Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Tough Ol' Year

For all of us.

Not that we hadn't been warned way ahead of time. For years. A virus would get us in the end, they said, something invisible. With a breathtaking virulence and multiple mutations. That's something out of sci-fi, we thought, sneering. With all our medical knowledge we would slay it within weeks, look what we did to all the old diseases, diptheria, whooping cough, measles, polio. We are smarter than any virus. Yet here we go stumbling into 2021 and the virus is mutating and outsmarting us all right behind us.

And look what's happened. Millions dead. And still more will be dead from the after-effects. Not to mention the suicides and debilitating depressions and the undiagnosed non-Covid illnesses like cancer, heart disease, with people too afraid of hospitals to go for tests and diagnostics.

So yeah, it was tough, as we limp into 2021, still uncertain of what the future holds.

As to me? I read a lot. I wrote a lot. I streamed a lot. Didn't knit as much as I wanted to.

The gifts of Covid, not in any particular order:

(1) Zoom meetings every Sunday afternoon with my five siblings, we are scattered througout the world but we all show up faithfully week after week.

(2) Seeing clearly what's important and what isn't in life.

(3) Missing really ordinary bits and pieces I took for granted like sitting in cafes with friends mulling over the state of the world. Never realizing that that was a something I took for grantd pre-Plague. Live theatre, live music.

(4) Zoom Meetings with long time friends in Ontario whom I miss so much.

(5) Seeing how local friends misbehaved in not following the protocols, never realizing how truly selfish they were in not protecting others by wearing a mask.

(6) Forcing myself to fix computer and tablet issues when challenged. It hurt the ancient brain but I managed. And felt inordinately proud when successful (hello new bluetooth connection which took an inordinate amount of time.)

(7) Precious travelling trip to the Great Northern Peninsula with Grandgirl and Daughter. Grandgirl had to self-isolate for 2 weeks when she got here before we all set off and I am so grateful for her concern and caring of her old grandma.

(8) Enjoying cheap flowers like never before, here's a picture of the irises I bought yesterday:

Here's a pic of Grandgirl and me at the Viking Settlement, I wish I had the picture handy of me pushing her in her jogging stroller 25 years before as we I ran in a Toronto road race! It would have been one of those perfect circle of life treasures. I'll never forget her lisping over and over "Go, grandma, go!" Now it was my turn to urge her on through the trails!

And here's a bunch of Irish wishes for all of you out there as we bravely face this brand new year.

Friday, December 18, 2020

A Girl In Ireland

There are all kinds of forces in our childhoods that form us as adults. I was forged in an Ireland that today sounds like the Taliban. Men and women were separated in all kinds of ways starting with church.
A mantilla

In my time - late forties early fifties in the last century - men and women sat on opposite aisles of the church. As soon as a girl hit puberty her head had to be covered in a mantilla in church. I was one who always asked why and the answer was that a women's hair could tempt a man. We had to be vigilant about throwing any temptation in a man's way as they quickly "went out of control."

Education was an awful waste for a woman as she would throw it all away when she got married, which was the end goal.

And speaking of end goals: There were 3 options for a girl's life:

(1) Become a nun (highest calling, a girl would be the bride of Christ. Chirst was obviously a polygamist but saying that was blasphemy of the highest order - hell fire and damnation were yours.

(2) Married, giving god all the children she possibly could and even more, if one of her sons was a priest she could go sit on the right hand side of god once she died (usually early being worn out from constant pregnancies.)

(3) Staying single but dedicating one's life to (free) community work in the church and supporting the clergy's housekeeping, etc.

Careers for women were frowned upon severely as
(1)If it was outside the norm (teacher, nurse) it could be offputting for a man who might be interested in you.
(2)You refrained from buying a car as you might as well say goodbye to any good man finding and marrying you.
(3)Keeping your intelligence to yourself, men find "smart" women saucy and forward. "Intelligence," said my father, the youngest of the family of six - all girls until his precious self, "Is always wasted on a girl."

Sex education was strict.

(1) Tampons would "destrioy" you. Why? No man would want you. Why? Tampons destroyed his pleasure.
(2) Never let a man touch you below the neck or above the knee - see "out of control" section from church rules.

From the beginning I saw that I was more of a worry than my four brothers. For I could "fall" pregnant. By any stray man. I remember living in fear of toilet seats if a man had used it prior to me. I could "catch" a stray pregnancy. And I was told about these dark and smelly places where girls who fell were incarcerated scrubbing sheets for the rest of their lives with their hands covered in chilblains and carbolic soap, dawn to dusk, living on bread and water and beaten by the nuns if they complained.

