Sunday, October 17, 2021

TW3

 I remember a BBC show called "That was the week that was". Also known as TW3 and I thought perhaps to start a meme, though I don't wish to clash with other end of week memes like Sunday Selections.

With a health status that I really thought would never disappear (never mind returning to more energy and no worries about the daily smidgen of spoon stock being depleted, etc.) I was able to return to some activism and also re-ignite my writing workshops with funding in my grubby little hand.

I awakened SOS (Support Our Seniors) from its Covid-19 slumber and found someone to take over the office mundane tasks while I concentrated on ideas and promotion and media presence. I pay her a pittance out of my own pocket until we can get some funding. 

While thinking (which I did all through the week) I came up with a plot which should get us massive attention (I hope) more on that later.

I went to a new café, affiliated with its neighbour book store.




I got so involved and forgot to take pics. An old friend, a baker, is supplying the gorgeous goodies, so we had a long post-covid chat after her delivery. (I hope I'm not jinxing us all with that remark).

Then another patron who was listening to myself and friend chat about memoir writing over our cappucinos for the upcoming series of workshops interrupted us quietly to say excitedly "Writing? Workshops?" and bingo we were off. While with us she sketched the inside of the café in pen and ink and hung it on the wall as a gift. Genius. Forgot, again, to take pics.

She and her friend (who is also a writer but wasn't there) will attend the workshops so I'm now at full capacity.

Three cherished long telephone calls during the week, two dear friends from Ontario where I used to live and my sister who lives in my home city of Cork.

A loss of a childhood playmate and wonderful adult host in his farmhouse from Sherkin Island hit hard. Parkinson's.

My to do list has loads of items still on it. I'm a devil for to do lists, even for the simplest tasks. My head has always been in the clouds.

And how was your week?


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Language of Love

I'm not  writing of actual language here. Though in some cases that is true.

I'm writing of the acts of love which speak far more than expressing a sentence or so, which is fine and dandy. But language expressed in other ways.

Daughter went off to Ontario to visit her father and daughter and various long term friends. Before she left she quietly put some homemade soups in my freezer. Carrot and ginger. I was so keen to dive into this I nearly forgot to take a picture.


I always had difficulty in feeling loved, rooted in childhood, of course. But lately, with the help and care and compassion I was shown through my baffling and lingering illness I've become more aware, that yes, I am loved. Gifted food is a manifestation of that. Grandgirl voluntarily cleaning up a bathroom which was an awful mess before one of my procedures was another.

A friend downstairs brings me a hot Jiggs Dinner when she cooks it.

Another sends in home made jam or bottled moose from the country.

A blog friend and I share the details of the challenges of our health on an almost daily basis via email which is comforting and gives that feeling of not being alone with pain and lack of mobility and often zero energy.

Niece provides delicious family meals complete with boxed leftovers to take home and her daughter bakes delicious pies. 

Her special blueberry cheesecake.


Niece also had a crack at her mother's Yorkshire Pudding, which was marvelous.

And here is the turkey and Jiggs which was wonderful


A cousin taking the time to write me after reading one of my articles was another. (You'd be amazed at the lack of response I get when I send my articles or essays to those I think would be interested). But yes, one or two out of ten or twelve can be enough.

A gift of knitted socks, endless cards in the mail, muffins left on the shelf outside my door, the laundry service gifted by Daughter, streaming services gifted by family, and on and on. Every day the language of love is there if we look for it. 

The kind and caring words of blog-friends are especially dear.

If you'd like an actual mailed personalized card from me, email me at wisewebwomanatgmaildotcom with your snail mail address.

There's nothing like real mail is there?

And please feel free to share your language of love experience(s).





Monday, October 11, 2021

Thanksgiving.


Different to the US date. So have a happy one as we forge into winter and remember all that was good in the spring and summer. And the harvest. I think we're due a harvest moon soon. Out here on The Edge, it signals oyster hunting. Best time apparently.

I am here to report that my health has shifted mightily into comfortable hemoglobin and iron levels. So thanksgiving abounds in my small world. A combination of some stomach pills and iron every day. Some healing has occurred or some restored balance. And as my GP says: you are one of the few we can definitely say has no cancer or ulcers. 

