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.