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.......

Monday, September 28, 2020

Trip Report - Part 1

If I tell you I took very few pictures and read absolutely no books and wrote nothing and designed and knit absolutely nothing, you will know I was completely immersed in this wonderful trip the three of us took way up north, where the weather was magnificent throughout and the sights we saw and the meals we took and the people we met added to our enchantment.

Also laughter. I don't think we've ever laughed so much together, and the three of us have been travelling together for about 25 years, since Grandgirl was a baby. I believe the intensity was enhanced by Covid-19: the rarity of this opportunity for us to be together when so many can't. Grandgirl self-isolated for 2 weeks when she got here, an allowance of time not available to many. Her Big Important Job won't start until October and right now she is awaiting her security clearance. So she availed of this time to be with us.

Takeaways:
(1)because of my mobility issues and long hikes to see the Viking and Norwegian settlements, Grandgirl hunted out wheelchairs for me which took away the stress of "keeping up" and frequent breaks. She is enormously kind and caring to her old granny and constantly ensures I am comfortable in a very inobtrusive way. Without her I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the sights and sounds of such magnificent scenery and historical interest.
(2) Septemver is a fine month to travel as the tour guides are not as pressured. Particularly in the Viking Settlement where they answered many of our questions pertaining to the lives of the Vikings who were the first to come to North America in approximately the year 1000. Just looking at the boats with their heavy fleece sail would be to consider an impossible feat. Yet they made it. With their goats and seeds, iron and building skills ready to trade with the aboriginals.
Inside I didn't want to take pictures of the guides and thus distract everyone in that irritating way many picture takers have, not being present in the moment. They were all dressed authentically and the sleeping and kitchen areas and work areas were laid out expertly so one got a sense of the daily life. One group were making a canvas for a boat - an enormous project taking a couple of years on a primitive heavy loom. We were amazed to hear that a baby was born here - the first colonizer child that we know of.

(3) We nested in Hay Cove, a tiny community with 3 small inns and many artists and writers living there. We stayed at Wendy Nuttall's place. She is a famed photographer of the area. And her inn has an art gallery. Yes, we did buy some paintings, prints and cards. Gorgeous.

Edited (later) Photo is of Wendy Nuttall the artist. In winter. With an iceberg.

To be continued.........


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Gone Travellin'

I'll be gone from this spot for a week, travelling very far north from St. John's to St. Anthony. None of the three of us have travelled this far north before so we are excited at the opportunity to do so on Grandgirl's remaining days of vacation out here, the last two weeks of which have been in self-isolation.

Here is a map of the distance we need to travel:


The base of operations will be here and will include a Viking settlement.



If time permits, we may go across to Red Bay, one of the largest whaling stations in the world back in the day. You can read about it here.


See y'all later on - and remember if you can't be good be careful!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bravery

We're all so terribly brave, aren't we?

Like we have no idea where we're all going and we march on. Or stumble. Or fumble. There is no light at the end of this particular tunnel. At least not yet. And I hope fervently that we will not repeat The Great Flu of 1918 where millions upon millions died and it appears that many do not learn from the protocols they put in place even then, over 100 years ago. Contagion is contagion is contagion.


The toll on fire and emergency services on the western seaboard of the US to counteract this cataclysmic burning must take a huge toll along with the risk of Covid to all concerned. Bravery indeed.


I'm avoiding the US news as if it were another form of plague on the landscape but sometimes it is unavoidable. A horror of a genocide with nearly 250,000 citizens now dead. My friends who live there and also hold Canadian citizenship have made arrangements to move back to Canada in November. Constant sunshine for them has a high price. And then the fires. Flames and pestilence at the same time. It crushes the brain. This was yesterday's Covid statistics for the top countries cases on the planet. With the US staggeringly ahead.

Here we are catching (in isolation) each case as it lands and thus preventing community spread. The 4 Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador) are in the same bubble, with provincial border checks for those coming in from outside these provinces.

St. Pierre and Miquelon, tiny islands off the coast of Newfoundland which is French territory, is not faring so well. 11 cases in their tiny population of 6,000.

The rest of Canada isn't faring so well at the moment.

We're all tapping into our depleting stockpiles of bravery these days. Even if it's just shutting our eyes and going wah-wah and not contemplating a future that has no shape whatsoever.




Saturday, September 12, 2020

Gratitude Lists

It's funny how I can lose track of such things which really help to lift the spirits. These are most important when when one thinks there's nothing to put on them.

