Monday, June 29, 2020

Blog Jam

I haven't moved to New Blogger as the reports I'm hearing from the kind keyboards of other bloggers are not favourable. If more steps are added to the process I don't see where the advantage would lie. Your comments are very welcome with either yays or nays for the new platform.

I did something major for me, which will probably be petty for others. But I ordered, on line, a seat for my shower. This is part of the journey of my acceptance of disability. It arrived ready to be assembled with very clear instructions and nuts and bolts and warnings about making it secure. Well, I sat down and assembled it. And installed it in my shower/bath. I mentioned to Daughter what I had done and she said: It's really hard to wash long hair like yours, you had a choice, cut all your hair off or make washing it more comfortable. I'm the only old woman I know with long hair. We all have our oddities and peculiarities.

After a long sojourn from him, I picked up a Michael Connolly Bosch from our community library and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy his writing and plot and character development. I see that they have made a streaming series out of his books on Amazon, but I'm not sure I want to see it. I have a visual image in my head of how he is and don't want that destroyed. Sometimes we need books that are fairly frivolous and utterly distracting. I will try and sort out the problem with my page reading lists as they're not working on here for some reason.

I am 34 years sober today which is really nearly half my life without the "divil drink". I think I would be long dead if I had continued my love affair with booze. I am so very grateful that all those years ago I found a better way of living my life without the self-destruct button.

Photograph is of Woody, a pink elephant, whom I treasure, given to me by Younger Daughter 33 years ago.

Friday, June 26, 2020


An old photo from the old house, lovely lilacs that always bloomed late June, early July.

I said I'd write about this process here. I just checked the web and I see nothing formally written on it which surprises me. Because, like, everything's on the web now, right?

So basically this is what I would do before, when I was deep in therapy for childhood issues and resolution, forgiveness, understanding and attempts to reinvent myself as a worthwhile person.

This is an actual example from an old journal:

I dread having my father coming to stay with me every year.
I am always tense and afraid around him.
I am angry at the way he treats me.
I could never stand up for myself when he abused me.
I am afraid he will hit me and shout more abuse at me.
He is an angry and abusive man
He doesn't know how to be loving and kind towards me.
He never learned when he was growing up
He was born
There was love.

So then a decision had to be made. I return to self-love. I could show him love but I made the decision not to have him for extended stays in my home anymore as he continued his modus operandi which was to strongly favour one of my children over the other and abuse me verbally if I did not give him enough attention when we holidayed together. He was unable to show me love.

So applying it to today and my physical challenges:

I hate not being able to run and hike and walk anywhere.
My legs and back and now my neck hurt.
I smoked like a savage for 25 years
I had an addiction to nicotine
Nicotine is the only known antidote to anger
I had unexpressed rage
I was abused as a child
I was born.
There was love.

Decision time: I was born. There was love. I return to love. I deserve a good life. I am disabled. Say the word again. I am disabled. I dealt with my past life in the only way I knew how. I was strong: I chose addiction over suicide. I now choose to say I was born out of love and I am now disabled. I will ask for help. I will treat myself with love and care. And not anger. I will put systems and items and people in place to support me in my disability. And embrace my limitations.

It's like coming out of a closet full of mangled emotions and disagreeable resistance and an inability to express what's really going on beneath a pile-on of inarticulation.

This aging business is a journey, and has endless possibilities once I face my own limitations head on and return to love, of self, others and this wonderful experience called life.

Stone and rocks and sea and sky. June 2016

Saturday, June 20, 2020


An outrageous sunset from 2010

Talking about concessions to old age here.

I keep running into myself, the old self. The one who thinks she'll wake up in the morning and she'll have been "fixed" overnight into what she used to be. You know, tennis, marathons, hiking. And that's just before breakfast.The acceptance of where I'm actually at physically has taken forever to penetrate. I've gotten glimmers, of course, but not complete acceptance. And I know that acceptance doesn't mean approval.

