Saturday, February 24, 2024

Sunday Selections

 Long ago, Kim of Frog ponds Rock, (who no longer blogs), dreamed up a meme called Sunday Selections. 

A place where those who were willing could put up photos they wanted to share, new, old, good, bad or indifferent, any photos you please. 

Nothing rude or vulgar though.

And we don't mind at all if other bloggers care to join us.

The meme is now continued by Elephant's Child and I join in when I can, as do a few others. River is one, Andrew is one.  Messymimi is another. Drop in to their blogs and have a look.

Elephant's Child is taking a break this month.

Snow and ice and storms out in the Wild Atlantic.

For those in warmer climes, I present to you our Winters on The Rock.

We get a lot of snow. And it's quite hard to capture the "lot". For one, we have all varieties of snow removers, the ones that look like war machines all the way down in size to the personal snow blowers, and of course shovels.

The white stuff is cleared up rapidly with all these gadgets, salt and sand are thrown at the ice and we are all on our way. On a drive back to my place I snapped a few shots in an attempt to show where all the snow is thrown. It forms mountainous walls around buildings and at the sides of roads.
Parking lot of my building

If you peer closely, you'll see the ocean top left, and the lake above the trees. I left my car in the shot for scale.

Roadsides around hydrants are cleared.
And now I bring you a wonderful peculiarity of Newfoundland. When there's a storm forecast, shelves in grocery stores are literally stacked to the ceilings with these huge bags of potato chips (known as crisps elsewhere.)

There are known as, wait for it, Storm Chips. You should see the lineups. I've seen carts FULL of these monster bags. Survival mode. Batten down the hatches.

One of my favourite songs involving snow. Written by Gordon Lightfoot. Sung by Sarah McLachlan.

Sunday, February 18, 2024


They become more precious as we age, we lose some and we gain some if we are fortunate. I still grieve the many I have lost to death, a couple to dementia, another long time one through intolerable disrespect and passive aggression.

We can hit breaking points in friendships. For me they have been rare and I'm grateful for that. One broke many years ago when she became angry at me for an offhand remark and she exploded at me in a café in front of others. She didn't speak to me for many years and then at a funeral of a mutual friend she came running into my arms and wept like a baby and kept apologizing for her over- reaction to my comment in the café. It healed the friendship and she said my remark had reflected her own truth about the situation but she wasn't ready to face it.

In another friendship I bore hostility until there was a breaking point. I was always making excuses for a particular friend. "She's having a rough time, I understand she's taking it out on me." "She's fierce odd, I know." But after many years of that, there was a breaking point, a wakeup call that I no longer felt  good around her. In fact, the justifications and excuses were becoming hard work and happening more and more. Chronic lateness for meetups, rudeness to other friends, snide criticisms "you're wearing that?" and on and on until something snapped inside me and I realized this long term friendship was serving neither of us well.

The long term friendships in my life I cherish and I realize the common element is kindness. We are kind to each other. Tolerant. Helpful. There are no hidden agendas. 

I also discovered in old age asking for help can initiate new friendships. I've always been reluctant to ask for help. But recently I mentioned I don't drive at night anymore and the offers of driving me astonished me. This has ignited a few acquaintances into becoming a little more. One is off to Bali for a few months (I know, I'm jealous too) but she told her house sitter, a mutual acquaintance, that I might need rides at night now and again and bingo I'm enjoying this connection now. People love to help. I always love to help. And did a lot of it when younger and older people wanted rides or company. It must be karma.

Blog friends are also wonderful. Sharing our journeys with each other. Writing and tracking each other's lives, our talents and foibles, our struggles and victories.

I truly believe friendships are sustaining us as we age, the daily check-ins, the emails, the WhatsApps, the Facebooks exchanges, the texts, the phone-calls. And yes, postcards, cards, letters.

After all, we are simply walking each other home.

