Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Eve

I am mindful of those who stand apart from all the celebratory jollies. I know far too many who have lost beloveds this past year or have other struggles and I know how it feels having gone through a few sad Christmases myself.

A mixed bag here as the silly season gets under way. I hear from many scattered friends and acquaintances at this time. Jacquie Lawson cards. poems from fellow tenants in my building slipped under my door, long emails from those abroad, cards, a book from my sister which has a particular resonance, a knock on the door from a friend bearing a large bag of assorted gifts which will await an opening on Christmas Day.

I get far more out of giving gifts than receiving them. I was lucky in that a friend, a very talented artist, did some delightful oil paintings this past year and I believe in supporting the arts and then endowing members of my family with her talent. I forgot to take pics before I wrapped them but hope to do so once they open them.

My seasonal section in my home, which are normally my knitting shelves:

It might all look very sloppy to you but I always buy a large selection of tea towels before Christmas and wrap gifts in them. Cuts back on waste and who can't use a luscious new tea towel? We mainly exchange books as we are all mad readers. We celebrate Jokabokaflod

You may wonder what this item below is. I can assure you it's made all the difference to my life.

It's a set of (USB rechargeable) lights that I wear around my neck when in poorly lit places so I can either knit or read. Recently I was waiting in the gym area beside the laundry room which has lighting in all the wrong places and I was able to sit and knit to my heart's content. I am so in love with this incredible invention I bought 3 more for relatives and a friend. 3 lighting intensities too. 

I worked on this with the benefit of this lighting, I have one now complete and started another. Next I'll be knitting socks while waiting for the machines.

Small wee joys. Who can beat them?

And with that, I wish you all small wee joys. The big ones are elusive. Collect the small ones.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

'Tis the Season

I don't, anymore, rally myself around the season. We do celebrate Solstice though. My pagan ancestors live on in my bones and I find their worship of visible objects much more logical to my analytical brain.

But this year I hauled out some small bits and pieces and am readying myself to make more of a go of it. You wouldn't believe the lashings of decorations in my building. The word excess doesn't do it justice. 

With that in mind I  bought some flowers and took the time to arrange them in my mother's old jug, I say old, the thing must be well over a 100 years old, formed on this earth out of clay and bone-ash or whatever went into jugs back then. 

Not stopping with this huge effort (I was in a lot of pain as I lurched around) I spied these chrysanthemums and grabbed them. Why not? I sez to myself.

And my Christmas cactus decided to show her multiple faces recently:

I thought I would reinstate my Women's Christmas this year on January 7th. A long standing tradition in my home county of Cork, Ireland, which Covid and other health issues has prevented me from hosting. You can read all about it in this previous post from 2021 I am amazed at how many times that post has encircled the globe and has instigated the tradition as far away as Australia and New York and even Paris.

Once my little itty bitty corner of seasonal decor is completed I will post a few pics.

Monday, December 11, 2023

A Difficult Woman

I had this dream last night. My dreams are always fulsome, in glorious or inglorious technicolor, sometimes musical, other times with old ghosts of beings beloved and lost to the finale that comes to us all.

Last night I was being threatened with death by Putin. Yes. And Zelensky tried to save me and he asked me clearly, in his accented English, "if I can't save you, what can I put on your tombstone?" And without thinking, I answered, "A difficult woman."

And this gave me reams of thoughts when I woke up, obviously narrowly escaping the death Putin had wished on me.

Have I been a difficult woman?

Being raised in a challenging religious misogynistic cult in Ireland in the forties and fifties was the foundation for obedient and fearful compliance with the restrictive rules for women, their dress, their behaviours their virginity, their limited futures. But most of all their second class standing within the patriarchy. 

A life of don'ts. I could list them but you get the picture.

I questioned all the tenets held dear by those around me.

I then broke all the rules. I joined the Irish communist party. I went on the stage. I played folk songs in pubs. I dated many, many men and would not commit. I learned five languages (unheard of for a girl) and took advanced mathematics in a school that encouraged women's intelligence and critical thinking. 

I rebelled. Both in tiny ways and in large ways. To the point of exile, which I have written about. 

And exile was the greatest gift I gave myself. For I was finally free of the restraints of an Ireland steeped in women hatred, rigidly following the dicta of the Great Roman Misogynist.

