Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Time of the Year, Time of Life

A bloody downer today.

The legs were appalling, like concrete. I was flitting around (I use flitting in an optimistic way, I don't really flit anymore) and had a few errands to run and after the 3rd errand I kind of came to a screeching halt. I was the one screeching. In fear, truly. I just knew I couldn't carry on for a minute more. I drove, fearful, to my ocean. And took a pic. And cried and cried and cried. A total snorfling pity pot. A mess.

Luckily there was no one else around. It was a wet blanket of everything wrong. The madness (I think) of getting an animal when this seizure of immobility grabs hold of me, the sadness of missing my last dear departed Ansa, old age, my effing limitations, my pain, my this, that and tho other. And no improvement in sight.

Woe is me, woe is the world around me.

Now look at that ocean. Stop sniveling. It'll be here long after you're gone. Long after everyone's gone. We are stardust. Make the most of yourself. Accept Accept Accept

Life is not hopeless.

Work with what you can.

I came back into my building, leaning on the safety bars along the the halls and a friend saw me and hustled me into her apartment and told me to sit down, put my feet up and vent all I wanted and for as long as I wanted.

And I did.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Life By The Numbers

As I age, I find more so than ever, that numbers take on more significance. I suppose they always have taken some prominence in my life as I was (and still am) an accountant during my survival years. I don't use the word survival lightly. How often do many of us work away at something that is basically a kind of spirit destruction for the artist within, toiling, collecting the cheque, toiling some more, looking for better toiling and so on and so forth.

In those toiling years. I squeezed a lot in of the creative nature. Around the edges of my life. There was never enough time to express that aspect of myself then. So I pack it in now, even as I'm slowing down.

I was sorting my weekly pills into the dispenser this morning. A weekly task. It takes 15 minutes. About 30 pills a day including the supplements of niacin and turmeric and magnesium et al. It's a slow process as I tend to drop the little guys on the floor or on my lap. Not so much today but some days. You know.

We are forgetful as we age. I was supposed to go to the opera with a friend today but I think she forgot and I was glad. It was her first opera and it was probably my 6th time seeing it. Madame Butterfly. Not that I minded, I love it, but the whole getting ready thing, organizing thing. Well, you know. And then a kind of mandatory coffee thing after. I just wanted to be home. In my PJs doing creative stuff.

But I played the magnificent Humming Chorus from it and it never fails to make me cry. So cry I did. Sublime.


When I was desperate for work in the old days, or desperate for anything, a shaman advised me to face east in the dawn and hold out my hands and tell the universe I was ready for work. And then go out, broke as maybe, and give something to a far needier person than I. It always worked. I never expected anything from my actions, I should add. It was a spontaneous thing. On Thursday I gave my 80 year old cleaning woman a small raise. She never asked for it, it was just that she takes care of me in little extra ways. She was over the moon. She kept saying: you like my work, you like my work! And on Friday a totally unexpected project came into my inbox, one I will definitely enjoy and will be compensated very well for. A referral. Something oddly numerically karmic about that.

And a very odd thing. I say odd. Because I remember thinking a while back when a man I knew who was dying looked up a high school sweetheart and they totally fell in love again and she was with him for his last couple of years. I remember thinking, she went into this knowing it would all end in tragedy and heartbreak. Could I do that?

But the heart does what it does. And the brain can't stop it. And recently I met a man who is dying and I want to pull away. Now. Immediately. And the heart says absolutely not. I can't explain it. But now I understand. Numbers again. Do they matter?

My Christmas cactus. A little confused (like me)



Thursday, November 07, 2019

Enough With The Socks Already! And Postcards!

So here are the pair of socks I'm crazy about. The phone camera doesn't do them justice, they need to be taken out in bright sunshine and thrown on someone's feet and photographed properly. The yarn was a gift from my niece and I was delighted that there's enough left over to knit her a pair of these too.

In other news - I love postcards. I get quite a few, though nothing like Daughter who sends and receives 100s every year from around the world. Part of a huge group worldwide that exchange PCs from their countries of origin following (usually) a theme.

So in the past three days I've received three and here they are:

The first one is from my sister who spent the day in my favourite area of West Cork where I spent so much time myself

The second is from Grandgirl, who spent the weekend in Dallas Texas (I know!) at the grace and favour of her friend from kindergarten who had a business meeting there and treated her - these young 'uns all growed up and having business meetings when I pushed their swings in the playground. I am so impressed though that she took the time out to write and mail this PC to her grandma.