Music and Friends: This is played at the end of gatherings here where everyone gets in a circle and holds hands. I always get emotional. And I do hope you readers outside Canada can see it. It is very, very Newfoundland.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Small Stuff

I'd like to post more here but a dearth of any kind of originality discourages me. I struggle with the acceptance of aging and not being able to do all the things I did. Spontaneity is missing. I have to weigh my energy carefully and limit myself to what my energy allows me.

Fitbit update: I find tracking my sleep is helpful as I am then prepared for what I can do in a day and not beat myself up because EVERYTHING. Everything doesn't happen anymore. Iffy health plays a part in this too and I try and focus on gratitude for all I can do, not what I can't. Most of the elder blogs I followed are now RIP. I looked down the list the other day and was shocked at how all those dear ones have now returned to stardust. 

A friend in my building dropped off these roses the other day and they made my day.

I'm not into knitting big projects at the moment so contented myself with knitting a little pile of these dish/face cloths which I give away individually as gifts in a little gauze bag with a small soap and a magnet. Let me know if any of you out there would like one.

We've had an ongoing blizzard here and I took this photo from my living room window at midnight last night after the snow plow had been. I love the effects of the lights.

In my more active days I took a series of photos and named them #40shadesofblue and this one popped up in my memories today from five years ago. I love this shot.

And finally a picture of something that is affecting us all, especially those of us on a fixed income.

Sunday, February 04, 2024



I look upon this photo with horror. It popped up in one of my feeds the other day. 

I drove this sucker every single day for more years than I can count, finally saving enough money to buy a house (on the subway) in the city itself. A friend in LA in the U.S. commented, surely it can't be busier than ours? Googled it and came back at me saying dear gawd Canada wins! Nothing to be proud of, I said. I don't believe I could drive it now having lived on The Edge so long with our always moving four laner.

I was so thrilled to see my birthday (August) gift baby bloom again so soon, such joy and now there are more buds opening up.

I caught this photo out my living room window recently in 'the gloaming" which is a word I never hear any more.



gloam·​ing ˈglō-miŋ 

It was used a lot where I grew up and it happened AFTER twilight. So a different time of day. Dusk would be the synonym alright.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Saturday Musings

I am pieces of all the places I have been and the people I have loved

I've been stitched together by song lyrics, book quotes, adventure, late night conversations, moonlight and the smell of coffee. 

Brooke Hampton 

Chalk outside Trump Tower yesterday

Will his cult pay it off for him?

Facing up to the reality of old age is difficult. I had wrestled for several days on knitting socks, something which has always been easy for me. One of my eyes is nearly blind so perspective is off. Socks are knitted on narrow gauge needles with tiny stitches. 

I struggled until a few hours ago and finally thought, why am I wasting my time on this, when do I think it will work and that magically my sight will be restored to 20/20 in both eyes? Work on the knitting I CAN do! I'm a hard case alright. Why on earth do we all behave as if we have 200 years to live in perfect health with all youthful abilities intact?

This was on Irish Radio today and it brought a flood of memories of my mother (who died so young) and this was one of her favourite songs of all time. She had a beautiful voice.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The List

In chatting with a friend the other day she brought up a familiar topic amongst us oldies.

Death and the ongoing loneliness as we age when those we loved (not family or relations) have tossed off this mortal coil. 

She said she had made a list of all those she had been close to since she was a child who had died, good friends and lovers amongst them.

I started on my own list and was astonished when it reached nearly 50. All departed from this planet, the youngest being 5 or 6 when I was in school and she died of meningitis.

One old lover caught my attention, the last I heard from him was 5 or 6 years ago on an email which I didn't respond to.

I deep-googled him and found he had died last September -"from a long illness."

I had written about him a while ago here and in the post had linked to a six-part story about the relationship which I was going to publish in a short story collection but opted not to for fear of hurting him for even though I had changed the names he would recognize himself.

Fact is often stranger than fiction.

I am wondering what other deep dives on my list might reveal in my old blog posts.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

A Bit of an Oul Rant here

What's happening in that big wild country to the south of us here in Canada?

