Saturday, November 27, 2021


(I thought you'd like to see the beautiful city where I live)

Some setbacks health wise which have upset me.

So there.

I was too complacent perhaps with how my abysmal health for the past two years had turned around and allowed me to walk without George my stick, and Wally my wheelchair used for longer stretches. Does the Catholic guilt ever leave me, I ask myself, all those instructions from the Holy Nuns about not being proud, which covered a multitude of missteps, never taking pleasure in anything or God would turn around and smite you before snatching it away. Vanity. Victory. Holy God is in charge and will always knock you down a peg or two.

So last week was one of those weeks where every single doctor (three) visit had gloom and doom written all over it.

Finally, on Thursday, I sat in my car and hauled out the pity pot and sat on it for about 30 minutes in the backside of a parking lot which seemed appropriate rather than an ocean visit. What else can one do (unless you're lying to yourself).

Daughter and Niece cheered me up. I am so grateful for them both in my life. I haven't shared with friends, I feel quite on the verge of tears, and only with one dear blog friend directly. I am, as they say, processing. 

I will write more of this when I can.

Meanwhile the Writing Workshop keeps me busy and engaged and quite out of myself which is excellent. Niece has planned a mango curry dinner for me tomorrow night and Daughter is taking the day off next Friday and coming in to have lunch and a bit of Solstice shopping (we do books only).

Life is as life is. Acceptance and a carrying on spirit is needed.

We all have unexpected downers, don't we? 

(Another shot of St. John's - we are right on the Atlantic ocean)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


 I had a most lovely surprise on the shelf outside my door. A lovely pewter Irish candle. Anonymous.

I immediately put it to good use honouring the two dear ones I lost this year.

I posted the pic on FB and anonymous announced herself. What a lovely thing to do.

My eldest brother has Covid. He is double vaxed and boostered. So there is no relaxing with this thing. He is masked at all times. He believes he caught it on a flight to Dublin, (plane washroom?). He's recovering in isolation now. Fingers and toes crossed.

Writers Workshop is fantastic. The group is now cohesive and having wonderful fun. Great talent is on display and some excellent writing. A huge pile of work involved for me but it's all such a joy.  

An interesting sideline out of this is that I was asked to do a series of sessions with a very sharp 98 year old veteran to extract his extraordinary life story. I am really looking forward to this new enterprise and putting together questions that are easy and meaningful. I am so very grateful that I am entrusted with this and perhaps can do some more with the elderly before they pass on, their stories lost forever. I say elderly with a snort (I is one!). 

I am reminded of an article in that great lamented defunct magazine "Saturday Night" where this dance teacher visited homes for the aged and taught them basic moves and encouraged them to have more creativity and endurance when dancing. She said she loved helping the elderly embrace a fresh activity. As she climbed into her sports car after a class , the interviewer asked delicately how old she was. "92" was the response as she zipped off. That story stayed with me, nearly 40 years later.

I see many elderly reliant on their families for entertainment and inclusion with nothing else on their platters. All outside interests suspended, personal development a thing of the past. All their friends like themselves, trapped like a fly on a spiderweb of expectations which, of course, are never met. Sending out depressing guilt-o-grams to adult children about not seeing enough of them. 

Never has it been more important to "get a life", keep stoked, do something new, get out, feed the birds at the lake, take a drive, get a colouring book, a jigsaw, take a photography class, get more plants to look after, talk some new ideas. Be realistic with the time one has left (short).

What are you going to do with what's left of your one and only wild and crazy life?

Saturday, November 20, 2021


 Stubblejumper was bemoaning her lack of finding a proper 2022 Planner. Seems she and I are very, very fussy about our planners. They have to be workhorses.

I found a beauty a month or so ago at a dollar store (who'd a' thunk it?) Unbounded joy for $4.00 approx.

Week at a glance - huge amount of room for every single thing. I like to slot in stuff beforehand and book time off, a day off preferably.
Pages of To Do lists and pages of notes - I use these for movie and book recommendations. And Important Thots. And my never ending to do list.
Special see-through section at the back with a zipper for those bits.

After two years of frozen friend and family meal drop offs I am back to cooking again and had to brag about this marvelous old recipe meatloaf with sides of kale and carrot/sweet potato. I gave leftovers to Daughter along with my home made soup. Quite a switcheroo. So happy about this.