The third is from my school pal (friends since we were 11) who has beaten a deadly form of cancer and travels a lot and never, ever fails to send me a postcard. This is from Avignon and she planted an ear worm by reminding me of how we would deliberately sing Sur Le Pont Avignon in atrocious French accents at our French teacher in school and fake puzzlement at her enragement. So 3 days now and I have it stuck in my head. Revenge from Soeur LePaul.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

My Happy Place

Interesting day.

I was at a business meeting earlier where it was discussed that a property, which is being severely mismanaged by a bunch of yahoos (my private words) needs to be taken over and run properly. And I outrageously said: "You know what? This should be taken over by a bunch of women and run successfully!" And Lard Thunderin', didn't everyone (including males) vote all in favour. I tell you in all my born days this was a first. I should mention the above yahoos are all male and elderly and adverse to any type of innovation or heaven forbid technology. I am not an ageist by a long shot, but sometimes new female blood is needed. And these females are young and energetic.

I had packed my knitting. Mainly because I'm on this mad sock-knitting kick so decided after the meeting I would head off to my happy place, my beach, as the day was glorious.

So here it is in all its glory:

And here's my knitting bag and another sock on the go:

And yes, Gigi, I'm wearing my socks:

Sunshine on my feet as winter nudges her way onto our bones.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Behold the Sock

So simple, so straightforward.

You've got to be kidding.

Have you ever tried knitting one (make that two, you can't go around with one sock now can you?)

It's been years since I've knit a pair as I'm so aware of the work involved.

Engineering and mathematical work.

You heard that right.

Calculating the yarn involved, the size needles (allowing for individual tension) the size of foot, the matching the yarn to the individual socks.

And you haven't got out your five needles yet. Yes, 5. To make that sock round with no seams and ahem, no holes.

So with trepidation I began and you know? Firing up those tottering brain cells has been, well, challenging. Sock knitting is all mathematics and engineering. Shaping the yarn, making and creating and decreasing stitches. I tried listening to podcasts, but nah, can't do. All this fierce concentration is laid at the feet (got that, ha!) of my socks. And there's no room for listening to anything.

But watching it all take shape on the needles is a complete and utter meditation.

I can almost hear my internal computer recharging itself and new pathways forming. Seriously.

Here they are: one completed, one getting there. I love the colour-ways. Like dawn coming up over the hill opposite my window.

And yes, I will produce another photo of them on my feet. I am unstoppable now. I am surveying my yarn stashes and imagining where it will eventually walk.

May the sock force be with me.


PS those darker specks you see on the yellow, etc. are part of the yarn colour-ways. Tiny flecks of the brown on the other colours. It looks beautiful in reality.



Thursday, October 31, 2019

Counting the Blessings

It's early in the day as I write this. Sometimes there's no point in hanging out in bed. So early rise and face the day and look at sock patterns. I must knit some socks, it's been far too long and the gifts of sock yarn have been piling up in my show-off basket. Hint, hint.

I am so fortunate with my doctor. He's very young but honestly? He's one of those who listens intently and researches methodologies and protocols with me.

I saw him yesterday and I never feel rushed or elderly or stupid with him. So I lay it all out. He is supportive and attentive and so very present. A rare gift.

So pain. There's a topical solution, he prescribed it. We were adverse to putting me on more pills as I am on a cartload now. Also (I didn't know) he can arrange for me to get free physiotherapy through Eastern Health, he said it will help tremendously. He also referred me to a counselling clinic that will give me a certificate for an ESA (emotional support animal). He also said my higher blood pressure readings have to be placed beside my age and I was doing quite well for my age. If I were 50 it would be a concern but at 76 and anticipated life expectancy, my BP, though elevated, wasn't dangerous. It's all perspective. And I am a type A after all.

I left his clinic feeling validated and listened to and respected. It has been decades since I've had a family doctor so in tune with my overall health and well-being with (it seems) all the time in the world. As I was leaving I said to his receptionist, "he's just wonderful isn't he?" and she responded, "we all think so."

So I finished two knitting projects:

First one is a cowl, it took me forever, 400 stitches on the needle. I carted it around with me. Amazing how strangers want to come and stroke the work I love that. It has a medieval look to it and I've worn it non-stop since completion.

The second one is a gift. A shawl which I found very challenging to photograph as it ranges from jet black to pale grey. But you get the idea.

I was asked to go on another board of directors and and after careful consideration I agreed. It is writing related and I feel it would be quite stimulating using my skill sets.

And yes, for all these blessings above I am truly grateful.








Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday Smatterings

The old health thing. Old being relative.

