Monday, January 28, 2008

Sterile Suburbia

My family came for dinner tonight.
They drove up to this suburban haven of large houses, double garages, and vast swathes of lawns from the city.
They remarked on the silence - quiet wealth makes no sound.
The trees are carefully landscaped and calibrated to enhance the neighbourhood. White birch, low slung colourful shrubbery and precise flowerbeds carved out of eye-hurting emerald green lawns.
There are no sidewalks.
Every house has got security and has picturesque ye olde outdoor lighting.
The front windows are all in darkness.
There is never any life on this street.
I assume any life takes place in the back of the house.
SUVs (and they are nearly all SUVS) are shunted quietly into the double garages and the doors slide remotely shut.
I imagine the installation of an outdoor clothesline would be a valid enough reason to execute the perpetrator.
I am a brand new inhabitee of this lofty citadel (nearly a month now) and no neighbour has come to call. One cannot meet them on the street as they are never outside. They slide into their SUVs from inside their garages and glide away to shop, to dine, to attend theatre one surmises.
There is no local shop to walk to even if there was a sidewalk. The nearest park is over a mile away. There is nothing to look at apart from across the street at another house similar in grandeur to one's own.
We discussed the sadness of it all, my family and I. And felt grateful none of us had ever consciously chosen to live in such expensive, soulless isolation.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Call

Healy Pass, Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

I wrote a while ago about the massacre in the land of my maternal ancestors

This morning I was going about my busy day and a little lost in thought, I was gazing outside at the trees and the strongest feeling came over me and I encapsulated my thoughts in the following words:


This morning
The eyes in the trees
Focussed clearly on me.

Begging my return
To my mother’s land.

Barren, beatific.
Just like she left it

And I will so.

I hadn't planned a trip to Ireland but it seems like Ireland has planned a trip for me.

As I grow older, I respect intuition more and more. More of us should. It gets drowned in modern life, in the wanting of material stuff, the sidetracking into the inconsequential, the gathering, grooming and guarding of the meaningless.

Obviously, Beara has something to teach me. I need to show up for the lesson.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Reign of Cats & Dogs

Medbh has introduced me to these wonderful pics and each one makes me giggle uncontrollably, even thinking about them does it to me!

Currently two cats and a dog are sharing space with me and I admire how quickly the hierarchy gets sorted out in such matters. One of the cats has elected herself alpha and won't allow the quite large dog into the family room.

The dog is puzzled as she is a total feline fan and allows my grandgirl's cat to groom her - face, ears, in other words the complete salon treatment.

One of my cats was best friends with my dog of the time. The cat always came for our nightly walks, much to the amusement of drivers and pedestrians, there were a lot of double takes seeing the cat and dog marching along together. They also slept together. I think it helped that the cat was huge and tough, he would always swack me one if I didn't get his food down first, before the dog's. I called him my Biker Boy and still miss him, he had a great personality.

Years ago, at my daughter's, I brought my dog to meet her two cats for the first time and we were astonished at how quickly they established pecking order. In one minute, the female cat sat on the stairs blocking it and balefully watching the other two keeping them in order. My dog was in the middle, sitting in the living room and not moving and the male cat was under the coffee table, the lowest wee creature on the totem pole. Harmony reigned.

I would classify myself as a dog person, though cats have wandered into my life and stayed there for lengthy periods of time. But I've rarely been without a dog and have suffered agonies when The Day comes and The Decision has to be made. But overall every moment spent with these four-legged wonders has been worth it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Understanding Muslims

I was perusing this post of Nick's on being British and the whole topic of race/country/religion affiliations.

It serves more to divide and distance us than anything else. And engender fear like no other. I'm so tired of the pronouncements from people who "hate" gays, muslims, negroes, etc and you turn around and ask them, well do you know any? Are there any in your circle? And the answer is inevitably, no. Most can't even take the time to get to know anyone outside their own comfortable (and smug)safety zone.

In this tiny far-flung planet, we need to celebrate our similarities and there are far more of them than there are differences.

In December 2007, over 2,000 American Muslims were asked what they would wish to say to the rest of the world. This is what they said. A music video for Kareem Salama's "A Land Called Paradise."


