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.

(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


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


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.


A belated wee birthday party for me yesterday evening.