Thursday, November 29, 2018


Or alternative title: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I have loads of good intentions. Like correspondence. Something that is now overwhelming me. Sometimes in a day even the texts on my mobile overwhelm me. Like I don't want to be rude and fly off a two word response, especially if others have taken the time to write an epistle, so I ignore. hoping for a massive power surge into my brain and fingers and well, that never happens so then I receive a plaintive You Okay? (or rather in text speak: U K? which can throw me wondering why the United Kingdom is part of some text quiz) which is a normal question launched to a non-responsive at my age. For we can drop suddenly. So then I have to answer and address the previous text too.

Emails are another story. Sometimes I receive lovely long ones from blog readers who have recently discovered me and write glowingly and sincerely. Now I could just simply thank them but I feel obligated to write something longer, after all they've made this effort and I'm mindful of common courtesy. But long finger is where that goes.

The perfect time never comes, of course. Today I was cleaning out my inbox. And I discovered some of these "good intentions" emails, lying forlornly and unanswered. I sound organized. "Cleaning out my inbox" when, in fact, it hasn't been fumigated in about 4 years.

Within the bowels were emails from two old lovers I hadn't bothered with either. As they depressed me. I re-read them, they were lists of health issues and the health issues of family members - distant ones even, ones I never met - and I knew why I hadn't responded, never one to get into I-can-top-that-itis in the medical ailment olympics enjoyed by many both near and far as they age. Plus I have difficulty in imagining once agile and creative lovers now prostate-prostrated. Call me callous, but gawdess, please leave me with rose-scented sheets and morning mimosas and full heads of delicious hair.

I'm finding also it's harder and harder to gobble up life when presented in big chunks. I could only attend only one of two sequential events last night. I chose a play rather than a launch of an acquaintance's book at the university. I'm at the age where I'm pacing myself. This came on me all too quickly and viciously.

This is the fog outside my window right now. Normally my view has a wee mountain with a tower at the top, a lake and a slice of ocean. I've always loved the obliteration of fog. More so as I age. I wonder why that is. Ha!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Words for Wednesday

I like this weekly event - courtesy of Elephant's Child. I'm managing to use all the words so far, so yay me :)

1. opera*
2. recommend*
3. champagne*
4. excitement*
5. sunshine*
6. jam*

1. dimension*
2. raid*
3. weed*
4. admiration*
5. corner*
6. employ*
Billy was taking her out to the opera. She was dizzy with excitement at the idea. Her admiration for him hadn’t abated since he was a senior to her junior in high school. If cornered she’d have said he was certainly a champagne to her beer – and sometimes weed – tastes. She hadn’t seen him in ten years and they’d recently hooked up on Facebook.

She was expecting a fresh and sophisticated dimension to her life. She raided her sister’s closet for the perfect dress, a yellow as bright as sunshine and the highest heels. He picked her up at her door dressed in jeans and a t-shirt that read “The Jam” showing psychedelic strawberries beating huge drums.

Oh, he said, I wouldn’t recommend what you’re wearing, you’re a bit over-dressed! I’m employed at The Opera, a heavy metal club, that’s where we’re going.

I’m the bouncer.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Beloved Poem

I had to learn this poem in school when I was around 14, and I fell in love. It's clung to me over the years and I find I say it quietly, internally, when I am confronted with great beauty or an unexpected delight. The tears spring to my eyes, happy tears, sad tears, mixed tears. Elephant's Child posted her beautiful Sunday Selections photographs and "my" poem, of course, came to mind and I thought to share it with her and now to share it with you too, my readers.

The poet, Patrick Pearse, was an Irish hero, teacher, writer, poet, rebel, fighter for Irish freedom, and wrote this poem in Kilmainham Gaol on the eve of his death by British firing squad for taking part in the 1916 Rebellion at the GPO in Dublin. He was 26 years old.

The Wayfarer

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
Things bright and green, things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way

Saturday, November 24, 2018


Snow in St. John's harbour.

She's early and it may be temporary. I had to cancel long made plans to stay overnight in the country. Daughter stayed last night as she had medical appointments running into late yesterday. She said her MRI at 8.15 PM at the hospital was a doddle. It was so quiet just the cleaning staff and a few others like herself and no waiting.

I told her I'd been unwell on Thursday so cancelled my Joanna who does the cleaning so therefore the kitchen floor wasn't up to Joanna's standards. Her response:

"When did we ever care about kitchen floors, mum, that's why we had dogs!"

"I raised you perfectly, darling," I responded.

So today, I'd been thinking about this blog post I'd written on a relationship I had at work years ago between a holocaust survivor and myself, at that point a practising RC. I thought it could be expanded and fictionalized into a play or a short story/novella, so I began working on that and was glad of the time that became available tonight.