Tolerance and understanding = beauty and enlightenment.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fascism is alive and well in Canada!

Ezra Levant is the type of extreme neo-con we all love to hate. He publishes a ratty little magazine dedicated to those of his ilk (pro-war, let's bomb Iran into dust, let's cleanse the world of Muslims)called "Western Standard" out of Calgary, Alberta.

You remember those Danish cartoons that caused all the trouble in 2006? Well, Ezra took them to his heart and copied them in his hate-mongering little magazine.

A complaint was lodged in short order by an Imam with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission and our Ezra was charged with "advocating hatemongering".

Here's where it all gets very interesting. This complaint was taking seriously, even though Ezra was perfectly within his rights in using the free speech guaranteed him by our constitution, hateful and horrible though that speechifying was. He was hauled up before the commission and was asked pretty scary questions by a snide little bureacrat about the opinions he expressed and why he expressed them with the penalty of being punished by law.

Ezra had a camera rolling, his wife and lawyer present and even though requested by the government to keep the hearing secret exploded it all on YouTube.

I am horrified and I hope you are too.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Picture is of Cape Spear, Newfoundland, August 2007

I felt like pluralizing the above title but decided against it, why contribute to further deterioration of the language - and at my crusty age I should feel ashamed of the temptation.

Answers to life's puzzles come in their own good time. Like the ongoing teaser of the great R puzzle. Now resolved. A further conversation with him last night showed his heart very clearly is in another direction. My investment in the whole thing was entirely removed this morning when he forwarded me a Christian YouTube film about this 13 year old boy whose elderly cow gave birth to a calf and broke her back in the effort. He had to shoot the old cow but as he stood there afterwards in grief the voice of God came into his head to tell him that God had endured the loss of His Only Son so could understand the sorrow.

I was snapped into reality really, really quickly. My mind riffed off on this. God voices in the head have gotten the world into a lot of trouble. See George Bush and his God calling him into war. See The Crusades. See The Holocaust. See the Irish Famine. Then I had the thought that given a Goddess and the same wonky scenario would She have had the same enthusiasm in torture-slaughtering Her daughter for the good of womankind and our 'sins'? While watching and having the power to stop it? Just puttin' it out there.

The R switch has been turned off for me. I found this whole film (and his admonition for me to get out the Kleenex first before watching!) appalling, the brainwashing of the young boy, the attempt to thread the two similarities of sacrifice vomititious in the extreme. Far from R's intent. He was 'inspired'. Another dream bites the dust.

I must admit to shedding a few when Hillary got the nomination in NH last night. I'm not a Hillary hater like many, I've felt from way back, when she was Bride of Bill, that she was the better 'president'. Opportunistic, yes, aren't they all in the cutthroat and Hollywoodized politics of our Southern neighbour? But looking at all the Democratic candidates since the outset, for my money and the future of the planet she is by far the best choice. I absolutely cannot see her sacrificing any more youth to this undending war on so-called terror, her past votes be damned. Politicking. And we need more women in politics. We need more of an equal gender balance however we get it. Compassionate people get slaughtered out there in the voting trenches. Given a chance, I think she will do her best to clean up the mess and initiate universal healthcare and education. If the pot hasn't been totally licked dry by the Incumbent and his cronies.

Remind me, who are the terrorists again? They are currently patrolling the Persian Gulf. How would the U.S. react to Iranians patrolling their war ships in the Gulf of Mexico? Little speedboats wouldn't be it. Nuclear warheads more like. WW 3 for sure. And the bought-and-paid for MSM falling over themselves to pontificate on the threat of the little speedboats on their own waters against those "benign" humungous battleships? There's money to be made in tham thar war zones!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mixed Signals?

I had a lovely dinner with R on Tuesday at his insistence. He was pacing the lobby of the restaurant when I arrived and rushed to hug and kiss me.

He was very insistent on a table rather than a booth and then to my astonishment sat beside me. The backstory to this is that when he was with me in NL I had talked of my last great love who had always sat beside me rather than opposite me in restaurants.