But I need to deal and stop this magical thinking. And I think I've made headway in the past week.

I had a terrible experience during the week where I did too much in one day, didn't pace myself, and nearly collapsed in a grocery store, felt ill. Completely out of steam. Pain like gawd knows what.

I called my Whine Buddy the following day after first of all brushing off some smaller commitments as I was cranky, upset, overly tired and felt like a blight on humanity.

I always feel like a new woman, freshly invigorated, after talking with her, she is only in her fifties but has challenging physical issues of her own, compounded by an elderly parent now in hospital. She has to use his old walker to visit him, she's the only designated visitor due to Covid. And the interminable trudge through the poorly designed Health Science Centre here has to be seen to be believed. Instead of pushing the design upwards, they went all over the map into a massive sprawl of unmarked corridors and cul-de-sacs. this with an aging demographic. I've had to be pushed though it in a wheelchair just to get from clinic to clinic.

But I digress.

We started coming to terms with "I'll have to ask for help" which is something we hate to do. I just know I can't face another day like Wednesday where I thought I'd be one of those carted off, unconscious, in an ambulance. Afterwards I went to the lake and bawled like a baby. This is an honest blog.

I need to explain myself better to those who care about me. And stop pretending. Say no without fear. Accept the help of a friend recently who said she help with some physical therapy. Accept the help of loved ones who offer to pick up groceries. Have Joanna come once a week to do what's necessary here. Stop complaining about the increased cost of my podiatrist.

And every time I start to feel I can't carry on ask that old question a therapist way back had taught me."Because?" If you've never heard of it I'll post about it the next time. It's enormously helpful and I had forgotten about it until someone in Zoom mentioned it recently.

So I've hauled it out.

And I tumbled across this photo looking for something else. How Ansa, the Wonder Dog, loved to pose. 2009. She makes me smile now, it took me years to stop crying over photos of her.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It's Grumpy Old Geezer Time!

I talk to myself. A lot. But I'm aware of it. Does that mean I'm sane. Or, maybe I never was. Or? I would talk to Ansa, the wonder dog quite a lot. Now that she's gone, it's empty air, but I don't seem to mind. I just carry on. Cheerful mutterings most of the time.

When do you know you've teetered over the edge?

I was commenting on someone else's blog yesterday. The Black Lives Matter and toppling over every offensive statue ever made movement. Will anything change? Nope. Again. Nope.

Did ERA (Equal Rites Amendment) in the retroactive USA ever get put into law? Nope. When you treat over 50% of your population as less than the rest, what hope is there for blacks? Seriously?

And WTF New Zealand? You let in these carriers after all that work?

I can see it happening here too with everyone wandering around without even minimal PPE or distancing. And we're doing so well. Just wait you Covidiots, just wait.

Today, a friend is forced out of her home because she can't afford it. She just turned 70. An actor, prominent in the arts. On Old Age Security coz no decent pension. Like me. Like all single mothers with minimal support. I'm going to try and get her into this building. She would be a wonderful addition.

Today, a dear friend writes from Ireland that her sister's husband was having an affair with their brother's daughter. She threw him out and now she takes him back three months later as he begged so much she got exhausted. Tell me what kind of wreckage that creates in a family. Does it ever recover? What would you have done with can't-keep-it-in-his-pants and what family member is now safe? "But I love him." What exactly are you loving? Is there a specific part? It can't be his fidelity. Or his decency.

George (my walking stick) and me. But with jeans and backpack.

Gawd I feel better.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Blog Jam

Sometimes I feel like a pretzel when I get out of bed.

I sit on the edge, waiting for everything to uncontort itself, to unwind. Sometimes it takes a while. I take the opportunity to reflect on the day ahead and tick off some internal boxes. Enough food? Enough books? Enough meds? Enough contact with those I love? Enough knitting? Enough writing ahead? Enough ideas? Enough games of delightful and amazing Scrabble with the 12 daily games I've been playing since the invention of the internet? Enough Zoom meetings? Enough money to pay the bills?