We continue on this path in spite of the diagnosis of diverticulitis - a not uncommon condition of us elders due to age-thinning of the linings of our nether regions. I am relieved and grateful for the incredible medical procedures and superb care I have. I am now awaiting a report on the right eye blindness which seems to have been caused by a small stroke during one of the procedures (stress). So I had an MRI on my neck ordered by the retinal specialist to see if there was a blockage.

So there you have it. The organ recital.

In other news, I was on CBC television and radio chatting about the impact of recent price hikes on seniors, plunging some into poverty and looking at foregoing their cars due to unbelievable gas prices. My activism, in light of my renewed energy, has been re-ignited.

I also received unexpected funding for a series of writing workshops which excites me no end. It's the process I love and not so much the end of the journey where, last time,  we had an anthology published and launched proper-like, with food and signings and reading and joy.

I'm on my way to Niece's to gorge on turkey with all the trimmings and celebrate much with her lovely family.

My gratitude list is enormous.

How about yours?

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

On Grief and Condolences

 


I'm old. It's expected. People have been dying around me though since I was five when a classmate, cute little Geraldine with her shiny black hair and fringe, died of meningitis.

I lost Eithne,  a sweet friend, when we were nine. She was in the kitchen early in the morning and turned on the electric fire and her nightie caught fire. Pre fireproof clothing days. A terrible, agonizing death. I was devastated. Every Tuesday after school we caught the bus together into the city, she for piano, me for elocution. She was quiet and so was I.

And on through the years, death becomes more of a familiar as we age.

One of my closest friends out here lost her identical twin sister a few weeks ago. Due to my health and The Plague, we hadn't gotten physically together until this evening for dinner.

She is destroyed. She is 8 years younger than me. I had brought her some potted fall flowers, a little custom of mine for any dear one who loses his or her beloved. Flowers are for the living and not for the dead. 

I told her I couldn't understand her loss, not having a twin. I asked her to be real with me after I gave her one long hug. So then she cried and cried and talked all the minuscule details of her dear sister's death. And I listened carefully. Not interrupting. She was executor of the significant estate and her sister's adult children had fallen out. And she was finding it a tough balancing act. 

Her last promise to her sister was that she would look out for her children. So she finally told all concerned to please allow her her grieving time (she's awfully good on boundaries, always has been). She asked me when the grieving would be over. And I just looked at her and said "Never."

And then she smiled at me through her tears and said as she held my hands:

"Thank you for that. Thank you!"

(I can only imagine how sick she is of the holy platitudes).

The barest minimum of words are often the best of condolences. And intense listening to every tiny detail. 

But my heart breaks for her.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Best Inventions in My Lifetime

 I'm going to ignore all the medical advances in my lifetime - there are far too many and I am incredibly grateful for all of them. 

So this is a very personal list of those made in my life time which have enhanced my comfort and efficiency. And yes, time management.

First of all:

Birth control! What a difference to my life compared to the life of my mother and grandmother and all before them. Choice! Career options! Independence! 



Automatic washing machines, dishwashers, dryers. Unheard of when I was a child. I do remember my mother's old hoover, a huge purchase when I was about seven or eight. Two small tubs, one a spin-dryer, in the same machine. Eased her workload considerably.



Calculators, mainframe computers, floppy disks, all the way to personal computers. And printers. And laser printers. Bye bye typewriters! At home! Home offices! The foundation of my own business! True independence!



Reel to reel tapes, recording music off the radio when I was a teenager. On to cassette tapes, not forgetting 8-tracks, on to CDs, on to Ipods and Spotify and 5,000 pieces of music on a tiny hand held device. To be played at whim. Anytime and anywhere. Mirabile dictu! And the miraculous VCR all the way to streaming today. 



And last, but not least (believe me, I can think of many more) cell phones, the internet, then the internet and world wide web on our actual mobile phones! 

I've seen many, many changes in my lifetime. Not least of which was the enormous radio with a huge battery my dad would listen to at a local farmer's when we children spent our summers on an electricity free island. It's aerial was strung up outside the kitchen window to the second floor as heaven forbid they might miss a hurling match from Croke Park in Dublin. Pre transistor. I was about 13 when I saw my first transistor - my cousin was gifted it. I was sick with envy. 