And finally I was in a thrift store (buying men's PJ bottoms, thanks for asking) and found this great ginormous clock to hang above my toilet. I love clocks. Always have. This is so vulgar as to be sublime. 
Ecstasy for $10.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Cognitive Decline in the Elderly

I won't get into the link business here as there are far too many essays and articles on the topic of cognitive decline during these hazardous times.

Elders have been adversely affected during Covid, due to lack of social interaction, normal leisure activities, large family gatherings, etc. I would add the appalling new layers of climate change (which is quite horrifying out in British Columbia at the moment), here's a link to that for readers outside Canada. BC has been cut off from food delivery and is totally isolated with highway washouts and mudslides.

I am witnessing a situation first hand here in the building with a friend who has virtually pulled down the shutters and refuses to come out. I've tried my best over the past week or so to get her to come to the beach or out for a meal or even a coffee or even to come here for a chat in her PJs or me to visit her. I believe the Black Dog (or perhaps a pack of black dogs) has got her firmly in it's grip. I can't get through to her and it's alarming.

She's let many activities go, even her driving. Another friend tried to coax her out to a prime beef dinner on Saturday night at the RAF club ($15.00!!) and she declined even though our table will be just people who know her well. 

I texted her today that I didn't want to be a pain in the arse trying to break through to her and said I was always available for a chat. All I got was a little heart emoticon in return.

I am really concerned. The Black Dog was my familiar in the past but thankfully, gratefully, he took off some time ago and hasn't shown his slavering jaws in a long while.

I believe this is a rough time for many of us (children, seniors) And the future of this wee planet is looking grimmer and grimmer and Covid rates are through the roof in Ireland and the UK again. Masked will be part of our daily existence (forever?) and I have little faith that politicians will sort out and correct the trajectory of the acceleration of devastating weather conditions due to advancing climate change.

As an Australian prime minister said a few years back (sorry can't remember his name) when the fires were chewing through his country "You're on your own."

We are all on our own basically. 

There is no magic wand.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

So There


So There

I wish there was a heaven

With everything promised

Without the fires and judgement

And resurrections of bodies

And where we didn’t have to sing

Praises and question why

I’d add my mother’s arms around me

And a white grand piano

And meeting Beethoven

And Emily Dickinson

And so many others it would take

All day to name them

But I’d have eternity to sit down

And chat with them one by one

We’d all be our old selves

Not new selves who sound boring

But how would we find each other

With all the billions already there

Would we get a kind of GPS

And a magic plane or train or car

I couldn’t live in heaven without the

Ones I loved being right there

And the ones I didn’t love not so there

It all sounds so complicated

And unmanageable and undoable

But I can dream

Of my own kind of heaven

Can't I?

MM 11/16/21

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Lana's World

Outside of her new home.
Some of you have followed my posts on Lana, my long term friend who descended into the long goodbye of Dementia/Alzheimers. She is younger than me by 2-1/2 years which makes it all the more poignant.

Up to about a month or so ago she was still driving which alarmed me greatly. I kept in touch with her son and another friend of hers who checked on her regularly.

Then a few weeks ago she wasn't answering her phone and her son found her on the floor of her living room with a massively swollen right leg.

Community area of her new home.

He sprung into action. Got her to the hospital (she had blood clots) and immediately arranged for her to be admitted to a care facility. A very fancy care facility. Unaffordable to most but it turns out he's one of those quiet millionaires (real estate, stock market). Her house is worth a lot but he hasn't seen the need to sell it yet. She is very fortunate.

I call her once a week and enter her brand new world. She surprises me with her sharpness at times, asks about my writing, wants to hear all about the workshop but I'm very much in the now with her. All short term memory is wiped as with a blackboard eraser from her mind within a very short length of time.

It humbles me. She speaks of her surroundings - a chandelier in her room, a brand new TV screen installed by her son, a selection of framed pictures and photos from her former home. She laughs. "I wouldn't have chosen any of these myself" and she describes them to me. Her leg is shrinking. And she's walking the halls. 

Every floor is carpeted - a long cry from most "care" homes. It's like a luxurious hotel" she says. A privilege denied to many. And she knows it. She is incredibly grateful to her son who stepped up to the plate, so to speak. Their sometimes fractious past long forgotten.

It's extraordinarily peaceful talking to her for about 45 minutes every week. We are very much in the now. I never question her. Even asking her about dinner would be stressful but now and again she'll talk about the menu and I am astonished at the choices on offer and her memory in recalling the items - a long list.

She asks me to give her some memories which I do. Trip to Ireland, trip to New Brunswick, a couple of trips to Newfoundland and to her parents when they were alive, weekend retreats, volunteer community work we shared. She delights in each memory recalled for her.

