Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

For your pleasure - one of my favourite Christmas Albums - the Bells of Dublin.

Enjoy yourselves wherever you are, whatever the weather, and peace. Most of all peace.

And thanks for the comments, the wee gifties, your presence in my life.

Monday, December 23, 2019


I'm into the sunset pictures I've taken over the years lately. Please don't Freud me, for I Freud myself. Smile

*English spelling.

I was thinking this morning about how much is someone's life made up of pretence? Acting as if we're happy. Acting as if stuff doesn't bother us. Being brave when we feel like crying quietly on our beds. Is it a disservice to ourselves and/or others. Do we do some things out of a sense of duty even though we don't want to, or is this pure selfishness on our parts. What is selfishness? Is it firm boundaries?

I then read my previous post's comments and a commenter had affirmed my using my blog has an honest recounting of feelings and emotions while others hold back. Why? Fear of exposure? Exposure to what exactly? Derision, contempt, disrespect?

A pile on of questions here.

I think many of us are afraid of shunning by those close to us. I have been shunned by family for speaking my mind, for not toeing the line, for not behaving myself, for not reaching whatever standard bar they had set for me. For not being myself in other words. And you know what? The worst happened. They shunned me anyway. And I survived. And life was a little easier as I didn't have to walk on the eggshells I used to walk: Not being overly feminist, not mentioning male privilege, not being critical of male violence, not speaking up to defend the defenceless, not talking about the wreckage of childhood and the influence of the RC church and its vicious control on so-called "family values" resulting in my decision to emigrate from all who would support me in a kinder world in my worst moment which should have been my best.

So yeah, I speak up. And try to set my boundaries, and do what brings me joy and not suffer under the halter of duty or obligation. But it's taken me 76 years to get here. 76 effing years. My 25 year old Grandgirl is galaxies ahead of me when I was that age. For one, she is extremely well educated, her tolerance of crap is zero, her boundaries are clear, her opinions are well thought out and she can argue them intelligently and quietly and reasonably, her self esteem being always intact.

Old age is not easy, acceptance is not easy, but some days, like today, give me room for reflection and careful consideration.

And I can nod quietly to myself and think: It's a good day, there has been joy.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


I must have written about this before. Acceptance.

One thing I know for sure. It is not a constant. It waffles and wavers and falls down and gets up in a different form. It can leave the room slowly or gallop off like a horse.

I'm still not 100% of where I was even a few weeks ago. I have Grandgirl staying with me and it really puts my health into a floodlit situation being around her. The energy my dears, the energy is just not there. And I have had many a private cry and an appalling one in front of her this morning after a miserable night of it.

Don't get me wrong. She is amazing and kind and lovely. Just this pity pot seems very handy for me to stick my head in now and again when I am alone.

I feel the Black Dog lurking patiently, panting in eagerness. And I know I am struggling one more time with the acceptance of my failing body.

I had to get another chest X-ray this week and I hauled myself off but I couldn't get parking and so I circled the hospital for about an hour, just about whimpering. Acceptance I kept saying to myself. Ask for help. Stop feeling like such a burden. One friend could use any money I offer her to assist me as she is impoverished at the moment. Rise up. Count the blessings. Accept where you are and carry on.

As I type Grandgirl is making supper. Kale and tortellini and goat cheese, etc. There is an odd shifting of balance between us. Inevitable. I am so grateful I live long enough to see her grow into this lovely, brilliant young woman who has a wonderful future ahead of her. She's a happy person. Content with her life and her partner and her large circle of friends.

I am reminded of my own beloved granny who didn't do so well in her latter years. One of her daughters insisted on her leaving her home and moving in with her and her rambunctious household that also included her mother-in-law and that was not a good move. Granny missed her village and her friends and her chickens and dog. Independence is truly all important in our senior years as long we it is even remotely manageable. Closing our own doors on the world when we need to. I imagine as I fall into some decrepitude Granny is haunting me a little. But she also had the huge burden of a dead daughter (my mother) which was devastating for her.

I need to accept life as it is today and move away from the "not any mores" and the "neverness" of things I won't be able for again.

Just writing all this turbulence down has really helped me today.


I need to work on it some more.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Off the Ball on Sunday Smatterings.

As an opposite to on the ball. Things evade me at times. I wonder about my brain, But it is not degenerating in that downward elderly direction, it seems to have been always this way. Obvious solutions to little problems evade me. Give me big ones and I'm your woman.