Ears

I find I always keep close caption on now. Well Netflix is the only thing I watch and that is just periodic and I don't watch crap. But even Irish shows and BBC I find it mumble mumble. I had my doc have a look at the old ear cavities and he said nothing blocking. Could it be dialogue is deteriorating. What say you elder peeps? The annoyance factor comes with I like to knit and watch but having to read the CC prevents that. I know. 1st World problems. Though I dislike the term 1st World. To others we could be 3rd. Especially in the way we take care of impoverished elders, etc.

Aches and Pains

I bought a new pillow. A lovely one. I'd read somewhere get a good pillow and back and neck will benefit. And lie as flat as you can. So I took away second pillow and tried this lovely new one and noticed how old my body was behaving in the mornings getting out of bed. Stiff, sore, ugly. After a couple of months I inserted the second pillow underneath new pillow and honestly the improvement is dramatic. I don't know why, it is a mystery. But I am sleeping and getting out of bed like, well, when I was 75.

Also I had this ongoing issue with my left arm, on and off. Terrible pain. I would get a week's relief then back again, small pillow underneath it so I could sleep. I had to tie it to my chest a few times to get some relief during the day with this brace I had. Long story short. I hauled out my keyboard tray, it had always seemed too low so I had stopped using it. I'd moved my keyboard in front of my big screen desktop for efficiency. I started using the tray and bingo, several months now and no more arm problem. Simple solutions to ongoing bodily issues.

Medications.

I get some nasty reactions to some of the meds I'm on. I won't provide a list as it would be far too long. Suffice to say is that I am housebound unexpectedly some days due to cramps and needing access to the bathroom. I've tried over the counter solutions as per doc and sometimes they work but boy I hate when this happens. Last was Friday night and I'd gotten to the parking lot of where I was going and meeting some friends and had to turn the car around and go home and now it's the second day and I feel I'm finally coming out of it. Not that I mind being housebound. I love it actually. Getting caught up with reading, knitting and writing and not worried about my inners performing badly. Internal thunder and lightening as my dad's best friend would put it. And I would wonder what he was talking about. No more.

On the needles (a shawl for a very special niece)

I posted this on FB and it makes me laugh every time I see it.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Friday Fumbles

A little note popped up in a knitting sketch book this morning:

"Why do people long for immortality when they don't know what to do with themselves on a wet Sunday afternoon?"
If I ever get to the end of my To-Do list it will be time for me to die.

Looking through some photos, this photo touched my heart. Grandgirl and Ansa laughing together on a rock from 2006. Try not to laugh back at them imagining the shared joke.

I fear for my friend L as her texting to me has stopped completely. Another friend ran into her and said she seemed terribly confused and shouldn't be driving. So she has worsened. I do hope her sons are monitoring the situation. The last text I had from her was her questioning if she should go into a seniors' residence. I supported that, of course. She is more than ready. I wrote about her here, our last time together, in 2018, in 5 parts.

I never tire of photographing the sea in all its thousands of moods. This one I took way back when L visited me here in Newfoundland and life seemed so much simpler then.




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Neverness

A word that popped into my head today. A word which expressed exactly how I was feeling. A state of Neverness (tm).

I was triggered by a discussion in a support group I attend. The topic was emotions. How feeling them was so important rather than shoving them all under a rug or ignoring them or biting the lip and bravely soldiering on as they will continue to pop up and wave at us for attention. A very interesting hour indeed.

And after leaving, I was in my car and playing some John O'Conor as I like to do now and again, he is a magnificent pianist. I was playing the Meeting of the Waters - one of my favourite pieces of all time and one I have attempted so many times on the piano myself. I couldn't find his interpretation on YouTube but I did find Phil Coulter's which isn't as emotional to my ear but you'll get the gist of what a lovely piece it is.


And this flood of emotion just completely took me over. Right out of the blue. I had to pull the car over. Whoa Nelly, said I, internally, what the hell?

And it struck me, like that, suddenly and without mercy, I will never see the land of my birth again. The long journey is basically insurmountable with my health challenges. And I will miss re-tracing the scenes of my childhood, my parents' graves, my beloved West Cork. And it's funny that, we never realize when it's happening that it could be the last time we are someplace or with someone we love. The very last time.

And that's what I was feeling in my emigrant heart - an overwhelming grief and a kind of longing. Even though the country had no time for me when I needed it the most over fifty years ago. I had to leave. Or I (and my natal family) would have been disgraced by an early pregnancy. Times have changed I know and that was then and so few people, even in my own family, get how it was. And I have no regrets, I hasten to add, it's not about that. My life in Canada has been rich in far too many ways to count. I would never be the me I love today without Canada having my back.

But I bawled my eyes out for quite a while anyway. And then carried on. In my state of Neverness.

Neverness.