What changes have you seen in your lifetime? 




Saturday, September 25, 2021

Windows

 As in sights out of windows. Memorable sights.

One of my first clearest memories was my father lifting me to a window in the second floor flat where we lived in Midleton Co. Cork. I'd say it was 1946 - I did a dive into the web but no further information on this.

Outside the window down below was this:


I want you to remember this, said my Dad, this is the last night where the gas lighter will come around and light the street lamps! Tomorrow it will be all automatic. I asked him what automatic meant and he explained that there was a switch in a building, just like our wall switches and when it was pushed, all the lights would come on together and not just one at a time. I was amazed.

Coming up to Christmas in 1955 when I was twelve, my father woke me up one night and told me to look out his bedroom window, where the sky was a deep terrifying red shading to orange. A frightening sight. He said it looked like Cork City was burning up (we lived in the spanking new suburbs of it).  Somebody banged on our door, late, and told him it was the Cork Opera house, where I had performed as a "Tiny Tot" tap dancing, when I was about 6.


A few days later we went down to see the ruins.


It was heartbreaking. It was built mainly of wood so it went up like a tinder box. I loved that place and enjoyed the pantos and plays that had delighted me.

Sputnik was a big thing in late 1957. There was a fussy great-aunt taking care of us in our home. I was 14 and my mother was in hospital.

She panicked one evening after sunset as the sky was 'cracking'. And again, I looked out my parents' bedroom window and saw a light travelling across the sky. It subsequently turned out to be the Russian satellite, Sputnik 2, with its cargo of the dog Laika.


I was terribly upset thinking of the fate of this wee innocent dog, though much was made of the fact that it was a stray mongrel found on the streets of Moscow. As if it didn't deserve to live. it still upsets me to this day.

Can you remember anything memorable from the windows of your life?


Sunday, September 19, 2021

I am not my body

This was my morning meditation today. I needed it. I just open the book randomly and there they are, these nuggets of wisdom that I need to embrace to empower my day.

I needed the reminder as my failing body sometimes seems to dominate my personality.

My inner self is far, far different to my body.

She is creative, compassionate, caring, considerate.

And those are just the "c" words.

So in light of this lesson reinforced, I bring you these as a kind of Sunday Selections. Go visit Elephant's Child every Sunday for her take on this meme.  All pictures below are mine.


From the deck of my former home.


From the beach in front of my old home.

Every night was a different story.




Fishing boats coming in after sunset with their catch of the day.

Friday, September 17, 2021

This Old Carcass

It has served me well, I have to keep thinking of the positives rather than the negatives, which is an easy pit to fall into.

I have three more tests coming up. And I want these to be the end of it.

Next up is a colonography next week which involves starvation and massive amounts of ingestion of disgusting materials. A couple of bottles supplied by the hospital itself and a few more from the pharmacy. Fortunately, unlike the others, there will be no invasion of the outlying crevices of my body. 

A few days later, there's a new specialist investigating further why I went just about blind in my right eye the day after the colonoscopy. My eye doctor is baffled as the dye tests produced a normal.

And towards the end of the month there is a breath test scheduled which will validate/invalidate my own doctor's speculation that I have a hidden bleeding ulcer causing this constant, chronic and serious anaemia. 

My gratitude circles around the assurance that none of the specialists think this is cancer. And I can't praise enough the specialist care this old woman has received in their attempts to discover what  the hell is going on inside me. 

And the big one? The universal health care we have here in Canada.  Yes, it could be better, what system is perfect? But the fact that anyone from pauper to millionaire can access it for whatever medical crisis looms without going bankrupt or stressing about payment is one of the enormous benefits of living here.

Special hat tip to my own doctor, who calls regularly, monitors my blood, checks to make sure I attend my various hospital procedures and cheers me up with his humour and good nature.

And for those interested two charts.

First one is expenditures by country on health care - note universal health care spends less per capita.


The second chart is life expectancy in all these countries.