Case in point: I have this cheap reading/crafting light I bought in New Brunswick last year when I was on that week with my dear friend Lana. I had to buy it as the cabin we rented was high ceilinged and no bedside light. Something like $10 at Walmart. Honestly? It is one of the best focussed lights I've ever had. But the switch at the top of the shade has gone temperamental. As cheap switches do. The threads wearing out on the cheap connectors. So I struggled the last time I switched it on. It took several minutes and I sighed and thought this effing disposable consumer culture we have. Even though I contribute to it by buying cheap lamps at Walmart. So I was on the point of wrapping it up a couple of hours later when I thought: It will still work if you just plug it out and plug it in when you need it. I felt inordinately proud of this moment. Would you have arrived at that conclusion immediately?

This place goes mad at Christmas, cookies and chocolates everywhere. Parties with live music. Doors dressed in snowman gear. Here's a few samples.
Mr. & Mrs. Clause

I've always loved lit miniature villages, this one covers the entire mantle piece in the upper gallery.

This is a bit blurry. But this is the scene looking down to the main community room from the gallery at the Xmas Tree and all the lights.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Shrunken World

Like a shrunken head. Mine.

Now that I am free from all "outside" activities I enjoyed my first day of mobility and breathing yesterday. I proceeded to reorganize my office, which some of you may recall is a part of my bedroom. I moved a very high wooden yarn shelf in from my locker room and began sorting all my writing binders - oh those novels, oh those short stories, oh those plays! - into some semblance of order. it also serves as a kind of room divider. I think I will throw a spider plant on the top shelf. I have quite a bit to go yet but I am so very pleased with how this is all coming together. I'm one for keeping note scraps on story ideas and scenarios, I'd love to have a system for these. Any ideas? They would need sorting into headings or some such, not sure. Some are barely legible but meaningful to me.

After enduring abuse from an anonymous commenter on this blog, I will no longer allow such creepy trolls with their own sick agendas to comment. They will be deleted unread. I recommend if you suffer similarly.

I believe I needed this health wake-up call to pay attention to my own inner creative spirit. I see my doctor tomorrow for followup.

My 80yo cleaning woman couldn't make it as scheduled today as she was worn out from cleaning another client yesterday. I told her to take time off any time she needs. She can't survive on her tiny pension and OAS. It is heart-breaking. Our MHA shows up today to party with the residents. He's the one who read our petition in the HoA. He's going to present a copy of the petition to my SOS founding partner. She's game ball. I'm not. I might want to physically assault him and scream "We want action, not words!" She's far more intimidated than I am but we make a good team. I do the yelling and plotting. So to avoid prison I stay away from him right now. And strategise some more.

I love this picture of a place very dear to me taken in 2014.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Nothing worse than blog silence is there? I know of many who dropped off over the years never to be heard from again and one wonders.

I decided many moons ago not to do this if it all possible. After all, 20 years of blogging, or close to it, (I haven't checked timeline lately) has a wee audience and camaraderie and a vested interest (we hope) in our well-being. Not the royal we there but referring to us valiant bunch of bloggers.

So on followup from previous post here I am with a leaky lung (hello breathlessness!), I was just full of fluid, in a retention competition I would have been in serious running for the gold cup. And, oh yes, congestive heart failure which scared the bejaysus out of me. He showed me the lung xrays, good gawd, sez I how was I walking around?

You did very well in coming in to see me so fast, many put these symptoms down to a bad flu go to bed and well, sez Doc and gave me a sad look.

He measured the diameter of my lower legs, my left was 2" bigger than my right. All fluid. So 8 pills, heavy diuretics, confined to barracks until Friday when I see him again with (hopefully) my breath back and my lungs released from their misery and bonus - matching legs.

He is meanwhile lining me up with a cardiologist, an echo chamber cardiogram and a halter for 24 hours to check on my errant heart and is very busy assuring me that with modern medicine, this is not overly serious but will need the consistent and ongoing attention of my newly expanded team of specialists.

Elsewhere, I resigned form all boards, committees and upcoming teaching projects and my life is now an empty blackboard filled with sock-making, reading and writing as I await further marching orders into the maw of medical speculation and testing.

And seriously? I can't praise my medical team highly enough.

And universal health care. Every country on the planet should have it. It is a human right. Like water.

Herewith a pair of socks I knit for Daughter - just to cheer us all up.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Waiting Game

I had all the tests done today. Boy did it take a whack out of me. I was so fortunate my niece was with me and did the wheelchair thing and waited and amused and conversed. I went to a smaller hospital, St. Clare's as I find them more intimate and friendly compared to the massive Health Science Centre which is exhausting even in getting parking before you begin the trek of endless halls and poor signage.
St. Clare's
Health Science Centre

So it was efficient with all the tests and the wheelchair really helped as my breathing after even a few steps is, well, rotten. EKGs are amazing now, none of that cold gel I remember but all these plasters, very fast and efficient and with a sports bra (ha! irony) one doesn't have to strip anymore for the lung Xrays.