It should be a word.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hair

I don't think I've ever fallen into the trap of following hair trends. Mainly I've had mine long with the odd excursion into sort of short but never all the way there as stylists were always appalled when I thought I could pull off a Helen Mirren.

But your head, they said, it's very - um - large.

Large it is, I can never find a hat to fit it. Stopped trying a long time ago.

I think it all depends on whether you're a hair off the face person or not.

I find that many men get very sensitive about hair as they age. The increasing absence of it.

Here I am around 16. Not much has changed in my preferred hairstyle in sixty years. Up or down, it's long.

I've always had super thick hair (enough for two heads, one of my aunts put it) but it did start to thin out a few years ago and I realized that all the complaining about it when younger had put a jinx on it and now I, too, was going bald. So I had utmost sympathy for the above mentioned balding men. I was now in their club, so to speak.

Well, I didn't go bald. But alarmed I was and someone said up your vitamin E intake which I did and it stopped the hair loss.

So then I started to regrow it in earnest. Mainly because I know this woman who has this marvelous white/grey messy pigtail down her back and I wanted to be like her when I grew up even though she was 10 years younger than me. My hair will never be that lovely silvery thing. It has always looked like a bad dye job. And I haven't dyed mine in oh, say 30 years. Right now it is silvery/grey/brown on my head and then further down, a nice shiny brown. I tie it back right now and it cascades nicely (I think) but I don't ever see the back of me as I walk around so they all could be pointing and laughing and mocking and I wouldn't know, would I.

While my hope would be for it to be like this:

So hair - men and women alike. How do you accommodate aging hair. Chop it all off? Polish your expanding pate? Let it grow? Spend lots and lots on crimping and dying and blonding? Grieve your younger hair?

Do tell.

PS And just for the hell of it, here's a treat.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday Smatterings

We had a very successful meeting with our MHA (Member of our provincial parliament and also a minister) on Thursday. We addressed all topics that were of concern, the poverty class of seniors, particularly women, the lack of adequate medical care, free transit, etc. He was very receptive and will present all our concerns to cabinet on November 4th. He is highly personable and not a puppet speaker and seemed to have researched many of our issues prior to the meeting. Onward the battle. Here is shot from our meeting:

I've had a really marvellous health day today, they are so rare I write about them when they happen. I had to do a lot of walking (sans cane) and truly as I sit down to write this just before midnight on Saturday, my body feels so good I want to take it out and party somewhere, but I can't. I had a successful day in so many ways and found I was enraptured with the fog outside the window first thing, look at the blaze of fall colour breaking through the grey!

I had one of those days where I read for a while, I knitted for a while, a friend dropped in for a while, and I chatted with an old activist in the laundry room. She is old enough to be my mother. Seriously. She is 94 and wields a large stick and her political analysis is right on the money. She was at our meeting with the minister. She said her life was marvelous as she had no children to clutter up her brain. I had to laugh. I had an aunt so very like her.

I decided to go to my doctor and get a certificate to enable me to get an emotional support animal. I have missed my furry companion, Ansa, so much - I know it's been three years but some losses do not fade. That is horsewallop. As there are no pets allowed in this building apparently an ESA supersedes these regulations and I can toddle everywhere with him/her. So wish me luck on this. We would be good for each other. Test case coming up.

I'm kinda thinking (s)he would look like this (My niece's treasure)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Words for Wednesday


The prompts are hosted by Elepant's Child this week. Go visit her blog and see what others are doing with these prompts and maybe have at it yourselves.

This week's prompts, use one or all.
You can't judge a book by its cover;

And/or

The squeaky wheel gets the grease

And/or
_______________________________________________________________________
For Sale.
Wedding Dress.
Never worn.

She repeated the ad she placed on Kijiji to herself and snapped a quick picture. A bargain, but she needed the money now.

If she'd heard them once, she'd heard them a thousand times, all those tired old cliches.

Book and cover, more recently used by granny who was bolstered by Isabel's mother, granny's daughter.

But it made her all the more adamant in pursuing Stan, the glamourous and handsome new sales guy at the car dealership where she worked. He charmed the pants off her, literally and figuratively, and she totally understood how he needed to bolster his sales to be kept on so she gladly assisted him, turning over some of her nearly finalized deals to him. Especially that truck deal she had worked so hard on with that new trucking company, a fleet of six trucks.

But she and Stan were getting married after all and it was all one pot anyway, he'd said. A huge commission cheque but he'd said he's use it for the down payment on that little cottage on the water she'd had her eye on. And then there was the discounted sports car he'd wheedled out of her. For his "image" he said. He'd pay her back. He made her head spin did Stan with the promises and the honeymoon he'd planned in Italy. She'd never had this kind of attention from any man. Granny and mum didn't like him and it was so evident it made her heart hurt when Stan came over the one time for dinner to meet them and then said he felt so unwelcome he didn't want to come back.