There is snow outside and it is peaceful and quiet. A good time for writing.

I took a break and watched a muddle of a film, Certain Women trying to make sense of it. Couldn't. A waste of an extremely good cast with appalling continuity and much silent driving, often obviously on a set. Much horse action which was lovely and a galloping yippy dog, but all this did not a good movie make. Pointless drivel. Yeah, I'm harsh but I thought there might be a tiny payoff at the end but no sirree bob.

And oh yeah, our book made the front page of a local newspaper.

Friday night, chez Wisewebwoman.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Words for Wednesday on Tuesday

Words for Wednesday coming from Elephant's Child. I'm finding it a lot of fun.

Here are the words:

1. transparent*
2. solve*
3. theory*
4. loot*
5. take*
6. wing*

1. demonstrate*
2. graduate*
3. justify*
4. strain*
5. stain*
6. blackmail *

Here's my wee story using all the words:

He thought the blackmail was justified. She had been so transparent in her cheating at graduate school. He had solved the problematic wing theory only to discover she had looted his idea and then demonstrated, complete with viral strains and glass stains, his solution. He was going to enjoy taking her down. Publicly. He had the proof.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Little Victories

As y'all know, I take nothing for granted. Even surmounting in tiny ways my physical challenges.

The pot above is a bit of an achievement for me. I was talking of my spicy African peanut soup to someone last week and I thought to myself: I must pick up the ingredients. Next thought was: I can't stand that long on my legs, the pain will kill me.

Then I thought, what odds, give it the old bash. You need to surmount some of these physical challenges of cooking great stuff from scratch.

I took all that cooking and baking stuff for granted. As we do. Inject some health issue and we can be brought to reality quite quickly.

I tackled the recipe, chopping, peeling, slicing, but slowly. Using multiple cutting boards and resting in between.

And Lard Thunderin', as we say out here, look at the pot! All done. And note: this is a completely vegan recipe.

Now some of you will want the recipe and nothing is formalized and basically doesn't need to be but here goes, just a list, be sure to simmer the veggies lightly in oil first to give that added oomph:

Large can of pumpkin
1 can of coconut milk
Goodly amount of chopped up spinach, stems removed
1 or 2 yams/sweet potatoes depending on size.
1 large purple onion chopped
1 smallish red pepper chopped
1/2 of jar of pure peanut butter
A couple of cloves of chopped garlic
A smattering of finely chopped ginger and chili peppers
2 heaping teaspoons of good quality curry powder or enough to personal taste.
Use up all your saved veggie broth or buy a large container of same or use veggie cubes.
Add water to taste
Peanuts to decorate serving bowl.
Stir well at 30 minute intervals, I use a timer to remind me.
Use immersible blender when cooked to smooth out onions and yams - but not too fine, palatable chunky is good.

That's it.

I usually simmer it for a few hours.

If you try it let me know or suggest your own modifications, improvements. Or pass on a treasured recipe of your own.

We're all in this together!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Words for Wednesday

Courtesy of Elephant's Child, I thought I'd post the words for Wednesday:

1. peel
2. justify
3. wall
4. employee
5. temperature
6. roll

1. volume
2. revenge
3. fraud
4. explain
5. weak
6. vague

And then tell you the wee story I created using all the words:

She justified the skin peels even facing the wall of disapproval from her fellow employees who could barely contain their eye-rolls.

When she walked back into the office after her treatments the temperature became colder, the volume of discourse weakened as they all stared.

She didn’t think it necessary to explain how vaguely youthful she felt afterwards even though she knew the treatments were all a fraud.

But one of these days, she would exact her revenge. Just wait and see.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


I'm sometimes taken back to my own young womanhood and how I behaved around my elders. There were many elders. My mother had 3 sisters and two brothers, my father 5 sisters. I was lucky enough to have grandparents and for a while even a great-grandmother. Along with these there were great aunts and great uncles.

When I was a child the vast sea of such creatures seemed endless. Some were accorded more attention and respect from my parents than others. As a "sensitive" I was in tune with those signals. One great aunt was "tolerated" as she was "finicky" over food and a grand snob over manners and behaviours. She was my granny's youngest sibling and was "spoiled in her ways". My granny was salt of the earth and had no time for ideas above anyone's "station".

