Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Rules

I saw this on a fellow writer's FB wall and thought, my gawd, I should have it painted, large, in black caps, in my walls. Seriously.

I can't believe how one simple task on my to do list today can expand to 4 hours, as I wander the corridors of the interwebz, slamming up against online Walmart, then into Ravelry for the perfect wool for an infant aran sweater, then pick up a piece of knitting for a friend and mull the shortage of yarn in the expensive wool she bought for this "slouch" hat she commissioned. There wouldn't be too much slouch so I dove into my wool stash for a kinda match and eureka, found it and test drove it a few rows. Then there was this picture needed framing so I played hunt the hammer for a while, studied the picture (I had several knitting pics enlarged and printed and oh my, are they gorgeous) to see where trimming could happen, abandoned that, picked up a marvelous book, a gift and I don't know from whom as s/didn't sign it and made notes for expansion on an existing novel.

Exhausted from all the activity, I had to go back to my list to see what the original task was:"send off self-potrait and short biography to Writers' Alliance.

Still not done.

But hey, look at my knitting, a gift of a lovely picture and my book bag, another gift.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hollywood vs Real Life

I've wanted to post about this topic for a while. Being weaned on movies (pictures) in my life, the black and white of character depiction by Hollywood was a belief I held for a long time. Bad guy/woman = no redeeming features. Good guy/woman = no dark side.

I remember seeing a play. The Steward of Christendom (in the Abbey in Dublin) that showed a bad guy ( a male nurse) mistreating an elderly patient in a psychiatric home. In the second act it showed the bad guy being superbly kind. No one, truly, is all bad or all good, in spite of Hollywood. That play has stuck with me over the years.

I took a workshop with an older woman in Toronto a few years ago. It was about exploring all of ourselves, loving the inner, exploring our own darkness. At one point she said: "There's a Paul Bernardo within all of us." It gave me a chill. Us participants looked around at each other and then slowly nodded. Of course there is. Most of us can squelch those murderous thoughts, but a very few act them out.

Which is all in the way of saying I had a problem with my unsold salt box box. There was a bad storm this past Sunday and a large branch broke off a tree and caught a wire which in turn was fastened to a corner of my house. The wire came down, taking with it a part of my roof.

I called the power company who were on it right away. They called me when they were on site to tell me it was a telephone wire that had downed. I called the telephone company who, fortunately, came the following day and disconnected the wire. I texted a good friend to request that he check out my property to ensure there were no further hazards. *Crickets*. That surprised me.

So nothing for it but to travel out to my old house to inspect things myself. There are other friends out there but for reasons I won't get into I didn't like to ask.

So I'm out back, loading my regular tires into the garage to await the spring, when who should appear on my meadow but Cathedral Man. all chatty and smiley.

My first reaction was to go sour and vinegary but then I thought, shyte, no. What a waste of anger and frustration. He asked me why the house wasn't selling and I mentioned the Cathedral. He looked genuinely surprised. Well. I then mentioned the wire and the corner of the roof. "We noticed that had come down," he said. Well. I responded I was upset about it.

"Let me go get a ladder and fix that all up for you, right as rain," he said. And he did.

And I thanked him. And thanked him again. And he said it was nothing.

See what I mean?

Thursday, December 14, 2017


'Tis easy indeed to focus on the challenges, the negativity, the scarcity.

Today, I focus on the positive, the intangibles and tangibles.

I find it helpful to take a look at the life I'm living from the perspective of a stranger looking in.

I had a giggle in the hall yesterday with a woman who admired the fact I was driving still. She only drives in the summer. I said rain was a challenge in the short days when night descended so rapidly. She agreed. I asked where she was off to. She said she was a champion dart player and was off to claim a prize and free dinner. Dressed to the nines she was. She said: I think I'll beat their darty asses for another 10 years. She volunteered she was 84. I loved her spirit.

I'm still one of the "babies" in this building which makes me smile.

I found this delicious white fur coat (fake fur) at the SPCA thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. It had the tags still on it at $225 and I got it for $20. It was one of those mad purchases (internal dialogue: white? white? Are you insane?) but every time I wear it - for a fancy dinner with a Toronto friend, to a marvelous potluck dinner on Sunday, to my book club luncheon on Monday, I feel like a movie star. And the reactions? Everyone comments, even strangers. (OMG, the coat, that coat!). Best $20 I spent in a long time.

Daughter booked us dinner on Xmas day in one of the fancy hotels here. We had a bit of a hunt as Christmas is a sacrament in this province (aggressive Merry Christmas pronouncements, Jesus' birthday donchaknow, etc., no understanding of other faiths celebrating during the same timeframe, and oh horror, you're a pagan/atheist, Satan stay away from me, etc. Along with the most outrageous consumption of material crap I've ever witnessed and the most deadly and ugly driving to get at it.

So to find this civilized hotel was amazing. We would do this in Toronto on Christmas Day and often take a movie in too (exnay on a movie here, unfortunately). Delighted we are.

A dear friend in New York sent me an outrageously flamboyant poinsettia. Her story of how she managed to order it and have it delivered to me is a long blog post unto itself. And to top this off, in the mail today was the most beautiful hand designed silk scarf from her. I am so touched.

Grandgirl called me from Cambodia where she is stationed for a while and we chatted for 2 hours. I feel so very blessed with her in my life. She is one fascinating young woman and we have a wealth of commonality in our interests.

So conversely, on the downside, the last windstorm took down a large tree branch at my unsold outport saltbox house which snagged a wire which pulled down a corner of my roof and left a mess across the meadow. The power company is getting there today. I was so upset yesterday when I was there and felt quite powerless. Even more upset when I realized that a few were working on the Cathedral next door and hadn't bothered to report it themselves or to me. The inhumanity of these prominent churchy people who want my house for a song, continues to astonish me. Long may I be surprised as to be cynical and hating doesn't serve me well.

I am working on submitting a play to the Women's Work Festival. I'd written this play a while ago but was unable to get it produced in the outports. Maybe I'll have more luck in St. John's, the Big Small Smoke.

I must say I love living here in St. John's.

It's a rebirth of the finest kind.

Friday, December 08, 2017


I had very strange dream last night where the theme was displacement. A series of problems cropped up and the answers were given to me by the many, past and present in my life, standing around me. We were on a cliff looking down at the strand below as the waves gently rolled in and out.

One of the many problems I had was having a baby and not knowing what to do with her and asking those around me for help. The answer came back: displacement

Another was the feeling of homelessness, I knew there was no home and never would be. Displacement.

Some of those surrounding me had long passed. And I knew this and it was OK.

As they all uttered this one word at me every time I shared my feelings or posed a question, I remember tuning them out and looking down at the strand, this long stretch of unlimited pristine sand, and thinking: I need to get down there. I need to make my own footprints, I need to place myself. Ill find my own answers to these complex questions.