(Data published by Spartan News - Michigan State University)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Larry





Well Larry, you did your best. You were rageful and noisy and tossed trees and poles into a tantrum and turmoil and disconnected our power lines, knocked out my daughter's road completely, and then you slithered off over the Atlantic never to be seen again until one of your brothers or sisters takes over the next hurricane.  Category 2 at Daughter's place as she is right on the open ocean. Interestingly, early yesterday she observed gannets from nearby Cape St. Mary's taking off in formation. I am constantly fascinated with those creatures who seem to know more about upcoming weather than we do.



The barometric pressure drop was powerful, I felt it in my head, as I always do, followed by a slight headache.

My power re-asserted itself for a couple of hours around 2.00 am and I got up and read my gripping library book - a rec from either DKZ or Jackie. And because I was raised in a large noisy family I could tune the storm out. At 4.30 a.m. it whimpered away, just as the power went out again and then I went to bed. No power for the entire morning but now it's back again, hats off to those workers that restore our lines and our sanity. 

In the aftermath of such powerful acts of nature, I am reminded of gratitude and what's important and what isn't. Family reaching out on the group chats, neighbours texting to comfort and commiserate. 

And how fortunate I am to be living here and not in Haiti or some other impoverished country surveying detritus and homes destroyed and how truly far more vulnerable and fragile their lives are.

Not much else to add. But there is a lot of damage which seems to be all under control in the cleanup. One woman on our local meteorological expert's live feed saw a large tree being launched from across her road and sail briskly off over the ocean. I'm sure there will be many stories to come. I do know at least one small town was evacuated due to the tides being so high and dangerous.

Noticing things: I love how, just now, how the GoBus driver for handicapped passengers went right into our building to wheel out a resident in her wheelchair and negotiate her carefully up the ramp and onto the bus. 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

The Nightmare Below Me


 

There's this tenant in the apartment beneath mine. She's as odd as two left feet according to other residents. A hoarder, a hermit, no one sees the inside of her apartment. 

The residents here manage the gardens, lovely little plots everywhere full of flowers, some vegetables, bird baths, extremely creative.

In the garden below my apartment was her particularly area and ever since I moved in there was just a vast hole with rocks and 4 bags of soil that were never opened. Finally, a few of the tenants did something about this eyesore and took over her plot and now it is gorgeous, full of flowers. She demanded they dig up bulbs she purchased years before (which had never bloomed due to aforementioned rocks and hole).

This gives you some idea of her personality.

I have never exchanged two words with this woman as every time I encountered her, despite my "hello" she turned her head away.

But now? She has launched a personal vendetta against me. She insists I have music playing and people partying in my apartment at all hours of the night.

A month ago, someone rang my doorbell and woke me at 1.00am. I didn't answer but my neighbour did. And in the tomb-like silence of the building, R complained to M, my neighbour that she couldn't sleep with the racket coming from my apartment. 

M told her there was never noise from my apartment as I was a quiet person.

I complained to the Board of Directors about this. In writing.

Fast forward to last week and I was woken again, but this time terrified as there was what seemed to be a sledgehammer banging on my bedroom floor. I thought the building would collapse or at least holes would appear on my floor.

R again obviously. I phoned a friend downstairs and she told me she had also been terrorized as she thought it was an earthquake  and got out of bed and spoke to another neighbour, two doors away from R who had also been woken up.

Again, I wrote to the Board outlining what had happened. They said there would be a prompt investigation. I know they did investigate by chatting to neighbours of R who confirmed the incident. But as to assuring me of a cease and desist order to her? Not a word. 

I am extremely unsettled and frightened by all of this as she is so unpredictable and, well, violent. I view her as unwell. No one in the building speaks to her as through various actions she has alienated them all.

I'm locking my door for the first time. I tiptoe around my apartment in my moccasins. I turn my book pages quietly. I knit on wooden needles. 

I know she lurks below me, all day, every day. In her head, there are parties and music only she can hear. 

And I am the target of her enormous rage.


Friday, September 03, 2021

Those Things That Are Not True (for me)

Not in any particular order - only as they occur to me.

 (1) You have to meet her/him, they're an absolute hoot!

(2) Religion is good.

(3) One needs religion to live a moral and ethical life.