He said he had a huge apology to make to me at the outset and that was for the ignoring of my birthday when he was with me. All the way back to TO in the plane he had beaten himself up for this and many times since. I was gracious, of course, and acknowledged the depth of his remorse and also the fact I had forgotten it, which was true.

He could not keep his hands off me and apologised several times, telling me he had missed me so much. He told me had been seeing a woman who had since dropped him (and I was so pleased I had intuited this on the dry spell of e-mailing!) and also that he had an eye on another and didn't know what to do. I queried him on experience in the dating scene prior to his marriage. Just about zero. I said maybe he needed to lighten up and just date several women and not think everything was a huge commitment. This hadn't occurred to him. I'm not surprised at this as I miss the bleeding obvious so many times that I never condemn it in others.

I told him of my gentleman caller and how lovely it was to feel like a romanced woman again. As he was touching me (mainly arm stroking) I realized how much I miss that kind of intimacy, not so much the boinking but the touching. He seems to trigger that in me. I hesitated to tell him this - I've never dealt well with rejection - so didn't and in hindsight I'm glad.

We had a 3 hour dinner and at the end he hugged me many times, told me how much he appreciates me and how he felt so much better having had a chance to talk to me.

I should add he is an only child, always has been, parents now dead so no one in direct family to talk with. I think he sees me as a very loved sister. The women he is attracted to are age appropriate also which pleased me no end and of course makes him look more attractive to me.

But the thing is, I get a little worked up when I'm with him. It could be attraction, it could be a freshly woken kind of lust, or just the need of intimacy.

Oh, and he no longer wears a wedding ring and I did comment on this and he was delighted I noticed.

I keep thinking of that book ~

~ and just letting go of any romantic notions while still being his close friend. Easier said than done.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


It’s a word I’m quite fond of. It seems to envelope me lately, being back in the big city of Toronto ‘n all from my little village in Newfoundland.

I am sorta wearing my grandgirl lately, she packed her bags and landed up here

with me on Wednesday and I dropped her off home today but am picking herself and a pal up tomorrow. We have missed each other most dreadfully. She and pal are going to help me sort out my lockers (my stuff, my stuff, as George Carlin would have it) and then spend overnight up here in this fancy schmancy house I am house-sitting for four months.

I’m in the lap of non-owned luxury here down to the whirlpool tub and monster flat screen TV (my prior opinion confirmed, 400 channels and nothing to watch). Lots of security to protect their stuff. Remote controls everywhere, for light dimming and fireplace tuning and built in speakers everywhere music selection.

I’ve landed smack dab in the midst of someone else’s life. A very respectable life.

Family photos everywhere and well thought out pictures of places visited, hills climbed, mountains skied, seas swum. Being the under-the-rock-peeper that I am, I keep speculating on what secrets they must carry, mother, father and their now adult and living away from home children. One of each naturally. Male child older, naturally. It is so darn perfect this house. A kitchen that belongs to Martha Stewart, bathrooms designed for creative purposes involving candles and expensive lotions. Clean and organized but not neat enough to make you barf. Tilley people I call this couple and their like. You know, lots of khaki clothes and those hats that float and ne’er a cross word passing their lips. Ever.

I think if I had to live this life all the time I would quietly prop myself in a corner and open a vein and bleed out slowly.

Which confirms yet again why I was never marriageable material. I should have taken the alternative plunge at an early age in Ireland and become mistress to a series of wealthy old men who wouldn’t bother me much, being of pre-Viagra vintage, and been indulged in all my mad passions for writing and art and music and travel and eccentric conversation. But in the era I emerged in Ireland, I would have been ex-communicated both by my family and the Church. And that would have bothered me then, being pre-feminist and unenlightened as to the misogynistic ways of the Baby Jaybuzz 'n all and no clue as to the acquiring of the means to provide the afore mentioned lifestyle to, by and all for my little ol'self.

I spent today with a dear friend out in the 'burbs, admiring her new paintings, winding up late in a Scrabble Game in front of the fire with grapes and cheese and polish sausage and really good pale Christmas cake and chai. I am blessed.

And more on R when I process what happened on Tuesday night over dinner.