Niece and I rewarded ourselves with a large farmer's type breakfast afterwards. We inhaled it.

SOS had a reading of our petition in the House of Assembly here in St. John's this afternoon. I hated missing it but I can only manage 1 or 2 events in a day and the hospital tests had wiped the floor with me.

House of Assembly

I'm so relieved to be home. Several people I met today were being admitted in various stages of distress and anxiety. I thought I might be amongst them and had felt so very sad leaving my apartment this morning.

I am so grateful to be home and just waiting for results and I am pretty positive in my outlook.

Thanks for all your support dear readers. It means more than I can say.

Monday, December 02, 2019


This is exactly the view I had tonight when I went part way up Signal Hill in St. John's, just to comtemplate, to think, to accept.

I had some health episodes at the weekend and had seen my doctor this afternoon, thinking I had heart failure happening or at least some terrible growth in my lungs.

I had difficult breathing even after about 10 steps and had to rest. I'd been thinking it was the end. Maybe not of my life but of freedom. I got quite down and depressed and incommunicado. One friend that I had called in distress on Friday night (we had a coffee date, the only reason I called her) and she mentioned everything it could be (but not what it is, interestingly) as she's a home care worker when she is able.

We take oxygen for granted, don't we? Like water. Like health.

My doctor did a battery of tests in his office (I am consistently shocked now about what can be done in offices) and ruled out lungs and heart. I sat in disbelief. Until he said I do suspect further deterioration in your kidneys. He then proceeded to explain how this has a detrimental effect on the heart and lungs as they try to compensate for the lack of kidney co-operation.

I have been in complete denial about my kidneys. Seriously. Even though I see a nephrologist (kidney specialist)twice a year and have for many years. Things had sort of flattened out with my ks in the last few tests, they don't function well (only at about 50%) but hey, why worry. I had kidney "trouble" as a child, I remember getting extra doses of pearl barley (the cure-all for kidneys then) along with hot water bottles on my back for infections.

He arranged all sorts of tests coming up, EKG, lung X-ray and kidney function tests but he's laying money on the kidneys, "Renal failure," he said,"is written all over my report to the technicians but don't be alarmed, it's just med. terminology." Hello?

I'm better off alone when things go south with my health. I have a little cry on my pity pot. And take myself to a beauty spot, I drove along the harbour and looked at the boats and then drove up the hill to look down and realize how tiny I and my troubles are in the overall scheme of things.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ramblings from 2012

Ansa the wonder dog and I hiked and rambled a lot back in the day. Many photos of these times pop up in my google feed regularly.

This was a day we spent walking around Brigus and Cupids 7 years ago. How times such as these vanish in the batting of an eye! Those days I would throw my good camera in my knapsack and pack our picnic lunches and her bowls and our water and strike off for parts unknown to both of us. Happy days and still vivid in my memory bank. Having a dog like Ansa allowed me to meet so many people as they were so drawn to her.

Cupids is the site of the first child born of European parents in North America. Many Brigus captains became arctic explorers.

I am so grateful to be living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Though I know many of you feel the same about where you live! These shots were taken mid-afternoon and the winter sun was lowering casting deep shadows and an amber effect on the scenery which I love.

The three sisters of Brigus.

A quiet beach in Brigus
Retired Boats in Brigus, I love the shadows cast by the November sun on these.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Dear Chantal

You're 18 years old and so very talented, intelligent and amazing in your accomplishments in your life so far in spite of so many unimaginable challenges. A full scholarship to a prestigious university. How absolutely incredible and validating for your commitment to your future and the hard work of your past.

I knitted you this pair of socks in such an unusual way for a few reasons.

The history of socks is quite interesting. They were originally made from animal skins tied around the foot and that was way back in the 7th century. Then they graduated to animal fur and finally to sheep's fleece. Historically, Very few ancient socks survive as the fibre breaks down quite rapidly. There is one original red sock that did and interestingly, it had a special pouch divided off for the big toe.

The architecture of socks is interesting. You will see how I knitted the cuff, heel and toes in different colours to highlight this for you. Straight needles, double pointed granted, 5 of them, resulting in a curved and bent piece of fabric that accommodates your feet and holds their shape if treated well.