We can't avoid the US news here as we are forever linked via trade and economies, etc. Wags have compared The US and Canada relationship as the elephant and the mouse in bed together and if the elephant rolls over.......

2023 - a partial summary of barbaric events.

  • I won't even speak of the criminal running for office with the support of his party. If he's elected president it will be a final full stop on their downward slide into autocracy and fascism.
  • Termination of Roe v Wade. Women's reproductive rights go the way of The Handmaid's Tale.
  • A 12 year old 7th grader forced to give birth in Mississippi. A child-victim of rape. 
  • The governor of Texas telling the world he would shoot emigrants and the only thing stopping him is Biden would charge him with murder.
  • Mass shootings in the gun slinging USA 2023 and school shootings increased.
  • Ignoring the ongoing slaughter and genocide (and potential extermination) of Palestinian civilians - women, children and babies amongst them. The US has used its veto power at least 34 times to block UN Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel. ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/UN. Link
Gun violence by country 2021. Note 2023 for the US is much worse.

It might surprise readers to know that the land mass of Canada is greater than the US


Thursday, January 11, 2024


 In the mail:

An annual magazine, published for well over a hundred years sent by my sister every year from my home city of Cork.  150 pages of Cork past and present and cherished by every Corkonian.

An Irish calendar from my now oldest friend still alive (70 years of unbroken friendship), also sent every year, and hung from my kitchen wall.

My hallway of postcards, many now sent by Grandgirl who lives in Paris but treks around Europe most weekends and never fails to buy a postcard everywhere, including art galleries and museums and exquisite old churches.

I was reading up on sleep requirements for eighty year-olds. I am nearly always shy on sleep and feel the lack of it in listlessness, lack of energy and a need for an  inordinate amount of waking up time to feel human. I am way under what's needed, sometimes I only get 4 hours. I was astonished to read I need about 10 hours a day as body is deteriorating and lack of sleep can contribute to "inagility of the brain," a frightening thought.

Grandgirl gifted me a Fitbit when she was here and I am now honouring (or trying to) the sleep I should be getting even if it means crashing on the bed at odd times. The Fitbit is clocking everything, heart rate, quality of sleep, steps, exercise, hydration. An enchanting new toy, offering daily detailed reports and quite unobtrusive on the wrist. It even notifies me of texts and emails.

What a time to be alive!

Friday, January 05, 2024

Silent White

From my bedroom window this morning.

It descends gently at first. A teaser you might call, not threatening at all. But we check the forecasts and know the onslaught is coming soon.

Cancellations pour in, schools, businesses, my helper. No one wants to get caught in the blizzard. Our first winter storm.

Some wag on Facebook said we should close the entire island for the three months of January through March.

My suggestion would be to dig out an underground city. Or at least a smaller version of the hefty one in Toronto. Where there was still a teeming life - noon time bands, many restaurants, retail, medical even a grocery outlet. I could leave my home in the snow in my business suit, no coat or mitts or scarf, warm in my car, and park underground from where I worked. The vast underground life of the city of Toronto. A huge sprawl. Unaffected by weather of any kind. Subway and railway station accessible without going outdoors.

Toronto underground PATH map.

I groceried myself yesterday so I'm prepared. I am also well booked. And kitted with knitting and a queue of streaming at my disposal.

In this new year I am playing my music every day. A mix of songs I would sing in the old folky theatre days, classical. What have you. Today it is Albinoni which lifts the heavy grey sky into summery blue. 

A lovely handmade bag with an inner bag and zippered pockets arrived from Daughter's school friend in Ottawa. I am thrilled beyond measure by her kindness. It will be perfect for my sock projects.

I was intrigued that my phone camera shows the Albinoni album I am playing. A trick I probably couldn't possibly engineer myself. I love accidental discoveries. I feel digitally thrilled as a brother gave me this incredible Bluetooth speaker that enhances the sound on my phone to concert levels.