Handwriting them is best, I find.The sound of the pen, thoughtful in its trailing across the page, pausing to reflect, carry on, fresh reflections, forgotten and taken for granted items coming to the forefront to meet the page.


(1)Daughter gave me prayer flags and I hung them across my open bedroom window.


I would hang them outside when I lived in a house. Reminders.

A friend of mine, my age, her hands shake constantly from an elder disease she has, her voice quavers as well.

(2) My hands are free of arthritis and free of shaking. My voice is still strong.

(3)I still enjoy my reading so much. My father was a voracious reader but abandoned it long before he passed.

(4)Daughter and Grandgirl have planned this glorious trip far away from here. WE will be leaving next weekend when Grandgirl's self-isolation is complete. More on that later.

(5) Two independent gifts of homemade bread at my door last night. I can lose track of such seemingly tiny things but they are truly enormous when one thinks of the labour and the sharing of such beautiful time and labour.

(6) A gift arriving here for a dear one's birthday next month - something I know she will absolutely love.

(7) This is my little office space which I share with my bedroom. I absolutely love it. It is extremely functional. And everything is close at hand.




Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Inspiration

Mum with my daughters not too long before she died.

My mother will be dead 50 years next year. I've had difficulty in re-reading letters she sent me. For context to so many letters, I was an emigrant to Canada in 1967. Which I've written about many times on this blog. Without fail, Mum's weekly letter would arrive with all the news, even though on the date of this letter, February 18th, 1971, she had less than two months to live. And knew it.

"My dear M----
I am late in replying to your last letter, I got caught up in lots of chores trying to get things done around the house as it's only three weeks from today is J==='s (brother) wedding. D--- (my 13 yo sister) got a lovely cream trouser suit,it's really nice on her,it will look pretty on her at the wedding.

I must get a hat yet, I may go into town some Saturday morning with Dad, it will be very quiet then, and the shops will be slack.

M--(her pet name for me)the green blouse will be nice (I had bought her her wedding outfit when I went back with my kids a few months before this) as I will try and get a light brown hat to match the suit you bought me, don't you think that will be nice?

The wedding will be formal, so no new suits to be bought (she means for the men and boys of the family who'd rent morning wear). I hope this letter is readable as I am rushing for post.

A--- is having only two bridesmaids, A----(another brother) is best man and KR (friend of J--'s) is groomsman.

M-- they will love the sheets (my proposed gift for bro and bride), get them a good big size and do send them before the wedding as you said yourself before, presents that arrive late are not half as exciting, do your best anyway M--.

L & S (cousins) sent a lovely dinner service, real good ones and such lovely soups with little handles, that's their third dinner service. I have not seen the other ones as they are over at A--'s aunt's place. I told you I think that D----(her sister, my aunt) gave them Waterford Crystal, a 1/2 doz tall stem glasses and K----(another sister) gave them blankets. From this on, I expect the presents will come in.

G.O'C, (a neighbour) gave a lovely carving set, pearl handles. He is coming to the wedding too. I was glad that J---(my brother) asked him. (G was a troubled young man, a good friend to J--- who suicided a few years later.)

P & C (my parents' best friends)are coming and she rang to ask me what presents were they after getting as she would get a set of china or cutlery. So I said to please herself, M--, I'm sorry if I keep talking about the wedding, we are so caught up here.

I was down at the doctor's yesterday and when the wedding is over, I will have to get these nodules off much as I hate the thought.

Give my love to T (former husband)and O & J (daughters) all my love M--xxxx you are never far from my thoughts. Mum

PS P(her best friend) was asking for you today, she really cares for your O. Mum."


I was feeling particularly sorry for myself today, the pandemic, worsening mobility, just general woe-is-me and I thought of my mother and all she suffered with a horrible form of cancer. Multiple amputations and thought to re-read some of the immense correspondence i have from her. She wrote as she spoke and I hear her words and feel her love in every line. I can't imagine what she was going through leaving behind her young children and still writing so lovingly to me in Canada.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Letter to Jeff Bezos (Followup on previous post.)


I'm pasting this letter to JB in its entirety, written by Michael Brownstein here.

Hey Jeff, Michael here. This is important, so listen up. You hit a monster home run with Amazon, there's no denying that, you're worth more than anyone else on the planet.

But there's one place you're impoverished, Jeff—your heart. You're keen to spend billions of dollars landing tourists on the moon instead of performing real service here on Earth. Like helping those humans living degraded lives under the boot heel of predatory capitalism.

It's time to stop skinflinting your Amazon workers while installing cameras to make sure they don't take too many minutes going to the bathroom. And firing them for speaking out about putting themselves in harm's way from Covid-19 by working in your warehouses without adequate protection.

