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.