Monday, January 01, 2024

My Best Books of 2023

 The delightful and as yet unread pile from our annual Jolabokaflod of 2023
I can hardly wait to dig my eyes into these.

I'm only listing the best of my ratings (5/5)

Many I tossed- life is short, no more time for uninteresting (to me) reading. My list is not in any particular order.

Many were enjoyable (4/5 or 3/5) but not listed. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures.

  • Colours and Years - Margit Kaffka
  • Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garman
  • Smith to America - Imani Parry
  • A Girl's Story - Annie Ernaux
  • The Diamond Eye - Kate Quinn
  • Happening - Annie Ernaux
  • Ask Again Yes - Mary Beth Keane
  • Damon Copperhead - Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Latecomer - Jean Hanff Karelitz
  • Fayne - Anne Marie MacDonald
  • Tom Lake - Ann Patchett
  • Strange Sally Diamond - Liz Nugent
  • Old God's time - Sebastian Barry
  • The Librarianist - Patrick De Witt
  • The Echo Chamber - John Boyne
  • Playing Nice - J.P. Delaney
  • Burst - Mary Otis
Thanks to all of you blogmates for your recommendations also.

AND in 2024

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Eve

I am mindful of those who stand apart from all the celebratory jollies. I know far too many who have lost beloveds this past year or have other struggles and I know how it feels having gone through a few sad Christmases myself.

A mixed bag here as the silly season gets under way. I hear from many scattered friends and acquaintances at this time. Jacquie Lawson cards. poems from fellow tenants in my building slipped under my door, long emails from those abroad, cards, a book from my sister which has a particular resonance, a knock on the door from a friend bearing a large bag of assorted gifts which will await an opening on Christmas Day.

I get far more out of giving gifts than receiving them. I was lucky in that a friend, a very talented artist, did some delightful oil paintings this past year and I believe in supporting the arts and then endowing members of my family with her talent. I forgot to take pics before I wrapped them but hope to do so once they open them.

My seasonal section in my home, which are normally my knitting shelves:

It might all look very sloppy to you but I always buy a large selection of tea towels before Christmas and wrap gifts in them. Cuts back on waste and who can't use a luscious new tea towel? We mainly exchange books as we are all mad readers. We celebrate Jokabokaflod

You may wonder what this item below is. I can assure you it's made all the difference to my life.

It's a set of (USB rechargeable) lights that I wear around my neck when in poorly lit places so I can either knit or read. Recently I was waiting in the gym area beside the laundry room which has lighting in all the wrong places and I was able to sit and knit to my heart's content. I am so in love with this incredible invention I bought 3 more for relatives and a friend. 3 lighting intensities too. 

I worked on this with the benefit of this lighting, I have one now complete and started another. Next I'll be knitting socks while waiting for the machines.

Small wee joys. Who can beat them?

And with that, I wish you all small wee joys. The big ones are elusive. Collect the small ones.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

'Tis the Season

I don't, anymore, rally myself around the season. We do celebrate Solstice though. My pagan ancestors live on in my bones and I find their worship of visible objects much more logical to my analytical brain.

But this year I hauled out some small bits and pieces and am readying myself to make more of a go of it. You wouldn't believe the lashings of decorations in my building. The word excess doesn't do it justice. 

With that in mind I  bought some flowers and took the time to arrange them in my mother's old jug, I say old, the thing must be well over a 100 years old, formed on this earth out of clay and bone-ash or whatever went into jugs back then. 

Not stopping with this huge effort (I was in a lot of pain as I lurched around) I spied these chrysanthemums and grabbed them. Why not? I sez to myself.

And my Christmas cactus decided to show her multiple faces recently:

I thought I would reinstate my Women's Christmas this year on January 7th. A long standing tradition in my home county of Cork, Ireland, which Covid and other health issues has prevented me from hosting. You can read all about it in this previous post from 2021 I am amazed at how many times that post has encircled the globe and has instigated the tradition as far away as Australia and New York and even Paris.

Once my little itty bitty corner of seasonal decor is completed I will post a few pics.

