Friday, July 01, 2022



I love my adopted country with all my heart. I was out on the beach today and I observed how discreetly we observe Canada Day which is today, July 1st. Little crests on polo shirts, grannies wearing red cardigans over white shirts, small maple leafs on beach chairs and umbrellas. Red and white beach balls, little girls in red and white pleated skirts and so on and dogs with small maple leafs on their collars.

We don't blast it from the rooftops. There's just this quiet pride in this beautiful country rolling from sea to shining sea and fact: our landmass is greater than the United States.

The land area of Canada is 3, 855, 103 square miles compared to America's 3, 794, 083, making Canada 1.6% larger that the States.

And we invented so many things - here's some you might not know about.

  1. Paint roller
  2. Garbage bags
  3. Pager
  4. Peanut butter
  5. Road lines
  6. Wonderbra
  7. Search engine
  8. Imax
  9. The pacemaker
  10. Basketball
Sometimes we're number one in the top countries in which to live but this year we're number two.

Round-up of the best countries to live in the world in 2022
  • Switzerland.
  • Canada.
  • Norway.
  • Singapore.
  • Australia.

And oh yes, a picture of the beach from today. So many birds on the water following the capelin, a small fish (note granny in front of me in red cardie). It's been four weeks since I've been outside my door. I'm so grateful to be somewhat mobile.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


It's about time for an update on Lana, my dear friend who has dementia. I call her every week and she never fails to remember me.

For a while, I was nervous calling her, would she forget me, would she have bouts of paranoia, would she ask me too many questions.

None of that never happened. 

Our last call lasted an hour, the longest ever.

She had me laughing uncontrollably at one point in the call when she talked about a kind of spa in her luxurious assisted living complex which has beauty salons and hair styling units.

I said how's your hair looking? Look in the mirror and tell me. she told me it was crawling down her back.

She's a fan of really short hairdos, always has been so I asked her why the change.

She explained that to go to the salon would involve her emerging like a "fizzhead" and that, she would never, ever accept.

I know exactly what she meant and I said "like those tightly permed old women?"

And she started laughing uncontrollably too. 

Then she said there's a new invention I have to tell you about.

And she proceeded to tell me about "something" that helps with hair and keeps it off her face and her aide showed her how it operated..

After a few minutes I said, you mean a headband I think.

And she went yes, yes, a headband. A brand new invention. You need to find one. They are amazing.

She's still so articulate in so many ways and sometimes her flashbacks astound me. I remind her that she is in a very luxurious residence when she asks where her money is.

She tells me she walks every day and sits on a bench and counts cars to keep her brain exercised. 

I preplan the number, she says, and I don't get off the bench until I reach the number, hundred, two hundred, fifty.

She was a numbers whiz in her past life and this is no surprise to me.

I cherish our time together.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Confined to Barracks

 Well that's it. The headline. 

Three words.

The story of my life at the moment.

Normally I love being home, not having plans. But three weeks of it?

A bit of a challenge.

So what do I do with my time?

I read.

I'm on the internet.

I play Scrabble with friends around the world more frequently (we've been playing for over a decade and we all have high ratings)

I started to take pictures of this interior life.

I welcome guests, but only those who are safe. Masked. Careful. Cautious. As the Summer Wave of the Pandemic still hasn't hit here yet but has in other parts of the globe. Some of my friends have been, and still are in some cases, deathly ill with the blasted thing.

I social-media-post outrage for that patriarchal country to the south of us throwing women to the curb once more. Has ERA ever been ratified down there? I doubt it but am too lazy to check. Or care. The women need to arm themselves with the liberal gun laws and determine their own futures. As guns are the only thing understood down there it seems. It's heartening to see many younger Canadian women of my acquaintance offering Usian women sanctuary and abortion free of charge if and when they need it.

And PS I'm on a pain medication but still sleeping in my recliner as lying down in a bed is a thing of the past for now. I feel like I'm permanently camping (which, ps, I've always hated) but in my living room without the views of the great outdoors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Out here, every year around solstice on The Rock, at the edge of the North American continent, we anticipate the hump back whales rolling in after the capelin - shoals of small fish that they feed on.

