Saturday, April 29, 2017


Possible concept for a minimalist desk.

I hope it's not a foreboding of bad luck but when I laid claim to my new dwelling, all suited up with preliminary baggage: the important stuff like the small French press, mug, dark roast coffee, cream, some basic pantry stock, a small table, chair, layouts, suggestions, wouldn't you know it the key wouldn't work.

Because it didn't I met two of my neighbours, Elizabeth and Carol, who endeavoured mightily to help me. No luck. Not even a twitch out of the lock. I called the administrator (not a super, no, he's an administrator) no answer, left a message. Schlepped (with difficulty) my stuff back down again to the car (the ladies offered to host my bits in their apartments but I declined) and waited. I don't know about you but as I age I find the Type A personality has not being paying attention to meditation and OM practices whatsoever. So frustration and a small pity party ensued. He called me within 10 minutes. He'd been at the hospital and left his phone in his car. Upside was he found another key in the office and told me there were trolleys and roll-y carts to assist residents in hauling stuff around. He took my baggage up and we did the transfer of keys.

So I made myself a cup of La Java Fran├žaise and sat down at the wee table and pondered my new space. And pondered. And thought: cripes what have I done. And thought: this is all good. And once again, I forgot to take pics for Grandgirl. She is the space expert. Seriously. At twelve she was organizing my car. At fourteen organizing my storage space in Toronto. At 20 she travelled Europe for the summer with a small backpack. At 21 she taught in India for months with a ditto. A genius with space and minimum necessities.

As a boost I watched The Minimalist. Recommend. Seriously. I love the 333 concept too. Though I've been adhering to minimum clothes for a while. And shoes. I was comforted by both. Yes, I'm doing the right thing.

I set up an area in the garage today with a table and loads of boxes of all sorts of stuff for me to go through. I set it up out there as my tourist season starts soon. Leo is an amazing help for the lugging as I am no longer able. I've recycled so much paper, cards and letters already but there's still more. Frighteningly more. But not as intimidating as I feared. The movies and books are the next go-through, though I've donated a lot already.

So yeah, I'll get there.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


I never tire of the sunsets here

I've started the purge. Not that there's much enough. Sentimental stuff hauled all the way here from Toronto. Letters, photos, cards. And the journals I need to burn. Tripe as my father would have called such "rubbish". He burned and dumped all his own stuff about 6 months before he died. "The Evidence" as I like to mentally call it. Cartons of papers and gawd knows what else.

I found lovely photos of my Helen. Cards from Missing Daughter loving me forever. Forever is always negotiable, isn't it. At the time we mean it. Can never imagine forever being over and done with. I philosophize as I work my way through stuff. A lot of thank you cards extolling my kindness, etc. Many from people whose names do not stir any remembrance at all. Weird that. Many items from people long dead. I am being ruthless. I don't need these memento mori anymore in my life. We change. We evolve. We devolve. We move on.

I had to make two hard decisions in the week. One was not to attend Grandgirl's Convocation in Ontario. She was limited to inviting three people only. Her father, her mother and I were her choices. The health thing. I am bockety, unsteady on the pins. I thought about this. Being a constant worry to my loved ones. Because worry they would. And distract. There is endless walking and grounds and halls and parking lots. I'm good for about three minutes and then kazoom. And a fresh worry, legitimate, deep vein thrombosis on the flight. I shouldn't say worry as I sound a mite obsessed. I'm not. At all. This was a carefully thought through decision with no regrets. I'll see the pictures and the fact she included me in her three beloveds meant the world to me.

I'm putting a small stayover bag for my apartment together. I'm quite excited about this. And then I walk across to my iceberg in this sparkling shine of a day and I feel the tears. Leaving here, leaving this magical place where I finally found myself. I still have a busy final tourist season happening ahead of me.

That's all good. I'm going out with a bang.

I keep reminding myself: This is all so good. So very good.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Da Week Dat Was

Painting by Maud Lewis "Covered Bridge"

It was one of those weeks, non-stop gallop. I don't particularly like those but they can be fun too. I planned a surprise birthday dinner for Daughter who turned, gasp, fifty.

I am the mother of a 50 year old. I don't feel adequate or mature enough. She is thoroughly basted in middle age now, isn't she. Feel so very fortunate for living this long when of my friends more are now dead than alive.

The birthday was held at a local restaurant which closes during the week in non-tourist season but opens for large groups.