I remember looking at my brothers and thinking they have absolutely no idea how much freedom they have. None. The most they were told was not to climb into cars with strange men offering them sweeties. They didn't have to fear endless laundry work and were free to spray any female with an "unwanted" pregnancy and walk away.

the most imporant rule of all: I had to avoid these lurking pregnancies as I could wind up with carbolic hands in a dark damp dungeon for the rest of my born days.
To be continued.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Art of Empathy

I try not to speak in platitudes or cliches or tropes. That's not empathy. Examples: Every cloud has a silver lining, into each life a little rain must fall, God closes a door so you can open a window, ad nauseum.

If someone is suffering or complaining or sharing, I try not to rain on the parade of it, the pain or regret of it.

For instance, the other night, a long standing friend shared her pain over her son getting upset and estranging himself from her because she criticised his new wife. Her son is in his fifties.

I am wise to such stuff. For instance when Daughter split up with husband when Grandgirl was only a few months old, I decided I never would criticise her husband (and he was a jerk of the highest order) which would spill over into any relationship I had with him. Why? Well, if anything happened to Daughter I needed access to Grandgirl, the light of my life, and he was not going to concede that access to a raging and seething granny, now was he? I had to see her ex periodically as we would have to pick Grandgirl up or drop her off with each other while Daughter studied or taught. It was always civil and kind.

I've passed this on to other grandparent friends as to how to conduct a relationship with their children's exes even though homicide/femicide might be on their minds. Suck it up, you will reap the benefits.

A sibling and the rest of her family spouted off at her son when he broke up with his wife. They tore his wife up six ways to Sunday. And guess what? The son reconciled with the wife and and told her what his family really thought of her and things have been frosty as ice since.

Keeping the old lips zipped is extraordinarly difficult, especially when you are asked by an adult child, "What do you really think of (insert name of hated in-law here)?". Recommended answer: "As long as you're happy, darling." And excuse yourself for a minute so you can staunch the flow of blood from your tongue. Or "the bastard's gone and left me, mum!" Recommended answer: "What can I do to help you, sweetheart?"
I only share my own experience. I never presume to offer advice for circumstances that have not affected me. And only when asked.

And to go back to the recent pain of my friend and her son and his wife.

My friend P went on a diatribe to her son calling his wife a "skank" - she was only after his money and pension and holdings. To say I was flabbergasted is to understate my reaction to her words. I desperately wanted to criticise her beaviour towards him but I wasn't going to add to her pain. I wasn't going to join in on the downtake of her DIL. I asked her was she ready to apologise and she just about screamed at me: "I wouldn't take back a word of it. She's an effin skank!" But at some level she's ashamed of this because it happened a year ago. A whole year and he refuses to speak or engage with his mother. And it was the first time she shared it with anyone.

Now P has had a turbulent unsettled life. Married 5 times, I met them all and yeah, some of them were also "skanks". Many times her son lived with her parents as she pursued the latest hubby across continents. So definitely pot and kettle come to mind. But I only feel a huge compassion for her. I've had some wonderful fun times with her over the years, we fought for acceptance as female executives in hostile male working environments and always supported each other in all our endeavours. I care for her deeply. And do hope she sees the way of healing with her only child.

So few ask for advice. But empathy is always needed.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Once Upon a Time

My estranged daughter's birthday was on December 9th. I did something a little different this year. I wrote a little poem about how I felt and sent it to a sibling who had lost his son on December 10th (a crib death). And in that act, which was spontaneous, there was the recognition that reaching out and sharing pain can be so healing.

I didn't feel as broken as I normally do on her birthday. And I know her birthday is long forgotten many birthdays in my family. Obliterated. I feel she is erased. Which doesn't help my solitary pain. Apart from her sister - we remember and commiserate and share and overanalyze her distance and cautiously explore the one media outlet we are not blocked from. We have become professional lurkers as one false click or move will set her off again and we will have no updates. By updates I mean that we know she's alive and hasn't killed herself or been killed. And I don't say that in high drama mode. She has attempted it before. So we tread lightly, as we always have with her. The eggshell dance.

And another thing, a friend reached out to me and shared that her son had estranged himself and she was in such pain. She is one of quite a few who have done this now, mainly because I am open with my sharing of it. There is no shame or blame as some people think. It just is.

So here's a pic of my glorious girlie in absentia and the poem I wrote.

For JJ December 9, 2020.
Another trip around the sun is completed.
And I reflect on the day of your birth
Again. And again. And again.
And how my reality
Didn't match your reality.
I thought there was
Unconditional love
I thought there was joy
And recognition
And humour
And connection.
I was alone.
My memories are
Crystal clear.
For now.

Monday, December 07, 2020


We all have it. Some have trunks, some suitcases, some carryons, some as light as a fancy knapsack. But there is no escaping it. I've always loved the analogy of someone running far from home, even to escaping on a boat and when she finally pulls into harbour, there's all her left behind baggage waiting for her on the pier.

I'm talking emotional baggage of course.