At the table, he wouldn't stop bragging about his sales even though basically they were hers. Saying to them stuff like "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" "all's fair in love and war" "it ain't over till it's over" as if he won a battle every day. She saw it all so clearly now and her cheeks flushed red as she looked at the ad, remembering she'd invited the whole dealership to the wedding, she'd paid deposits on the hotel and the catering and spent so much on the dress, it was so lovely.

It was her boss, the owner, who told her Stan had scarpered two days before the wedding. Left his apartment with 3 months rent overdue, no forwarding address, and apparently a couple of wives were suing him for child support.

Her boss looked so sad as he shook his head at her, offering up another cliche that made her scream internally:

"There's a fool born every minute."

Monday, October 14, 2019

Thanksgiving.


It is also the season of Samhain in Irish Culture when the walls between the living and the dead are at their thinnest. I have been to some fine Samhain celebrations in my time. Some quite extraordinary and difficult to write about.

I am thankful for so much:

My family, both blood and chosen.
My wee apartment and its magnificent views.
My brain.
My mobility, limited though it can be.
My sight, unchanged in over 8 years.
My writing.
My photography.
My knitting.
My sobriety and all that it gives me in love and and support.
My activism.
My beach and my ocean.
My car.
My book club.
My beautiful city.
My blog mates.
My music.

The above is not in any particular order.

So next time I whine, be sure to remind me of this list.

So a splendid Samhain to all and a happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Downside of Travelling

So yes, there was so much lovely in my experimental trip. I say experimental because it really was. A testing of the waters for a semi-planned far longer trip involving around 12 hours of travelling each way.

I hesitate to post the negative as many of us bloggers do, but I feel we do a disservice to the aging community by doing so. Life is not a constant bed of roses and we take the chaff with the wheat. And sometimes the chaff can last for days.

I find my tolerance for discomfort has faded with the ages. I would gladly sofa hop and hard floor sleep in the carefree full-body bounce back days. But no more.

Travel is stressful enough.

I can't praise West Jet, my airline, enough, their assistance was timely and helpful and courteous. Wheelchair from the check=in counter to the ramp, priority seating and assistance to leave the aircraft spot on. I felt very safe and cared for.

The challenges of sharing quarters with an elderly other, though, were many.

We stayed in her place for 3 days, moved to the Gaelic College for 3 days and then came back to her place for 3 days.

It put me in mind of George Carlin's great piece on "stuff" - you travel with bags of stuff for a stay someplace and then once you're settled in there you have to move out for a weekend condensing your condensed travel stuff to a micro-level bag of stuff.


Downside:
(1)Try as I might we couldn't co-ordinate our meal times. She's on 2 spontaneous meals a day supplemented by beers and gins.
I'm on 3 regular meals (diabetic)and no alcohol and was forced to endure enormous meal-gaps (trapped in a car)and I felt woozy and ill at ease with massive discomfort.I realized my assertion of these requirements was irritating and distancing.

(2)My room was the size of a closet (murphy bed) with every surface cluttered, no closet space, not even a hanger, so I lived out of my suitcase of wrinkled, un-aired clothes with nowhere to put medications, accessories, toothpaste, etc., and no bedside light to read, no wee table for my laptop which languished in my luggage, neglected. Added to that was a rug upon a rug which heaved itself into high ridges, tripping me often in the middle of the night and unadjustable blinds which hung at half mast throwing unwanted light into the tiny room.

(3)I couldn't use bathtubs or showers in both places as there were no safety bars. I tried the deep tub in her place but gave up as I knew it would take every blasted bit of ingenuity to climb out of it as it was so high and my foot slipped alarmingly on the non-slip bottom as I gripped the glass door to climb high and test it. Sponge baths were de rigeur. I hate prolonged sponge baths.

(4)She was very forgetful of conversations and maybe that is the downside of two elders sharing quarters, who's the one with the memory loss? Maybe it was me? Who knows?

(5)I hated not having my own transportation so I could get supplies. I hated not having my own quiet time. I hated hopping along after her with my walking stick and scoping the enormous distances on the college campus for benches to rest on between buildings.

And maybe all of this is about adaptation. I did this well when younger. But now? I find it stressful and miserable and if I could have flown back earlier, I would have.

I admire elders who go with the flow, roll with the punches.

I am not one of them. More like a grumpy geezer. I embrace it.




Thursday, October 10, 2019

Back Amongst My Blogpeeps - Part 1

It seems like I was gone forever. One of those vacations where one can't say:"Well, time really flew!"

