Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Joy of Snail Mail

I love snail mail, both receiving and sending.

So does Daughter. I see her regularly and we talk many times a week, but she sends nuggets in the mail to me. One of her own postcards, addresses blocked to protect privacy:



And then 2 days ago, a postcard from a friend, "a woman of affairs, Greta Garbo":

And this is a treasure, received a week ago, a handmade booklet from a writer friend, full of hand-drawn pictures and beautifully scripted writing honouring my late lamented companion dog Ansa. This is called "O My Dogling."

So yesterday, I went to the post office and mailed the following, with joy:

(1)Two handknitted dishcloths +card to the winner of my dishcloth draw, Pauline.
(2)A "Thank You" card to Kathleen, my writer friend for her dogling gift.
(3)A "Thank You" card to the municipal people I worked with who sent me a card containing a $100 credit card and a lovely note.
(4)A "Thank You" card with a payment and a wee bonus to my plumbing/well genius/expert water man/defrosting of pipes expert, Calvin, who disconnected and reconnected water in the ongoing saga of my house, now sold, and who voluntarily dropped around to it every day monitoring the situation in my absence.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Things don't dust themselves, who knew?

It's only when I'm taking things apart to make room for something more efficient, more aesthetic, more utilitarian, that I nearly fall over from the dust that collects behind the books, the files, the cords, whathaveyous.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened in my life. I can't say I get embarrassed, housekeeping has never been my strong suit, but I find myself surreptitiously hauling out a dust-cloth and shoving the dust around. In the old house, the fire was always the distributor of such largesse. Here in the apartment? I could say I burn incense and candles. The problem with my brain is I wonder where the hell this stuff comes from in the absence of fire ash and dog (she was handy also as a dust instigator).

Today I had kinda built-ins arrive from the furniture maker. His photos looked wondrous, his prices excellent but the end product?

Dear gawd, a bit of a shocker as to quality. I was disturbed a bit when he showed up missing some important teeth from his upper jawbone. We talked different languages starting immediately. I questioned the non-finishing of the pieces, it went like this:

"I was under the impression that you would furniture finish the two pieces."

"Ah, you'll have to give them a bit of a wipe to get the sawdust off."

"I don't mean that, if you look at the table here and the chairs, you'll know what I mean."

"No, I don't."

"A reflective finish, fine sanded like this table."

"You don't want that, it destroys the look of the wood."

"I don't think so."

"And I see you didn't use wood filler in the screws or the mistaken screw holes (there were several aborted attempts in drilling for screws) either."

"You might want to take things apart and move screws and you can't do that if they're glued."

"And the side of the desk is the wrong measurement. I scanned you my design."

"It looks fine, I offer a lifetime guarantee on my work."

"I wasn't expecting plywood as a desktop."

"Nice and light to move around."

"But it's permanent in the corner, no moving around."

"Ah, but you might want to move it around."

I gave up. Sometimes you just cut your losses, you know?

I don't want to see him again and frankly, I was a little scared to tangle with him. And I've sucked up my disappointment and adapted my office space and the desk fits nicely in the corner and the pullout keyboard drawer works well, it was his piece de resistance. He couldn't stop demonstrating it.

And oh, yes. Bonus: I dusted.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dis 'n Dat

A lovely bunch of flowers from Daughter in a jug from my mother.

I'm starting this post, knowing I won't be completing it for a few days.

I entertained for the first time in my apartment. A brunch. With a brunch dish that I've made so many times I no longer need a recipe. It was fun making it. Daughter was here for the weekend and we made it together. It needs to sit overnight in the fridge for maximum fluff and effect.

I am very fortunate in that my interests and activism and support groups have me meeting the young. One of the guests on Saturday was the same age as my granddaughter and she was amazing, her breath of knowledge took my breath away. So well read and educated and on an artists' bursary programme here in Newfoundland. She had thought she was applying to Halifax and was shocked that "Atlantic Grants" included Newfoundland. But loving it here and surprised that our winter is so mild - it's the first time in anybody's recollection that boots have only been required once or twice this winter. Climate change having positive effects on this wild island, if we can call it positive. We bonded over textile work and she loved the prints of my work I have framed and hanging on the walls. The youth of today give me enormous hope. They clearly see where it all went so horribly wrong (capitalism and patriarchy run amok) with politicians and the 1% and their puppeteers valuing excessive stuff more than humanity. Most recent case in point being Florida and those young people massacred and their dreams trashed alongside their forever traumatized relatives and friends. No one ever recovers from these multiple massacres. An endless arsenal of machine guns de rigeur versus the lives of children.