So I was inspecting my baggage this morning. It does change from day to day, week to week. I no longer have trunk loads of the stuff.

But I do have some. A mixed bag (ha!) now. Some of it is light and fluffy, some dark.

(1)In the bigger suitcase is a long time friend whose cancer has spread. To say I am devastated is to understate it. I can't imagine life without R in it. And this opens up all the other losses of dear friends, nearly uncountable now. This is the price tag of aging but it still doesn't alleviate the weight of the pain. It also opens up in a different way how R has been so supportive over the years in all kinds of ways. Each memory pops up in light and fizzles in darkness.
(2) My PC is not performing well after the recent long 6 hour update (seriously). Everything has slowed, and in the way of my head and living alone, this takes up enormous worry space in the luggage.

In the lighter train case today, is gratitude for friendships and dear ones who check up on me. Also grateful for the advice of an expert at my local CBD store who recommended a brilliant new tincture. It alleviates the worst of my pain. Three new books from the library are there along with the groceries Daughter picked up for me on the weekend and the countless acts of kindness she so freely offers so many times. The fog is coming and going today, I absolutely love the fog, smothering sound and landscaping with abandon. Hiding the numerous birds and blurring the trees. My larder is full and a new shelving unit was delivered for the (large) locker room in my apartment which I will photograph a la Andrew when I am completely organized (dream on, I say, dream on). But I always stack my goals in the traincase. We all need some kind of target.....

Thursday, December 03, 2020

A Sliver of Life

I wrote this snippet this morning as I picked up the knitting after quite a dry spell and noted immediately how my mood lifted. Note to self: creativity restores your humanity. And our lives are just moments, if we think about life. This was just a moment in my day.

Herewith the sliver:

Knit Me A Scene

Needles clicking
Clock ticking
Silent birds
In circling herds
Cloud the pond
In the beyond.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Blog Buddies

I am gratified in being alive when the interwebz came into being. This amazing technology introduced me to others around the world I'd never have met in real life.

Subsequently, I met some and the F2F friendships always confirmed the virtual connection. When I had my small B&B around the bay, several came to visit me and it was joyful meeting them.

When I brought my play to Ireland, others showed up from great distances with overnight stays in the town.

When I mentioned I'd like some simple yoga practise for my continuing mobility/physical issues, an email fell into my box with great diagrams.

I've received cards and bookmarks and tea towels and scarves and knitting patterns and letters and books and even old fashioned hairpins which touch my heart.

I've sent out wee bits and pieces as well.

I grieve when bloggers die. And miss their writing. The loss is real.

I feel validated in all the complexities of my life when I post from the heart here. It is a rarity to be condemned and belittled (though it does happen). Those who attack, I suspect, haven't looked inside their own hearts and thrown the windows open to alleviate the darkness within.

So a big thank you to you all out there.

Today and every day.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Whinge Buddies

I only say these things to her
And she to me
In our bi-weekly

We are aware
Of how others perceive pain.
And how boring we could be
But never to each other.

So we lay it all out.
I said to her today:
When I get home
And I've barely made it.

I lie on the floor
And cry. And feel like
I want to die.
And it takes a while...

And she says, oh my god,
Me too. And when I make plans
And then the pain is so bad
I have to cancel.

And I cry all day
I miss out on so much.
Me too, I say, and my pain
Meds are not doing it

As well as they used to.
And I don't want mind
Altering shyte
I'd hate to be medicated.

Me neither.
I feel better talking it
Through with you.
You're a treasure.

You too.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Mad Woman Musings.

In a world of
Constant connection
I am lonely
My mother,
My best friend,
My tribe.

And I wonder
How old
Everyone is
In heaven

If there is one.
And why?
And what do we
Look like
As we arrive?

Are our faces
Frozen forever
Into the face
We die in

Or do we
Look like we did
At sixteen
Or twenty five.

Or how do we find
The ones gone before
Without human shapes
Or is that all just magic

Like radar or blue tooth
Like ESP or ouija boards
Or crystal balls.

And who's
Keeping track of
The 113 billion
Who have already

And are religions
From each other.
And will atheists
Be surprised
Or disappoimted?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Footering* and 2020 Book List

I can't seem to get my page section to work, the links are wonky. I'm not much into HTML, just the minimum. New Blogger has all sorts of extra steps and I can't seem to get my head around the link aspect.

So I copied and pasted my books read list from the 2020 Books Read page. I can't figure out how to get the page links working for prior years.

I would be most interested in all recommendations, both books and blogger page links.