Monday, December 11, 2023

A Difficult Woman

I had this dream last night. My dreams are always fulsome, in glorious or inglorious technicolor, sometimes musical, other times with old ghosts of beings beloved and lost to the finale that comes to us all.

Last night I was being threatened with death by Putin. Yes. And Zelensky tried to save me and he asked me clearly, in his accented English, "if I can't save you, what can I put on your tombstone?" And without thinking, I answered, "A difficult woman."

And this gave me reams of thoughts when I woke up, obviously narrowly escaping the death Putin had wished on me.

Have I been a difficult woman?

Being raised in a challenging religious misogynistic cult in Ireland in the forties and fifties was the foundation for obedient and fearful compliance with the restrictive rules for women, their dress, their behaviours their virginity, their limited futures. But most of all their second class standing within the patriarchy. 

A life of don'ts. I could list them but you get the picture.

I questioned all the tenets held dear by those around me.

I then broke all the rules. I joined the Irish communist party. I went on the stage. I played folk songs in pubs. I dated many, many men and would not commit. I learned five languages (unheard of for a girl) and took advanced mathematics in a school that encouraged women's intelligence and critical thinking. 

I rebelled. Both in tiny ways and in large ways. To the point of exile, which I have written about. 

And exile was the greatest gift I gave myself. For I was finally free of the restraints of an Ireland steeped in women hatred, rigidly following the dicta of the Great Roman Misogynist.

I took "male" type positions, controlling and managing corporations, fighting for my rights, my salary, my position in board rooms.

I attribute much of this chutzpah to my mother and my maternal grandmother, who rebelled in many tiny ways against the narrow confines of their unappreciated and dismissed enslaved-labour-intensive lives.

Thus I rebelled in major ways.

And I am ever, and always, a radical feminist.

Women still have a long, long way to go. 

The USA still hasn't ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Handmaid's Tale is becoming all too real everywhere in right wing ideology.


I fight for the rights of impoverished elder women now. You'll hear me blasting away on the radio and TV. I make those pols squirm in their Bentleys.

I'm a Difficult Woman.

And I'm out and I'm proud.

Saturday, December 02, 2023


A friend texted me a couple of days ago and said there was a duo we had previously enjoyed playing at a local coffee house that Friday night and we should go.

It's been four years since we did this. Four years of isolation - more difficult and challenging for elderly seniors than you young 'uns would believe.

When you're running out of life-time, each day is precious but losing around 1,500 days of "normal" seems like a punishment, a theft, never to be refunded.

The gig was incredible, they played Everly Brothers, Elton John, John Prine, etc. in perfect harmony, and my friend and I chatted. She mentioned (she is 78) two of her only remaining friends are now down for the count, one with dementia, the other had tumbled down the stairs of a cruise ship and broken her previously broken hip and was completely immobilized and comatose in bed and had her daughter text my friend and tell her she had lost the will to live and not to visit as she wouldn't see her.

The duo sat down to chat with us on breaks and I mentioned I had done some folk singing in my time and they invited me on stage to perform a number but I declined as my singing voice got lost a few years back when I had a bad infection. But it was darling of them to invite me.

I can't begin to express how absolutely thrilled we both were to be out like real humans in a real coffee house with real live music.

Grateful tears. Though I have to admit I am paying for it today with pain. 

But hell, it was truly worth it.

Thursday, November 30, 2023


Winter has arrived here on the Edge.

I just took this photo of outside with most of the street snow gone (plows are quick on the job here, as is the super of the building with his mini snowplow and shovels and brooms)

In honour of winter, last night I fetched down my mother's old recipe for steak and kidney pie and made two. I was drooling. I only make them once or twice a year as they're a bit picky and energy consuming to put together. Bonus: being low in iron, I get a bit of a boost from such ingestion.

This evil man is dead, I won't even put his name or picture here. Millions and millions of deaths on his hands. If there is a hell, I hope he fries forever in agony. Nobel Peace Prize, my arse. How corrupt our world is in honouring such a monster.

