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."

Monday, October 14, 2019


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.

(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.