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.