Knowing you, I think the quirkiness of the socks will appeal as they are a truly one of a kind pair and if stolen (one never knows!) can be spotted immediately. I tried to incorporate all the colours of the changing oceans around us here with a bit of grey thrown in for The Rock.

I would wash them gently (sorry about that) as they are merino wool and dry on low heat or hang as I do. You will find you get several wears out of them before washing as they breathe remarkably well and are toasty in the winter and cool in the summer.

Wear in good health my friend. And I hope you enjoy them as I did in making them for you. The extra yarn is in case of repairs if needed.

I'll see you in December!


Wednesday, November 27, 2019


A bit of a downer of a week, not sure why. I feel a little burned out as I did much walking on Sunday through necessity and the body takes ages to recover, physically and mentally.

I feel I've lost a lot of my creative juices though I am "socking" away which keeps my fingers limber.

A friend did this lovely thing last night for her small circle of friends on Facebook and sang us this wonderful old Quaker song. Just herself and her guitar and I was transported. I sang harmony to her beautiful rendition. Here it is sung by Audrey Assad but I have to confess my friend's older voice and her guitar had a profound effect on me.

I'm in the unusual position of having no "paying" work. My in-basket got cleared out. I'm not overly worried, financially, as there are some doings in the pipeline.

One of my friends had to pull the plug on her TV as she could no longer afford cable and her back and neck got shot out when she was lifting her patient into a car for a visit to the doctor. My friend is a home-care worker and 74 and is now terrified financially that she can no longer work and may have to sacrifice her car. Senior poverty is a global issue but I have written enough on that and will update once we hit the floor of parliament in early December.

Here is a picture from here in St. John's, taken by a local photographer to give you an idea of the beauty the liners and other ships see when they cruise into the harbour. Houses on cliffs always fascinate me.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sunday-ish Smatterings

I ran into an old friend after I gave a talk last night. He would call me a friend, I know that. And I used to call him a friend until I realized that it was all fairly one-sided. And I also realized that most women I know (myself included) fill in those awkward gaps with a few of our male friends. It's hard to explain this in writing but I'll try. I remember sharing with this guy a few years back about a terrible time I was having with far too many losses in my life and he never responded but immediately plunged into a new job or some-such that his son-in-law now had. And I thought whoa Nelly, off the share list with this guy as I felt immediately worse, as if he didn't give a flying.

So as I was saying I ran into him. And since I saw him last, about a year ago, I have changed. I now ride on a stick (George, my walking cane). I mean if the situation were reversed I would immediately ask him how things were, what's with the stick? But him? No, he just looked at me and gave me a hug and waited for me to ask him how he was, and I didn't and he didn't and then he walked away, as I didn't bail him out of the conversational well. It was most interesting. I'm going to do that again with others who only broadcast at me and never, ever ask how I am or show concern, etc., but launch into some kind of monologue after I ask how they are. Life's too short to put up with self-centredness like this or narcissism or whatever we call it.

In the mail:

A postcard of Adelaide from a blogmate with her own vignettes on the back.

A postcard from my 18 year old friend, now on full scholarship in Halifax (she's brilliant)
and here's a taste:
About 145 light-years in diameter, M13 is composed of several hundred thousand stars, the brightest of which is a red giant, the variable star V11, with an apparent visual magnitude of 11.95. M13 is 22,200-25,000 light-years away from Earth.
If you'd like more read all about it here.

And last but not least, I was hunting for a copy of this book for a long time and it finally arrived from Australia a few days ago. It was written by one of my high school teachers, the first nun in Ireland to gain a PhD. We're talking the fifties here folks.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


The rain comes down today. In spatters, in force, in sprinkles. It can't make up its mind. Many birds circle the lake in front of the building, riding on air currents, saving energy, waiting for the feeders who arrive daily. From all walks of life. To sit on the benches and throw grain and bread and nuts to their favourites. It must be hard to soar when wet, I think. And what do birds do on rainy days when people stay home with their food bags?

There's a chill in the air. That wintrish glaze on everything. Joanna, my cleaning person, is supposed to be here today. I got ready for her. I always have to do a clean up for my cleaners. Left to my own devices I can create a slum out of the tidiest rooms in about 10 minutes flat. Not a skill I am proud of. But I think (she's 80 after all) she must have forgotten. And that's fine with me. At least some cleaning was done. I was going to tell her help herself to my enormous yarn collection which I have to do something about. I am a compulsive collector: movies, books, yarn, silver napkin rings, et al. But between the jigs and the reels I've let everything loose into the universe. Well, almost everything.

Meanwhile I have another editing job in which is a thrill. And I accepted a position on a board which should be interesting.