(4) Diets

(5) You'll constantly miss your country if you're an emigrant from it.

(6) Miracles

(7) Intelligent Design

(8) Bootstraps (as in poverty is one's own fault).

(9) Interfering/invading in countries not your own working out well for all concerned.

(10) Gender (an artificial social construct)

(11) Minimum wage (should be a living wage, n'est pas?)

(12) Government interference in women's bodily autonomy.

(13) Corporate health care but only for those who can afford it.


I'll think of more I'm sure but that's it for now.





Monday, August 30, 2021

Music and Memories

 Funny how a playlist can pierce my heart. A theme pops up in a mix and it grabs me by the throat. As it did just the other day.

I remember playing this as I left a beautiful beach with Ansa, my beloved rescue dog-companion. We had been playing ball and chasing some shore birds. And the glory of a sunset was just beginning.

And this piece of music popped up in my Ipod in the car afterwards. 

The movie theme from "On Golden Pond". Henry Fonda's last film for you movie buffs. Henry and Katharine Hepburn, his co-star, both one Oscars for their roles.



It had been a couple of years since I moved to Newfoundland.

And there was a rush of feelings, an ecstasy if you will, as I realized this was one of the happiest moments of my life. Being here, in this place, by the ocean, breathing in the glorious sea air with this happy dog. There was no better place but the right here and the right now.

I am so grateful for those musical moments, of which there are many in my life. And I like the forgotten feelings they generate.

And here is the glorious Ansa 1999-2016. 


Did you have any such moments? I'm not talking weddings or child births or meeting your one true love. But where you're all by yourself and just feeling the glory and wonder of this universe?


Friday, August 20, 2021

Oh Woe Is Me


 

I had a couple of other posts prepared (in raw unedited stages) but I've thrown them on the blog scrap heap.

My overall health has been of a really depressing nature lately and my doctor confirmed today my haemo is on a serious downslide and has dropped from 115 to 85 in a very short time frame. So that explains the complete lack of energy and the sadness of having to miss my birthday celebration a few days ago.

So he's sending all the latest lab work data to one of my specialists (who coincidentally called me two weeks ago to insist on the scary test I was avoiding because of my fall) instructing him to put utmost priority on said test.

If I sink lower than 85 I am to take myself to hospital and get immediate transfusions.

So that's the reason for blog silence.

I managed an excellent whingy-whine at the doctor's. He was completely sympathetic to the madness of this ongoing, unresolved, half-life I'm living for far too long. 

Sometimes, all we need is a few drops of sympathy to prop us up and prevent us from curling into a fetal position on the floor. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Another fine mess you've got us into, Stanley........


The new suburb then.

The smallest of reflections on how we got here (see previous post).

As a child, I lived in one of the first suburban areas of Cork City, the site of a small village where surrounding farms were being sold off and the suburban phenomenon of tract housing was levelling and concreting the landscape. 

We were new to the development and arrived from a small town in East Cork where we were surrounded by relatives and community activities.

Here the landscape was strange though for a little while, we were still surrounded by lowing cattle and harvesting of crops but knew nobody.

We had no car and no phone. Our house had a fireplace in every room and a tiny gas stove in the kitchen along with a small coal stove which heated the water. Out back there was a coal/turf shed. All those fires had to be lit sparingly in winter to keep us warm. But it was the lap of luxury for my mother as we had left a third floor cold water flat in the small town.

There was no washing machine or dryer. My mother had to wash everything by hand. There was no fridge. There was a "cold safe" out back behind the coal shed which kept meat and vegetables "cool" with a mesh door. My father, a government employee, grew our winter stock of vegetables in the large fertile (a former farm section) back garden.  My granny would get on a bus from her small village holding and often bring us chickens and the blessing of a turkey at Christmas, which would be hung in the cold safe. We would have to pluck them and save the feathers for cushion fillings.

Mum made most of our clothes and "cut down" my father's old trousers for my four brothers and made my dresses. She knitted our hats and sweaters and gloves. Hand me downs were part of our existence. There was no shower and the bar of soap was used for hair and skin in our weekly baths. Toothpaste was in a tin which seemed to last forever. It seemed to me, looking back, that we shared one toothbrush which was only replaced when there were hardly any bristles left. Combs and brushes were communal. Shoes were repaired. Clothes were darned.