(1)The Gathering - Anne Enright {BC} {RR} *****
(2)The Break - Katherina Vermette {G}**
(3)A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway {RR} Annual read *****
(4)The Marriage Lie - Kimberley Bell***
(5)Patience and Sarah - Isabel Miller*****
(6)One for the Rock - Kevin Major {BC}**
(7)Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens***
(8)The City Not Long After - Pat Murphy {DNF}
(9)A Reckoning - May Sarton*****
(10)I'll be right There - Kyun-Sook Shin*****
(11)Dear Mrs. Bird - A. J. Pearch {BC}
(12)Autobiography of a Boring Wife - Marie-Renee Lasoie*****
(13)Our House - Louise Candlish*****
(14)Frying Plaintain - Zalika Reid-Beta*****
(15)Something for Everyone - Lisa Moore DNF0
(16)Almost Feral -Gemma Hickey***
(17)Pachinko - Min Jin Lee*****
(18)The Wake - Linden MacIntyre*****
(19)May Sarton - Margot Peters*****
(20)H is for Hawk - Helen MacDonald*****
(21)Future Home of the Living God - Louise Erdrich*
(22)I Found You - Lisa Jewell****
(23)The Wrong Side of Goodbye - Michael Connolly*****
(24)The Tin Can Tree - Anne Tyler*****
(25)Stories of 1943 - Various*****
(26)The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry - Various*****
(27)Felicity - Mary Oliver*****
(28)Department of Speculation - Jenny Offill*****
(29)Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell*****
(30))Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell***
(31)My Dark Vanessa - Kate Elizabeth Russell*****
(32)Nocturne - Helen Humphries*****
(33)The Pull of the Stars - Emma Donoghue*****
(34)One Hit Wonder - Lisa Jewell**
(35)Wesley The Owl - Stacey O'Brien****
(36)A Good Neighbourhood - Theres Anne Fowler*****
(36)A Roll of the Bones - Trudy Morgan Cole*****
(37)Z - Theresa Anne Fowler*****
(38)The Book of Longings - Sue Monk Kidd*****
(39)Souvenir - Therese Anne Fowler***
(40)Nightingale of the North - Amy Louise Peyton**(G)
(41)Forgotten Women - Various*****(G)
(42)Territory of Light - Yuko Tsushima**
(43)How to be a Woman - Caitlin Moran ****
(44)Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow*****
(45)Women and Children First - Michelle Landsberg****
(46)Things are Good Now - Djamila Ibrahim*****
(47)The Book of Longing - Leonard Cohen*****(G)
(48)Dancing in a Jar - Adele PoynterBC ****
(49)Long Bright River - Liz Moore***
(50)The Difference - Marina Endicot DNF
(51)A Well Behaved Woman - Therese Anne Fowler

TOTAL TO DATE: 11{BC=Book Club} {DNF = Did Not Finish} {RR} = Re-read {G} = gift}
Ratings:0(awful) *(poor)**(fair)***(good)****(very good)*****(excellent)

*Footering = my own invented word for messing about with stuff.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Weird Things About Me

Maybe not so weird, but thinking about them I wonder if any of you out there have similar types of habits behaviours that are slightly askew and maybe a little off.

(1)I can't pass by a jar of Q-Tips without taking one out and foisting it into my ear. Not in public or anything. Just the first private moment I get. Or if I'm in your bathroom right then and there. No need. I just do it.

(2)Ditto with a blackboard with available chalk. I have to write something. If not alone with it, I'll find an excuse to go back and print or draw something small.

(3)I can't stay in a hotel or inn without lifting something. Something unnoticeable. Last time it was this plastic zipper bag hidden under a pile of towels which I knew would hold all my tinier knitting supplies. Well, no one was using it obviously. These "found" tiny objects without any significant value remind me of the place I stayed and the memories generated. One time it was a blue eyeliner pencil someone left behind. I never use makeup, but I still have it. Moncton, New Brunswick in a snow storm.

(4)I can't bear to throw away even the tiniest piece of yarn from a finished project. I always send a supply (for minor repairs dow the road) to the receiver of my gift but then struggle with the remaining bits as they remind me of the completed work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Denim Days

Looking back - the more I age, the more the rearview mirror can appeal to me in brief spurts - I would count the Denim Days of my life in a small rural oceanside town in Newfoundland to be some of the happiest. I find that one's happiness cannot be tied to any particular person, place or thing. It is organic, internal, an inside job, if you will.

Everywhere I turned around there was this startling blue, it never failed to take my breath away. At times it became Forty Shades of Blue, just like that Irish song Forty Shades of Green. I'd sit on my front porch with a coffee of a morning and look at this.

I'm not one who eliminates the downside of life when looking back, but the home I had there held some great memories of parties and friends staying for a holiday and my beloved dog Ansa and gentleman callers and a community around me always prepared to help out when challenges hit.

So what brought this on? Just going through some old photos today. So many memories stirred up. Not least of which was that lovely old house by the ocean.

Friday, November 13, 2020

When Friends are Fading.

I have a follow-up on Lana for those who might remember my five part post on a long time friendship when one descends into dementia, leaving the other holding the memories by themselves.