So many positives:

The Writers Festival which was amazing. Being around this type of environment inspires me a lot. To write no matter what. To carve out writing time without apology.

The fall colours were amazing to behold, I keep forgetting how glorious fall can be even though it's my favourite season.

My friend-host is very generous and treated me royally to the wonderful sea-cuisine of Cape Breton - this is lunch, overloaded porridge bread lobster roll. I salivate remembering it.

We had dinner at Glenora Distillery on my last night, an exquisite place, carved out of the hillside and entered via by a long driveway.


Here is the sticky toffee dessert we were served:

On another night we heard The Blue Engine String Quartet and I was blown away. They focused on Haydn (I am a huge fan of all things Haydn!)and had that wonderful skill and warmth and generosity that only a long surviving group can achieve.

At another concert (3 amplified guitars, no percussion: not a huge fan of such noise) I was totally and surreptiously amused by this artist in a corner of the performance space, oblivious to the sounds around him.

More soon - now I go to feed on your blogs........












Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Taking a break

I'll be gone for about 10 days. Full report when I get back. I'm looking forward to this escape to another island.

I'm mad for a choir. Did a lot of choir work in my time and would love to do more if my singing voice hadn't disappeared on me after an infection a few years back.

Enjoy this Bob Dylan favourite of mine. I love his songs but damn, I don't care for his voice very much. This choir does a fine job.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Smatterings

These "5 Birds on a Wire" right outside my bedroom window cheered me up no end this morning. I hope you can see them. You might need to enbiggen. And yes, fall is in the air.

I updated my 2019 books read and rated list. Only 49 so far but most have been terrific reads. 2019 Books Read is on the sidebar. Links to all books read and blog listed is here.


And finally, I do love a dance video that is multi-cultural AND age-friendly like this one from the Jiggy group out of Ireland. Swing any kind of move to it.



Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Tropes of Old Age

I have no time for all the tired old sayings, some offered by those far, far younger with cheerful grins plastered on unlined faces, as if they know a thing about it:

"You're 75 years young today!"

No I'm not. I'm 75 and my body knows every inch of it. And I love the word "old". Yes, I do. I french kiss it to the ground most days. Because I've made it to "old". I claim and embrace my status. Old. That's me. Old.

"You're only as young as you feel!"

Well, my body feels punk some days, my "feelings" have nothing to do with it. I consider it a major achievement to climb out of my bed after a night of severe leg cramps and an unremitting bladder. I truly "feel" that applause would be mighty encouraging to help me to continue with my slow day.

"She died after losing her battle with cancer."

That's the heartbreaking one. The obits love the word battle. As if she just wasn't strong/courageous/armed enough to battle properly like a good wee soldier. And win. We all lose. Death claims us all eventually. Why not succumb when things get too rough? Die with dignity at a party of your own making, saying farewell, posting one last blog entry like some blogmates have done? This battling thing (while severely ill) has got to go. A terrible image.

"Old age ain't no place for sissies."

Well, it is. Old age is for everybody if we are lucky enough to live that long. Sissy or not. Wimp or not. Old age is not a monolith. Some are sissies at sixty. Some are brave wee mountain climbers at 90. I can't emulate you, you can't emulate me. Our journeys and personalities are completely different. I can climb on stage and bring the house down while you would run hobble for the hills at the terrorizing thought of it.

There is no handbook. We do the best we can. I embrace it, others Botox their way through, giggling they don't look/feel/behave their age. Whatever rings your chimes, whatever floats your boat.

I can be a sissy now and again. Like most of us. Throw a midnight blocked toilet at me and watch me mewl like a baby. A flat tire? Where's my minder? An unusual lump? Ring the undertaker. Stat.

We are complex in our old age. And that's the fun of it. Fears, laughter, groaning sessions with our contemporaries, bright smiles in place for the young 'uns, saying yes to new opportunities, that's the one piece of advice I'd pass on.

Say yes. If you can. And you're not having a sissy day.

And please don't trope yourself.




Monday, September 23, 2019

Lean on Me

I am so grateful for the women in my life both related by blood and chosen family. I do have some male friends but I dunno, the females? Understandably, they understand me and I understand them. My male relatives? Disappointing should cover that.

Daughter offered marvelous advice on Saturday over dinner about SOS. I asked her what I should do considering the burnout and the lack of volunteers (she's a volunteer, I should hasten to add, as is Grandgirl who designed our logo). She advised that I should ramp it down many notches due to the lack of skill-sets in volunteers (not web or technology or marketing literate unfortunately) and outlined a simple plan going forward which will not bleed our senses and our bodies out. I felt renewed after being with her.