That's bad enough, but something even bigger is missing in your life. Everything is not product, Jeff. I mean, it's great what you did with Amazon. We love the convenience but we do not love your robber-baron persona. Because without a connection to healing spirit you're sick no matter how much money you have.

Look in the mirror and you'll see someone preoccupied with shooting phallic rockets into the frigid reaches of space while your own world is burning up. It's time to give back, Jeff.

How should I do that, you ask. Good question! I'll tell you how. Turn Amazon into a co-op, let the workers own it. But above all, give back to the sacred rain forest in South America, the Amazon whose name you stole—just grab the name and run, right?

But there's more to life than scoring, Jeff. It's time for you to fly to the Amazon, get down on your knees and thank the rainforest for its gifts, its generation of endless life forms, sacred in nature, which puts to shame the sterile proliferation of items in Amazon's warehouses. It's time to drink jungle medicine and open your heart, wake up from your high-powered fantasies.

Understand that mass extinction of plants and animals is accelerating out of control. You have to work to rid us of the capitalist nightmare based on mindless greed which is raping the Earth.

It's time to help heal the lungs of the Earth that are being scorched. The Amazon is on fire, Jeff. The lungs of the Earth are saying "I can't breathe," just like George Floyd, just like the people dying from Covid-19.

It's time to swear you'll protect the indigenous people who've taken good care of the Amazon for thousands of years only to be murdered for the shortest of short term gains. You took that name without asking, Jeff. It's time to give back before it's too late.

Time to swear you'll protect the indigenous people who've taken good care of the Amazon for thousands of years only to be murdered for the shortest of short term gains. You took that name without asking, Jeff. It's time to give back before it's too late.

Yes, before it's too late and the only people left to watch your rockets zoom off into the ether will be a few fellow billionaires like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, your megalomaniacal competitors racing to see who can spoil the heavens sooner by launching low orbit satellites beaming down 5G radiation from above.

Elon has a head start, he's already put thousands of bright, large, reflective, radio-interfering satellites in orbit with hundreds more to follow every month. But you're planning to catch up to him by adding thousands of your own. If you and Elon and Bill have your way, looking through a pair of binoculars in 2030 will reveal more satellites than stars.

But it's not only our view of the night sky that will be ruined. Check out what EMF experts have to say about the health risks of 5G radiation. Switzerland has restricted 5G deployment in response to a nationwide call for real-world testing. Other countries and cities are having second thoughts too, despite the telecom industry pushing to install 5G everywhere as soon as possible, no questions asked.

Can't you see what you're doing by forging ahead regardless of the consequences of your actions, Jeff? Like the Amazon rain forest, the night sky belongs to all of humanity, not simply to operators like you hypnotized by the "business impact" of your actions.

Instead of sending up satellites to track us for a coming surveillance state, why don't you play your part as a citizen of the world and send up just one satellite to track global deforestation?

It's time to drop your daydream of being a very important explorer of the galaxy and work to save where you actually eat and sleep and make your moves. Time to help turn the global climate crisis around. Because unless you do, before long there will be no companies left for you to play with. Spend your billions saving the sacred Amazon. Spend them while there's still time.

Friday, September 04, 2020

On Strikes and Fraud

I was passing our local Dominion store - one where I normally do curbside pickup - and see it's all still closed down due to strikers, looking for fairness - many are part time (not by choice) with no benefits and barely subsisting - while the corporation hauls in the profits. The union and the stores are deadlocked and the corporation (Loblaws) refuses to budge.

And this got me thinking about the obscene profits made on the backs of humanity - the majority of humanity. The suffering and the doing without. This is never more exemplified than by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, the first person ever worth $200 billion. And his workers struggle along in the same conditions, no health care, no sick pay, no pensions.

And I think aren't these kind of riches obscene? Can these billionaires not think of the suffering of their workers (slaves?) toiling for pittances while they swan about in limos and Lears and massive yachts, pretending they "earned" this?

I was reminded of this old song -"We're all Working for the Pharaoh".


And the fraud bit?

Yesterday I was horrified when checking my bank account to notice ten withdrawals totaling nearly $1,000 taken from my bank account through FACEBOOK.

I never use my debit card for online purchases and my passwords are very strong on both FB and for my bank.

i called my bank right away and they were tremendously helpful. And completely baffled as to how this could happen. So fair warning. Fraud is getting enormously sophisticated (maybe because of Covid?). But do check your bank accounts regularly to ensure they have not been compromised. This was a complete shock to me. I am still horrified (and feel so violated) as to how it could happen. There are obviously some appalling vulnerabilities available for hacking in our online lives.