They especially made huge platters of Jiggs Dinner which included lashings of roasted turkey, masses of veggies cooked with salt beef, pease pudding, dressing, turnip, cabbage and mounds of potatoes and gravy. Man oh man, we were all groaning. There was hardly any room for the cake which was especially made by a friend who designed and made this gluten free number, complete with mathematical symbols which is Daughter's forte.

We all had a jolly good time.

We had a Book Club Meet thrown in during the week too. I was on duty for the dessert.

Then Car developed weird lights on the dash which alarmed me and I had to take it into the dealer, a long haul in freezing rain, you know it's bad when the trees are exquisitely ice-draped along with the power lines. But I made it in. Parts ordered.

Then it was off to see "Maudie" with a friend who texted on the off chance I was in town and would like to see it. Oh, I recommend. It left me spellbound. What I love about living in a small province is that I run into people I know at the movies all the time. So instant discussions on the quality of the film. And I know one of the producers too, she had the grace to see my play when it was on its run and expressed an interest in filming it at some point.

So there you have it.

All is well.

Overnight it seems, I have an elderly daughter.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Peopled Out, Iceberged In

Because I'm a gregarious loner, I like a lot of downtime, away from the maddings. This week was a rough one, an ongoing intense quality and quantity to human exposure for me. Drop ins. Don't like them. But I foolishly hung out the tax services shingle and I figure all told, with the drops and convos about life stories and Uncle Ned, great fellah you should have met him, I'm making about $5.00 an hour if I factor in the social aspect. Big Mistake.

I'm very fussy as to friends. Loads of acquaintances but friends I can count on one hand. So I have to wear my nice for these tax clients and engage with them reluctantly but smilily. I am sensitive to social cues but most people are not, I find. I say I'm sorry but I'm busy but I imagine they think that applies to others and not them as they ramble on about Auntie Mildred and Grandfather Jack and just who are in these photos around my living room.

Meanwhile some ancient ice has been hanging around outside my front door. Pictures, yes. And this is after a couple of weeks as the weather has been glorious and most of the ice has melted, it covered the bay at one point and there were mini-mountains bobbing along.

I can't imagine what this gigantic ice melt has done to the glaciers of Greenland and to the planet's health. And they are here far too soon this year. And apparently are only the precursors of more yet to come.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Measuring a Life

I officially took possession of Tiny. I use the word Tiny as a comparative to Sprawl which is my existing dwelling. I am sprawled out over:

(1) A saltbox house
(2) An off the grid cabin.
(3) A large garage
(4) A barn
(5) A baby barn shed.

I take measurements of Tiny. And then took them again, blinking in disbelief. Nothing from Sprawl quite fits, I think. And then I think: Help!

I look at the freshly painted walls, a lovely lemony shade. And fresh carpet, kind of grey-blue. And then I look out at the southern exposure view, lashings of sunshine. I look up at Signal Hill in the distance. And think: this is truly perfect. You won't need drapes, says the Administrator, as nothing overlooks you. There are lovely white opaque blinds on the windows, you can keep these if you want, he says, they're brand new from the previous tenant who never quite moved in as he had a heart attack and stayed in Ontario.

He tells me I should be around next weekend as there is Easter Dinner for all the residents in the community recreation centre downstairs. Free. What? I ask. Oh, all festivals throughout the year have a free dinner for the residents, he responds. Bonus.

I texted my friend who introduced me to this building a few years back and we met for coffee. I'd forgotten how much we laugh together. How alike we are in many ways.

Her place, similar in layout to my apartment is zen like in its simplicity. I aspire, I tell her. Tips, please.

In this new age of digital access, physical books and movies become redundant, we agree. What are my treasures? Pictures, my writing life and its accoutrements.

What defines me? How do I measure my life without the extras?

PS As I write this there's a film crew, cast and extras of 12 around my house. Filming a wedding scene. Using two of the bedrooms and my living room and many outside shots. They're all so young. Well, yeah. I don't see too many elders making movies, do you? Shame, really.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Blog Jam

This is a joke I posted on Facebook. I love jokes that are clever and clean and have a surprise at the end.

Laugh of the day~~~

"You're both in your nineties," said the judge to the elderly couple, "Married 70 years! Why would you want a divorce now?"

Said the old woman: " We were waiting for the children to die."

I have a film crew coming on Sunday to make a short film in my house as it is old and hasn't been drastically renovated but has the original exterior and interior. Interesting, I think. Now I'm thinking it's a huge disruption. Then again......

I had two rejection letters. How do you deal with rejection? I had loved these two submitted pieces, and so did others, so I felt rather very crushed and then got so busy later that I forgot to feel sad but now that I'm here at the end of the day I've got time to brood and flay and tell myself give up, I'm useless. So I'm writing here instead for the 4 or 5 that do read me and appreciate. Thanks guys.