Anticipation is everywhere, the weather gives the signal first. Daily, the fogs start to roll in followed by the shoals of fish, followed by the dive-bombing gannets, who mate for life and are constantly grooming, feeding and cuddling each other.

Then the whales drift in to their feeding grounds. They come from as far away as South America, an incredibly long journey, fraught with the peril of huge ocean liner propellers and other challenges.

Photo from today, courtesy of Regina Molloy.

Speaking for myself, I breathe a sigh of relief. Our planet is OK if our whales roll in.

It's an awesome sight and one not to be missed if at all possible. I have spent whole days, and many evenings, just sitting by the water, while hundreds of them came near the shore, some as large as buses. One time I was all alone and could hear their kitten-like cries over the surf. I still get teary when I think about it. The real gifts of life never, ever cost money.

Photo from today, courtesy of Clifford Doran.

Solstice and the arrival of the whales will be forever linked in my mind.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Pain and fear, isolation and loneliness.

I thought to write here today. Even though I don’t really want to.

It’s the topic everyone works hard to avoid bringing into conversation.

PAIN: Chronic and severe and endless.

With the result that there is a loneliness that seeps over the sufferer. She knows no one wants to hear the same old, same old. So she lies, or covers up or uses a selection of old tropes.

Q How are you?

(1)Oh, you know.

(2)Much better than yesterday. (Lie)

Q What does the doctor say?

(1)We don’t say: Well (s)he too is sick of my calls.

(2)We mumble a selection of vagaries.

(3)Waiting for a call.

(4)Will call them today.

Along with the loneliness there’s the exhaustion of just plain dealing with life. Or not dealing.

There’s lack of sleep for one. There’s the ongoing decision of:

(1) suffering and being alert or

(2) ingesting painkillers and becoming a zombie.

Friends and relatives get impatient. I understand that.

But it really makes things far, far worse when they ask for details of the pain and it’s offered, only to be met with deadly silence or the clicks of an escape hatch being opened ("gotta run, talk soon!") and the listener vanishing.

So chronic pain is isolating for multiple reasons. We are not looking for solutions. We know all the solutions, we’ve explored many avenues, some involving more pain we can’t endure.

Out tears are in isolation along with frustration and a sense of hopelessness. And loneliness.

We are the brave.

We learn to let very few in to what is really going on. We forego, with longing,  the things we used to do in our health that we would simply take for granted. For example, I see someone walking on the street or in a movie and I go "look at that! they're walking with a smile!"

My big job today was sorting my weekly pills. A job I detest with all the fires of hell. It takes 30 minutes. If I don’t drop pills on the floor.

My helper comes tomorrow so I don’t have to do dishes which is excruciating, standing at the sink.

It’s over two weeks since I slept in a bed as the recliner is the only place I can do a series of catnaps through the night with some small semblance of comfort.

I can see why some go insane from this kind of existence.

And so very few that understand it.

I know I never did.

And I realize one of the greatest gifts in life we can offer each other is to listen.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Quality of Life

 Living in Canada, as one wag put it, is like living with a meth head as a tenant in your basement. A tenant who is so out of touch with reality that he keeps screaming in your face at every opportunity that he is the best tenant ever and he has all these friends who will tell you the same thing.

Well let's start with quality of life.

Canada is, guess? 1.

Followed by Denmark, Sweden, Norway. and way down the list at #20, is the USA.

And then you get healthcare. The U.S. healthcare system only extends to those with money. Lots of it. If you are barely surviving economically, serious health issues can result in bankruptcy.

"Medical bills are reported to be the number-one cause of U.S. bankruptcies. One study has claimed that 62.1% of bankruptcies were Caused by medical issues Another claims that over two million people are adversely affected by their medical expenses."

The U.S. ranks last overall on the health care outcomes domain (Exhibit 1). On nine of the 10 component measures, U.S. performance is lowest among the countries (Appendix 8), including having the highest infant mortality rate (5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births) and lowest life expectancy at age 60 (23.1 years).

Best healthcare systems in the world are:

  1. South Korea
  2. Taiwan
  3. Denmark
  4. Austria
  5. Japan
  6. Australia
  7. France
  8. Spain
  9. Belgium
  10. United Kingdom
And gun deaths, so far  in the US in 2022. Those red dots? Use your imagination.