Lana is in frequent contact with me. Her here and now wisdom is still intact but her short term has just about vanished. I was alarmed the other night when Bell Telephone called me and said my friend was unable to punch in my numbers on her phone and asked for assistance. Oh dear. The call itself was also distressing in that she was looking at a slew of bills and not knowing what to do with them. Should she go to the bank? And then she asked for help. Could I find someone to take care of her bills?

I called an Ontario trustee I am familiar with but they couldn't help as her sons are powers of attorney. I stewed. And then came to a resolution and called one of her son's workplaces and he remembered me instantly (our families have been close) and he is very aware of what's going on with her and calls her four times a week and monitors the situation along with his brother. (She has no memory of these calls however, and told me no one bothers with her at all).

He also said her tenant had called and several who didn't want to be identified phoned in various stages of concern. He assured me he wouldn't breach my confidence with her. Her sons are in a dilemma as to what to do. Hire full time home care? He thinks her estate could handle it or a reverse mortgage. Anyway the long and the short of it is I am in complete relief and the burden of her calls and my concerns has lifted substantially. And we will keep each other in the loop of her condition as it inevitably worsens.

What a dreadful disease this is. It steals the whole person, their vibrancy, their memories, their friendships, their dreams. I've been up and close and personal with a few cases now and all of them were heartbreaking. Without exception.

I was out and about today in spite of some early pain. I needed to be by my ocean.So I took my lunch and a dark roast and headed up to Middle Cove.

I loved this sign in the middle of nowhere on the beach (only 2 other people there in the vast space). Social distancing in the ocean air. What they call an 'abundance of caution' out here and we are so grateful for it. There was an article on us, in The New York Times no less, as one of the safest places in the world. All down to this abundance of caution, even on deserted beaches.

I stopped twice on the way home.

Once by a stables with these gorgeous horses and riders galloping in the paddock but taking a photo seemed really instrusive on their chatter back and forth, so I didn't, much as I wanted to.

Just up from there I stopped at this beautiful church as the afternoon light was so perfect.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Words for Wednesday

Elephant's Child is hosting this week's Words for Wednesday. I'm participating again this week after quite a dry spell, as I need a bit of a jog to my imagination and writing as it's all falling to the wayside these days. Using all the words was a challenge but very enjoyable. I encourage everyone to participate!

Here are this week's prompts.

1. Botanic* 2. Gathering" 3. Finger* 4. Port* 5. Canine* 6. Elastic Band*

And /or

1. Department* 2. Prose* 3. Stable* 4. Wink* 5. Chandelier* 6. Pirouette*


She didn't catch a wink of sleep. The gathering the night before was a disaster, the sea was so rough the chandelier in the dining room danced a pirouette over their heads. Her beloved dog, Teddy, must have been frightened in the canine quarters below deck. She sat up suddenly in her small cabin, staring at the elastic band on her finger and snapped it. What was it she had to remember?

Police department? The stable at the farm?

Ah yes, the prose was all falling into place now for her latest book. She scribbled the notes down quickly before they evaporated and glanced at the port hole.

They would soon be in harbour. She would treat herself to a coffee and a tour of the botanical gardens this afternoon

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Pardon Me

I'm not writing about much today. I've had two days of savage pain which neither the CBD oil nor the Tylenol extra strength alleviate.

I'm getting used to days like these. I know they pass. And who knows why they pass? Some wooey magic? The body going phooey, let's give her a break?

I felt miserable.

And I considered the hidden life of Facecloth (my personal petname for you know what). I posted jokes and comments and updated some of my web pages and thought: No one could ever tell from these posts that I was distracting myself from my rebelling body. And posted a picture of the sun washing the dark windows of houses as it slid below the horizon sitting by the lake with its dog park and missed my Ansa. I can make more room on the pity-pot if you wish.

And apologies for the swimming in the sea of me post.

But there you have it.

The US is what it is, a cesspool of fascism and racism and all the other isms of nearly 50% of its population. A terrifying thought. And their Mussolini at the top of the heap screaming and yelling like a toddler, condemning his own country's voting security with every blast and no one from his party marching out there and seizing him by the neck and throwing him into one of his own cages. Why are they complicit in his treason?

Be that as it may on this rambling Saturday, where the pain is not showing its face so much.

I hung this picture which I got on the Great Northern Peninsula. I absolutely love it.

And optimistically picked up my Book Club's selections from the library where I was greeted by name by the librarian.

I'm telling you, we need to cling to the small things like never before.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Hanging In

"Hang In There" was a phrase used oftentimes in the good old days.

I'm trying not to despair and rage and rant today when I see the actual horrific numbers of USians who voted for this narcissistic monster who doesn't give a shyte about any of them. Is this the soul of the USA laid bare? The mirror relecting this psychopathic sub-human? Who sees them die, who sees them infected and never throws a glance their way? Who has never exhibited a shred of compassion? Who whines like a 2 year old? Who can turn his back on children in cages and lose track of their parents? And uses the USA as a personal ATM?