Yesterday, I visited my friends whose daughter died and actually made them laugh helplessly about the first marriage proposal I received out here in the Far East. Have I told you I've had hilarious marriage proposals? I will some day. It could be a book. I always cry in my car when I leave my friends, I can't imagine their suffering. Now they are putting their daughter's Jeep and house on the market. She was only 40 and death stalked in, in the middle of the night, and grabbed her. A congenital heart defect. I discuss books with him, he's an avid reader of all things Newfoundland - he was a coast guard in his time - and make them both laugh. I don't plan it that way but I'm glad it works out that way when I visit. Getting out of bed is their enormous act of courage for the day.

I had this friend, well, she's more of an acquaintance. When I moved here she'd phone me about once a month. Strange conversations. She'd never a ask a question but would launch into a sort of list of people who'd let her down by not phoning/dropping in/not picking her up/not letting her know about events, etc. She had a stroke many years ago, I remember visiting her every day in the hospital, not an easy thing as the location of her hospital was both a subway and streetcar ride away from where I was headquartered then in downtown Toronto. But I knew visits to her would be minimal or zero from others during the day as she lived way out in the outlying suburbs and the hospital was in the west end. And there were other occasions too when I filled in as her caretaker on weekends away. All this to say, I was up against myself in dealing with her. I never felt close to her but I would still feel guilty, the stroke for one, and the fact she didn't establish deep friendships with anyone mainly because her demands never stop when you're with her. There are always extras you have to do and there is no acknowledgement of driving out of your way or picking up extra stuff along the route. And then guilt again for feeling like that. It's a vicious cycle. I dropped my landline months back and now I'm just on mobile. And of course she doesn't have that number. But lawdie, now she's phoned many of my friends to demand my mobile number but none feel they want to give it to her. So today she calls a buddy in Florida and he immediately puts her request for me to phone her right away on my FB wall. She is tenacious. And truthfully, normally I don't think about her at all. Guilt again.

So yes, I will call her. If I don't forget yet again. I need to brace myself. I don't wish for more friends to get harassed by her. There's none as queer as folks. If it were me, I would have given up long ago and put it down to disinterest and move on. But not J.

I take official possession of my home in the city tomorrow. Exciting times. Though I won't be moving there full time until the fall for there's a lot to wind down here over the next few months.

So new pastures, new opportunities await. Sadness too at leaving this little paradise behind.

But I'm ready.

Saturday, April 01, 2017


In light of the horrific recent events unfolding in Holy Ireland, with babies starved, tossed into septic tanks and sold to the highest bidders by demonic clergy, please read here and here for further clarification. Bessborough is where I would have been interred like a few of my friends who were abandoned by their boyfriends or raped by relatives or priests.

If you need further enlightenment on these horrific crimes against humanity I thought to bring to light my own narrow escape story that I still grapple with emotionally. I'm trying to set my story all down and come to terms with it, but it still festers in my heart, it is still so difficult to speak of. And I don't. Because I cry. Writing is what I do best.

And in case you're wondering, everyone knew about these institutions. We girls lived in fear of them and pitied the poor creatures within them when we would visit - as privileged private school girls - to entertain them. But never speak to them. Contamination, you see. and looking back, us girls must have been obliviously rubbing further salt into their scalded souls.

And yes I've had the therapy and tried to establish an understanding of my past with the male members of my birth family, to no avail.

For seriously, how can any Irish man, no matter the age, understand the Ireland of 1966 when a frightened, pregnant young woman, not more than a girl, together with her young husband, made life changing decisions to protect themselves and their families from the cult that was the RC church in Ireland? And make no mistake, it was (and still is) a patriarchal, hypocritical cult, steeped in misogyny, condemning so-called "unmarried mothers" to a life time of slavery, their babies stolen and sold, or killed or starved. Or horrifically raped by the parish priests who had unlimited access to these vulnerable girls and children.

I was secretly five months pregnant at my wedding. A very tight girdle.


A wedding ring away from a workhouse, a lifetime of indentured slavery.

A wedding ring away from a child kidnapped and sold.

A papal blessing away from tribal condemnation on a secret side altar of the parish church.

An emigration away from family disgrace and pursed lip judgement

A lonely birthing away from family joy and support, among strangers in a strange land

A frightened young couple away from all they knew dear, alone and terrified.

A baby born away, questioning the whys and wheres and hows of the banishment of her parents.

A lifetime away in a country which beckoned when Ireland closed its doors.