As a young woman, some had passed on but I spent a fair amount of time with all the sisters, there were 8 of them between my parents. I must dig out some photos soon and post some here. The few I could sit down with for any length of time had a joie de vivre, and had interests outside of hearth and home. I loved the history lessons and also loved how interested they were in me. What was I doing "outside" of myself. I would ask them questions about crafts and who they wrote to, and what they read, and who they played bridge or scrabble with. I felt hugely privileged if they asked me to come down and play cards or board games with their friends. It was a mighty "occasion" for me to sip the tea and sample the pastries and be included in the scrabble game and just listen to the rhythm of their chat as they covered so many topics: political, religious, business, arts and culture. People who were sometimes 50 years older than I was then. The big test of such occasions, my mother would say, is to see if you're asked back. The implication being if I wasn't it would be due to some unforgivable lapse of manners on my part. I'm glad to say I passed the test.

Which brings me to today. When I'm around the youngsters, and much as I want to, I avoid health broadcasts, my mobility limitations, the aches and pains of an elder, the medication competition. Is there anything more boring in life?

I was at a book launch yesterday by an older woman. She read excerpts from her work which were all fascinating, dealing with her life living amongst the Inuits and gaining the trust of the community.

I was totally thrilled to see a woman there I had lost touch with. She had assisted me in forming an elder racing moving group we had formed a few years back called The Honourable Stragglers. It turns out she was the sister of the author. I had to grin when she asked me if I was still racing and I said no, health challenges. And she grinned and said me too, don't we all, and we made a lunch date to get caught up on all our doings. She is certainly a mover and shaker so I am looking forward to it.

And it struck me that maybe my relevance is to my peer group. Maybe real freedom in old age is being myself with others of my generation as long as we are still doing "outside" of ourselves and to keep collecting them as the treasures they are, adding new as others move on.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Words for Wednesday on Thursday

Thanks to Elephant's Child for these weekly prompts that open up my imagination so well. I am pleased to say I was able to use all 12 words suggested.

Dear Harold
I am enclosing the final divorce agreement.
Your objections are serving no purpose.
I assure you once again I do not, and never will, care for this patch of land you’re jamming with diggers and trucks along with the neglect and gravity taking care of the outbuildings. Our joint holdings have to be sold. Potential purchasers are bent out of shape at the non-organic state of our yard.
Shame on you.
You are a textbook case of a mangled psychopath.
Your soon to be joyful ex-wife,

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Elder Excitement

Without Ramans's exclamation point :). This is a joint posting project by Ramana and myself. Here's the link to his post.

I had posited to him that the reason he read thrillers was to create excitement. Getting that adrenalin rush. To revisit that type of feeling we had as children and younger adults. What do we do and think and feel to create excitement as elders? Living in an independent senior complex as I do I get to observe elders intimately. Not much excitement is visible but there could be a lot of it behind closed doors, who knows?.

This all brings me, of course, to what excites me in my seventies?

I'll list them but not in any kind of order:

Music, always music
A good story
An excellent film
Designing a new knitting piece
One excellent photograph out of many that I took of a scene.
Stimulating conversation (last night at a friend's for instance)
Helpless laughter
A sunrise
A sunset
A roaring fire
Watching the birds soar and swoop as they're doing right now as I write this
My thriving African violets on my windowsill
Live theatre
Waking up pain-free
The open road
The crashing sea
Dogs, any dog.

And I am mindful of that old adage: Measure wealth not by what you have but by what you for which you would not take money.

This: Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé 1987. Barcelona. Sublime.

Now tell me what gets you excited?

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Fired Up

I'm currently working on a fresh collection of my short stories which are not featured in Write Around the Bay. Many I wrote quite a while ago so they are rejuvenated to my eyes once again. A few I extracted from my blog and have worked diligently on perfecting them to the best I can achieve, many taking your comments into consideration as to how they can be improved. I thank you all for that.

I am fired up about this new collection (called Rock Salt or Embers of Time) and feel it has potential perhaps with a local publishing house, or maybe one that has a wider readership. Though I am under no illusion with regard to publication. I don't know what the secret is and often wonder at how some books get published that are so poorly written and edited with a count-the-cliches element running beneath the turgid prose. I read such one recently and persisted even though I wanted to toss it against the wall. A form of study, if you will, as to how writers/publishing houses get away with this. It failed dismally in the respecting of the reader philosophy I hold dear and the last two chapters particularly were persistent slaps in the face to that theory. A few clunkers: "hipbones protrude from my waistline" (huh?) "I watched her drop on to the sofa, a giraffe making an ungainly attempt to sit" (huh, again). And hundreds more of such appalling metaphors that yanked me from the story-line repeatedly. But I do learn from such reading adventures.

And then I feel a bit harsh and judgey. Because I know how hard the whole process is. How agonizing the editing can be. How every writer I know is fearful of readers' opinions. So creativity of any kind has to be nurtured and supported.

I am squirreled away at the moment, not answering bells and buzzers and tinkling phones. It's raining outside and I'm not taking it to heart.

I'm taking a break to blog before combing my blog once more for buried treasure ready to be edited and ironed and stroked.