And then we have this travel advisory/warning from the Canadian government on going to the USA, as if one is entering a "third world" country:

"Gun violence

The rate of firearm possession in the US is high. It’s legal in many states for US citizens to openly carry firearms in public.

Incidences of mass shootings occur, resulting most often in casualties. Although tourists are rarely involved, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Familiarize yourself on how to respond to an active shooter situation."

No other country in the world shoots its children in schools as they hide under desks. And the solution? Arm teachers, reduce number of doors to schools.

The louder one screams about being the very best, the greater the lie.

Monday, June 13, 2022



The hardest NOT to do is give up. I've had several years now of health challenges, one variation after another.

And seriously, who wants to listen to it.

How does one respond to "how are you feeling?" Truthfully or dishonestly. Serious question.

The brave world of "everyone has a cross to bear, so get on with it." RC liturgy says it right there in the bible. Some bible version anyway.

And of course I hesitate to write honestly. I try to "get on with it."

But old age is baffling - I basically have no role models apart from the "getting on with it" brigade.

I haven't slept in my bed for well over a week now. For the simple reason I can't lie down. So I nap in my recliner. I can't call it sleep.

Hence the title of this blog post:

  1. complaining in a petulant or whining manner.
    "she became querulous and demanding"

I may sound on the dark side of sanity at the moment. With good reason though, we can all agree.

Lack of sleep does weird things to the brain.

I've arrived at the Querulous Station.

Full steam ahead.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022


I've been struggling a bit with health challenges - mainly, and sadly, much pain, some of it completely baffling me. I couldn't even lie down yesterday, I had to sleep in my recliner.

I talked to other elders today about the pain we know and the unexpected pains we get which seem unrelated to medication shifts.

The two of them produced evidence of similar episodes which vanish after a couple of days.

I've never seen it written about before. Aging body ambulation's suddenly seizing and flattening with surprising outbursts of unexpected aches and near immobility. Some so severe that walking is impossible, along with, like myself yesterday, not allowing even a lying down.

Living with the unfamiliar.

Today is better, the mysterious crippling lurch not as severe.

I am managing a pile of editing today as we have a deadline for June 30th for The Big Finito for publishing the latest anthology sometime in July. 

I am playing Bach on one of those five hours streams which fills me with gratitude. And a kind of reluctant joy.

Iceberg Season is here and here is one pic from yesterday.

And this is right by where I live, a village right in the City of St. John's by the name of Qidi Vidi - photo courtesy of Jonathan Cooper. Fog can be a glorious sight.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Blogger Issues and a Poem on Aging....

Has Blogger sorted us out? I must apologise to many, many commenters. Your comments were caught in that dismal dark hell of a spam folder that I rarely check but will do so more frequently. The platform has been iffy lately and I know Nick and Ramana have problems and now I'm seeing my own. Anyway, I see their heads are up today so maybe Blogger has fixed it. Vast apologies to Secret Agent Woman whose every comment for the past year has wound its way into that hell.

I wrote this poem that many have really liked so I include it here for your comments.

Reflection on Aging

We do not grow large as we age

We shrink in all things.

Our demands are the smallest of birds

Timid and shy, flying away

To invisible trees.

Our desires are few and private

Lying unfulfilled on bare ground.

Our opinions lurk, hesitantly fearful of

The prey of younger, sharper minds.

Our circles wink smaller in the fading light.

Shrinking until we are the only holder

Of youthful, joyful memories of beloveds

Long gone.

Hunching down to count pills, count money, count meals, count hours, count bills paid and unpaid.

Fearful of that nameless elder unhome of unassistance, unmeals and unindependence lurking out there somewhere

Ready to grab us by the throat if we slip and fall

Into helplessness.

Wisewebwoman -April 2022.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

My Evil Twin

I have this twin. I call her my inner evil twin. She doesn't emerge very often, but when she does, everyone watch out.

Today, my long overdue writing workshops resumed. Due to Covid and its unpredictable rises and falls, I've had to suspend more than I can count. But today, I went ahead. Everyone had advance warning as there was so much ground to cover. And extreme protocols were put in place.

I was up at dawn preparing. That is not procrastination, though I can be an industrial sized procrastinator at times.