I found it a powerful dream. My missing daughter's birthday is tomorrow. December is a fraught month for me. I despise all this Christmas cheer and massive consumerism. Somewhere along the way the message of quiet, peace and reflection was lost. Solstice helps. The coming of the Light and gratitude, the welcoming of another season of renewal.

I have a sense of unease, not unlike the theme of Displacement. Home is an internal feeling I seem to have lost.

My dream needs no intense analysis.

Displacement is a theme running loud and clear through my entire family of origin.

Do any of you out there have a strong, anchored feeling of "place"?

Monday, December 04, 2017

Blog Jam

A long time blog friend passed a few days ago. It's a wrench and particularly so in Marianne's case as we sang from the same page of the political and feminist song-book. Her posts and her comments were incisive, intelligent, wise and compassionate. She went far too quickly, but comfortably, at home and in the warmth of her family. She joined the ranks of quite a few of my blogmates who have passed. Time from diagnosis to death has been swift and unrelenting in the cases of the many, both in real life and in internet life, who have departed my world in the last few years. And their losses never get easier.

I find I wrap up most of this grief in the void that Ansa has left. I only realized this recently when I was in the car and I saw a dog that looked like her and I was overwhelmed with sobs. Unreasonably I felt. But I learned from grief therapy that this is often the case with us mourners. We will find something that triggers a whopping outpouring but it's yelling into the void of pain and absence of the many. Of all, I think. Opening up every single loss. This is one of the reasons why so many seniors gamble and drink as the stats are simply frightening. Undealt with grief and depression would be a foundation for this I would speculate but it would be enlightening if more studies were funded on this possible correlation.

Daughter and I fielded a table of our wares on the weekend at a fair. We sold a little but boy I felt it when people raced through my prints and knitting and jams without comment or question. Surprisingly, a shot I took of a miniature village a few years back was the hot item as the old man who created and built it tore it all down after a couple of tourists banged on his door. He was over 90 and terrified and thought he'd stop this harassment if he destroyed his magnificent work of art. I know, sad. But I'm still getting calls from people who heard about this picture and want a copy. It is large, 11"X 14" but captures the sense of the beautiful wee village of Oderin. It was where the old man grew up. The residents there were resettled as happened a lot in rural/outport Newfoundland but his heart remained in the idyllic place now long abandoned and forgotten. But not by him as he painstakingly recreated it.

Here it is in video format:

Sunday, November 26, 2017


The Table - looking into the kitchen. More photos to follow.

They can be positive or negative.

The biggest adjustment to both my new life and my health challenges is the lack of energy. I've always been a high energy person, whether internally or externally. Reading voraciously, loving live theatre, concert halls, performances. Hiking, travelling, racing,spontaneous walks, etc.

Now the lack of energy has me parceling out activities or performing trade-offs. If I shop today I can't run around later to visit so-and-so. If I write today I'll be wiped in the afternoon. Or working out a new design means I can't start the new book.

I was completely frustrated and hopeless for a while until I took the time to redesign my new space and go against the grain of popular opinion and have the old long dining room table moved from the house to the apartment. This simple task has opened up my new life in ways I couldn't have predicted. I find this new multi-use space invites flowers. And a candle and lamps for close work. I've never been much of a couch person. I like a table, the bigger the better. I sit here a lot, read, have my meals looking out at the view, everything is close at hand. Instead of making the space smaller it has opened it up.

Thinking outside the box when re configuring a downsized life is very helpful. I've observed a few apartments here and see that they are crammed with relics of the past. Huge china cabinets, tea trolleys, overstuffed furniture, massive bedroom suites. If that is what gives one comfort then go for it. But I like the reinvention of who I am now. Yes, I have to safeguard my energy and calculate the expenditure of it during the day.

In the common hall outside I hung some of my artwork and a little sculpture I made with knitting wool and needles and a few owls, one is a small vase filled with fresh flowers that I hope to replenish every few weeks. A bunch of flowers purchased late on a Saturday night costs under $5.00 (full price $10.99) who knew?

Some of you thought I was upset about leaving the salt box house in its wee paradise of land and ocean and woods. I tried to summon up some feelings when the fellahs were taking apart the dining room table prior to moving it. I stood in that dining room, summoning up all the dinner parties and brunches and convos held around it.

And you know what? There wasn't one shred of sentiment in me.

I was done.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Toilet Plunger

One of my prints for sale at the Craft Fair.

Eye catching heading, right?

You don't pack an old used one, right? I mean a toilet plunger is married to your toilet for life, until breakage or punctures doth part them.

And somehow you don't think of buying one before a problem strikes in any new dwelling either.

Odd that we don't think of ever knocking on anyone's door either asking to borrow a toilet plunger? I mean it's so personal, isn't it? It would be like breaking up the marriage of it and its toilet.

So the city. 24 hour shops. I'd forgotten. I can go out and get a toilet plunger at any time ($1.59).

So now my toilet and plunger are married. Tell death part them.

Memory Lapses

Do you get weird ones?

I do.

I did my laundry early the other day and I like to sort it into drawers and shelves right away. So it's night and I knew I had washed 3 pairs of PJs and do you think I could find them? No. I checked everywhere, even trotting down the hall to the laundry room (gorgeous spot by the way with a reading nook and desk in a wee sun room off the laundry room). No sight nor sound. Checked every drawer, every shelf, every closet. No PJs. I haven't been utterly baffled in a long time, and a little frightened too. What was wrong with me? The following day I'm tossing some dirty tea towels into my laundry hamper and lo and behold, I'd gently placed the neatly folded nightwear into the dirty laundry bin. No recollection. And still don't. Maybe I should be scared?



I found one of those collapsible luggage carts in a Goodwill style store. $4.99. Strong and sturdy. With my challenges in walking and carrying I've found this little unit amazing for hauling stuff around. We don't have a garbage chute and the outside garbage bins placed strategically at various points around the building is still an Everest to me. But this wee cart? It's a workhorse with the bungee cord. I've hauled out an old light knapsack for small grocery trips. And I have a well used Kipling smaller knapsack for every day use. It broke my heart to rid myself of some lovely Roots hand gear but I couldn't handle the weight of any of them so in to the Goodwill bag the went for donation. Someone will be thrilled.


House update

I'm meeting with my agent tomorrow to drop the price again. Depressing, I know, but needs must. Someone's going to get a great bargain.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Moving In and On

The view from my living room window

Over the years, apart from my precious Daughter and Grandgirl, I find that it is my friends who offer the most support and comfort and downright consoling when things get rough.

I don't like to lay too much on Daughter or Grandgirl, they have their own lives to live and their own troubles which they are more than welcome to lay on me.