I found a woodworker who is converting my designs into actuality. One is for a corner desk unit with an awkward shape to fit into the office corner of my bedroom. The other was for a mobile cart to match some bookshelves to hold my flat screen and the few precious DVDs I couldn't give away. His prices are a joke. Wait till you see. I will be supplying photos of the entire downsized place when complete. It is all coming together so nicely.

A follow-up to the theatre contract I received was more consulting which pleases me no end. Good to keep my hand in, particularly in the creative field. Other jobs came my way but I turned them down. I'm realizing my own limits, my energy is great in the morning but I can be unpredictably wiped in the afternoon which annoys me no end. I'm working on acceptance of this and planning accordingly. Sometimes.

I lost a 30 year friendship today. A good man who will be missed. A cancer that wouldn't leave him for the last few years. He had a cabin in Newfoundland and lived in Ontario and New Brunswick. He will be missed. The second loss this month. The real penalty of growing old, isn't it. The mixed blessing of survival.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Elder Musings

~~I am thrilled with a new project I was fortunate enough to get.

~~However, I am slower, do you guys of elder vintage find that tackling work that was formerly a kind of I-can-do-this-with-one-hand- tied-behind-my-back is now an-all-hands-on-deck situation? And speaking of all hands I find that a sporadic carpal tunnel problem I had returned and boy was it a challenge to heal, older tissues, repetitive strain injuries take triple the time to heal including an arm splint to bed, oh gawd was that awful. I digress, it is now healed with the odd twinge to remind me not to abuse it again.

~~I'm also aware that the the 30+age gap between my clients and myself has me faltering a lot with business language. It's not that I don't know it, it's that it is more difficult to retrieve out of my brain files, particularly in business conversations. This morning on a 3-way conference call I found myself fumbling mentally with what term I could use for my PC(personal computer rather than my smart phone), thinking: is PC still used? So I blurted "Main frame." Now there's a blast from the past. I've been 40 years using these suckers. They let it go, tho surely they must wonder what I meant or what decade of the ought-oughts I was in.

~~See what I mean?

~~My wee friend whom I've mentioned before (under 30) wants a coffee date late tonight and my mind immediately goes to bedtime interruptus now: my nightly routines of a bit of Netflix, my book, my games of online scrabble and I want to decline but hey, I know this stuff is good for me too. Break the old routines, get out there.

~~Daughter wants me to meet 2 of her friends and host them to brunch in my place next weekend and I'd thought: no more of these get-togethers when I moved here, just hermitize. And hermitizing has not been good as my inner slob takes over and things need to be put away rather than gaped at in puzzlement as to where to put them. There's very little excess, but photographs, binders of writing, old laptop, wools, crafting supplies, multiple unhung pictures, you get it. But I mulled and thought well: incentive. In the past friends and I always joked that the best housekeeping system is to entertain once a month and I've followed that for years and years now. So yes, I need to do this, there's nothing like new friends and seriously I'm quite proud that Daughter likes to air me and share me. The maternal age-gap has shrunk between us which is quite lovely. And rare. And I treasure it.

~~Impatience with myself - that internal voice. I must slow down as I drop things in my speedy old way of doing things. Spoons, pens, phone, blue tooth ear piece, papers and I find myself castigating myself. Slow down, honour the crone.

~~One thing at a time is important. I can't do everything in one day and mornings are the best. So I do one thing on the to do list every day, or more if I can manage it, and the current day's wee jobs too, but I list them all as I learned in that Living with Chronic Diseases Workshops so I know that I've accomplished something at the end of the day, even if it's self care.

PS Photo is not me, but hey, I can sometimes feel like that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Dear Diary

Dear Diary:

I'm sure you're very bored with all this nonsense regarding my holdings of 7 acres and its numerous outbuildings, far too numerous to count, that is holding me and my future financial security hostage. I've practised much mindfulness and letting go and shifting importances. And it works, most of the time.

And that window thing? I started that again as we know D, that if the current permutation of this sale goes through I will have to supplement my sad pensions and OAS. So I restarted the window thing the other morning. I witness dawn every day. And right now it is magical as we know. No snow, glorious sun (casting climate change concerns away from me) so I threw out my arms as I used to do when 5 employees were depending on me for their livelihood and welcomed work, interesting work, a project, any non-physical work.

