Thursday, May 31, 2018


My father always maintained that for a happy life one needs something to look forward to. I'm a firm believer in a one day at a time philosophy but it lifts my spirits to plan travelling or a creative project.

A busy summer is lined up and I'm pretty happy about that. Enough breaks in between to take a breather.

Coming back from this I have Grandgirl coming for a week or so and staying with me.

Next on the agenda would be time spent with Daughter in August for my birthday, perhaps in Labrador and Red Bay, we've been tossing ideas around as her time is limited due to work.

Then in September another friend is coming from Ontario (her second visit) and we plan to visit Trinity, Fogo Island and Gros Morne, all of which I've been to before (in some cases more than once!) but she hasn't.

So all in all cruising through this summer sounds pretty exciting and eventful.

And yes, food is still peaceful, nutritious and appetizing. My clothes are looser and my energy has improved. My arm trouble lingers on so I am going to see an osteopath and I hope to get to the bottom of this. My speculation is boundless but pointless.

Two wee things I just knitted as a gift for a friend who adores both gingerbread men and books.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Dis and Dat

I updated my book list for those interested - and I am gratified some of you enjoy it.

As to Canadian Netflix, it seems to have run out of steam. Deliberately, I don's subscribe to any other streaming service in case it would get in the way of my real life. So I decided to embrace my local library yet again and I'm finding all sorts of goodies which only take up temporary space in my abode. For instance, I just received "Brideshead Revisited" which I haven't seen in a dog's age and am looking forward to revisiting (ha). This is the 1981 version which I remember enjoying. I didn't see the remake and have no desire to.

And yay Ireland on the referendum and all who sailed in to cast votes from everywhere around the planet. I haven't been so emotionally swept up in a vote in a long, long time. Remembering all who suffered and died because of the barbaric nature of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland.


I had one of those "real" dreams last night. Missing Daughter had returned to the fold. Engineered by First Daughter. All terribly complicated but I was holding her and she was sobbing her heart out and wouldn't let me go. I woke up smiling and not crying which surprised me. But I carried a little oomph of hope. I have a major milestone birthday coming up and maybe this is playing some part in this. But I do know about expectations being folly. So no fatted calf or parades in anticipation.

In the past week, I banjaxed my left arm from the fingertips to the shoulder. The pain was brutal and I needed a brace. This happens periodically and we can't seem to source the cause. It feels like a repetitive sprain injury but to cover such a vast area? I've checked seating, desk height, etc. But I'm baffled. A few months ago when it happened I went for all sorts of tests and nothing was found.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


I had this idea. My friend with memory problems that she is working on fairly successfully? I thought to make plans with her. How would that plot work out? And, I thought, the sooner the better.

I looked at a good old Google map and picked a point half way between our dwellings which happened to be St. John, New Brunswick. I'm about 1,500km from there and so is she. I have to catch the winter ferry as the seasonal summer ferry won't start in time for the trip. So that entails a road trip across the island of around 900km, give or take.

I love road trips, so does she.

I managed to find a cabin on the river for us to share for a week. Staggeringly reasonable. it includes breakfast.

On my way to St. John I also booked in for 2 days with a friend who has a cottage in Cape Breton not too far from where the ferry decants me in North Sidney.

She's planning a dinner party and gathering her Inverness clan to meet me. They all sound wonderful, writers and artists galore.

Then I head off from her place to St. John to meet my Toronto friend.

So I leave on the 12th of June.

I feel this trip is very important.

And it truly has been a carpe diem thing organizing it all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Gosh people, it is time to face my reality. Some things I don't write about. Some things I don't share.

And why not?

Because of labeling. Because of fear. Because of the old admonition "be careful who you share with."

But change I must. For today in meditation?

It struck me that I am always sad. Have been for a long time now. Maybe 18 months or longer with a brief respite for about six months. Until Ansa died. I observe life at a distance and often through a veil of tears. Pardon the pun but I'm actually in a vale of tears while behind this veil. Constantly it seems.

Overly dramatic? You're not living where I am.

I can pretend for a while, an hour or so. I can even laugh or plumb my innate Irish wit to make others laugh. But then.