So beware. And yes they are refunding all of my stolen funds but it may take a month.


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

One Small Bite

Simultaneous coincidental gifts (one by mail) of some marvellous dark roast coffee beans from two loved ones yesterday. One is called "Toothless Shark" out of Nova Scotia, the other "Roma" out of Italy.

This is one of the toughest lessons of my life. Not that I haven't had tough lessons in the past. When you begin training for a walk around the block when you're carrying massive extra poundage and graduate to a marathon a couple of years later, there's some serious learning curve in there. And I did that.

So sitting down and reflecting and bemoaning the fact that I have only two speeds - full tilt and reverse - I decided to map out my days differently. Into tiny bites, not tubs.

So if I have, say, a grocery pickup, the dishes can lie down for a while, the library can wait. Groceries require carting a huge distance with my trolley in tow and then need putting away. Action for the day is done just with that. I am wiped.

If I am visiting or going out, showering is enough. The bed can stay unmade that day. Who's to see it? Also dishes can continue to lie, they are going nowhere.

I am such a MORE person, always tweaking more out of life. This has to stop. I can't cheat my limitations and meddle with my mental health and outlook.

Today I managed some work and a Zoom meeting which I hosted and doing up dishes. End of. No more.

It was ENOUGH.

I am fortunate in that I have meals for 3 days in the fridge and more in my freezer.

An enormous sense of relief descended over me when I realized that I was fooling myself badly with the amount of energy I thought I had and the pathetically little standing I can manage.

It was playing havoc with my outlook. If I have to take the garbage out - this is a ginormous trek - that's it for action for the day. No going on to visit or a side trip somewhere.

It's ENOUGH.

A belated wee birthday party for me yesterday evening.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bate Out

Yesterday the Everest of Banking, Library-ing, mailouts, and a grocery dabble (my curbside pickup is on strike) took place. Along with bed-changing, showering and dishwashing.

I didn't count the spoons.

The library had what they called a "soft opening". The librarians were behind plexi-glass but encouraged shelf browsing. I didn't. It was all I could do to pick up the three books they had on hold for me. But delighted I am with these as I was running a little low on my stockpile and that creates panic and you don't want to be around that.

I managed to cruise a little island inside the grocery store which had those display items of non-matchy things. Like grapes beside beef-rolls and lemon meringue pie beside spinach dip. All of which I bought as I felt like I was on death's door and couldn't move beyond this island of ill-matched goods. So yes, now I have a large thingie of cabbage rolls too and a chicken pot pie for a family of farmers and assorted little cheeses and oh 8 Portuguese rolls.

But I'll stretch the magnificent melange out into a semblance of kinda sorta meals.

I was sitting on the only bench outside the checkout area when a friend tinged and said she was in the grocery store and did I need....?

She came wandering out in surprise and told me I looked like death warmed up. Just what I wanted to hear.

So I got home, finally. A sad, trudging, and deathlike carapace of a human. Only to hear news that an old friend in Ontario had died after 3 years of awful and relentless cancer.

So I did what you would do, crawled into bed and stayed there. Thinking of times past and grieving and then thinking reach out to some younger people. Which I did. And they sent me pictures of completed projects and flowers.

But I'm still bate out as I type. Bate out? An Irish expression. Finished. Can't lift the pinky for a cuppa.

But hell, yes, we march on.

Amuse-Bouche
(1)

(2)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Life Management

It's tricky this business of life management once old age, pain, lack of energy, unpredictable moods plus this pandemic come into the picture.

I sometimes scream inwardly: take me now.

I did this at the car dealership yesterday, waiting for an emergency job on my car to be over with. Nothing to do with the staff who were incredibly helpful in a terribly busy day. But walking back and forth between the distant waiting room and the technician to review and approve the work with no seating where he was, was a crisis of endurance for me even though George, my cane, was there to lean on. I literally felt ill. It was a nerve wracking day with a short spurt at the beach to calm my nerves when Daughter picked me up between dental appointments (crown work). I hate being seen like this. Needy. In pain. Breathing all out of alignment.

I was exhausted. I am exhausted a lot. Everything seems like another hill to climb if I don't manage me and my energies well. Sometimes there is nothing left over.

Daughter organized this quiet day for my birthday last weekend, she sees and senses, as no one else, the limits of my endurance. I can pretend at times when with others (oh the effort!) that life is hunky dory, but the strain of this catches up with me and flings me to the metaphorical ground and I have to isolate. I hate being seen when I feel defeated by everything and everyone.

