet so many people as they were so drawn to her.

Cupids is the site of the first child born of European parents in North America. Many Brigus captains became arctic explorers.

I am so grateful to be living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Though I know many of you feel the same about where you live! These shots were taken mid-afternoon and the winter sun was lowering casting deep shadows and an amber effect on the scenery which I love.

The three sisters of Brigus.

A quiet beach in Brigus
Retired Boats in Brigus, I love the shadows cast by the November sun on these.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Dear Chantal

You're 18 years old and so very talented, intelligent and amazing in your accomplishments in your life so far in spite of so many unimaginable challenges. A full scholarship to a prestigious university. How absolutely incredible and validating for your commitment to your future and the hard work of your past.

I knitted you this pair of socks in such an unusual way for a few reasons.

The history of socks is quite interesting. They were originally made from animal skins tied around the foot and that was way back in the 7th century. Then they graduated to animal fur and finally to sheep's fleece. Historically, Very few ancient socks survive as the fibre breaks down quite rapidly. There is one original red sock that did and interestingly, it had a special pouch divided off for the big toe.

The architecture of socks is interesting. You will see how I knitted the cuff, heel and toes in different colours to highlight this for you. Straight needles, double pointed granted, 5 of them, resulting in a curved and bent piece of fabric that accommodates your feet and holds their shape if treated well.

Knowing you, I think the quirkiness of the socks will appeal as they are a truly one of a kind pair and if stolen (one never knows!) can be spotted immediately. I tried to incorporate all the colours of the changing oceans around us here with a bit of grey thrown in for The Rock.

I would wash them gently (sorry about that) as they are merino wool and dry on low heat or hang as I do. You will find you get several wears out of them before washing as they breathe remarkably well and are toasty in the winter and cool in the summer.

Wear in good health my friend. And I hope you enjoy them as I did in making them for you. The extra yarn is in case of repairs if needed.

I'll see you in December!


Wednesday, November 27, 2019


A bit of a downer of a week, not sure why. I feel a little burned out as I did much walking on Sunday through necessity and the body takes ages to recover, physically and mentally.

I feel I've lost a lot of my creative juices though I am "socking" away which keeps my fingers limber.

A friend did this lovely thing last night for her small circle of friends on Facebook and sang us this wonderful old Quaker song. Just herself and her guitar and I was transported. I sang harmony to her beautiful rendition. Here it is sung by Audrey Assad but I have to confess my friend's older voice and her guitar had a profound effect on me.

I'm in the unusual position of having no "paying" work. My in-basket got cleared out. I'm not overly worried, financially, as there are some doings in the pipeline.

One of my friends had to pull the plug on her TV as she could no longer afford cable and her back and neck got shot out when she was lifting her patient into a car for a visit to the doctor. My friend is a home-care worker and 74 and is now terrified financially that she can no longer work and may have to sacrifice her car. Senior poverty is a global issue but I have written enough on that and will update once we hit the floor of parliament in early December.

Here is a picture from here in St. John's, taken by a local photographer to give you an idea of the beauty the liners and other ships see when they cruise into the harbour. Houses on cliffs always fascinate me.