Meanwhile, my partner in anarchy had burned out over the weekend with a particularly insulting response to a request for help she had posted. It tipped her over the edge. So I am meeting with her today to revive her spirits as Daughter has revived mine and plan a completely different (and simpler) course of action involving just the two of us. If you review one of my posts on SOS you will see an example of the kind of unhelpful and completely dispiriting comments we have been receiving. I've left one undeleted. Many of these, as you can guess, are anonymous. As key board warriors tend to be.

But I so appreciate the support of the rest of you, my dear blogmates, who understand how this whole venture exploded under the gnarly feet of two disabled elderly women with limited resources and energy. Thank you for your words of encouragement and support.

Meanwhile I leave you on a giggle:

I was folding laundry yesterday and was putting away this T-shirt when I realized this was the T-shirt I was wearing when two election campaigners came to the door and started to back away from me just about immediately. I thought it was my succinct pronouncements on senior poverty but no. On second thoughts? It was what I unconsciously wore. Excellent attire for voting season, ya think?


Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Two of Me

I awoke in the midst of a frequent dream of mine. In these dreams I am always running, joyfully, arms wide open, sometimes leaping over a low wall, jumping over mossy hillocks and wooden fences. When I awake, sometimes there are tears on my cheeks, sometimes a smile on my face. I never had those dreams when I was actually running every day.

In my morning quiet time I wrote about this.

The Two of Me

In dreams I run and there's no effort to it.
In daylight I forget how it was to not think
About my body as I raced through my old life.

There are two of me now.
The remembered me.
And the one who owns her.
But can do nothing with her.

I know many of you can relate.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Brick Wall

I've run into one. I was cranky, exhausted, angry, over-reacting, my legs were like concrete and I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to make it out of Sobey's yesterday with my wee bits of groceries. That grinding halt thing.

Someone beat up, old and tired, and with a bellyful of complaints and waving a metaphorical stick at anyone who spoke to her, had taken up residence in this pathetic, ancient body. My doc has doubled up my blood pressure medication and these might be reactions - fuzz brain, concrete legs, exhaustion.

And then today I read the post in As Time Goes By and I just about wept in relief. I am not alone with these feelings and failings. The mind is willing but the flesh is weak - what an old but true trope.

Not alone. When I was. Because these issues can't be understood by anyone under the age of 60, right? Not on any gut level.

I do schedule my old age as Ronni suggests, but this whole activism thing is taking a toll I can't even begin to describe. The armchair critics are numerous. Friends I thought would support it haven't in any way, shape or form. On an email, one guy attacked my SOS partner out of the blue today. My partner and I had looked at our to-do list yesterday and our notoriety brought strangers to our table in the cafe, all verbally back-patting us. No offers of help even though we asked for it. Trouble is most seniors offering assistance are web and spreadsheet and marketing illiterate. Exactly the skill sets we need. At the end we decided to take today off and re-assess and regroup.

So I was squeezing my social life in around the edges. My writing, my knitting, my enjoyment and even my paid work which I desperately need were shoved into any chinks left.

How many years do I have left?

Not enough.

I can't do it all. I can't do everything.

What do I choose?

What would you do?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

And so on

I was away on a knitting retreat. It was just what I needed - to get away from it all to another island on a ferry, away being the operative word. And stay at the Grand Wabana Inn.

17 other knitters and me. A wonderful inn. The best food in the world. But you know, the "best food" just involves me not cooking and me not cleaning up and me not serving.

I ate a lot of fish.

Here is what the chef produced for dinner (fresh caught cod) one night:

And here are
many of us knitting before the fire in anticipation of breakfast.

And these wonderful cookies on our breakfast plates on the first morning.


And I am back into the fray of SOS again. We (SOS) were invited to the NL Seniors Resource AGM yesterday. Loads of pols there (NLSR is funded by the provincial government plus many private donors both corporate and individual). We sat conspicuously in the front row as the reports, self congratulations, flowers and plaudits flowed all around us for those helping seniors by referring them to other agencies to call when they called in to NLSR. A referral service basically.

Interestingly, and heartbreakingly, the word povertywas not used ONCE throughout the 2 hours we were there. Not once. The tea and coffee and sammies and pastries were lovely though. I wish some starving seniors could have been there to partake.

We have a load of work to get done, obviously.


But meanwhile, I cheer myself up with these inspirations. I'm knitting myself a cowl. And the other beauties are for socks. and I've got an editing job in to pay the rent and another tiny bit of legacy coming in from a beloved aunt.