I work long hours before workshops as I want it all to be fresh in my mind once it begins.

At the very last minute several cancelled on various pretexts, one was away, one was quitting due to family commitments, another had a sore back, another felt too sad and I can't remember the last one, maybe it was a cold.

As I read the cancelling emails my Evil Twin emerged. 

"Why am I wasting my time with this ungrateful group?"

""Don't they realize I have far better things to do with my time?"

" I should cancel every single future workshop and just show them."

Etcetera, etcetera.

But I was able to strangle my ET within minutes of the workshop starting as for the few of us there, it was one of the best ever with regard to sharing hopes and dreams and childhoods and tragedies.

Those who weren't there really really missed out on a very special ninety minutes.

My ET is always, always wrong on her reactions to life. 

I need to remember that before I paint myself into a corner with no escape.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Words for Wednesday


    This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast.
    Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...  We can use some or all of the prompts, and mixing and matching is encouraged. 
    Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme, which includes cheering on the other participants.  If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.
    This month I have provided the prompts.   Special thanks to Elephant's Child for hosting me for the first two weeks of May prompts.

    This week's prompts  are:


    Use some or all of the prompts.

    Good luck all!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Meandering through the words

I plan on posting some excerpts of writing here this month, just to peak your curiosity as to what is going on with this memoir of six months of my life. I have workshopped some parts of it and got excellent feedback.

On other news, Daughter is coming in to town today and we will have brunch at our local. I had brunch there yesterday with a friend but I never tire of brunches. It always feel so civilized, as if all the time in the world is available to chat and have fill-ups on coffee and tea. So yesterday was three hours. I anticipate a lengthy one today too, though we may wander up the road and sit by the ocean for a while as it's so gorgeous a day out here.

I don't want to jinx my health status but right now this minute - though not perfect - I am feeling way better. I had to deal with an excess of potassium in my blood in the past couple of months which entailed a harsh treatment and the symptoms were frightening. Internal organs misbehaving. I honestly feel I have dodged many bullets including The Plague which is still raging through here as it is in most parts of the world. Though there is no longer statistical reportage and our Minister for Health tells us to toss the masks. I'm not. So I'm still practicing the utmost caution and only seeing those of like mind. The seniors out here are dying every week which is a caution in itself. The Culling, I call it. It enrages me.

So we were the first province in Canada to welcome Ukrainian refugees and it's so heartening to read of the kindness shown them and so many have been employed already. Their pets were included on the flight from Poland, cats and dogs. I leaked many tears.

Cam and Chuck arrived here to bless their peasants and steal some gifts and flowers. All the kowing and towing and bowing to this pair of welfare recipients frosts my you know what.

So there's your update from this outpost colony of the once "the sun never sets on us" British Empire. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Words for Wednesday


    This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast.
    Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...  We can use some or all of the prompts, and mixing and matching is encouraged. 
    Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme, which includes cheering on the other participants.  If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.
    This month I am going to provide the prompts.   Special thanks to Elephant's Child for hosting me for the first two weeks' of May prompts.

    This week's prompts  are:









    and a picture:

    Use some or all of the prompts and good luck!

Friday, May 13, 2022

Head Above the Parapet

It's been an interesting break from the writing point of view. I was overwhelmed at times with both prepping for the writing workshops I was holding and the one-on- one sessions with the various writers. I set a deadline of May 31st for all submissions to be in my hands for a final edit, with a publication date of sometime in July in the midst of Come Home Year Newfoundland when flocks of our exiles will be returning in great numbers from around the world. The title will be the unimaginative "Write Around the Bay, Volume 2." An anthology of stories old and new with some poetry interspersed with both fiction and non-fiction pieces.

On my own writing front, I have tackled my memoir of one of the most significant six months of my life. Certainly a hugely important time for me and one of deep connection. It is just about finished apart from polishing but I'm not happy with it as my writing failed me more than a few times in recording a transforming relationship. My notes from the era are excellent, but it's in the emotional I run up against blocks - more to do with skill than anything else. I have put it aside for now and will return.

During this process I learned how to format a novel/book/anthology which took a good five hours but well worth it, I think. I am very pleased to learn a new skill at my age (78) and I believe it's good for exercising the brain.