A dear friend called me last week. She's quite the traveler and gallops around the world frequently. I must have gone on a bit of a whine about my health and the Cathedral and my worries, catch me on a down day and I'll fill one of your ears with my woes and the next day she calls me again and tells me she's booked a flight and she's staying for 3 days and find her a place to stay. I have a friend with an AirBnb in St. John's, a gorgeous terrace house on an old street, cheap digs that she'll have all to herself, so in we booked her. I am so delighted, she is a tonic, this brave soul, has beaten cancer a few times and has her own share of troubles but has that gift of curiosity and love of life and incredible loyalty to her friends. Once friends, you're friends for life. So she arrives on November 27th. She was the friend who flew in from Spain to catch my play in Ireland in 2012. I find this one act of kindness has lifted me like nothing else. All we need sometimes is a shoulder to lean on, yeah?

A cousin and I connected out of the blue and it is a powerful bond with similar histories of violence and disconnection from current family members. Goosebumps: this common thread of estrangement and distance and shunning, the theme of our dysfunctional clan. Therapy has helped both of us to just deal and protect ourselves from further abuse. This is like a breath of fresh air in my life and so unexpected.

Daughter rented a table for us both at a Craft Fair in early December So I'm busy crafting. I've ordered prints of some of my photos, the ones that have sold out a few times. This should be fun, just being with others who also sell their wares and making some coin. I'm considering taking orders for story shawls. A lot of work but there is an interest.

So here I am on a Saturday night. Remembrance Day. Poppy Day.

All is calm.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Downsizing 101

You know, all the books you read, the plans you draw up, the discard piles, the maybe piles, the WTF piles, the definitely moving with me piles? Garbage. At least for this downsizer.

To give you an idea: 5 bedroom house (granted, small wee rooms), 3 very large halls (I know, ironic), kitchen, dining room, family room, office, bathroom and oh yes, the Tigeen, garage, barn and shed. All to be condensed down to a 1 bedroom apartment with its own largish locker en suite.

First of all I should mention I am ecstatic that I moved. It took me approximately 2 minutes to adjust to city living. The location helps, overlooking lake and ocean and Signal Hill in the distance, plonked right in the middle of my living room window. Cars drive up here at night and park to drink in the night lights.

So that went well.

But stuff.

I took my largish sofa but left the over sized chair that went with it. I took my hand-painted decorative but functional small round table and its adorable chair from the craft room. Mistake.

I took my small antique lady's desk with needlepoint chair - desk fine but hello chair, what was I thinking?

What shocks me is that I carefully measured a space where one of the kitchen arches opens to the living room and realize my custom-made 90" long dining room table from the house will fit lengthwise across the space providing multiple uses: a craft table, design table, a sitting baking table and an eating, reading table and entertain a few in a pinch. Daughter rolls her eyes at this. But I know in my bones it will work. For me. I like to spread my wools and graph paper and my finished creations and my writing projects all about me.

My worries remain and ebb and flow. The house remains unsold, the Cathedral looms over it, unfinished, with garbage tossed all around it. The For Sale sign keeps being kicked and smashed. Potential purchasers still visit and bolt for the hills once they see the Cathedral even though forewarned and shown pictures.

I've been looking for a wee job. I hate to do this, feeling ill about it actually, but needs must. As long as it doesn't involve standing for any length of time, I'll be OK.

My retirement fund in the shape of the good equity in my home has evaporated like smoke. A friend's son said yesterday he's never seen elder abuse like this. And it stopped me in my tracks. Of course it's elder abuse. An elderly infirm woman being victimized deliberately by the wealthiest landowner in the town so he can pick up her property for a song. Like he's done many times before. But it's an old story, time and time again, being repeated everywhere. I'm powerless to do anything as he's within his rights, I couldn't get zoning laws put in place for the town because his family members are on council.

But I try not to brood on the downside of all of this.

Just do the next right thing.

And try desperately not to look backwards.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The Formerly Outraged Granny Part 7

See Part 1,
Part 2,
Part 3,
Part 4,
Part 5,
Part 6,

As one wise comment on a previous post said: when we're older we have to conserve our energies and really choose our battles. I am so very glad that I did fight this one, particularly in light of many elders who do not, or choose not, or feel so defeated and demeaned, that they don't take on a large corporation with any hope that their voices will be heard.

Well, hats off to Toyota because my voice was heard. I am certainly glad I did write these posts and forwarded them on to Toyota Head Office.

The response at the dealership level was extraordinarily courteous and respectful and satisfying and apologetic.

I thought I was beyond having a love affair with a car. But. This. Car.

She is a sparkling deep blue like the three sapphires that sparkled on a ring I had way back. I don't think there's a bell and whistle she's missing, from automatic headlights and dimmers to heated seats and crash prevention camera to cruise control to line crossing alert. And yes of course air-conditioning. I'm forgetting all the features. I drove around in her like a teenager after the sales manager had given me the internal tour of the car for half an hour, setting up blue tooth and Ipod and treating me so well it just about erased all the bad vibes and ill treatments I'd received a month or so ago.

I get a lot of sideways drivers' gapes at her. She's such a little beauty.

To say I'm pleased is an understatement.

My faith in responsible corporations is restored.

Toyota: you rock, you seriously rock.

Sapphie and I are going to be very, very happy together.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Outraged Granny Part 6

See Part 1,
Part 2,
Part 3,
Part 4,
Part 5,

A brief update as I've been flying back and forth with this move of mine:

I will post in more detail but it looks very much like Toyota are being:

(1)Totally honest and apologetic with me in what happened

(2)A new car is on its way to me to replace the new one I have

(3)It has got all the features I had in my old car + +

So like Granny said: the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it.

I will update once I've got the new ride.

And seriously, their honesty blew me out of the water.

I just might be ready to kiss and makeup and abandon the divorce papers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Outraged Granny Part 5

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

On Monday morning, as I expected, no call came through from DB (the lease manager), so I left a message on PE's (the sales guy) line to call me with a report on the new vehicle. No call return.

I went to my clinic which is 75K in the opposite direction from St.John's in Placentia.

At 1.45pm I receive a call from DB asking me if I was on my way in to see him.

"Pardon?" I say, "You were supposed to call me at 11, now it's nearly 2 and I'm way out in Placentia."

"Oh," he laughs, "I thought I called you I must have called someone else. You need to make it in before 9 tonight,"

"I won't drive 200k in the dark for one, and two, you still haven't told me if my new car is ready."

"Well yeah, it is, but you need to make it in here today."

"Absolutely no way, I just told you why. Tomorrow?"

He agreed very reluctantly, deep sighs of exasperation. I guess he missed his sales target for September.

On Tuesday, I signed the final papers in DB's office. Yeah, I could have abandoned the whole shemozzle, told them where to stick their dealership their horrible staff and their car and their horrendous treatment of me, it truly crossed my mind that this was elder abuse. But I am an elder and a battle now would exhaust me utterly and damage my health further and leave me car-less in the city with a move planned for a week away.

But he wasn't quite finished in his incompetence and his running around of the old lady. He asked me for a cancelled cheque.