Monday, September 09, 2019

A Whinge and a Whine

Us elders don't write enough about the exhaustion we feel. We put on brave and stoic faces. Well some of us do. Tasks seem to stretch out into infinity. Decisions are made about dishes vs bed-making. How many stops can I make today, library, bank, pharmacy, shop, coffee meet-up. Mentally I know I can only manage 2. Where's my wife, shouldn't she be doing the rest of the stops? Oh, I forget. It's only me. Note I didn't say husband. He'd be busy getting the oil changed (I have to do that too) but he might make dinner and shop the insurance rates. Oh yeah, I do all that too. I know there are exceptions to these hide bound female/male categories, not that I see any around me. Solo maintenance takes a hell of a lot of energy.

In case you're thinking this is all a whinge and whine, well, you'd be right.

Overwhelm is a weird condition. I don't want it. It seems to be a choice. Either ignore the list (and watch your world fold in on itself) or succumb and start ticking those boxes.

We did an hour this morning on the CBC call-in show. Talking, talking, listening, engaging, being nice. Mein Gott, it is exhausting. We were geared up then about the next communique going out to media across Canada but when we left the studio, didn't we sort of collapse in exhaustion. Unexpected then but truly no surprise when you think about it. Having headphones and engaging with listeners is tiring. Very tiring.

Though we looked right perky as we did it. Afterwards, I fell on my bed fully clothed and slept like a drunk after a bender.

When I awoke, I quickly got enraged at someone's assumption I was pushing close to 80 (it is 4 years away STILL) and that basically (she said) it was a huge stretch for me to even be web literate and then commented "God love her" as if I was some pitiable basket case drooling over my keyboard trying to find the enter button.

Easily irritated by assumptions, that's me. Old habits die hard. I don't suffer fools gladly and never have. But she did me a favour. Rage imbues me with unhealthy energy.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Dorian in its last gasps.

I thought you might like these pics on Sunday Smatterings today. They were both taken by Cliff Doran who is a lightkeeper around these parts and I'm telling you, his pics are something to behold. Wild life, sunsets, his lighthouse, you name it. Stunning.

The first one is in St. Shott's, you get the sense of the power of the Atlantic, whipped up by Dorian. I do wonder about all those shipwrecks underneath those churning combers not allowed to rest yet again.


The second one is where Daughter lives. She's high on a hill overlooking the sea there and we had spoken today about the fierceness of the ocean at her feet and those huge waves. This spot is where all the humpbacks come in - they left only a few weeks ago and she spotted a minke only a couple of days ago.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Catch up.

Having a wonderful time with friends from Ontario who are staying in St. John's for a few days.

We were out at Cape Spear yesterday - the furthest easterly point in North America - and they took the shot below among many others. They are entranced on this, their first trip to the Edge of the Atlantic, and are already planning another one!


A whale bounced up to greet them. And they were in awe.

The weather is magnificent but the big but is Dorian heading our way with some high winds. Nothing like the Bahamas and - ahem - Alabama, but still slightly worrisome.

In other news:

I see the people of Ireland held a magnificent parade for Mike Pence's visit to his great-grandmother's home.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Waaaay Bigger

We never predicted anything like this. Seriously. The whole movement has taken on a life of its own and we are planning for a type of town hall meeting in a few weeks where politicians will be invited to answer questions from seniors.

We have a federal election coming up so this is all very timely.

I have been exhausted from the interviews and talks and planning and responding and dealing with those who want instant answers and telling me how to run the group in no uncertain terms and quite aggressively.

I am learning so much and was let down quite badly by one interviewer (radio) who distorted my words. He wanted me back to the studio with a few more seniors to interview but I am x-naying that due to lack of trust. Lesson learned: Tape my own audio along with theirs.

I've booked beach time with family tomorrow, it would be good to see little ones with buckets and spades and sand-castles and I will knit, as I always do, on the beach. And we will picnic.


I ordered a pink cardigan on line, on sale. Do you ever do spontaneous shopping like that? It's effortless and immediate. i thought the cardie looked lonely and realized before I pushed buttons that I didn't have a pinkish scarf (I'm a mad one for the scarves, alright) out of this enormous collection of scarves I have, so ordered another sale item: a black floaty scarf with large pink flowers. Then those charcoal grey socks looked comfy and then there was a grey bra, I'v never owned a grey bra and it matched those socks - I know irrelevant so there you have it. The basket. On its way.


I've never been a pink girlie person, never, so this should be interesting. I loved the lines of the cardie and every other colour had sold out. (Ha!). But I remember, of all things, my sister=in-law's mother wearing a lovely pink cardie over a grey turtleneck with matching grey linen pants and I thought she looked stunning.

This is inside the mind of a person completely bowled over by all that is happening around her who wants to run for the hills. But grips her computer and credit card tightly and clicks on silly things.