The village had everything we needed, a butcher shop, a small grocery shop, a post office and a pub. And milk was delivered first thing in the morning and the fresh bread was delivered in the late afternoon. The post was delivered morning and evening. There was no garbage. None. No plastic bags. Paper was used to wrap school books, or fire starting. Baskets and cloth bags for daily grocery shopping down the road. We had a compost heap for kitchen waste.

Excursions to town were on the bus and were rare. Usually to get us new shoes or in later years school uniforms. Our best clothes were for church and our wardrobe holdings were slim. My mother wore a shop coat over her clothes to protect them  as she did her chores in the kitchen.

My father cycled to work, about two miles into the city. The money saved on transit was put towards our annual holidays on an island off the coast of West Cork which was completely primitive and had us shoeless for the summer running all over the place with no supervision and swimming all day. It was life changing in so many ways and fostered in all of us children a deep, compelling love of the ocean and for self-entertainment.

All this to say, life was way simpler then. A movie was a treat. Radio was entertainment at night. There was no television. Library visits were Saturdays. I remember hauling out 10 books for the week. 

Consumerism and retail therapy were unheard of. 

Television and its commercials changed much of that. Our first one was installed like a god in the dining room in the early sixties. Our minds were filled with the American lifestyles shown on this magic box. The endless closets filled with clothes, the fabulous kitchens, the huge living rooms! The cars! Shampoo!

We all looked around and saw how shabby we were, how impoverished, how lacking in the luxuries. 

We wanted more. 

And by gum, we were going to get our share of it. Or more. And we did.

Ant thus we lived happily ever after, amen.


The suburb now.

 

Monday, August 09, 2021

Thoughts on Reality



Conversations on the weekend circled around the inevitability of our extinction. As we have passed the point of no return in our extinction plan.

The latest UN report confirms this.

 "Earth’s climate system is changing across the entire planet and human activities are worsening its effects which are “widespread, rapid and intensifying”, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

"The report by leading climate scientists published on Monday provides evidence that “unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees will be beyond reach”.

"Such as a scenario will come with inevitable catastrophic impacts over coming decades for human populations, especially in the form of extreme weather events and rising sea levels, the report’s authors have warned."

Read more here

I'm not in fear of all of this and I don't share the opinions of many, e.g.

(1) There's an afterlife and God/Goddess etc. will save us all. 

(2) It's another exaggeration to curb our Free-Dumbs.

(3) Science will save us.

(4)Glass domes over cities with AC will ease the worst of it. (I'd like to see that!)

And on.

No one thinks of the climate refugees escaping from waterless environments and the devastating effects of forest fires. California has never experienced anything like them, along with BC here. And massive food shortages.

I spent time in a roasting hot Labrador this summer - no one had ever experienced that kind of heat up there.

And the humidity and heat on the island of Newfoundland this summer is extreme and unique. And grain is being grown for the first time. And our iceberg season was pitiful.

The flooding is alarming everywhere. 

We've all been warned, of course, of this end of days, but nothing of any major reversal has been done to halt the rapid progress of warming oceans.

Capitalism roars on. Gas is supreme still. The plundering of the Amazon (the lungs of the earth) continues

I compare our slumber to the Three Wise Monkeys of old.


Not that us individuals can do anything at all. But I do wonder who else is giving any thoughts to what is going to happen and if you are, like me, resigned to the inevitable and hoping that whatever cataclysmic event wipes our little section of the planet into extinction, it doesn't hurt too much. But then I'm old and may pass before everything gets worse.

Or maybe, just maybe, the new virus variants will take us all out first. 

Another excellent read from Science Daily.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Etcetera



 I was in my happy place (see above photo) in a welter of gratitude having been told an hour earlier that I didn't have cancer. Mind you this was after endless and often painful and exhausting tests. 

There was a long string of boats bobbing in the water which reminded me I should be carrying my "real" camera in the car and not this inadequate Android camera phone. It doesn't do the scene justice.