"What?" I was staggered at (a) they have all my banking info on file, and (b) he'd never mentioned this before.

"Oh," he laughs, "I forgot to tell you? You'll have to drive to your bank and get an authorisation form from them then and bring it back here".

I am speechless. I go outside to where PE has brought the new car around and the old car has been once again inspected for further pin pricks. I note to myself how very little work or concern PE has shown through all this trauma.

He has to use the key to open the doors.

"What happened to keyless entry?" I ask, "I've had keyless entry for over 10 years at least, now I have to stagger towards my car with shopping and a cane no less and drop them on the ground to open my car?"

He doesn't answer me.

I drive to the bank and get the papers DB needs and drive back and put them on his desk. He makes nice talk now that his commission is safe.

I'm very frosty. Toyota Head Office needs to know about this. Aren't us elders the bulging demographic of new car buying?

Also I'm very upset about the keyless thing.

I had specifically asked him for the same bells and whistles that my old car had.

But worse is to come.

The following day is warm. I have an allergy to heat. I can't think straight in heat.

I go to flip on the air-conditioning and there is none. None. It was an over the edge moment, I burst into tears.

I've dealt with Toyota for 30 years.

This has to be the worst experience I've ever had in any car dealership. Ever.

I feel ripped off, unheard, cheated, dismissed and abused.

And yes, Toyota are hearing about it.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Outraged Granny Part 4

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Well, DB sez reluctantly, I'll call you tomorrow (Saturday) and let you know what time I need to see you on Monday. I need to run your lease papers by head office.

OK, sez I, getting up ungracefully and ungratefully, grabbing my stick and the bag that held the contents of my old car in anticipation of my new, totally frosted with the treatment by all of them at this point. And too exhausted to get saucy and belligerent and nasty. After all, they could seize my vehicle and leave me stranded 100 km from home. (Couldn't they?) Honestly, I thought my internal anger if released would give me a stroke. I'm not violent or confrontational by nature but boy, I believed heads would roll under that stick of mine if that rage leaked out.

I should add that PE, the sales guy, had told me there was no reverse camera on my model even though he had assured me 3 months ago that the new model had one. Essential for elders and neck issues. At my querying this, he bent down over the tail end of the car and said, oh yes, there is one. Sales guy know thy vehicles. I reminded him that this was the only change I had asked about on my new car apart from making it a 2 door to reduce costs. He told me there were extras I hadn't requested: heated seats on this model also and a warning mechanism if you accidentally leave your lane. Bells and whistles that didn't impress me.

DB called me on Saturday to tell me the lease was now approved and that to come in early on Monday to finalize.

I asked him if my new car would be ready.

No guarantees, he said cheerfully, but you absolutely have to come in on Monday and sign off. Deals change at the beginning of the month, he said firmly.

I remind you, yet again, I said, that I will not come in unless my new car is available to drive away.

But then we'll have to get someone to have your old car reassessed again for any changes in the condition, I can't guarantee....

I'm absolutely not coming in if the new car is not ready. I was pissed and firm.

I'll call you Monday before 11 to let you know if we can do it then, he said abruptly and hung up.

I had an appointment to be at a medical clinic on Monday morning.

To be continued..................

Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Outraged Granny Part 3

{Stock Image}

See Part 1 and Part 2

I should mention also that I am visibly (1) old and (2) handicapped - I have a walking cane due to PAD

So we trek outside to the car.

"You must be excited," sez PE the salesman.

"Well not really," sez I, "It's taken far too long for you to get your hands on the car I ordered. And not a word in the meantime from you only requests for money for the lease extension from M in accounting."

I didn't add cars don't excite me much. Apart from a Mustang way back when I was foolish and ambitious and show-offy.

"Where are the hubcaps?" I asked on first sighting of the car.

"Oh it's not ready yet," sez PE.

"You mean I've schlepped a total of 200km in here today only to be told my new car'a not ready? why did you haul me in here?"

"Just to have an evaluation of your current vehicle."

"So you could ding the hell out of me with pinpricks on paintwork and three month over expiry tires?"

I can see he doesn't know what to do with me in the dealership parking lot. So we schlep our way into the lease manager's (DB) office. DB tells me he is up to his neck in work, I'll have to come back on Monday (this is Friday) and we will finalize the lease agreement.

"You do realize that this is a 200km trip for me again, so I want some assurance the new car will be ready>"

"Well no, this is just to sign the lease papers, we're very busy, end of month, loads of sales, the new car will have to go in line in the service centre for finishing."

"So you're telling me, an old handicapped lady, that I have to add another 200km trip , a third, to get my new car?"

He had the grace to look embarrassed.

"That's not going to happen," sez I, "I'm not coming in till my car is ready."

"But it's month end! That's impossible to co-ordinate!"

Aha, thought I, he's only concerned about his sales targets and a possible bonus, shove the old lady off the curb and under the bus. No pun intended.

To be continued................................

Friday, October 06, 2017

The Outraged Granny Part 2

See Part 1 here

I was having a bad day anyway. Driving, too much on the go: the apartment, moving, no sale on the house, a sense of poverty, thinking this effin' new car, even on a lease was a poor decision even 3 months ago when life appeared financially rosier.

"And the tires," she added next,"They're in bad shape."

"Yes, I know, an extra 3 months on the lease would have such an effect."

"We have to charge you for those too."

"This is outrageous, I can't see how you can get away with these ripoffs."

I lost it, dear reader. So much so that she ran off to negotiate a "discount" for the tires on a used car. Built into the new lease.

At that point, the sales guy came over and said,

"Wait till you see your new car!"
Did you ever feel you're part of a movie and you're the only one without a script?

You know the feeling then.

To be continued....................

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Outraged Granny

I'm growing into a rather nasty old person. Seriously. I react viciously to the dismissals of younger others. Particularly when it comes to business dealings of any kind.

Is there an inbuilt contempt for us elders?

I was treated (IMO) quite shabbily by a car dealership. One I had always respected in the past. I'd ordered a new car, it might be my last, not being melodramatic here, just realistic. There was a 3 month back order on it. I'd almost forgotten about it when they called me a week ago to tell me it was in. I dutifully shuffled my schedule around and tootled in. I live 100km from the dealership.

They inspect my now lease-expired car for damages. And find pin prick sized dots on the paintwork. 6 of them. Parking lot issues. The car is 15,000 km under lease max of 106,000 - I had to have a 3 month extension because of the backorder. They assessed me $1,000 for the 6 pin pricks.

First enragement.

To be continued.......

See Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Throwing up its everything
To warn us
Of foolish expectations
In this corporate climate

We are on our own.

Rampant capitalism
Pushing, shoving,
Destroying all
In its path

Tolling our requiem bell
In Puerto Rico

Monday, September 25, 2017


I divide my life into chapters. This is the ending of another one.