My friends in the USA are terrified. With just cause. The world is terrified.

Is there hope? I've stopped tracking the ongoing results. He may have bought the electoral college. Who knows? And the supreme court is in his pocket to declare him a winner. Well, hold on, he already declared himself the winner. Breaking more laws which seem meaningless when it comes to this dictator.

So on to other stuff:

Personal Positives ------------------

(1)Finally, finally I get lab work done in my home. A lovely man showed up yesterday to do the fluid extractions and will fire off the reports to my doctors on line. How wonderful is this? The clinics and hospitals were such such a challenge. (2)I listen to the ordinary sights and sounds outside my window and celebrate them. The ordinary is so important these days. The horns of the ships in the harbour, the community bus pulling up for the resident shoppers ($5.00 return to take them far and wide to different stores and then come back hours later to pick them up) (3) A little flurry of snow, reminding us that winter is on it's way. Now it's gone, like a breath. (4) My new cleaner, Jessica, has to be seen to be believed. Never have I had a cleaner like her. So thorough and energetic and she cleans, like everything. (5) I change my sign on my little blackboard every month. This month is "gratitude". I think of the small things and the large things that keep me grateful. Living in Canada, living in Newfoundland, with no new cases in 9 days now. And only 4 active ones. A prime minister who keeps our borders closed to the USA and begins more serious negotiations with the EU.

So Hang in there USA!

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Of RIPs and Life

In the past week or so I have lost 2 long time blog buddies.

The first was Ann of Twilight. Learning Curve on the Eliptic was a fountain of knowledge on the stars, on politics and on life in general. I always enjoyed her posts.

Today, was the awful news that Ronni Bennett of As Time Goes By died last evening. She and I started blogging around the same time. Her honest reports on aging and insightful commentaries on its process was the first blog to deal with the "real" side of aging - with all its ailments, challenges and discomforts. I exchanged several emails with her over the years. She was an enormous help to her huge community and was unstinting in her communication about her own dying. Gawd how I'll miss her.

Highlights of the weekend:

Daughter came in and stayed for the weekend. We had planned to watch The Queen's Gambit together - me for the second time, she for the first. But that never happened as we laughed our way through Halloween and into the small hours of the morning. The more we age together, the more we enjoy each other but we also recognise that this is extraordinarly rare. One of the topics was rate your worst dates ever. Gawd did we have a feast on that one.

But don't miss The Queen's Gambit. 10/10 from me on IMDB, a rare thing. Trust me.

I'm reading "Catch and Kill" by Ronan Farrow. Which has my hair standing on end. It reads like one of the best crime novels, with underworld spies, threats, blackmail and dark web stuff but it's all true.

Please don't grieve that POS Sean Connery. A wife beater who bragged about slapping women about. A friend of Trump's and over all horrible subhuman.

Sean Connery "An open-handed slap is justified – if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning. If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I'd do it." — Playboy magazine, 1965. "There are women who take it to the wire. That's what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation. They want a smack." — Interview with Barbara Walters, December 1987

A dinner of moose was dropped off by a friend tonight. Here it is in all its glory. I will get 3 meals out of it. It is to die.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

My Afternoon

I spent the afternoon with Niece. We sat downstairs in the downstairs community room. Distant coffees and masked before we sat down and basically a distant hug.

It was so beautiful out there, the traces of a hurricane were busy pulling the leaves off the trees on the back patio but I did manage a couple of pictures of it even though it was too cold to sit outside.

We chatted for nearly 4 hours, about books and knitting and family and workshops and writing. It was wonderful, sorely needed by each of us. We stayed safe but of course residents walking around inside the building are maskless with some wheezing and sneezing and coughing which is frightening. I've maintained if one case comes in here many will die. But they behave as if we are all immune.

Later it was the weekly family Zoom meeting. Every Sunday. Just the siblings. All six of us there today. From all over, Ireland, Canada, Malta and Costa Rica. The Covid and Zoom can have a positive effect on families.

Another picture from outside today. I just love the fall colours and the wee people sitting on the edge of the flowerbed.

Friday, October 23, 2020

By Jove We Did It!

We had our first book club meet, M2M (mask to mask rather than face to face, ha!) yesterday. First one since January. Through some influence, the RCL in Holyrood (Royal Canadian Legion) gave us a huge room for free. So our chairs were miles apart and 12 of us showed up.

As there was no common book on the agenda, we discussed what we had been reading during The Covid, and writing down others' recommendations. Some brought books along to give away which was wonderful. I got two. I've been remiss in not posting my reads here for the year but will tackle soon. I've always kept journals of books read and am pretty meticulous about recording my ratings along with quotes that capture my attention and a summary of the book itself.