And it's not just the physical stuff that drains me. It's the mental and emotional as well. Emails, texting, visiting, phone-calls, social expectations. Very few understand this and I am grateful to those who do. Sometimes I have nothing left for a few days and need to recuperate.

All these feelings are exacerbated by the pandemic of course. And I am very aware of that.

Meanwhile, I sat among some en-plein-air artists on the beach yesterday and did nothing, said nothing, just watched the artists and the baby ducks and the water. And emptied my mind for an hour shoving the enormous burden of all that ailed and troubled me aside.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Changing the Headlines

I have backed away from all US news. It does my head in. Yes, even the rah-rah speeches of the gleeful Dems, the pitiful tweets (now in rage CAPS) of the so-called leader of the free world. The knowledge, deep within, that the disregard for humanity, the endless "wars", the economy based on billionaires' investments in the military industrial complex and pharmaceuticals and yes, the awful underbellies of porn, drugs and trafficking, may never go away but may have a prettier coating depending on how educated and civil the new dear leader will be. I feel terrible for my USian friends, most of whom are as clear eyed as I am and just want to change the current fascist regime for one not so blatantly and appallingly racist, misogynistic and brutal in its murderous rampage on its own citizens. So I've switched off many of the news-feeds. Tuning out the insanity if you will.

I had a kind of dread shrouding me. Couldn't verbalize it until a fellow sufferer put a long post on FB last night as he tried to rise above his own cloud of anxiety.

And I remembered a long ago conversation with a shaman of my acquaintance. Long since passed now, I would think. I was very honoured to be accepted and loved by aboriginals of my acquaintance whose depth of knowledge continues to astound me. We have so much to learn.

I was going on about something or other, as I am wont to do, and she said "Change your daily headline."
I passed this on to my friend Larry last night. And we both resolved to do that. Change the headlines. He is currently completing a cabin in the woods. So his headlines will be about his progress in that.

So mine today are:

Exquisite Quilled Card Received from New York Friend with Eternal Love Professed Within!
(PS The owl is my spirit animal).

1960 Picture of High School Choir Unearthed and Mailed by Friend of 65 years!

77 Year Old Woman still grinds her dark roast coffee beans from scratch every morning!

What would your headlines today be?

Monday, August 17, 2020

77 Sunset Trip

I wrote this yesterday, at the turning of the leaf, so to speak.

The sound of it like a dance
Cavorting brightly on a sunlit beach
Or a fragrant meadow
Lost in the mist of long ago memory.

Seventy-seven. My number now.
Sibilant, slithering on the tongue
Sliding across the brain
A staggering number, stupendous, shocking.

Peering over the precipice of seventy-five
Looking back at so much
Looking ahead at so little
Each day an uncertainty of if and when.

Inside I scream: I'm here! Look at me!
But I'm the only one listening
My aches and pains and challenges
Some kind of inside joke.

And for all that, I will grip
This frivolous seventy-seven
Like a prize, unearned,
A most unserious number
Festooned with sparkling promise.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thoughts

A sunset from my window the other night.

it seems endless doesn't it? I feel like I'm fraying around the edges. This heat isn't helping. This humidity is frying my brain out. Often close to 100%. Last night it was 80%.

However it should settle down by the weekend.

I heard from a client yesterday, overjoyed my edited piece for him had been accepted by a literary magazine. I love when others are so ecstatic when their creative energies receive acknowledgement. He credits me with bringing his pieces to life.

I am still working on this new novel. Distracted by other stuff at the moment - tax work mainly.

One good thing about the pandemic is there's so little to spend money on. Seriously. I'm not much of a shopper to begin with, so there's that. I was debating a 2021 planner (joke - I'd die without a planner).


I got these on line. I feel very rich in reading material, as the library also had a little pile for me on the safe distancing shelf. I will update my reading list shortly, I've read some spectacular books in the last while.

Grandgirl gifted me with HBO the other day so I watched Clemency last night.



To me, slaughtering murderers is barbaric, appealing to the basest of our instincts. Cheaper than life long incarceration of course. And just how many have been falsely convicted?

And predictions of huge mental illness fallout post pandemic. So many are not "dealing" well with it at all. No inner lives so to speak. They are most at risk.

Currently reading The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donohue . A tour de force of a book, taking place in Dublin during the confluence of WW1, the Easter Rising, and the Spanish flu pandemic which was wiping out the planet, much like today's Covid. I'm halfway through and it's gripping.

How are you all coping out there in the bigger world?