I hosted my last PGs* last night. Three from BC plus two very well behaved dogs. their paws on the wood floors of my house and on my stairs had me unexpectedly and apologetically leak a few sniffles in spite of myself. I remembered with a kind of savage pain, the Wonder Dog. So I talked of her for a little while.

The three, a mother, her daughter and son-in-law were ascetic types. I would always fall in love with ascetics. You know the ones who have a spoonful of oatmeal, a radish and half an apple and call it a meal. Thin, tall lean hikers who say jolly good and gung-ho to anything that involves burning off 5,00o calories in an afternoon. Me? I count my life in meals eaten, where, when, and rate and oomph the OMG slobber factor for each and every one. Opposites attracting and all that.

They frowned on my breakfast offerings, the full Monte Newfoundland breakfast which would cement your stomach in place for two days, and had dabs of porridge, yogurt and teeny tiny spoonies of my selection of jams. That was it. No toast, or ham or eggs or scones and just the one cup of coffee they allowed themselves a day, and they were on their skinny greyhoundy way. I wish we all could be mixes of this type, the lusty gustoes and the leany beanies.

More potential buyers have turned around at the site of the Cathedral. It is getting wearisome, I admit.

Grandgirl recommended a really lovely book which her mother has subsequently read and passed on to me. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I will review it when finished. It takes me out of myself.

I know I have to move but the inertia has gripped me with icy cold fingers and I'm stagnant and paralyzed and don't know how to begin. I curled up around a cheery fire today and did absolutely zero apart from nap and read. A friend had provided me with a large pot of stew so there was nothing to do apart from simply set a date and helpers but it all seemed far more than I could possibly manage.

I took the pretty picture above this morning, in my bathroom, of the last of the community garden flowers that have kept the rooms in my house blooming over the summer. The picture below is of my first knitted flowers which I created on another story shawl for a dear friend.

*Paying Guests

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


One thing at a time, what?

My book club met yesterday, I wasn't too happy with the book we read . In fact I downright disliked its plotting, characters and resolution - if one could call it that as there was no conflict. I was pleasantly surprised that most of us present (17 out of about 28 members) felt the same, as I was first to go with my review. We're all sure it will be a movie as it reads like a bad film script and would be right up the more simplistic Hollywood's alley.

For an update on my reading this year, please go to my 2017 Books Read and Rated Link on the sidebar.

There have been more wonders than duds and for that I am pleased.

I'm also riveted on the Netflix series "Narcos" which is an extraordinarily well produced, written and directed history of the drug trade in Colombia interspersed with news footage of the actual personae involved. The one downside for me is that I can't knit throughout for the dialogue is mainly in Spanish with subtitles and subtitles and knitting don't mix, I'd need another pair of eyes.

My real estate agent and I are in sync on the sale of the house. I've now dropped the price substantially, fire sale bargain really, just what the builder of The Cathedral next door had planned. But I need to move with a sale under my belt and supporting the house through the winter is beyond my financial capabilities. And reality is reality.

Daughter had a unique Mothers & Daughters Luncheon for a bunch of us women with middle aged daughters. It was lovely and lasted five hours. Great conversation and delicious Indian vegetarian cuisine.

I was asked to join a major choir in the city once I move but I think my voice fled with a really bad resistant-to-super-antibiotic ear infection I had a few years ago. Things have never been the same with my hearing or my voice since.
I have other plans for my new city life though, all good, and interesting.

As I mentioned in one of my responses to comments on my last post, this time next year, this will all be far behind me. both the good and the worrisome.

Saturday, September 09, 2017


Yeah, my last post. In the way of enlightenment for you, my faithful readers, a lot went down prior to writing it and in that way of mine, I take inordinately long to process things, to say "whoa, this is too much right now!"

It's life, I know that, and life sucks the bag sometimes.

OK so the list prior to my black discing was, and I should mention, not in any order of priority:

(1)With all the interest in my house, once the Cathedral next door hoves into view, even though they've seen pictures and they've raved about my house, inside and outside, they can't bear how the Cathedral cuts off the western light and towers, threateningly, over my driveway. There is no way of knowing the noise and/or traffic to yet be endured once it's complete.

(2)Meanwhile, the nail pounding on its interminable and unpredictable construction goes on and on. A lovely chorus when you're already feeling low.

(3)I came back to the news that my friend/worker/general factotum for lugging of wood and heavy objects around, had been banging on my door for days not understanding that I was away in Daughter's car. He had something quite awful happen to him and wanted to talk to me about it. Long story short, he wound up in an ambulance having attempted suicide. Nobody went with him and the hospital believed his bending of the truth that he didn't know pills and alcohol are a deadly mix.

(4)I was surprised when my friend D called to tell me my friend L had asked for my telephone number as L and I talk frequently. L and I connected and I didn't address this, I was too scared, I guess. My fear was borne out in the shape our conversation took. There were huge gaps in her memory, serious gaps, of our last conversations when she was reviewing some legal matters with me and a policy had been put in place for going forward. She had no recollection of this and was startled when I went over everything in point form with her. She then referred to a friend's daughter by my daughter's name. Terror hit me full on. Her mother, a darling woman, had Alzheimer's at my dear friend's age. I cried after the call. I feel so helpless as she's in another province and truly, there is no one looking out for her.

(5)It's Ansa's one year anniversary. More than that, it's the way the year has gone and galloped underneath me and I think: I've cried every day for her, how foolish is that?

(6)My legs were bad in St. Pierre, the shooting pains, the lack of ongoing mobility. I had to take far too many breaks. Daughter is a saint, so patient and kind. I am lucky. But worried about the deterioration which is magnified by the rest of the stress.

(7) Absolutely no B&B bookings for September, zero. So no income.

So there you have it.

My sorry little tale.

I reflect on how little we can do to change things. I think I'll abandon all the horrific news from around the world. It's not just Irma and Harvey, it's Tibet and Mexico and Montana and B.C., et al.

End of Days indeed. Am I exaggerating?


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Black Disc

I wish there was one.

To hang on one's door. Or on one's Twitter or Facebook account or give an automatic email response. When one is incommunicado, please don't bother.

Like for today.

Feeling scowly and sad and a mite worried and physically challenged and super-tired.
And you know, this is when everybody decides to call, bang on the knocker, phone, message. Want to visit, want to make social interaction with me. And frankly? I don't. Not at all. I feel like one long week of rain. Miserable. So I ignore. And hide.

What makes it worse is the gorgeous weather outside, the blue of the ocean.

And yes, thoughts of Irma and the dreadful happenings of climactic weather conditions for our neighbour down below and to the left of where I am. And they have a guy in charge, so I hear, who doesn't believe in climate change and the warming oceans that cause this and that it's going to get a whole lot worse.

So I should feel grateful and safe.

And that makes me feel small and selfish and self-centred and even more miserable.

Bootstraps don't work.

Sleep is the antidote to misery.