Not necessarily in that order. But you catch my drift. It keeps me in gratitude. Because there is enough. And sometimes, if I need to shop for essentials, I find the body rebels that particularly day so I take it easy on myself and look in the freezer or the cupboard and laugh out loud. So much food.

A breakfast I bake regularly.It's good hot or cold. And is one the healthiest ever as it is completely balanced. This has 4 servings.

I was thinking on kindred spirits. Some tell me they're my kindred spirits but I believe a kindred has to be an innie if we're "getting" each other at that level. I wrote about it here. Nothing has really changed since that post. I don't need lectures that I read too much or I write too much and I should get out and "shop" - retail therapy. An Innie would never do that. But the Outies do.

Most of my readers are kindreds, I can just tell, they are thoughtful and have dug deep into their inners and continue to do so judging from comments and their own posts. It is so delightful we find each other on the interwebz.

I picked up this from my mailbox yesterday. A postcard from Daughter. I absolutely love it.

Grandgirl is planning on coming for a month starting mid-July. She will self-quarantine. Her city, Toronto, is doing really poorly with Covid, we are doing remarkably well with no new cases now for a month.

But not everything is open yet. But "caution exhaustion" is setting in with its consequential carelessness. Only 1 in 10 are now wearing masks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

If This Time

A friend sent this to me this morning. And it's a magical combination of his voice and the words. I've played it twice already and will play it again and again.

A powerful tonic.


Monday, June 08, 2020


As a woman and girl, having navigated patriarchal capitalism and its handmaiden religion for nearly all of my life I found this nugget today:

"Your anger is the part of you that knows your mistreatment and abuse are unacceptable. Your anger knows you deserve to be treated well, and with kindness. Your anger is a part of you that loves YOU."

In later life I was told that anger was toxic and could really damage me. That my life would be so much better if I could just forgive.And boy did I work hard on that. Owning my part in the RESPONSE to my own abuse and mistreatment. Imagine.

But does forgiveness mean forgetting? How does one forget? I've asked many times is there a magic bullet? Because depression is the polar opposite of anger. If you repress anger, black depression ensues. And you know what? Most people I know are on sedatives, tranquilizers, call them what you will, to treat a "chemical imbalance" in their brains. And if they open up at all about their lives behind them there's a trickling seam of rage underneath, which is quickly shut down. So is chemical treatment of anger an optimum solution? Isn't part of the spirit then quenched?

So anger can be a powerful positive force. And maybe that's why I'm an activist in a world of so very few when you compare total populations. I've channeled my unapologetic anger into advocating for those less fortunate and I speak up when I'm treated badly and I set firm boundaries. I do not use it to hurt or destroy but I will not colour my past with rainbows and unicorns.

As I write my new book (31,000 words and counting) I'm once again the twenty-three-year-old I was, feeling that helpless rage that saw me banished from my native land when I needed it the most and navigating a baffling new country. I feel for her, fifty years ago, forced to bury her short former life, the one that formed and shaped her, and invent a new one. She was so desperately lonely and didn't know how to be angry, carrying it deep inside for decades - an old septic wound waiting to be lanced.

And PS. I am so happy when writing this book, I need to add that. I look forward to it every day. I ignore social media and almost resent phone calls for interrupting me. I am enjoying revisiting the Toronto of long past as it flows past the words on my screen.

Saturday, June 06, 2020


This is a repost from March 2009 about one of my favourite movies

Who doesn't love this movie? I just never get tired of it. I don't know how many times I've seen it and dialogue along with the stars: "You played it for her, you can play it for me" and "this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" along with the stars, sing: "You must remember this" as Dooley plays that piano and whisper: "We'll always have Paris" to myself.

This picture says it all, doesn't it? Romantic love sacrificed to a great cause. The noble fine gesture. Country before self and all that.

