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.



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


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?

Friday, August 07, 2020


I have six crows lined up on the wire outside my window at the moment and I was reminded of that old poem I knew as a child.
One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
four for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret never to be told,
eight for a wish,
nine for a kiss,
ten for a time of joyful bliss.

I don't view such things as portents but I am reminded that I can see that for the past few days that gold has sprinkled my life.

I've had so much support in your comments and personal emails. I took an entire day off and contemplated what I should do.

And the answer as midnight struck was very simple indeed: Absolutely nothing.

Why worry this person unnecessarily with my observations of deteriorating health?

It would serve no purpose whatsoever apart from adding to their already huge stress and other health issues. And what can they do?

What can I do?

Be loving and supportive and work my way around whatever presents itself. I have had practice with my dear friend Lana and prior to her with Chuck.

Staying in the moment. Counting crows. Cherishing the gold - particularly with the support I get from all of you out there. Your words meant so much in a time of terrible distress and worry.

Thank you seems hugely inadequate.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

A Huge Worry

Sometimes, I come right up against myself and realize some hard facts.

My best friends, there were only a few, are gone from my life. The ones I could share anything with without judgement or fear, the whole guts of me. And were supportive and loving and unconditionally there in times fraught with danger and minefields and, well, terror.

A massive worry has stalked into my life in the past few days. Involving a person near and dear to me. And in morning meditation today, as this leaped in and out of my head and tended to consume me, this fact of having no one close to share this with on a one to one basis stood starkly in front of me.

My birth family doesn't deal with any kind of serious issues. Everything is a joke. They never even ask about Missing Daughter or my broken heart. They never ask about Daughter's MS which has had a huge impact on her musical talent and crafting and over all ambitions. Health issues are swept under the nearest rug. If there are any family crises, you wouldn't know. I ask about theirs but usually a stinging silence is the answer. And shunning for no reason are an MO. Dysfunction Junction rooted in abuse. Understandable when one goes through the therapy to dig it out but most have not. They are the last people on earth I would run to for comfort in a storm. As trust and unconditional love are absent. Jokes would ensue and honestly? I couldn't bear them.

My good friend R, who is a harbour in any kind of emotional turmoil has had a recurrence of liver cancer and had another operation these past few days and is still in the hospital. Doing remarkably well considering he's down to a small piece of an operating organ now.

My BFF Helen who died in 2014 would have been a solid wall with great advice and most of all love and concern.

My friend D, who died in 2016 would have gently guided me in the right direction.

Lana would have been wonderful, but she's in the throes of dementia, as is another good friend, P, who worries me.

I have many acquaintances here but even reviewing a list in my head which one I could trust and lean on comes up with zero.

Niece comes to mind but I truly don't want to burden her. She has a hugely heavy plate with young children.

I can't be more specific, I'm sorry. I wrote a journal entry just now and am so full of fear I am throwing it out here too in the hopes of alleviating some of it.

And you know? Just writing it all down, one firm harbour light comes to mind just now.

She's at a distance, but I will call her today.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Elder Challenges

I love a good rant. I'm seeing a few of my blogbuds rant admirably in the last few days so thought to join them. We should have an annual award for the best one of the year.

First of all Home Care Health Assistance.

I'm at the stage where I need this. Not for everything. Maybe a couple of hours a week. It's a vast warren of web-links to get to the mechanics of doing this. Finally I get to the bottom line, and it's call a phone number. Why not put the effin number at the beginning of the pages of meaningless drivel, you bureaucratic morons?

So I call. But it's Covid Time, so I leave a message outlining my situation. I get a call a few days later. The nurse/helper/clerk asks a lot of questions, mainly focused on my body. Can I brush my hair, can I wash my hair, can I brush my teeth, how is my personal hygiene overall. I explain: I have seating to assist me everywhere: shower seat, sink seat, helpful bars. But the problem is, sez I, I can't stand for long periods so I need help with floors, sheet changing, dishes now and again, stove cleaning, fridge, my laundry. General tidying like dusting. Well then, sez she, we can't help you. What, sez I? I have mobility challenges! You're still maintaining personal hygiene, sez she, so that means you're fine. So, sez I, if I tell you I'm a filthy, flea-ridden encrusted old wreck I would qualify for some home care? Well, yes. So you'd rather spend several thousand dollars putting me in an assisted living
home than shell out a couple of hundred dollars a month to assist me to live on my own? Yes, that's right, by the way you sound very young, how old did you say you were? I'll be 77 in August, sez I. You sound so much younger! (Translation: you're articulate, old people are usually senile and believe my rubbish answers.). Needless to say, for you know me well, I am not resting quietly and going away.

Secondly Toyota. Yes again.

My car is wobbling. There's only 20Km on her so fairly new. I had the tire people check to make sure it wasn't the tires. They said it's brakes. She was left out in all sorts of weather for weeks (months?) on end, rust probably. Thank you Covid. I phoned my dealer. Appointment for August 31. What? sez I have an unsafe vehicle, under warranty, I'm supposed to lurch around the city for another 5 weeks? You could bring her in at 7.30 a.m. and wait and see if we have any gaps or cancellations. Oh, sez I, pack a lunch, bring a couple of books, my trusty George (my cane), and wait all day to see if you have the good grace to serve me at some point or not? With my mask on and my sanitizer spraying everything? And to keep coming back every day haunting the place until I get lucky enough to get my crippled car seen to? I didn't pull the age and mobility card.

Yeah, privileged to have these problems, but seriously? I'm not built for these battles anymore. Does life get easier? No, it gets more fraught with absolute effin moronic stupidity.