I curl up and sleep and assure myself, like Scarlett, that tomorrow is another day.

Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rising Up

Thanks for all the comments on my last post. My realtor had called on me after the turnarounds of potential clients. I should mention my realtor's wife is dying of cancer and my concern was more for him than for the unimportance of my house when real-life horrors visit. They had thought she could abandon her chemo (6 years of it) as the quality of her life had deteriorated so badly but she had been rushed to emergency after a week. She is stabilized now and had insisted he leave her bedside and visit me.

We were both in agreement that we deal with the Cathedral head on in any publicity and also that I write an essay on what the house means to me and my story while I lived here. All that I had accomplished and fostered and enjoyed and improved upon and preserved.

Meanwhile I had spoken at length to a dear and wise and old friend in Ontario. He is one of these steady people, hand firm on the tiller of life, no room for the wild and crazy and unpredictables. I value his take on life, very different to my own and over the years we have just enjoyed each other's differences and valued each other's advice.

So he said why don't you crunch through the numbers and see what is the very minimum you would take for the house to keep you floating financially until you, well, snuff, and then if you get anything above that it will be a bonus. So I took the time to do this.

I felt so much better after the meeting with my realtor and my long conversation with R.

It is rare you meet a realtor who sings from the same page and I feel so fortunate with C.

So he had a call yesterday from a young couple and he mentioned the Cathedral and they were untroubled and enthused about the B&B and the cabin and all the positives so they're visiting tomorrow afternoon.

Fingers crossed but my thinking has shifted after the initial shock and horror. So yeah, onward and upward.

But my knees have taken a beating, I can tell ya.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On My Knees

I call it The Cathedral. On the day my house was offered for sale, the neighbouring landowner put up this eyesore, it is much higher than it looks as it is taller than my two storey house. There are no zoning bylaws in this town, no town plan (though I did put up a fight for one). So if you buy land in my town, you can literally throw any structure your heart desires on it. This is what happened next door to me. Vlad bought up the two parcels of forested land, left them fallow for years and then stripped them and built one enormous warehouse, and now encored with this monstrosity. It overshadows my house and all seven acres of my land offer a view.

On the second day of my house listing, the day it was publicized, there was tremendous interest in my house, agents and their clients drove out of town to inspect, clients eager to make an offer. But as soon as The Cathedral hove into view they quickly changed their minds as it is smack dab up against the right side of my property, blocking the beautiful light from the west.

I was devastated. This is not the first time Vlad the Destroyer has done this. When I went away for a week last year this greeted me on my return:

I sat in my driveway and cried, there were about 500 trees torn down and clear cut to leave these wounds on the land.

But, he is perfectly within his rights to do it as there are no zoning regulations and this is not the first time Vlad has torn down old heritage homes to replace them with monstrous and ugly warehouses dug into the once fertile and forested land in residential areas.

The Vlad plan is to then buy up the adjacent properties of the disgruntled and dismayed and devastated owners at a bargain basement price.

Vlad and his cathedrals to wanton ugliness. This is what happens with no town regulations. Barbarians climb the gates and plunder and pillage and destroy.

I'm on my knees.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Downsizing Part XV or Dither and You're Done.

The more I work on this, the more I love it.

Catch up Day.

Well, the dump is open all day, limited hours in my wee town out on the Edge of the Atlantic.

So I look around me and my eyes fasten on my enormous collection of VCR tapes. Enormous, you say? You have no idea. I have maybe 2,000 movies scattered on these bulky (often 4 movies on a tape)suckers, all labelled and indexed carefully.

And now I shamefully report these have all been unwatched for something like 14 years now. I think I taped every episode of Saturday Night at the Movies when Elwy Yost was doing his gentle, professional interviews of all these old timers (performers, directors, technicians) before they died off. The only one who was doing so. I had planned to have a periodic movie night with a feast of these old classics. Alas, that never happened. When you're an aficionado, it's hard to find your equal nutbar twin. Most have no time for the old black and whites. And "restored" to colour? Oh please.

So I tackled the deep green shelves today. These held a triple layer of these tapes. Times 4 shelves.

I knew the only way to do it was to take out a row of garbage bags and start pitching without looking. If I lingered, it would be game over. Ah, you're definitely going to want to see this again, oh look, another Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, James Stewart. See? So seven full garbage bags later I think, I could donate these, oh someone would love these, I should Kijiji these as a freebie.

You catch my drift. Stall tactics. I slapped myself. Hard.

I loaded all 7 bags in my car and drove to the dump. I told Brian, the dump-man, what was in the bags (You have to do this, they don't want household waste) and he said, hang on a minute, there's a real old fellow I know living in the back hills, he's a right old movie buff, do you mind if I take all these for him? With the winter coming on he'll be thrilled!

I mentioned I may have 7 or 8 or 10 more bags to follow and Pete says, even better for the old fellah, he'll love them all. Bring 'em over when you can!

And oh, yes, as I drove my empty car home I realized the "old fellow in the backwoods" was a year younger than me.

Letting go is not easy but it can be done if you don't stare.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


What would you like to be doing, wouldn't you like to be auditing and software training?


So what's next. You just had a birthday.

What I'd like to be doing is writing. And knitting when I'm not writing. And going to movies in the afternoon. Daughter gave me a loaded movie card.

There's not much money in writing.

Yeah, I know. Or knitting for that matter. That's why I need to sell my house. Then I can write.

So what are you doing to facilitate that?

I listed my house for sale. I took stress leave from my municipal time-consuming, enraging position. I backed away completely from stifling, drunken massive social events. I spaced my PGs a little better, gapped out some time for myself.
And yeah, I forgot to mention, I'm lying down for an hour in the afternoon. It's a brilliant revitalizer.

But you're not happy?

No. I'm easily irritated. I'm impatient. I'm snarky. I can't believe the world is not going along with my intention for a peaceful, blissful, last few years: Nazism? Ku Klux Klan without the masks? Anti Fa? (aren't most decent human beings?) In your face racism. Worst forest fires ever in BC? Domestic terrorism in the U.S.? And need I mention the occasional occupier of the White House?

I wish this lonely wee planet would get its act together and its useless and vile janitors thrown off it.

Maybe then I might be happy.

As if.

Sunday, August 06, 2017


Latest creative project

As I age, I endeavour to look at the additions in my life rather than the subtractions. Subtractions are so many,I can overlook the additions.

I have renewed contact with a family member which is enhancing my life once again. (No, not Missing Daughter). This shared history, the aging process and family news catchup means a lot to me. I can gnaw at those absent ones, but that does not serve me well. I celebrate this renewal, this rebirth, and put no expectations on it, for I stay in the moment with each conversation.

I get so absorbed in my needlework that I forget to eat. I'm working on this artist's palette and a burst of stars on a new shawl (see above) and being absorbed in the creative process drenches my soul in light and gratitude.