And I have a talk to give tomorrow night which involves index cards I haven't prepared yet. I like to do them at the last minute so everything is fresh in my mind and I try not to um and ah and remember to breathe and to glance briefly at the cards to make sure I'm on message and sequential. Easier said than done.

Other than that I had a very interesting lunch yesterday with two friends I hadn't seen in a about a year or so as they still live out in the country, hanging in there for another few years - for they are a few years younger than I. At one of our favourite places, a true honest pub with pub grub, including all day breakfast with lashings of home made home fries. The conversation was interesting and satisfying as we hovered around all sorts of topics including this challenge of not being able to walk and chew gum anymore.

I'm still in sock mode. Knitting them that is. And I watched the entire Crown Series 3 in a two night binge. It's like Downton Abbey, lots of froth and frocks. And stellar performances.

And I'm not feeling as if I'm on death's door anymore. I really don't know what that was all about. But it was frightening.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Old Age

It's so rare to read about the truth of old age, isn't it?

Ronni at Time Goes By does.

But many bloggers are almost apologetic about even talking about the downsides. And there can be many or few of these, depending on health - financial, mental, emotional, physical.

Or is it wearing the brave old face thing through adversity. Exhausting in itself, right?

I remember my father chugging along, even though it appears that he also had PVD (like me now) judging by his grinding-halt-when-walking-syndrome the last time we trekked Sherkin Island and we had to summon a kind driver to ferry him the rest of the way to Silver Strand and then back to the pier. He never shared any of his ailments with his children and he lived alone, soldiering on. Brave? We like to call old people suffering silently brave. But is it? Is it shame? Is it fear of being a crashing organ recital bore?

So what is old age? Hard to define. But as one old wag put it: Old age is five years older than I am now.

I'm way past my allotted three score and ten now - which used to be extreme old age a century ago. I've outlived my own mother by over twenty years. More of my contemporaries and friends are dead than alive. Let that sink in.

This interesting article was forwarded by a friend who is younger than I by about 7 or 8 years. But as we age into 75 do we get greedy? Will he change his opinion?

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

Is there a point to living beyond 75? Do we continue to suck greedily on our health resource services costing so much tax dollars from the youngers who support us through their taxes? And yes, I know we contributed in our turn to the elders of our time. How long does this go on? Till we drool our way to being spoon-fed and diaper changed? I mean we think it's never going to happen to us but hey, I've seen many being carted off who didn't think it would happen to them either. Last case in point a man I had a few coffee dates with.

I am more conscious now of "last times". I know we can't go home again but I truly believe we are never quite aware of the last time we're experiencing something, or being somewhere or being with someone until we are startled suddenly into the realization: yeah, that was the very last time.

And we weep quietly. Bravely alone. Or stay removed and stoic. But that isn't a choice. It's how we're built.

What sayeth you?

Thursday, November 14, 2019


*Post Pity Pot

Troubles shared are troubles halved or even quartered. Thank you for kind words of support.

I came out of the slump. As I do. Took the whole day off even though there was pressure from other tenants to get the flu shot today as the nurses were in the building and ready to visit all who needed. I must say the service here is amazing. But I was in no mood to interact with strangers so I will just have to go to the clinic and get it.

I was inspired by blog-friend Cup on The Bus to fire up my dormant cooking skills, so was most pleased today to produce 7 bowls of coconut curry soup. 4 for the freezer, 3 for now.

I was thinking while doing so that there should be a cookbook for disabled/elderly/financially challenged etc.seniors full of simple recipes like Cup on the Bus had posted and the ones I can make, including the shopping list to make it all happen. Not much of a list but basic stuff.

I had bought a big bag of frozen onions (did you know you can buy these for a couple of bucks?) as I was always throwing out rotting onions.
Then my local grocery store supplies cleaned and chopped up veggies for a couple of bucks too.
I also buy frozen broccoli and cauliflower. And those small tomatoes. And roasted red peppers in a jar (lasts forever).
So today:
A 1/2 cup of those frozen onions, 2 small spoons of garlic from a jar - fry these gently in good oil for a couple of minutes before adding:
Large tetrapack of chicken stock
1 can of coconut milk
As much curry as you like to taste.
Maybe some water
Any veggies you have on hand.
Today was mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, celery and broccoli.
I simmered all this for about 2 hours and then used my immersible blender to cream it up leaving some little chunks pf the veggies.

Absolutely delicious.

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.


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.


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


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.


It should be a word.

Monday, October 21, 2019


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;


The squeaky wheel gets the grease

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."