Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kiss of Death, That's Me.

I would add emergency sideswipes and hospitalizations to the above list.

My blogmeet with Annie was lovely. I dropped her off at a corner near her home. A short while later, she called 911 and is still in the hospital for cardiac assessment. Please send her all good thoughts.

Before my lunch with Tessa, her husband called to say she had a massive nosebleed that wouldn't stop and he was going to take her to the hospital.

Both are now well and being taken care of.

But I thought a T-Shirt imprinted with the above would be appropriate for me to wear on the plane going back to NL tomorrow.

PS And oh yeah, beware all you bloggers out there of blogmeets with wisewebwoman!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Brought to you by Spring, Serving Canadians for Thousands of Years.

I remember last year.
How startled, no, delighted,
No, ecstatic, yes
I was.

To see you dancing,
No, laughing, no, giggling,
No, exuberant, yes

Beneath the tree,
Amongst last year’s
Exhausted leaves.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One of Life's Crystal Moments

My dear friend D has had many health challenges in the last few years: heart trouble, multiple cancers and other medical issues resulting from the treatments she had to undergo.

I was thrilled for her when one of her paintings was selected by the city for exhibition in the City Hall. And hung on its very own wall there.

And yesterday, I took this picture of her peeking at her painting.

I just love it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On Thinking and Mansplaining and Blogmeets, Oh My!

"The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
- A.A. Milne

I am happiest when I’m thinking.
I wouldn’t say it was first rate thinking, Merely thinking. Imagining.
Such as:
Plot twists in stories I’m writing.
Creating knitting patterns.
Wondering if all children were to learn complete self-sufficiency at an early age (growing, weaving, sewing, building, fixing, etc.) would they create a saner world.
Designing a bookcase out of some old encyclopaedias and some gorgeous flat colouredy driftwood that floated into the bay recently. How would that work, say.
How many flat beachstones would it take for the patio I’m building at the back of the house and would camomile grow in Newfoundland?
How long before the global economy completely collapses and how will my dear in- denial friends cope?
Can I get the planned cabin at the top of the hill at the back of my property completely off the grid and where would I start with the plans for this?
How NOT to look like I’m thinking when at an extended-family dinner last night and an older man mansplains¹ at me about snow in July in Newfoundland when I’ve just finished talking about the lovely summers there. And he’d never been to Newfoundland. I drift off into my head when that happens and smile and remember my social graces. And.Let.It.Go. That takes some creative thinking, right?

¹ Mansplain: to delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation e.g.: "Even though he knew she had an advanced degree in neuroscience, he felt the need to mansplain "there are molecules in the brain called neurotransmitters."
PS And oh, how wonderful it was to blogmeet once more with Annie today over a great Indian lunch and more great chat!

And the icing on the cake is another planned blogmeet, this time a first with Tessa on Wednesday!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Men Never Make Passes......

My friend Laurie over at Three Dog Blog has the most amazing post today listing the rules of dating for 1938. Go over there and check it out.
Some delicious samples (and all are accompanied by terrifically helpful pictures):
"Don't sit in awkward positions, and never look bored even if you are. Be alert and if you must chew gum (not advised) do it silently, mouth closed."

"Don't use the car mirror to fix your makeup. Man needs it in driving and it annoys him very much to have to turn around to see what's behind him."

I would add a few more such helpful hints given to me growing up in Ireland in the sixties:

"Our Lady weeps if you ever mention your period to any man."

"Never let a man touch you above the knee or below the neck."

"You can get pregnant just by sitting on a toilet seat if a strange man just used it."

"The highest aspiration for any good girl is to be a nun. Second would be as a married woman dedicated to bringing as many, many children to the glory of God as she can, and third would be if she remained single and devoted her life to good works such as helping in the church and to assisting the number ones and twos in their lives of selfless sacrifice."

"Never use a tampon as that is throwing your most precious gift away and no man will want you after that."

"Never deny a husband his pleasure. He needs it to release his tension for working hard. That is your duty."

"Never buy a car of your own as independence in a woman is frowned on by any man looking for a wife."

"Every man has the wild animal in him. A good woman never encourage this with a sinful display of her bosoms."

"A woman needs to be very careful on the marriage bed not to exhibit any pleasure as it could make a man doubtful and distrusting."

My grade: F A I L.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sarah Palin's Life As Told by the Google Search Engine

I couldn't resist posting this as it makes the rounds of the interwebz.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Huntin’, Fishin’, Gatherin’.

I speak from a vantage point of many years of vegetarianism.

I returned to carnivorism, with emphasis on mainly fish, nearly always organic meat, several years back.

I have blood type “O” positive, which apparently means that we don’t do well on a vegetarian diet. I agree from personal experience. My body simply wasn’t getting enough protein.