I'm going to visit y'all very soon and get caught up on the various doings of my blogmates.

I leave you for now with a photo of one of my happy places. Middle Cove Beach which soothes my soul and is within five minutes of where I live.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Off line

 Well, for a while at least. My writing life is catching up with me both my own and my workshop's. And there's only so much energy in this elder's life and how I use it is becoming more and more relevant. What do I want to do for the wee remainder of my one wild and precious life?

But rest assured, I'll be back, with my own writing and of course the reading of yours. Not sure when. Stay safe and out of trouble and mind how you go. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Climbing out of the Pit


I'm sharing suggestions that have helped me in the past week of despair.

Daughter had read a nugget somewhere and shared it with me.

Every morning before contemplating the day, take a look around me and focus on how hard it would be to live without something. Not for long. Just enough to recognize its loss if it happened.

So I've been doing this and am astonished at all I take for granted in my life and don't really see. Gratitude lists are grand but less meaningful when one lumps stuff together.

I mentioned this to a friend I met with during the week as she had been full of angst and depression herself. So we agreed to share our item of acknowledgement in text first thing in the morning before the day got a hold of us.

My first day was independent living, thinking of my dear friend Lana in her assisted living life. I looked around my apartment and felt this rush of appreciation.

My second day was books. I am a voracious reader and would find it just about impossible to live without them. 

My third day was my doctor, who has been an incredible support in the past two years when I needed medical attention and care the most. He goes beyond the call of care and concern. He has a gift of intuition, endless time, and humour. For instance - I have shaky underperforming kidneys and yesterday, without prompting, he assured me yet again that I would not need dialysis in my lifetime as age, for once, was in my favour. So I said to him my obit should read - "it was not her kidneys that killed her?" And we laughed. I don't know what I'd do without him.

So there you have it. A tiny tool that seems to work for navigating these days of worry and stress and helplessness and anxiety. And a looming war as the icing on the cake.

Thank you all for the wonderful words of support and kinship on my last post. I savoured every single comment many times.  

No longer alone.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Fine Line


I believe there's a fine line between sanity and insanity. I'm writing today as I feel quite massively overwhelmed by the last two years.  See, I'm understating it terrifically. For who wants to read a depressing blog post about the State of The Union? The Union of the body parts, the brain, the physical well being, the social interactions, emotional and mental intelligence.

The last few days I don't feel I'm functioning as I should. Living alone is an enormous challenge in this Time of the Plague. No one to monitor me on a daily basis. No one to see how well I'm coping, no one to share with. 

I feel everything is catching up with me. The isolation, the risk of emerging out of my cocoon into the virus infected world. The deaths of two very close friends, all the health challenges I've had.

I count out and sort all my pills every Sunday. I say all. I mean all. Over 30 every day. Stringing my beating heart and blood pressure and pain into acceptable numbers. I read them out to my doctor, usually once a week and we talk about my blood lab results.

This morning hopelessness set in. On March 14th here, all restrictions are removed. But seniors are dying in unprecedented numbers in this province. Vaccinated, unvaccinated? We haven't a clue. Those stats are deemed private. Expendable senior philosophy, economy comes first.

There are three in my bubble, Daughter, Niece and a close friend who has her own tiny bubble.

This is not a whine. Just throwing it out there. I feel quite anti-social as I feel I have nothing to talk about of any interest and my creativity and my equanimity are in extremely short supply. 

I honestly feel like I am just marking time, waiting to die. My dreams are full of death, dead friends, Ansa, my lost daughter.

My friend Lana, in her assisted living luxury environment said on our phone call this week that she had put up a big sign in her room saying:


It caught the attention of the management in a big way so she's marching the halls again and dictating to the kitchen staff about healthy meals.

I don't share this stuff with family. Because it would distress them. Everybody has issues around this falling apart planet we're on. I can't add to their burdens.

Another "buck up, it could be worse"  would have me screaming in a corner.

So there, I'm just not fit. I've lost the run of myself.