I'm stopped, sliding around in one deep muddy spot, avoiding the swamp that will suck me down.

So the meditation?

I wrote first to my friend Ross who is dying, doing the "next right thing" which is my philosophy of life in a nutshell.

I wrote to my friend Pad who has kicked cancer twice and is a mutual friend of Ross's.

And then finally, I reached out for help myself and wrote to Dr. Patrick my grief counselor who was so helpful in the past, two years ago now and for about 6 months of sessions. I need a current assessment of my mental and emotional and spiritual condition.

For I can't go on like this.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Adoration of Sally

I mentioned in my previous post an 84 year old resident of my building I'll call Sally whose 6 daughters take turns in taking her out each night for dinner.

Our weather has been consistently so glorious that all our windows are open to the front courtyard where Sally gets dropped.

I'd missed some afternoon excursions, obviously, as I'd only heard and then observed the after dinner drop-offs.

It's always hard to miss the laughter when Sally gets decanted by one of her six daughters.

Today at three p.m. she launches out of a red sports car clutching a pair of black pumps in her hand and flaunting her sparkling new bright blue running shoes.

"They're fine, see?" Sally stands on the pavement and flexes one foot at the daughter driving.

"Just as long as they're comfy," replies her daughter, "I can always get you another pair."

"Ah, no need for that," Sally says, "Until I wear them out running around."

"Who's turn is it to take you tonight for supper?"

"I forget," says Sally,"But one always shows up and I'll be ready. I should wear a tracksuit to match the new runners, right?"

I am obviously fascinated by Sally as she is completely oblivious to this charmed life she leads and treats her daughters as mild nuisances for I've seen her bat them away on the stairs (she scorns the elevator) when they follow her up, telling them she's got plans that don't include them and to go home. They look literally crushed with disappointment that they can't spend more time with her.

Of all my neighbours on this floor, she is by far the happiest, the joy exudes from her.

I must sit down with her and hear her life story.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Blog Jam

My mornings

Water bottle
Tao meditation
An Indian Ocean sunset from a blog friend received in the mail yesterday.

Elder Daughter

She researched a little on how mothers might live longer. Discovered that daughters, spending more positive time with their mothers, extend their lives immeasurably. Every time we get together now, she calls it "my life extension programme." I have a living example in my building. An 84 yo woman - who would put women half her age to shame - bounces out of a different car in the parking lot around 7 each night. Turns out one of her six daughters take it in turns to pick her up for dinner each night of the week. I had wondered why she was always so happy. She should live to be 180.


I had been looking for a headboard for my bed for a long time. Nothing appealed. Then Daughter arrived on Mother's Day lugging this beauty along with her tool kit to install it. It is so perfect I could weep. My bedroom doubles as my den so I like the distinction of the sleep area. Plus: bonus stuff holder.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thin on the ground

Friendships can get thin on the ground as we age. I imagine mine are more precious and important to me in the absence of a significant other. Who do we we bounce ourselves off unless it's a friend, usually long term, usually a cornucopia of memories enriching the shared experience of our lives.

That's why it's such a shock when a long term friend, supportive, kind, carrying each other through a myriad of downers and uppers and inbetweeners comes out of left field with some rather appalling shyte yesterday.

For instance:

(R) M, you'd be far better off if you weren't so passionate about things, if you weren't so keen on feminism and politics and all that other stuff you do like writing. If you'd let all that stuff go and just confine yourself to a smaller world that would take far less energy, and you wouldn't get so worked up about stuff.

(R)I can think of all sorts of people who are mentally ill. We are far too tolerant of mental illness. For instance gays: gays are mentally ill. They are rebelling against the laws of nature.

(M)I don't know why you're talking like this. One of my children......

(R)Oh yeah, I forgot, one of your kids is gay.

When I am completely shocked I go into withdrawal mode. Yeah, I engage for a while but my bafflement and confusion takes a while to kick in. Usually long after the conversation is over. Today I am saddened and disheartened.

He has never spoken like this before in all the years I have known him.

When I am attacked at a core level, when my very spirit is attacked, the wound runs deep: has he always thought this way and didn't verbalize it? Had contempt for my passions and creativity? He knew and engaged with my gay child since she was 15. Is that how he felt about her for all those years?