"My grandson has my car!" she suddenly announces to me.

"You loved that car!" I answer.

"It was time," she says, "I'm OK with not driving again."

I am profoundly affected by this. She adored driving. And knew far more than I about cars.

I dread the day she forgets me but right now when I call her, she is bowled over with love for me. As I am for her.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

A Sheltered Life


I was buying groceries on line when this item was thrown at me as an under $10 bargain. I had no idea I'd been walking around never, ever knowing I had stones in my throat. Did you? 

This is a really handy gadget as it also does double duty for plucking crap out of your ears. What a bargain! I'm sure they must carry a stitchomatic (or ear glue) for patching up those pierced ear drums and that accidental tracheostomy too. 

Here's the blurb:

"A soft silicone cap to scratching your throat for a better touch feeling.
With a transparent storage case and a stainless steel ear pick.
An useful tool set for the removal of annoying tonsil stones.
Come with a LED Light for a clear vision, convenient to use.
Can also be used as a Ear Wax Remover."

You can tell the grammar is from foreign parts. 

I am now going to work really hard at being annoyed at my tonsil stones.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

My Happy Place

I held my first writing workshop in years yesterday after the fallow years of The Plague. 

There was a very satisfying turnout and I held it in the large two storey community room of my building which worked out very well. As I kept the workshop private, we had no "spectators" which happens frequently if tenants are aware of something interesting but only want to observe and not participate which I discovered to my chagrin at another group meeting. Discomfiting to say the least. 

The ambience there is quite lovely with a huge library, a propane stove in the corner, and large windows and glass doors over looking the garden and golf club behind it and upholstered window seats with a piano and a well supplied kitchen and bathroom. I will take photos next week.

I took most of  a week to get everything ready - it's a group sharing effort with prompts from me, a 10 minute exercise to flex those writing muscles and reading of individual pieces which are distributed to each other for critiques to be presented the following week.

There's a ten minute break half way through for tea and buns and getting-to-know-you interaction. 

It went far better than I anticipated. Some written pieces were extraordinary in their emotion.

The group - some of whom had never met before - seemed to get along really well. The relaxation was almost visible.

There's a lot of trust involved in sharing writing. And I observed the empathy develop. And the enthusiasm.

I truly love doing this. And I'm sure it shows.

I took this picture of my dear late friend R playing in the sand. I presented him with the bucket and spade when he stayed with me out here on The Edge. I love this image as his outer demeanor was normally so serious.


Monday, November 01, 2021


It took a while for it all to sink in.

Here I was with 2 years of disability, chronic pain, no energy, lack of oxygen and underperforming blood running through my system now behind me. Well almost behind me. I am feeling much better than I had been. So I plunged into a busy life with a lot on the go.

SOS: We had put out an anonymous survey in our building in an effort to ascertain the monthly income of seniors, what items they were lacking, what changes they'd like to see made in their current situations, etc. And also, if comfortable, please donate as we were not government funded. The response? Less that 10% of residents responding. A solitary donation of $5.00.

A request on the SOS page with its 600 members across Canada asking for donations and volunteers to help with our SAD day (Senior Awareness Day) on December 1st, resulted in zero.

As I was working on the SAD pledge poster and participant form which was the major fundraiser - all participants agree to live on the $7.00 per day impoverished elderly seniors live on - the lightbulb lit up in my head. My one assistant was deteriorating with an incurable tremor condition so can't keyboard and her tech abilities are diminished along with her voice on the phone.

I asked myself if I was living in joy or stress. And the answer was loud and clear.

I had to stop. And after 4 hours of graphics wrestling, I laid down and thought. Enough, already. Stop this nonsense. And the relief overwhelmed me, almost immediately. This was like a full time job that was a painful reminder of other positions I positively hated and couldn't wait to bail from.

I had let go of all the things I loved, blogging, writing, knitting, workshops, music, even repotting my plants. No time. It consumed me. And for what? The sound of crickets with every announcement, survey, pleas for help.

I met with my partner, and she agreed. Her health is failing. She told me she couldn't sleep with the stress of not performing even the simplest tasks. 

We gave it our very, very best. And would have given more. But the universe has a great way of showing us that even all that wasn't enough.

So we are each sleeping better. 

And my tradeoff is a return of all the joys I had let go.

A beautiful card of Dingle Beach Horses and a handmade linen star sent from my sister in Ireland.