I still haven't found the "normal" run of myself but maybe that's now lost in the mists of time past. I do dream about "normal" at night. Much of it involving massive effortless hikes in the brilliant scenery and seascapes around these parts. I hate waking up with the threads of such dreams still befogging me like gentle spider webs.



I picked up this little shelf sculpture in Red Bay, (see above) where the graveyards of all the whales massacred in the time of the whale-oil industry for lamps and bones for corsets is a moving scene on the shore.

This place is so isolated and under-visited that the birds have a great time on the "killing fields" above, feeding on the sea urchins and shedding feathers. I thought these were perfect examples of the beauty of sea urchins and treasure the memories they hold. I was grateful for my racing red wheelchair that Grandgirl pushed so expertly through the paths and sometimes helpful boardwalks.


And isn't that what life is all about, finding the slivers of gratitude, often minuscule, but there amongst the ordinariness of it all if we look for them.

 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Battle Harbour of Labrador

  


Battle Harbour

An enchanted place. 

We stayed here for 3 nights. It's accessible only by a ferry of 1-1/2 hours (9 miles out) duration and there are no vehicles on the island at all. It's like going back in time two centuries ago. On route we saw whales and the crew entertained us with the incredible history of the entire area.

A welcoming fire was in the stove in our nearly 200 year old house when the four of us arrived. It was lovely that all our luggage was taken on board the boat and it awaited us when we got to our house.

An overview. (Credit Barrett Mackay.)


To be continued.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Writing What I Want to Write

 The trip recedes but resides in my journal. I can't seem to get cohesion on that to transfer it to the blog page. I am letting it go for now as procrastination has got me not writing at all.

My lovely all in one computer with its lovely fat screen has been fixed by my genius tech guy. At a ridiculously low price as always. He loves the challenge he tells me (he's retired). It needed a few parts that he sourced and it's humming like a charm. And at the speed of sound it seems. A brand new solid state drive in her innards.

I met a friend I hadn't seen in nearly 1-1/2 years during the week. In our local café. And as soon as we saw each other we burst into tears and then sat and nattered for 3 hours.

Yesterday I went to an afternoon tea party at a friend's house but actually it turned into dinner with a bunch of friends and it felt like, you know, so normal. I had an absolutely lovely time climbing out of my own head and listening to the updates on all these much younger friends' lives. Kids ran in and out of the rooms, music played, the sun shone, half of the guests sat on the patio outside, and I held court at the dining room table in the cool air within, George (my cane) by my side. I mainly listened though.

Today my helper is in the apartment bringing order to the chaos of over a month without her. She is a treasure.

A photo of the Gros Morne ferry house and pier in the distance with the fjord of Gros Morne behind. The long boat ride through the fjord was spellbinding. An extraordinary place. So many incredible memories gathered on our trip.


 



 

 





Thursday, July 08, 2021

Time Out

Grief takes many forms. I need to lay it out there and I find myself immobilized, staring at walls for gawd knows how long with nothing going on inside my head. Just blank, like white canvas.

I'll write about the trip later. I took copious notes.

But on a ferry going to Blanc Sablon I got the news that a best friend had died.

He had cancer, it was expected, but that doesn't assuage or lessen grief in any way.. He was one of my stalwarts, he was the brother I never had. We could spend loads of time together without getting bored. I valued his advice and his compassion and care.

Of course we had serious disagreements and massive differences in philosophy - he was a practicing Christian, I am an atheist.

But we listened to each other and didn't judge. He was a perfectionist, liked all his ducks in a row and hated surprises. I am completely the opposite.

Our long, long friendship, enriched my life in countless ways. I was at his online funeral yesterday and bawled my eyes out.

The last card he sent me was about a month before he died:

The real price of aging is the dear ones departing leaving us bereft in so many ways. I wrote this on the passing of another dear friend in 2009 which was read at her funeral and it applies to all inconceivable losses.

Death is only for the living:

The bereft left standing there

Embracing the sharp edges

And chilling silence

Of your vanished vitality.

I took this photo of R on a beach around 10 years ago where we had a picnic and I presented him with a bucket and spade to build a sandcastle. 


Farewell dear R - one of a kind. Forever missed. 






 

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.