Truth in blogging.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Tragedy of Brenda*

Painting by Picasso, 1902

 She lived downstairs in my apartment building. She dressed like a lady. By that I mean as if she was caught in a time warp of 1956. Pressed slacks with a matching cardigan and a coordinating blouse. She was younger than me by about seven or eight years. Her hair was carefully blonded and feathered. Always low Cuban heels. Never sneakers or teetering stilettoes. She came to some of the senior advocacy meetings I held. Never saying much but totally lady-like in her demeanor amongst all the jeans and t-shirts.

The rumour mill fired up, as they do. She had a drinking problem. She was selling all her "stuff" her jewelry, her crystal, her china and her designer clothes. Her husband, a doctor, had divorced her years before but had left her with an expensive house in a good part of town and alimony until her Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security kicked in.

Within ten years she had sold the house and managed to deplete the investment account by buying herself a new car every year and taking extravagant trips. She moved into my building about five years ago, her savings close to zero, carless. 

One of my close friends in the building had visited her and found her in dire straits in her bedroom surrounded by bottles and no food in the fridge or elsewhere in the kitchen. Just a horrific mess and a bucket beside the bed for her waste. She notified the management who informed her family. They came to visit from great distances. She cleaned up her act and stopped drinking.

As soon as they left, she resumed. She managed to get "loans" from various tenants who took pity on her. ("Enabling" more like it.)

The breaking point came when she tried to wash fecal encrusted cushions in the laundry.

She was evicted about six months ago but she kept returning here, in cabs, buzzing different tenants from the lobby to pay her cab fare so she could wander the halls, banging on doors, looking for loans from her soft touches, the enablers, who were worn down by the begging. I had never given her my telephone number, though she asked many times. She drunk-called all the numbers she had late at night rambling on about her wealth and status and privilege and how she was in a far better class of people than those in her circle.

She died, drunk, yesterday. I didn't know her though I had met her several times. Nobody knew her. 

She took a drink and then the drink took her, removing her humanity, her personality, her very life at the end. Her only pal alcohol, fierce and relentless in its hunger to consume her, inch by inch, emotion by emotion, relationship by relationship.

Her only legacy is a reminder to us lucky few sober ones, of how voracious an appetite alcohol has, if left unchecked. 

It consumes those addicted to it down to a husk. 

*Not her real name

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Making a Puffin with the Gardiner Brothers.

So yeah, this intricate knitting style called intarsia is back in my life again as I desperately wanted to create a puffin for a young man in my life who is absolutely crazy about puffins.

It's engrossing work as every line has to be focused on and counting every stitch is a given but it's enchanting to see the image emerge out of all those bobbins. I have a huge fascination for these wonderful birds myself. They make me laugh out loud every time I see them.

I found these incredible Irish dancers recently. The Gardiner Brothers. They'll dance to anything. Here they are with Abba.

And here they are giving The Nutcracker a bash.

I can't watch these without a huge smile.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Nothing and Everything

 Can one write about nothing at all?

I can write about a poem I wrote this morning, still moved by what my eldest brother said to me on the weekly Sibling Zoom yesterday. Empathy, understanding, comfort.

I can write about a planned coffee-meet up with a friend today after a million years of alert levels.

I can write about end of life discussions, wills, wishes. The complexity of some. The sadness of countries that forbids Death with Dignity. How's yours faring in that regard?

I can write about a graph paper study I did for a knitting pattern which lies there, staring at me, ready to get my act and needles and bodkins together. Bodkins, now there's a word.

I can write about my weekly Monday night call to Lana. She showed a deterioration (paranoia) last week but still knows my voice instantly. I am kinda, sorta dreading tonight's call.

I can write about the ennui (there's another word) that I'm feeling for well over a week now. Caution Exhaustion I'm thinking. Too much time alone. Too much yawning time left to my own devices, and they are wearing a bit thin.

And yes, there's this: my Leo finally succumbed to his vicious cancer early yesterday. Before dawn.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Mad Writer

 I'm in Mad Writer mode lately. Churning out a lot of my own memoir about my first year in Toronto. A year in which so very much happened, much of it kept hidden and secret. For very good reasons. Held in a locked closet in my mind for fifty six years. I'm very glad I have such a memory for detail and notice, through the Sibling Zooms every Sunday that we all share that ability.

Along with that I have the online writing workshops I'm facilitating. We are all missing the live ones, and these real enthusiasts are producing wonderful work. Which I am critiquing. Which takes oodles of time as well.