Forgiveness and understanding come easily as I age. A good friend had shut me out for several months, much to my bafflement and hurt. A few nights ago she texted me to come over if I was available. I did, with some trepidation. (Was I going to be accused of something, anything? Was the chill going to be reinforced?). Her husband hugged me as I came in and she lurked in a corner looking at me nervously. I didn't hold back. I held out my arms and said: give me a hug. She did, quite teary. I don't know what the estrangement was all about and I don't want to know. It may happen again. Or not. But I'm not wasting any more speculation on it.

I love the Irish expression of: "he/she had notions there for a while." It sometimes explains a whole pile of unexplainables. We all get them. Off with the fairies nursing slights or hurts. Real or imagined. Finding words for such behaviour can be difficult without sounding insane or unhinged.

I'm dealing with such a scenario with my young friend at the moment. Helping her label her feelings. As she can't. I was there once, in another lifetime, a frightening place to be. And someone dear took the time with me to walk me through the emotions and help me label them and understand the turmoil. I'm passing it on.

So yes, there is much in my treasury right now. It may look like slim pickings to some, but it is abundantly rich to me.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I'm sharing bits of the books I've read in the last while, little phrases that had me sitting back and taking stock, so to speak.

Take this: "How do you get old without letting sadness become everything."

Page 62. Lost and Found. By Brooke Davis.

I've wrestled with that, tried to block it, let it seep through me, let the tears flow freely, tried to stop the tears, talk to myself, overcome it, become overcome.

I feel guilty for living with so many dear ones dead. I constantly feel a part of me is missing without my dog by my side, in the car, on my bed, sitting on my feet when strangers came so she could keep a close eye on them, the breakfast routine, the morning and evening walks on the shore, talking to her, hiding from each other in an elaborate game of hide and seek - god, she was clever.

Yes, there's joy in playing with a friend's young grandchildren, having a laugh with Daughter, the whales, the whales. The flowers and herbs in my community garden, the way the water is right now, denim blue with underwear of white lace, the clarity of the houses and trees across the bay in this blinding afternoon rage of sunlight.

But this feeling of underlying sadness doesn't leave me for any great length of time.

I'm putting it out there to others, is this normal for old age?

I remember my dad telling me, he was then in his healthy early eighties, that with all his friends dead he knew loneliness in a brand new way (he was a long time widower). I remember suggesting to him he should make new friends. The ridiculousness of that remark appals me now. For the shared memories are what one misses.

It's difficult to keep one's head out of the past.

And I feel like such a bore.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Taking Stock

I've been fortunate enough in the past week to have a trickle of extra income land in the bank account. One cheque was for a project I worked on for an old client, the other was a long sought after backpay of an Irish pension - an ongoing battle since 2008 which many have helped me with. I had given up and then got a letter saying they had reviewed my case and I was entitled to a few crusts, not much in the overall scheme of things but I was happy to get even this tiny acknowledgement of what was rightfully mine.

All that to say that with my two guests leaving tomorrow after breakfast, I have blocked every day for further bookings until Monday next. My doctor called me in today to check on a few health items. One being my blood pressure which is still alarming. He stopped me from taking my own readings as I was becoming obsessed with it. He was also concerned with how stressful my life is with having to earn a living by hard work along with a projected move and my demanding municipal position. At my age, he said, I should be smelling roses and relaxing and planning some trips. I allowed my hollow laugh.

Out walking with my young friend, she had mentioned in light of my vascular pain that I should see about pain medication. I have a dismal level of tolerance to pain. A low threshold has plagued me for ever. I always feel like a wuss when I'm with those who are stoic and tearless along with being much worse off than I. Example: I kicked the delivery room nurse when delivering my first daughter. I apologised later for being so far out of my mind.

Doc reviewed my meds and said to try low dose Tylenol and see if that would help with exercising. The obvious solutions (such as pain medication) often elude me. My brain is strange uncharted territory.

I'm going to use the next few days to take stock of health: physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual and play with the plans for the new place and draft out the next few months and concentrate on the huge amount of interest by potential purchasers for my house.

The whales of St. Vincent's have been magnificent this year. Hundreds of them "in" in this magnificent weather.

Daughter has booked us a 5 day trip to St. Pierre & Miquelon, long on our bucket list, for the end of August. I'll have to dust off my rusty French. Luckily, I've had a few PGS who were just there and have passed on some amazing hints to me from their recently being on the ground, so to speak. The best restaurants, Josephine's for tea, and the best museum and tours.

So yes, off to France we go. Ooh la-la.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Unashamedly Geezer

I was talking to a very old friend on the phone today, she's in another province so we tend to catch up with each other every odd month or so and get caught up in our doings and in those of the slender little mound of joint friendships remaining from the random scythe-swipes of Mr. Reaper.

I've noted something in myself lately: an increased crotchetiness accompanied by far less time for fools and eejits, all doused with a spicy mix of darkest cynicism.

Youngsters (under 60s) don't understand this so I don't mention it, though I'm sure my Resting Bitch Face gives them a clue from time to time.

I have to put on Nice Face a lot, and it's looking rather worn and tired from overuse during this PG (tourist season).

D asked me if my house was listed for sale yet and I said no, it was all too much for me at the moment.

She asked me to parse that for her.

And I said, like Eleanor Rigby, I had to put on Nice Face so much lately - public events, hosting, library volunteering and on, that there was hardly any time for RBF (see above) and she needed to come out more or my head would explode. My nice quota had maxed out. And potential purchasers traipsing through here would finish me off.

She totally got it. Her tolerance level for life's stupidities and the appalling state of our planet matches mine. Our sorry future along with Stephen Hawking's predictions in light of the Orange Nightmare's disbelief in the science of climate change is giving us elders the freedom to be as cranky and crotchety as we want and expound on this rancid world of endless war as we see it: a hopeless, boiling mess, lurking for the final shove off of its pestilential fleas - the human race.

We agreed we need to turn off the news and the newsfeeds and the Twitters and Facebook updates, treating all of it in a Kardashian kind of way as if 45 is a joke and oh let's impeach him. Soon. As if. When the real problem is those who put him there, those who keep him there and the Fourth Estate who refuse to do their jobs and leave it to very few unread non-MSMs who do it for them.

Enough jokes from the John Olivers and the Stephen Colberts. This is not satire or humour or what's he tweeting now, the toddler.

Very few MSMs are taking the current global status with any seriousness or offering realistic solutions. Because they are mostly all bought and paid for.

Which leave us elders muttering together, feeling all rather hopeless for our grandchildren. But without the physical vigour to placard and march.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Humans and boundaries

My PG (tourist) season has been full. Which is all to the good.

I've observed something over the years with our fellow creatures. If one concedes even a tiny bit, they continue to pound away at the boundaries until one cries uncle. Or not.