For a city woman living in an outport in Newfoundland this means actually seeing
your protein before you actually eat it. This takes some getting used to. Like last week, this rabbit was snared on my Back Seven And A Half. I took this shot, with much queasiness, before the rabbit was ‘dressed’. (Shouldn’t that term be ‘undressed’?)

The extraordinary part of this is that one of my first distinct memories is at the age of about four, going with my grandfather to check on his rabbit snares in the early morning dew and watching him tie their legs to a long stick to throw over his shoulder before we headed back down the meadow with our supper.

My life has come around in a complete circle.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kindred Spirits

I flew yesterday from St. John’s to Toronto on my favourite airline, Porter, that treats people like valued guests, takes your coat and hangs it up, puts your laptop away carefully, serves you whatever you want in real glass, mugs and plates, and best of all gives you a seat that allows you to stretch both your feet and your elbows. All this, at prices that beat the competition.

In Halifax, a tall handsome young man gets on and is assigned the seat next to me. He holds out a hand and introduces himself as Thomas. Over time, it turns out he is barely 18 years old in his first year of university in Moncton, New Brunswick and had already been on a 3-1/2 hour bus trip from there to Halifax to catch this 2-1/2 hour flight to get to Ottawa where he was going to surprise his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. He had met her when they were both children in the same summer camp and had been really good friends until they had finally confessed their feelings for each other a year ago.

Her father was in on the act it turned out and was going to pick him up at the airport and deposit him in his garage where he had a huge box ready to put him into and tape up. He was then going to go into the house and play a little podcast for his daughter from Thomas telling her he missed her and wished he could be there but hoping the gift in the garage might make her feel less lonely.

I thought this was one of the most romantic stories I had ever heard. Thomas was so excited about getting there and seeing his Emily’s face when she opened the box and there he was.

We went on to talk of other matters. I admired his earrings and he took one out to show me it was made of wood, very unusual, and he’d been macho enough to pierce each ear himself with a thumb tack. Actually, he said, he couldn’t afford the piercing fee.

He was very interested in my life, asking me all sorts of questions about my writing and my travels and when I mentioned one of my stories that I thought would interest him, he was completely enthralled, to the point where he gave me his email address and begged me to send it to him so he could share it with Emily.

The 2-1/2 hours just flew by, we were flying at that time of the day where we had 4 sunsets in a row which we both marvelled at. Who gets to see 4 sunsets in the same day?

When he got up to deplane in Ottawa, we shook hands and he said to me:
“I feel I’ve made a new friend.”

“Me too,” I said, through some tears.

"Don't forget to email me, now!" he admonished me as he disappeared down the steps.

Age is never a barrier to kindred spirits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Making Tips For Seniors

1. Wear your glasses. To make sure your partner is actually in the bed.
2. Set timer for 3 minutes, In case you doze off in the middle.
3. Set the mood with lighting. (Turn them ALL OFF!)
4. Make sure you put 911 on your speed dial before you begin.
5. Write partner's name on your hand in case you can't remember.
6. Use extra polygrip so your teeth don't end up under the bed.
7. Have Tylenol ready in case you actually complete the act.
8. Make all the noise you want... The neighbors are deaf too.
9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news!!
10. Don't even think about trying it twice.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Outrageous Sunset

After working this morning, I had lunch with a dear friend. She's 85 and just about adopted me when I moved here. As is the way when you don't have any familial baggage obstructing the view, we are right easy with each other, supportive, loving and interested in each other's lives without any preconceived notions or judgements.

We should all get our mothers when we're well broken in like a good leather: soft, gentle, respectful and never, ever irritated.

She's anxious for spring to come. She tells me she gets anxious that this might be the year she'll miss it. She tells me she'd never tell this stuff to her sons. They'd laugh at her, think her weird, might even start looking at where to put her. I tell her I understand. Totally. My dad would get antsy about spring too but I would get irritated with him. Not understanding. Now I do. She keeps gifting me in this way.

I cancelled dinner plans as the forecast was freezing rain which is just about the only condition I won't drive in and the dinner party was in town a good 75K drive.

I was coming down my stairs and glanced out the window - I never do miss a sunset - and this stunner was outside. It fair took my breath away and I thought to share it. Then I napped on the couch, safe and sound, in front of the fire.

A rather perfect day.

And now I'm a little jumpy for spring too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Photo of the Day

What pleases me most about this picture, taken today, just outside of St. John's - which, by the way, is the oldest city in North America - are all the lines in it, the grey, the white, the black and then the rather outrageous salmon pink paint on the trim.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Picture is of Bockety Bird, Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland, August 2008

I still can’t get used to the people who pop their eyes at me when I use this word. I’ve always used it. To describe my bike when its wheel is bent. To describe a cake that comes out of the oven all up and down. To describe a really bad haircut or an imperfect piece of knitting. Or even a road full of potholes.