And lo and behold, D, there it was, a distant contact emailed me and asked if I was interested in cleaning up some theatre matters. A bit of a shambles on the books and with grant season coming up? Offered to pay me in advance too, the best kind of client. So yes, I'm started on that - it's all remote work too which is even better - and with many theatre companies in Newfoundland this could be a cottage industry, who knows. And D, did I mention comps? Free tickets for all performances.

So D tonight I'm walking along the gallery (to retrieve my (free) laundry) overlooking our gorgeous community room when the piano strains of The Parting Glass drifts upwards and I stop and lean over and start to sing the words, softly, and the pianist finishes and discussion ensued. My voice is sorta back after a long absence. She plays in a small band and was rehearsing. She's 80 I'd say. I mentioned I'd like to play, practice for a while, I played daily for my own pleasure for years but piano in absentia has been a hole since I moved to Newfoundland 14 years ago. So yes, I'm going to play again and, bonus D, I really liked her, I love seeing older-than-me folks thoroughly engaged with life.

Also I'm feeling better, don't know how this is. I still have 2 more tests to get by. But gift-horses and mouths come to mind D, so we'll just roll with that and play The Parting Glass, shall we?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Garbage on a Finite Planet

My building doesn't have recycling.

I know. A bald statement of fact.

But seriously. Think about it. As I have.

Us residents? Well we range in age from 65-100+.

And there's also no garbage chute.

What we generate, rubbish wise, we have to cart forth to one of several commercial dumpsters scattered at the edges of many parking lots around our building which is a 2 storey sprawled hither and yon. A building from a former US army base plus its attendant buildings (school, hospital, houses, apartment buildings)was sprawled lavishly over many hills overlooking lake, harbour and nearby battlements in WW2.

For several decades now I've been used to recycling. Particularly in Toronto where even kitchen waste was separated along with glass, plastic, metal and paper.

I order online a lot, to prevent stress and strain from carting heavy and awkward cans and toilet paper and flour and oatmeal from parking lot to second floor apartment.

So my cardboard, packing material, boxes, empties, etc. all go to the dumpster, which in turn is emptied into landfills which makes me feel ill. It all feels so wrong.

Every week I generate a huge garbage bag, place it on a small luggage trolley, take it to my car and then drive the car around to one of the dumpsters and throw this bag into it. With effort. The lid is chained and heavy to lift. Not senior/disabled friendly by any means. Most older seniors here have home help. These helpers, mainly in their forties/fifties, cart their employers' garbage down and out.

I've asked management about this but receive a puzzled shrug. My lively friend on the first floor, my own age, has offered to take mine down if it's a problem for me but no, I don't want to burden her unnecessarily and it's not really about carting it down but the fact we don't have any recycling and no plans to implement it.

I can't to get used to it.

Living on an island as I do.


To be clear here: most of the island has recycling, including the small village where I lived. All of St. John's has recycling but not this apartment building. I'm not sure about others.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Bad Cess

I haven't posted in a while as I didn't want to jinx the sale of my house. But guess what, it was jinxed anyway so my juju didn't work now, did it.

The closing date was really early, January 31st but hey was I going to look a gift horse in the mouth? No siree Bob.

Anyway the Big Day came yesterday and two glitches, one of which was the well water not passing inspection, which was no surprise to me as the water had been shut off in the house for 3 months and only hooked up upon the offer of purchase so I don't imagine the inspector ran the water for too long. So now that process starts all over again. Another glitch was my former town clerk classifying my house as an "inn" which it wasn't and that caused legal repercussions. I was furious with him as I had gone to great lengths to explain to him how Airbnb operated and I was honest enough to pay municipal taxes on my earnings as an Airbnb host.

So jinxing be damned. Maybe I'll shine the light on this fresh challenge on my blog in hopes of this bad cess being turned around. I feel my life is on hold until all this is resolved and have felt this way for a while. I don't want to join the food vs heat brigade of which there are so many of us impoverished female single seniors. But I have utter sympathy for those, unlike myself, who don't have the luxury of waiting for a real estate sale. And seriously, I've thought of sponsoring a poor woman's heat in some meaningful and secret way if I have any funds at my disposal.

So yeah. Onward.

I'm not as stressed as I thought I might be, though a bit sleepless in St. John's last night.