We managed to talk books for around two hours which was intellectually quite soothing and we all felt the better for it. We decided to approach the local golf club for our annual seasonal feast and see if they could manage a distant meal for us in December. A few of us tried to convince the club, yet again, to tackle Zoom, but the majority are still adverse opposed, not quite grasping that we can have a gatekeeper and they won't see guys jerking off on camera which seems to be the biggest negative. Any Zoom groups I attend have never had a breach of this kind due to gatekeepers.

Some pictures taken yesterday, there was a lone seal (your can barely see it) out in the water at Holyrood bay:

And I was intrigued with the colour of this new stone water breaker in a harbour on the same bay which went on into the horizon here:

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pardon my trivial thoughts

The Covid drowns the world. We are all self-isolating in one form or another. Climate change is upon us, racing us towards an iceless precipice of no trees, no fish, no bees. We're facing a world that can never return to the Before.

But my new obsession is my nose.

I had observed, like I do, that elderly people's noses shift and change and develop a personality outside of their faces. I look at their noses and think, did they always have this airconditioned honker with its pores open to the world which is at least double the size of a normal nose. I'd look at pictures of their weddings and/or youth and think: what the hell happened to their bonny wee noses?

I remember looking at my father's nose as he lay in his casket and being appalled at the size of it on such a small man. I whispered this to my daughter and she looked at me horrified. "My gawd Mum," she whispered back at me, "I think I've got his nose!" And we cracked up and had to move away for a while. Such are funerals. Full of trivia and weird hysterical thoughts in the midst of grief.

So, here I am looking at my nose and its larger appearance. I keep touching it. Long gone is the lovely retrousse of my youth. A nose I liked. A nose commented on favourably. But now? It's rough around the edges. I keep touching it. It feels like an enormous rough wart. Before it was silky. Well behaved. Fit for purpose. A good smeller. Now it has enlarged itself. Glowering down at my mouth. And there's nothing I can do about it

Please feel free to share your trivial and petty thoughts right here.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

My Locale

I had a rough morning and beginning of afternoon (pain) until I laid me down and got up an hour later full of beans and was up for a "take the garbage out" (I've written before how this is positively Herculean) and then go for a mild runabout in the car and a wee walkabout by the lake near me.

I firat took a stop here about 100 metres from my home to survey the incoming fog which is quite blocking the triangle of ocean you can see in the distance.

Then I stopped on a dangerous corner near "my lake" to capture this, I've been dying to take it for a while and the road was quiet so I did.

Next I parked the car by the lake and took these. One curious duck out of hundreds paddled over to check on me.

And the fog slithered slowly in, creeping onto the boathouses and the boats and reaching for the gulls flying above.

And a cruel touch - this is the watchhouse of the HMP - Her Majesty's Prison which overlooks this magnificent lake but the fence is so high you can't look in or the convicts look out. They must sense the freedom in this beautiful spot though.

And finally, I go across to the other side and look down at the vanishing lake and the soft fog. How I love this place.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Mundane

I am grateful for the mundane. The ordinary. I had some running around lurching to do today. I took breaks.

I try not to get annoyed while I repeatedly ask my pharmacy for delivery. They ignore my instructions. But then text me 850 times to come pick up my script, what's wrong with me. Yeah, I'm grateful I still lurch my way in there.

I took a lunch break at a distanced cafe and was quite shocked when I realized the geezer at the table in the corner was flirting with me, eyebrows waggling, big grin. I smiled crisply (if there is such a thing, but years of practice, etc.) but he persisted, asking how my iced coffee and sandwich were and then I just nose dived into the device.

A couple facing me at a safe distance were (she was) talking about her red nails and her manicure and the gossip out of the nail salon and how she never felt feminine (what the hell does that mean?) unless she could look at her nails with pride. He didn't contribute one word to the conversation. She asked him if it should be a deeper red, well maybe next time, what did he think? He shrugged. LIke aliens to me, these two.

I finally sorted my headset issue in Staples and returned the faulty one. Pay peanuts get monkeys. My new one works like a charm, a lot more expensive but it means I can resume Zoom meetings again. I missed them, especially my family one on Sunday nights.

A pigeon was dying as I drove back into the parking lot. Very distressing. Couldn't fly and trying to hide under the cars. Poor pet. Many residents circling around it, none, of course, wearing masks. I'm the outlaw in the mask. I hope it's not an omen.

A friend had a particularly brutal thing happen in his cottage in Ontario where his fireplace blew up. Details are scant but he was airlifted to Toronto and as I write the plug is being pulled. He was a Harley rider with those delightful childlike qualities that some men have. His 90+ father is still living. Last week, he posted a picture of the five generations of men from his father down. At least he lived that long.