Oh it’s bockety! I cry sadly, stroking the crooked object with affectionate pity.

It’s one of those perfect words because it’s onomatopoeic.

And then I find out that my lovely well-used word is Cork slang. No wonder the rest of the world outside of Cork looks at me sideways.

From the Cork Slang Dictionary:

Construct: Adjective
Definition: Crooked, out of alignment.
Use: One of the table legs is bockety.One of the table legs is crooked - meaning short.
Derivation: Probably from the Irish 'Bacac' - imperfect, defective. (Dinnen)Also note 'Bockady' - a lame person (Joyce)

And today, well, it’s a bockety day.
And how’s yours?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Love Story

I was asked recently to write a very short love story and I thought to share it with you all. Love comes in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we don't venerate love until it has been swallowed into the mists of time.

Looking in the Wrong Direction

She stood there, leaning on her cane, smiling all the while, patting her granddaughters’ blonde heads, insisting she would see me in no time at all, my six months in London would fly, just wait and see. My dream, her dream for me, had come true: writer-in-residence at Bartford College.

I shepherded my children on to the flight, telling them to turn and wave, wave at their grandmother, but my eyes were on the east, anticipation seeping into my bones, my mother already a distant shape in the fog of my past.

It was four months to the day that the phone call came. Her ulcerated leg had been a fiction. The cancer even back then at the airport had been eating her alive from within.

Friday, February 05, 2010

How The Bankruptcy of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Affects Me, Personally.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~click on map to embiggen~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Seriously. It does.

I’ve been to Harrisburg, capital city of Pennsylvania, a few times. Mainly driving through it and on to somewhere else. But one time we actually stayed there. It was foggy going through the Pennsylvania mountains on our way to South Carolina so we found this little motel and slept, dead to the world, from the sheer exhaustion of gripping the wheel and squinting our eyes to see through the fog for many hours. The breakfast we all remember, it was that good. There was fabulous ham from a local farm and eggs bennie. And home-made bread. I measure my life by the great meals I’ve eaten. I come from a long line of good grubbers.

But that’s beside the point.

Harrisberg is now but the canary in the coalmine in our new world of cities collapsing under unsustainable debt. And through the overextended tentacles of financial engineering and global credit defaults, we are all connected.

The latest fright comes from Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. The city is considering seeking bankruptcy protection—as well as tax hikes and asset sales—to address $68 million in debt service payments due this year.


Carol Cocheres, bond counsel for the incinerator’s operator, the Harrisburg Authority, told the city council at a Dec. 14 hearing that the city is already in danger of legal action for payments that were missed last year on $288 million in debt it has guaranteed with its full faith and credit.

“There’s never been a default like this in Pennsylvania municipal history,” she said. “This is all new territory.”

Cocheres told council members that by skipping payments that are made on behalf of the authority, the city risks being sued and ordered to raise taxes or fees by Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp., formerly FSA Insurance, which has insured the bonds, or by the deal’s trustee, TD Bank.
Read all about it here:

And my point?

You see, way out here on the edge of the Atlantic in Newfoundland, TD Canada Trust Bank is my bank.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Yes, this is a season, albeit short, here in Newfoundland.

It starts on February 2nd, which is Candlemas Day – which is celebrated here with a:
“CANDLEMAS CAKE - Type of sweetened bread baked for a card and rum party, according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.”

“Candlesnap?” I asked, delighted, as usual, with finding both a new word to add to my own personal lexicon and to show off at the first opportunity.

“Well actually,” said Joyce,”It’s Candlemas Snap. Weather that starts on Candlemas Day. And it doesn’t change for the whole two weeks.”

So now we’re in Candlesnap. And the weather hasn’t changed in 3 days. It would freeze the proverbial brass naughty bits off a monkey.

It’s a rare thing for me - long john weather. I feel like Michelin Man as I brave the elements with the Wonder Dog. There are Bella Carters spreading in all directions on the bay. The dog, thrilled at this new pavement formation, landed with exuberance on them today and her look of shock as her paws went everywhere made me double up laughing. I was bemoaning the fact I didn’t have a camera with me. Tomorrow I hope to get some shots of this extraordinary sight.

And I’ll monitor the weather with interest this season of Candlesnap.

It is currently -11C.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Yes, that's the amount the beyond-broke British taxpayer will be paying for a visit from Himself-The-Holy so that he can utter these immortal words created especially for those who live within the 'natural law'.

"In a speech in which he confirmed that he will be coming to Britain on a four-day visit in September, the Pope said: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.”

Excluding gays and women of course in that equality nonsense, not being part of what's natural and stuff. I hadn't realized that paedophiles are part of the Natural Law Club.

Let's hear it once again for hate, prejudice and exclusion, shall we?

Some days I get suspended between LOLing and SOBing.