An art piece brought back from Ireland by my daughter for me. It shows the famous "milk bottle" beacon which dominated my summers in the West Cork island where we spent years and years. I love it.

And this is an actual photo of the "milk bottle".

Monday, November 27, 2023


I was riveted by this recent article in The Tyee. You can read the complete article here. The major points of the effects of pandemics:

(1) Immutable Forces of History

(2) Pandemics Thrive on Upheaval

(3) Pandemics are Social Accelerators

(4) Pandemics Reflect the Civilization in Which they Flourish

(5) Pandemics Erode Trust

(6) Pandemics Always Discriminate

(7) Pandemics Spawn Irrational Social Movements

(8) Pandemics Possess Long Tails

(9) Pandemics are Biological Icebergs

(10) Pandemics don't End with a Political Command or vaccine


"The technosphere represents a quasi-autonomous metabolizing system composed of concrete, plastic and steel infrastructure. It runs on fossil fuels, and its ever-growing complexity now requires artificial intelligence. Unlike the biosphere which generates no waste, the technosphere gobbles energy, water and resources only to spew out continuous streams of poisonous waste such as carbon dioxide, mine tailings and plastic garbage. The technosphere’s human-created components now weigh more than all living creatures on Earth.

Pandemics, which can play the role of constraining rapidly growing populations of any kind, act as a sort of biological blowback to this relentless conquest.

Moreover, they are not random. They remain critical barometers of our social and economic fragilities. They accompany ages of discord like crows and coyotes on a rotting elk carcass. Disorder and violence follow in their wake. They accelerate every bad trend in society, whether it be political disintegration, inequality or the rapid advance of dangerous technologies such as AI. And they unleash dangerous social movements."

The whole article is well worth the read. The multiple upheavals on our planet right now are merely a symptom of massive and dangerous underlying symptoms which we ignore at our peril.

Saturday, November 04, 2023


No worries on the title. I just invented this word to cover sporadic posts, blurts, exclamations. I think it neat. You may not. But whatever, as the young 'uns have it.

I've had far too many medical appointments in the past ten days, sucking the bejaybus out of me. Old age, seriously, is a full time job. Procedures, tests, evaluations, medications adjustments, frequent labwork, one on ones with members of my team, recording all my readings daily, exhaustion recovery and on.

More than ever I appreciate escaping into books and knitting which don't take much energy. I find my writing has slipped by the wayside and that niggles away at me. I celebrate a good night's sleep as an enormous achievement and a day which doesn't need the boost of a pain pill deserving of an Oscar.

I mete out my weeks like a miser hoarding his slivers of gold.

Next week I have the time for a hair appointment. I view it as a luxury now where before I would view it as an unwelcome intrusion into my busy week.

I read about trimming down even further and viewed my kitchen drawers with a discerning eye of merciless evaluation. I cling to stuff like they are mementoes of good times. So I daringly tossed out all the old dishrags and tea towels and hand made pot holders. I have far, far too many of everything. All hidden, grant you, but I know they are there lurking in the cupboards and drawers. Next will be the shame drawer and shelves, you know, the big ones, holding all those plastic containers for leftovers and freezables and give aways. And the twos (or threes) of everything from tongs to serving spoons to spatulas. Mindless collections. 

Between the shredding and the tossing my leftover - ha - life is full. 

I've even recently arranged for the disposal of myself.

My dad had a very tidy ending. 

And I desire the same.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Sunday Selections 3

Not much to produce here this week. It has been a wet, windy one apart from today where I had planned to go out but my body went on strike, particularly one leg which woke me up at 6 and now it's 10.30 and I'm so short on sleep this could be a deranged post. Push on if you dare.

I found enormous comfort in this needlepoint image this week. It really speaks to me for the soothing effect of knitting.

This is what our universal health care looks like.

I use these to sketch out knitting patterns

Postcards received from my beloveds during the past week (we all love postcards!)

And some animal stuff to make you smile/laugh.