I had one such recently. My breakfast schedule is between 8 and 9 a.m. After she checked in she wheedled her way into making it 7.30 - a very early rise for me. When she did come down for breakfast she announced she was celiac. No gluten. I asked her why she hadn't shared that information with me before her arrival and she confessed I mightn't have taken her. So here I am pantry scrambling and freezer digging. On Day 2 she asked could she do her laundry even though on my profile I say no laundry privileges. I conceded ( I need my head examined!) to take her laundry and do it for her and later folded it and put it on her bed. On Day 3 I asked if she found her laundry on the bed and received the casual: "oh yeah, I guess, thanks". she never moved a plate off the table which nearly all guests do and left her bedroom tossed. And never purchased even a token in my wee shop. A forty something privileged white woman with a healthy bank account (she had shared that much).

Thankfully, she's in a tiny minority of humans who believe that I host for fun and pleasure and am there to fulfil any need they express.

She also helped me considerably to firm up my own boundaries and tell guests that early breakfasts don't work for me, I can't accommodate special dietary requirements unless given at least one week's notice and there's absolutely no laundry.

So I still learn from those who are in my path to teach me what to do but also what not to do.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I shepherd my energy carefully these days as I feel I'm falling behind. So the blog gets shoved aside for another day.

Tourism is a huge benefit to my life. Both the engagement with my PGs (guests) which feeds my intellect and the financial benefit which I rather desperately need.

Many ask me how I keep going with my health challenges and the demands of still having to make a living in my seventies.

My answer is: carefully (see first sentence). It would be fairly catastrophic if my health worsened now, as inevitably it will. I need to keep chugging until September when my load will lighten considerably, fingers crossed.

Therefore I prioritize. We just finished the Living with Chronic Disease series of workshops yesterday and I can't praise it enough. I've been asked to be a facilitator in the future but I've shelved that for now. I'm becoming more skilled at the art of saying NO.

I learned so much about accepting where I am and dealing a fresh deck of cards which encompasses my heath challenges, not focussing on what I used to do, but focussing on the now and making Action Plans for each day that are manageable and achievable. I had been thinking in the light of what I used to be able to accomplish but recognise now that I was doing far too much as a result and burdening myself with unrealistic expectations of what my day should be packed with and beating myself up for failure to do so.

The art of pulling back and the power of both Now and No are my new best buddies.

One of the incredible results of the workshop was our youngest participant (in his mid thirties) shared yesterday that his last hope was committing to the workshops for all 6 weeks. If nothing changed for him, he had planned suicide. We were all crying after he spoke. He has many challenges including his young spouse in a wheelchair (boy, perspective!) and he had absolutely no hope. Now he's attempting to live within his limitations and try one new thing every week and list his achievable goals.

I feel I've turned some kind of corner too, not clear on what it is yet. But more will be revealed, I'm sure.

I just know I feel so much more alive now.

And ready.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Local politics and knitting.

I'm still learning at my age and with, at times, my challenging health. None of us gets a free pass at life, do we? Roll with the punches, etc. Importances shift and swirl and change. Observations become keener and sharper. Letting go of toxic people becomes easier. Personal growth takes on a new meaning as I learn into the grave.

I recently persisted with a form of knitting that I didn't have the patience for all my life - or, you know, adapting the instructions for it which never worked and resulted in awkward bulges and then I would toss the results. So I sat down and wound all these bobbins to hang off the back of the work and persisted in learning and finally mastered intarsia a couple of weeks ago. It felt good and satisfying and fulfilling.

I've had my battles at the local political level too. I've been up against some old guards, bleeding deacons, buzzards, in my efforts to create outdoor community spaces that are used daily. I was drowning in negativity and mockery. Frankly, it wore me down. I've only 3 months left on my municipal term and I'm trying to push through some more town enhancing changes and it was endless, soul destroying battles one after the other at our monthly meetings.

I gave up. I've got too much other stuff on the go which is sapping me until I move and I thought: conserve your energy, f*** them all. I'm just too tired and each battle is chewing another bite out of my soul.

I mentioned how dispirited I was to my clerk (who is quitting at the end of my term, he is equally disillusioned) and he said: "Go down fighting, don't let the bastards grind you down."

And I thought to myself: there in one sentence is the difference between men and women and our cultural conditioning (I don't believe in the concept of 'gender'). Women are taught to be subservient peace makers, men to assert and dominate.

I've worked in so-called male positions all my life, starting with my first job in Ireland. And too many times to count, I subside at meetings as the men talk/yell/shout over me. As the men talk/yell/shout over me today at meetings even though I'm technically their boss, until I bang the table loudly and tell them to stop. I dread these confrontations, not so much as before, but yelling shouty men have the power to make my heart pound, as in my experience it was always a prelude to violence.

So I took his words to heart and thought: No, I won't shut up, I will continue to speak my truth and whether they adapt my ideas or not, I'll leave "unground".

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Leopard, spots, death

Never speak ill of the dead.

She did her best.

She didn't mean to be nasty, did she?

Words soaring in my head after an older cousin died. A cousin I tried to like but couldn't. She was an only child of a "widowed" and cold mother to give you a little background. The widowed aspect was always under a cloud as our granny would always "humph" nastily when her daughter's status was mentioned. Only one picture of her father existed and it looked like it was cut out of a magazine. I remember he wore a uniform of some kind but no one could answer how he died.

She was enormously cruel to me when we were younger and even when we were older too, come to think of it.

When I was 4 and she 10, she threatened to hang me by my nose off the church railings if I didn't give her the bracelet my granny gave me. Needless to mention.....

When I was 8 and she 14, I was staying at an aunt's in the country while my mother was giving birth in the city. I felt very important as my father had written down his work number on a piece of paper so I could telephone him from the post office up the main street and he would tell me if my mother was OK and if it was a boy or girl.

She dropped by my aunt's (this aunt was a maternal aunt and no relation to her) and I proudly shared with her how I was going to make my first phone-call all by myself at the post office. She snatched the piece of paper from me and raced away only to come back about 10 minutes later and tell me I had another brother. I was inconsolable that she had stolen even this from me.

Frankly, I was always a little afraid of her. This was enforced by my mother who barely tolerated her due to her constant lies and demands on my father who was her only uncle. A parade of "suitable" men were paraded through our home when she hit 20 to be vetted by my father. She always insisted, privately to me, that she was closer to my father than I could ever hope to be. And there were other cruel little interplays with her, particularly when my mother was dying which still has the power to upset me all these years later.

Yeah, I get that she was needy and sad and alone and over compensated with braggadocio. I truly tried to like her in later years, being aware of all of this. But the last social interactions I had with her left me feeling so empty and baffled. There had been no personal growth, her conversation circled around herself, her skills, her beauty, her wardrobe, how all in her path adored her. And her remarkable lack of curiosity or compassion for others was breathtaking.

I'm left reflecting how bereft of feeling I am for her, this strange leopard and her spots that never changed.

Not even a whit of guilt.

And for that I'm glad.