Was Humphrey ever so tough and manly, Ingrid ever so fragile?

The thing is, in real life Ingrid Bergman towered over the diminutive Humphrey Bogart.

So much so that he had to wear strapped on platform shoes. Here is a shot taken of his feet, relaxing between takes of the unforgettable movie, Casablanca:

Things are not always what they appear, n'est pas? Humphrey tottering around on these kinda spoils the image of the tough, shoot from the hip guy with the heart of gold.

And I truly wonder how they both kept straight faces during the filming.

And PS: Apparently during the shooting of this movie, Humphrey's wife of the time, Mayo Methot, was so jealous of Ingrid she forbade him to speak with her and all through the shoot, he didn't. What great actors they were to produce such amazing love scenes!

Friday, June 05, 2020

This Too........

I was at a Zoom meeting last night and a guy from Texas shared (almost humorously, almost defeatedly) that:

(a) his country was burning to the ground
(b) there's a massive pandemic killing his fellow citizens at a galloping rate
(c) police and blackshirted unidentifiable guys are shooting fellow citizens, focusing on blacks.
(d) there's an asteroid hurtling towards Boston, or maybe what's left of it by the time it gets there
(e) there's an absolute lunatic in charge of the biggest asylum in the world, his country
(f) any advice as to what he could do?

He was ex-military and one of his kids (military too) was flown back into Texas and armed up and put on mob detail.

There were two other Canadians at the meeting and honestly, our troubles just vanished away. I think most USians must be in a state of paralysis (to be quickly followed by PTSD) as nothing is making sense and the words "MAGA" bandied about so freely as something to return to rings extraordinarily hollow for most thinking USians.

But what a summary, succinctly put.

No advice of course, apart from just stay inside safe, hang in with us, hang in with those of like mind, wait for this nightmare to be over, because over it will be.

As the old wags had it: This too shall pass.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Covid and Hospitals and Food.

A good man died yesterday. He'd been in the hospital with heart trouble for a few weeks and of course there were no visitors. That must be horribly lonely, you're there, some part of you knows you're not leaving, and the family can't visit. Plus the food is usually pig swill so if you're lying there, all intubated and breathing assisted, what's there to look forward to? A decent meal? No. And in this time of Covid: no flowers or wee fruit baskets or some decent chocolates.

He was always very kind to me, about 5 years older than I, but there was a sympatico between us even though our lives were vastly different. He was a fisher and farmer and raised sheep and suffered from periodic depression which I totally understood. Late in life he went on a plane for the the first time to see an adult child in Alberta. It was a huge event, he was of the school "if we were meant to fly, God would give us wings" but after that he was inspired to get his driver's licence at the ago of 68. He only drive tractors prior to then and cheated the odd time in a car so his test was a cakewalk. He came to all my performances and applauded me vigorously.

I will miss him. He was very generous of spirit and quite shy until you got to know him. I cried for quite a while last night. He did leave footprints on my heart.

Another friend has her 96yo father (who she lives with) in hospital for the past week with pneumonia and can't visit him. It must be so very challenging as he is anxious to eat a home cooked meal and they can't bring it to him. An acquaintance had her 84yo mother fall and break a leg 8 weeks ago and she is also in the hospital with no visitors. I knew her well, played a lot of cards with her and admired her. A very cheerful woman and extremely well put together, always the lipper and bright blue eye shadow and high maintenance hair styles. She described the food being served at the hospital which sounded completely inedible, dried up meatballs and rubbery eggs and soggy margarined toast. She has lost about 20lbs as she won't eat so her daughters are really worried.

I remember the days when hospital food was nutritious, appetizing, and cooked in the actual hospital kitchens. Now it's all outsourced to the industrial "catering" industry who make obscene profits on feeding the sick and dying hospitals and hospices by serving cheap bland swill.

You'd think that hospitals would lead the way in serving local organic well balanced meals to entice the failing appetites of the sick and dying under their care.