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: