Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Dynamics of Long Term Friendship

My friend came to me today, deeply troubled.

Her 65 year friendship with her bestie was on the rocks.

Her friend, B, had made weekly plans with her, dinner on the Friday.

S, my friend, called her to confirm on Thursday.

B said, things had changed, now they would meet Saturday instead, offering no explanation.

S called her on Friday to confirm and B responded something more exciting had come up for Saturday so said they'd have to meet some other time.

S called B today to tell her how hurt she was and was immediately gas-lit. I've written about gas-lighting before as some in my own family of origin are experts. I didn't know anything about it until I read an article a few years back and the light bulbs went off. S had never heard of it either but when she went over how B had treated her on the phone:
(1)You're too sensitive
(2)I have a life, you should get one
(3)You're forgetting all I've done for you
(4)This is so trivial.
(5)You should apologise for harassing me.
(There was no apology offered by B, you will note.)
she kept nodding at me. It was familiar territory to her in this friendship.

I discussed a long term friendship I had lost. It all boils down to the respect given and received, doesn't it? How we value each other. There were underlying issues (passive aggression and continual tardiness) in my former friendship but basically, for me, it was that sense of having no value, evidenced by lack of contact - an inherent laziness - and dismissal of efforts made by me to cement and honour what we had.

We need to be seen and heard we both agreed. I suggested she take timeout as I had done, to re-evaluate. To get to the point, perhaps, where they could sit down and see what each needs from the other and how they could prioritize and respect what they have.

A difficult process but if both participated equally it could re-ignite that intimacy of 65 years and forge a new respect and connection.

Maybe I should have been a therapist?

I've often thought so.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


It's extraordinary how change, a simple change really, can impact me in so many ways.

A few weeks back I left my specialist's office in a state of such agitation I had to pull my car over several times as alternating fear and despair took over my entire being.

There was literally no one to call, I thought. Daughter was away for an extended sojourn in SE Asia and my closest friends lived in Ontario and birth family and I are not close.

I knew I couldn't be alone with myself so I reached out and called a local friend. She was instrumental in getting me into this marvelous building. And it was the best thing I could have done. She immediately dropped out of a social gathering she was attending and met me in a local coffee shop. what I like about her is she is so non-judgmental and we have the same warped sense of humour, tending into darkness at times. I am lucky Daughter and Grandgirl have inherited this. It can be downright strange to some ears.

I found such ease and comfort in her companionship and we were shocked that when we finally looked at the time we had spent 4 hours there, often hysterical with laughter.

Long story short, at home afterwards I recognised I had to put more effort into healthful living and abandon the poor mes, take my stick with me, increase my daily steps and most importantly of all: change my eating habits. A morning meditation admonished me: See beauty.

Accordingly my lunch plate above reflects how I'm eating and my service stop at the dealer's today with my new eyes: the burnt sienna look and the circular architecture had never caught my eye before.

This card came in from an Ontario friend. It really pleased me. We know each other well.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fine Friends

I was horrifed and shocked to get an email from a friend of long standing today. He was just diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, esophagus, stomach and liver. He had an overlying condition for a few months, an antibiotic resistant bacteria, and then: wham.

He is a man of integrity and honour, a world lecturer and traveller and I always felt joyful and respected and understood in his company.

Sometimes we don't realise that such feelings are mutual. But I do. His last book had the most wonderful dedication to me. I was humbled by it.

We had many lunches and business interactions and book exchanges that evolved into a deep and abiding friendship. I had written a little poem about his mother way back in the day when he had said he didn't feel he could articulate how important her life was to him. He read it, much to my surprise, at her funeral.

He visited Newfoundland twice and he, a world traveller, fell so in love with the place that he took close to 10,000 pictures the first time he was here.

I am so saddened by this, I find it hard to articulate my grief.

This long death roll does wrap itself around my heart, so many dear ones gone, closer than family.

What I do when this shyte unfolds is to send little cards of remembrance in the mail, something to brighten the days of the beloved dying, to assure that yes, you are so very important to me, you are loved and remembered, you are one of the dear ones.

And I don't shirk from what they are facing.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


I'm basically a bore with breakfast.

But the following is a recipe I've used forever when I don't have time in the morning to make the oatmeal with seeds and nuts and homemade yogurt and berries on top and also cook my egg.

I make it ahead of time and it makes 4 breakfasts. I've eaten it cold or warmed up.

It sticks to the ribs really well.

1 cup uncooked grain - anything but wheat. Quinoa is delicious as is oatmeal.
2 cups berries or chopped mixed fruit of any kind.
1 cup skim milk or soya or yogurt or 1/2 cup ricotta or cottage cheese or almond milk.
6 medium eggs
1 tsp nutmeg and/or ginger to taste
1 long casserole dish greased well.

Beat eggs well with the milk or yogurt or ricotta.

Sprinkle grain on bottom of dish

Spread berries over top

Pour egg mixture over everything.

Bake at 375 for an hour or until firm. Cut into 4.

And yes, my change of habits and planning ahead with meals is going really well.

I realize, for the 100th time, that I am a person who can't be spontaneous with food.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Over the last couple of weeks, I've made some substantial changes to my food intake. I despise the word diet which has evolved into a word defining restriction with ephemeral weight loss the outcome.

I struggle with eating cold veggies - salads,etc. I don't know why that is. I was brought up in a reasonably healthy house, very healthy for its time and place, my mother had taken classes in nutrition and that was over 60 years ago, but I've always rebelled against salads. The cold mutinous lettuce in a bowl with tomatoes eyes and cucumber faces. Ironically, my children became salad lovers as a result of my repugnance.

I've struggled with weight much of my life and am familiar with every aspect of food addiction, anorexia, weight gains, substantial weight losses, yo-yo dieting, black beauties amphetamines, sketchy doctors with horse urine shots, medically supervised fasts, weight loss programmes with their business model based on failure, etc.

My recent restricted movement and physicality has forced me to go look at my food intake, to reevaluate my ingestion so to speak, as the weight has crept on since my diagnoses of PVD. I am a foodie, an overall addict of much and often, so I put on my big girl knickers, and toured some blogs who have taken the year of 2018 to focus on health and simplicity and planning. Thanks you guys, you are too numerous to mention but you all inspire me.

I bought ready made salads - I worked out the costs and with the disgraceful amount of veggies I throw out regularly, it is actually cheaper for me to buy a large salad, full of variety with free dressing on the side, that creates 4 meals for me for $10. For some reason I don't question, this is palatable. I also picked up some healthy pre-made meals. With an aging population here, these are becoming more readily available and I often find that one (recently a gorgeous turkey meat loaf with tiny potatoes and zucchini) does me for 2 dinners at a cost of $4.00 each. That plus salad is a great meal.

I also got myself back into a support group which helps me immeasurably in taking stock and working on the inner issues of "it's not what I'm eating, it's what's eating me". The "comfort eating" which is but a moment in time and results in enormous physical discomfort for me. My running and training days are over and I'm truly back to basics which can be a very good thing. For anybody. I (mostly) accept my new limits, my new state of having so many losses which linger in spite of stones thrown in water and candles lit and meditative practices.

I'm still easing into the persona of healthy, moderate eater but I'm getting there.

More on this as I forge this new pathway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


I love coffee. All kinds of coffee except weak and instant.

I had to leave my enormous machine behind in my house when I sold it. It was far too big for my apartment. I remember celebrating its purchase way back in the day. A machine that could brew coffee anyway you liked it. But after 10 years of daily use it owed me nothing. And it still works like a charm.

I bought a small coffee maker when I moved here and it is quite splendid. But I missed my espresso, my after dinner decaff espresso.

I went on the hunt for something tidy and beautiful and well, Italian.

And thanks to K-pods (a universal paean to bad coffee everywhere, not to mention the environmental impact) I found this fabulous little beauty for a song. Very few, I gather, want to go to the trouble of real brew anymore. The polished wood on the handle and lid is art in itself but the espresso this baby disgorges is absolute bliss.

Me is happy.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

For the Price of.....

For the price of a beer or a fancy latte

Or a bag of cheap cookies or a cafe au lait

Or a magazine rampant with pages of ads,

Or dollar store gizmos: the latest of fads.

The main one I place right by my side,

The second one goes to the hallway outside,

The third one sits in the wee room to stay

And I ponder the wealth of my lovely bouquet.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Simple Chairy Things.

A chair I'd ordered about 2 months ago, arrived today. I had liked the sales person at the store but the first alarm bell went off when she called me back the day following the order placement and said she had messed up on the price and the material was $200 more. I thought about it and phoned her back, realizing everyone makes mistakes and told her to go ahead with the order, I had liked the fabric and design.

I had asked specifically for no rockers on this reclining chair. I had test driven about 20 recliners at the store and I've always disliked rockers, they make me feel off balance and insecure. I do love recliners though and the last time I had one was in the marital home a long, long time ago. I've dreamed of one since but with specific requirements like I should be able to sit and knit in it and have it comfy enough for a nap with the feet up (and no rocking!). I could never quite afford such a creature and checking out second hand ones (I did look) never quite worked out due to smoking households or terrible colours or aforementioned rockers.

So mein very own chair was delivered first thing this morning and the fellahs set it up and whoa Nelly, this beautiful work of art and comfort had rockers. Shyte cubed sez I, and called the shop and found my saleswoman was off on leave of some kind. "You could keep it," was offered unhelpfully. I insisted the fellahs take it back and they supply me with the chair I wanted. There was no apology offered only another unhelpful remark of "this will take a lot more time."

In the way of things and special orders, you'd think this would be pretty straightforward, wouldn't you?

The fellahs muttered as they staggered back out with my chair: "Dealing with E-------(my original sales woman) is like talking to a wall."

I wish she's worn a sign telling me that.

No follow up from the store yet.

And this was not a cheap chair.

I'm oiling up my Toyota machine gun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Mr. Frank and I got together one more time.

I let him carry the conversation.

Right off the bat: there will be no Mr. WWW or Mrs. Frank.

All the alarm bells went off, and thank heaven I am old enough and have learned enough to hang garlic around my neck and cross my fingers and mutter my internal witchly incantations.

To recite the whys would be extraordinarily boring.

You want to hear?

The women in his life just wanted his money.

Even the love (lust?) of his life, a much younger flight attendant, wanted him to buy her stuff. (What stuff, pray tell? Stuff that doesn't last like flowers and woman-stuff)

He's very bored, plays the stock market every day, tries to fill his nights with something, anything. Wouldn't mind tagging along for something, anything, as long as we shared costs. He's learned his lesson, you see. Be still my trembling heart.

Life was more interesting when there was sex involved but now there's precious little life left in Mr. Little Frank. Which pithily tells us everything we wanted didn't want to know about Lover Frank.

I nearly fell asleep.

He truly harshes my mellow.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Things I Don't Miss

Many talk of aging as something to be feared, the many losses: the loss of vitality. health, the so-called good old days, etc., but seriously, us oldies need to count all the things we don't miss, shall we?

(1)Menstruation, I menstruated for 40 years.

(2)Fear of pregnancy. My last scare? I was 52, thinking I was way beyond it. See 1.


(4)Getting up early, going to work and pretending I didn't have a hangover. See 3.



(7)Stilettos - seriously, what were we thinking?

(8)Make up - nothing like painting your face before throwing yourself out the door. Not.

(9)Hairdo maintenance - the cost alone, knowing presentability for the male gaze meant my employment or not.

(10)Performing femininity see 7,8,9

(11)A household to run plus two jobs to keep it all together. Single mom. 2 kids.

(12)Dating - see 10.

(13)Being always afraid of men when I was out alone running or coming home on a quiet street or late at night. And even of the male cops patrolling - with cause. Now I feel safe for the first time in a secure building with a well-lit parking lot, a resident administrator and emergency buttons.

(14)Being always broke, money never quite stretching to needs, never mind wants.

(15)Stress about all of the above.

I'm sure there are loads more.

I'd love to hear yours.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Well, blow me down!

I'm not easily surprised. At my age, 74, I've heard it all and continue to hear it all through young friends and new friends. Variations on the theme of relationships.

I haven't performed femininity in a long while. My hair is naturally an odd mix of brown, silver and grey, nondescript, although there are some that would disagree with you. I've let it grow long over the past twelve months, I didn't want to but before I sold my house I was budgeting carefully and if there's one thing I've learned over the years it is that if you pay peanuts for a haircut, monkeys are exactly what you're going to get. My lovely stylist Bernice was thus off my budget. She is excellent but expensive. I can afford her now, thanks to a small inheritance I finally received but haven't made the appointment yet. I don't wear makeup, I wear flat shoes and jeans mainly and manicures have never been on any priority list in my life.

I'm clean but I'm an unashamedly old woman. I'm a great story-teller and equally great listener (ask Johanna my new cleaning lady who has recounted the excruciating details of all her 11 surgeries to me) and when I'm with you I give you my full on attention and am never looking for somebody better in the room. But yes, I'm, I would think, beyond romance, beyond "dating" or "hooking up." That would be fine for you but me? I would have thought myself disinterested. I still admire engaging, intelligent men, the ones who are not afraid to show their inners. I've never been interested in the outers types. I've found those kinds of friends and relationships have fallen away, much to our mutual relief I would think. The inners have hung in there with me and I with them.

So imagine my surprise when another senior of my age, maybe a bit younger, started to hang out with me. Sitting by me. Talking away to me about Ireland and all his trips there. And then said to me, what do you like to do in your spare time?

My response was vague, I said it would take too long to recount my many interests.

"We should make the time," Frank* responded.

I met with a good friend of mine, Don* who knows Frank and I asked him in absolute disbelief to interpret Frank's conversation, like was Frank actually hitting on me? I'm that out of touch, you see.

Don laughed. "Of course he is!"

Long story short, I met with Frank for a coffee and we chatted, talking with him is very comfortable. In walks Ben, another friend of mine. Ben spots me and rushes over and hugs me and then pulls up a chair and sits down.

I can tell Frank is upset but we pull him into the conversation and he keeps checking his watch, not rudely, but not subtly either, as Ben and I get caught up, still pulling Frank in to the chat. Swedish death cleaning was one of the topics and Frank talked briefly about his time in Sweden which was a bit of a tangent but we adjusted our sails.

And then with a deep sigh he got up from the table, sighed again, looked at his watch and didn't look at us and said "I'll be off!" and off he went.

"My gawd," said Ben, astounded, "Is that guy jealous or wha'?"

*not their real names

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Finding My Beach

Since I moved to the city I've thought "I need a beach". I'm kind of fussy about making a beach mine. It always takes a while.

It has to be open to the wild Atlantic.

It has to have sand.

It has to have rocks.

It has to have perches.

And little recessed areas for a chair for the knitting or a book or a meditation.

And people and dogs and kids to observe.

I found it, 10 minutes from my apartment.


Sunday, April 01, 2018

Emerging into Easter

I think we all need this. To be under the weather with all that entails, low energy, hacking, spewing, wondering where the hell so much moisture comes from, swigging cough medicine, Kleenex boxes the main decor in every room and avoiding all human contact. Many books, bits of knitting, Netflix, piles of unwashed dishes, a table so disorganized as to constitute a safety hazard.

And then today. It's like a cocoon has gently split and I emerge and put on some music and take a shower and change the sheets and catch up on a bit of knitting and open my windows and realize after a few hours that hey, I haven't coughed once.

And life looks sunny once more and if I could find some human company, I won't quite seek it mind you, but hey if I ran across it I might actually socialize. But meanwhile it's a walk by the lake and a drool at the dog park.

And my favourite Easter hymn to soothe you. I would sing this back in the day in a choir in my home city.