I've missed writing here which I will try and rectify but sometimes I just want to throw the keyboard against the wall and do something utterly different.

I love the goings on in Ireland at the moment with the Russian navy off the coast of West Cork.

Daughter sent me this earlier on.  I sometimes forget how the country of my birth has such marvelous humour.

Listening to Irish radio this morning they had a CNN reporter who was on location in West Cork. The reporter was a Kerryman who is based in America. At the end of the discussion about the fisherman taking ownership of standing down Russia (ha) the host of the show then said something like.."C'mere to me now. You're among your own here so I'm gonna ask you what everyone in Ireland really wants to know....did you get paid to come home and visit your Mammy?"

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Melange a Trois

 (1) Thought I'd show you my Wall. Note caps. This was a blank wall facing a bookcase in my hall. I send cards, I get cards. Some of them arty or old or meaningful and I like them to hang around for a while. I had a roundy thing with slots which would hold about 20, all cramped together. It teetered. I had a few lovely framed corkboards in my office/bedroom and pinned some up. Then I thought wee pegs and a kind of double clothesline. And this seems to be working. I get to walk by them all, and can change them at whim.

(2)I had tea shipped in from Tipperary at Solstice as a gift for Niece to share over the festivities. With a teapot and inbuilt strainer. To me, tea should never, ever be in teabags. It needs to be loose-leaf and full of aroma and taste. This was a huge hit so I sourced more of this magnificent tea in Canada at half the price and got bags for Niece, Daughter and myself. This is the tea I was reared on. Blended by a Master Blender in Cork by the name of Dennis Daley.

(3) I'm preparing for a CBC radio interview tomorrow on how seniors have been managing themselves in the Time of the Plague. I believe that schoolchildren and seniors are suffering the most throughout this time. And there will be a ripple effect for generations to come once we move beyond (?) it. Let's face it, we are not too far off from death in the normal state of affairs, but it is much, much, harder missing physical contact with family and friends. Along with other challenges, far too many to get into here.

I realize I am luckier than most in that there is never enough hours in my day to satisfy me. I get up early and even if I sleep in for an hour I feel ripped off.

 Daughter visited me yesterday and brought me a grid notebook (genuine antique with leaves of carbon paper at the back!) and 24 brand new colouring pencils. I felt like 6 years old again, can't wait to experiment with these babies.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Clothes Line


Of all the many pictures (with resulting cards and prints) I have taken over the years this one has been the most popular. I had repeat orders  of hundreds of cards printed. And it was also featured in a calendar. The reason I am writing about this is because of Lana, my dear friend who has dementia/ Alzheimer's.

I sent her one of these cards a few weeks ago. I had sent one to her before when it was first published but of course there is no memory of that. Every day is fresh to her.

She was upset she was in lockdown when I called her on Monday night. She is confused in that she thinks she has Covid and hates her meals being delivered and misses her walks. She's in a luxury building and paces her room. Fifty feet long, she tells me. She counts the steps. Having seen pictures of the interior or her residence, I believe her. Enormous rooms.

"But," she said, "You sent me this card. And I put it under a small lamp beside my bed. And every night I stare at this picture after I've read the poem you had printed on the back and it puts me to sleep with a smile on my face."

Some Day on Clothes

The blues 

Dance through

His shirt

My skirt

Flit Lift

Snap Spin

And I couldn't stop crying when I got off the phone.

Friday, January 14, 2022


One of Ernestine's photos.

A dear old blog friend died the other day. She lived to a good age - 87 - but had many trials and tribulations with her health over the years.

I learned much about aging from her. I also learned much about acceptance and making the best of one's days. And simple recipes and saying hello to mornings. Each one a gift. She loved her truck (she was a tiny woman) and her thrift shopping and worked hard on her beautiful garden and found inner peace.

Her photography was gorgeous, she lived on the edge of a farm with her dog, Callie, and resisted (my how she resisted!) being packed off to an assisted living facility. But her poor body finally gave in. She went quiet for a while but her youngest daughter kept us all abreast of her condition and outlook.

We exchanged wee gifts and books over the years. I particularly loved the handmade soap she sent me.

Thank you Ernestine, as you soar with the stars. 

You left footprints on my heart.