We never know for whom the bell tolls.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Move Over

So here I am on New Blogger. We had the fix for Legacy for a while, thanks to the hard work of another crackshot blogger but all good things, as they say, come to an end and New Blogger put a stop to the fix rather quickly. To me, it's not an improvement by a long shot, but I understand that us PC and laptop users are going the way of the dinosaur and Blogger is now more user friendly for Ipads and Smartphones.But gee, there's so much extra work in the formatting.

It's quite hard for some of us. Adjusting to the new state of the world and also to all this technology. A giant leap in so many ways. I am constantly aware of that in my Independent Seniors Building, where so very few have come aboard the little website I started for the building only. Notices are handwritten or typed and placed on the community bulletin board. Some shudder if the word internet is mentioned. And when asked why, it's basically a tinfoil hat response: everyone knowing your business. Well, yes, but everybody does anyway, I want to say, but I don't. They asked me to run for a position on the board here but I turned it down. There was a lot of pressure. Well, I do speak my mind. Most don't because of all these entangled relationships in a tiny province. Down to third and fourth cousins and generations of hat-tipping servility to one's betters. But I resigned from three boards last year which broke my heart so not taking on any other position which on the outside look like very little work, but once you're on board it can take up a huge portion of valuable time. Gone are the days of up to ninety with everything and working all hours of the day and night.

Which brings me to post title. In talking with an old pal on the phone today we realized that we do need to move over now and let the young take their turn. We can sit in the corners and mull and reflect and give advice if asked, but basically our work is done. And even though we didn't anticipate this kind of twilight, it's here and we're in lockdown and may be until we die.

So what do we do? We move over. Let the "kids" at this. Encourage them. Apologise for the mess we made. And maybe we all need to pivot and see if there's a possibility for a better world. I sure hope so.

I cling to hope and fairness for all. Not greatness. Not happiness (such a misunderstood word!). But fairness. And kindness. And far, far less greed and avarice from those who never pay their fair share.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Trip Report - Part 3

We were invited to Quirpon Island by friends who live there. We hadn't seen them in quite a while. Another friend of theirs whom we hadn't met was also there and had caught the fish they were serving only 3 hours after the fish was in the water.

Quirpon (pronounced Carpoon - I know!) is a small island off the Great Northern Peninsula.

Here is the view from the front door of their house:

And a view of the local lighthouse (also an inn):

The fish was to die, fresh out of the water, lightly battered in that Newfoundland way and served with fresh cut fries and coleslaw like it should be.

Our host had gone through many cancer treatments and had stopped. He's a writer, performer, broadcaster and composer. A massive multi-talented artist. He also paints, photographs and makes documentaries. Their house was full of his work.

Over dinner, he was quiet and then told us his daughter, a doctor, had died in childbirth two years before. There wasn't a dry eye at the table. He mentioned the reason that he had brought it up, even though difficult for him, was we tend to be complacent about modern medicine. Her obgyn had panicked and the birth was traumatic and appalling and his daughter bled to death and the baby died. We moved on to discussing authors and books and writing and art. And I noted he was eating very little, a man of formerly lusty appetites. My observation over the years has been that the death of a child can trigger disease and dementia. I've seen it in my own family along with others.

After dinner, we sat down around the fire (their home was exquisite - two huge windows over the water in their bedroom AND a Japanese style bathtub in the ensuite) and his partner asked him to play. He first of all shook his head. I don't believe in wheedling anyone so we resumed conversation and then he picked up one of his guitars.

And I'm telling you, my eyes are flooding with tears as I write this, as it was a magical ending to the day. His songs were beautiful and personal and enchanting.

I would link to his YouTube, etc., but I think it best to protect his anonymity due to the heartbreak he has kept so very private.

As we were leaving, his partner, with tears in her eyes whispered to us, "He hasn't played a note in two years. Thank you. Thank you!"

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Trip Report - Part 2

One of the areas we had all wished to see was St. Anthony, a town at the very tip of The Great Northern Peninsula. Mainly because Dr. Grenfell had started a mission there. We had read a few books on him and his life was fascinating, dedicated to the improvement of the lives of the impoverished inhabitants of Newfoundland and Labrador and their health and wellbeing.

We saw the interpretative centre which was enormously interesting, and were shown a great video of this man who did so much for the people.

His artifacts and correspondence were enlightening. He had raised so much funding from around the world and attracted the attention of many young privileged people who volunteered their help in this then primitive country.

One such book about a volunteer was Dear Everybody. A socialite from New York immersed in the culture of Labrador volunteering in the remotest and poorest village. I highly recommend this riveting read.

Dr. Grenfell's house, filled with his daily life.

We took a break to visit the lighthouse on a foggy day with the horn going.

And then had one of those surprising lunches in the middle of nowhere, featuring naan bread wrapped around curried chicken and marvelous cappucinos and lattes and soups.

To be continued.......