Wow, I honestly feel as if I don't want him in my life anymore.

Yeah, I'm devastated and so very sad.

Monday, May 07, 2018

The World I Live In

The World I Live In

I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
what's wrong with maybe?

You wouldn't believe what once or
twice I have seen. I'll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.

Mary Oliver

I was raised on having my own personal guardian angel. Someone appointed by God but only if you were raised in the One True Faith. Angels weren't allocated to heathen or infidels or protestants - those breakaway Catholics who were sex obsessed and didn't have REAL communion like us.

If I listened closely I was told the angel would instruct me as to my behaviour and if I disobeyed, I would be reported to the Big Whitebearded Himself in the Sky who would arrange for punishment with the Big Horned Himself in the Everlasting Fires.

I had questions like these for the brainwashers:
(1) Is my angel a boy or a girl?
(2) How tall is my angel
(3) What's his/her name?
(5) Why does God talk to Satan about me?
(6) Where does (s)he fly to when not with me?
(7) Why can't I ever see him/her if I'm supposed to be listening all the time.
(8) How fast do they fly?
(9) Do their huge wings make a huge noise?

I was told to sit down and be quiet and stop questioning God who was sick and tired of me doubting Him. I was 6, just before my First Holy Communion when all such matters would become clear due to my soul being all sparkly and new along with my creepy bridal dress and my pleased, no doubt, nameless Guardian Angel.

In case you think this is all so very quaint and antediluvian, have a gander at the more recent witterings of the pope himself. I gather my angel got an upgrade to "ambassador" now. Like moving to first class, free, on a flight.

Which all brings me to the poem. I am a fan of Mary Oliver.

Angels in my head? Well dreams. I have dreams. Don't we all?

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

I sat with the ladies

(Ongoing healthy eating: A quinoa salad I had today for lunch, one of my favourites, extremely adaptable and delicious)

I love my building. It is full of little corners with plants and chairs and a gorgeous gallery overlooking the community room.

The gallery has tables and sofas and comfy chairs and plants and a large coffee table which holds giveaways/freebies - fresh baking, girl guide cookies, magazines and recently a whole bag full of hair products which I helped myself to. I never give up on trying to thicken my aging hair. Why? I don't know.

Gillian is old school, rigidly Anglican, snobby, talks of WW2 in almost affectionate terms when her veteran husband lived in the building with her (he's deceased 14 years now) and the riff-raff (my term) were not welcome. Exclusively war-brides and veterans and their wives in the good old days.

When I am being viewed down through the nose - as my people say - by anyone, I make it a kind of project to charm them. Gillian, who is pushing 90 I'd say, ramrod straight and tall, works out in one of the gyms in the building every day, was a hard nut to crack.

I'd run into her a few times in the halls, and she was stiff and unfriendly. An Irish Catholic like myself, even tho long since exed, would have been rubble under her expensive black leather shoes. Gillian reads Hello and any magazine featuring the Royals - as many do here. The claws of England and Queen and Empire pierce deeply into the veins of these loyalists.

At 3 o'clock every day, the ladies gather in the gallery and chat softly and genteelly.

I was coming in yesterday afternoon with groceries in my wee trolley and decided now or never and sat down with them. In a sweatshirt and jeans. I'd say these ladies have only been wearing trousers (tailored, knife creased) in the last few years but most wear skirts and cardigans. I wish there was a photo, I must have looked like I was from Planet 9 or a leftover hippy from the sixties.

They had done their homework on me. They knew I'd been mayor in my town and that I'd "run an inn" (who was I to explain the concept of AirBnB to them?). I can clean up my language when I have to so in my most dulcet tones responded to their inquiries as to the guests from around the world I'd met.

Gillian threw a few delicate inquiries at me about schooling (she was expensively educated in England) and I was rewarded with an absolutely blinding beam of a smile when I mentioned I was a passionate fan of Gilbert & Sullivan and had, in fact, been in many productions of their operettas.

As I got to my feet to tow my groceries down to my apartment I could sense the approval of the ladies.

I was in.