I took "male" type positions, controlling and managing corporations, fighting for my rights, my salary, my position in board rooms.

I attribute much of this chutzpah to my mother and my maternal grandmother, who rebelled in many tiny ways against the narrow confines of their unappreciated and dismissed enslaved-labour-intensive lives.

Thus I rebelled in major ways.

And I am ever, and always, a radical feminist.

Women still have a long, long way to go. 

The USA still hasn't ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Handmaid's Tale is becoming all too real everywhere in right wing ideology.


I fight for the rights of impoverished elder women now. You'll hear me blasting away on the radio and TV. I make those pols squirm in their Bentleys.

I'm a Difficult Woman.

And I'm out and I'm proud.

Saturday, December 02, 2023


A friend texted me a couple of days ago and said there was a duo we had previously enjoyed playing at a local coffee house that Friday night and we should go.

It's been four years since we did this. Four years of isolation - more difficult and challenging for elderly seniors than you young 'uns would believe.

When you're running out of life-time, each day is precious but losing around 1,500 days of "normal" seems like a punishment, a theft, never to be refunded.

The gig was incredible, they played Everly Brothers, Elton John, John Prine, etc. in perfect harmony, and my friend and I chatted. She mentioned (she is 78) two of her only remaining friends are now down for the count, one with dementia, the other had tumbled down the stairs of a cruise ship and broken her previously broken hip and was completely immobilized and comatose in bed and had her daughter text my friend and tell her she had lost the will to live and not to visit as she wouldn't see her.

The duo sat down to chat with us on breaks and I mentioned I had done some folk singing in my time and they invited me on stage to perform a number but I declined as my singing voice got lost a few years back when I had a bad infection. But it was darling of them to invite me.

I can't begin to express how absolutely thrilled we both were to be out like real humans in a real coffee house with real live music.

Grateful tears. Though I have to admit I am paying for it today with pain. 

But hell, it was truly worth it.

Thursday, November 30, 2023


Winter has arrived here on the Edge.

I just took this photo of outside with most of the street snow gone (plows are quick on the job here, as is the super of the building with his mini snowplow and shovels and brooms)

In honour of winter, last night I fetched down my mother's old recipe for steak and kidney pie and made two. I was drooling. I only make them once or twice a year as they're a bit picky and energy consuming to put together. Bonus: being low in iron, I get a bit of a boost from such ingestion.

This evil man is dead, I won't even put his name or picture here. Millions and millions of deaths on his hands. If there is a hell, I hope he fries forever in agony. Nobel Peace Prize, my arse. How corrupt our world is in honouring such a monster.

An art piece brought back from Ireland by my daughter for me. It shows the famous "milk bottle" beacon which dominated my summers in the West Cork island where we spent years and years. I love it.

And this is an actual photo of the "milk bottle".

Monday, November 27, 2023


I was riveted by this recent article in The Tyee. You can read the complete article here. The major points of the effects of pandemics:

(1) Immutable Forces of History

(2) Pandemics Thrive on Upheaval

(3) Pandemics are Social Accelerators

(4) Pandemics Reflect the Civilization in Which they Flourish

(5) Pandemics Erode Trust

(6) Pandemics Always Discriminate

(7) Pandemics Spawn Irrational Social Movements

(8) Pandemics Possess Long Tails

(9) Pandemics are Biological Icebergs

(10) Pandemics don't End with a Political Command or vaccine


"The technosphere represents a quasi-autonomous metabolizing system composed of concrete, plastic and steel infrastructure. It runs on fossil fuels, and its ever-growing complexity now requires artificial intelligence. Unlike the biosphere which generates no waste, the technosphere gobbles energy, water and resources only to spew out continuous streams of poisonous waste such as carbon dioxide, mine tailings and plastic garbage. The technosphere’s human-created components now weigh more than all living creatures on Earth.

Pandemics, which can play the role of constraining rapidly growing populations of any kind, act as a sort of biological blowback to this relentless conquest.

Moreover, they are not random. They remain critical barometers of our social and economic fragilities. They accompany ages of discord like crows and coyotes on a rotting elk carcass. Disorder and violence follow in their wake. They accelerate every bad trend in society, whether it be political disintegration, inequality or the rapid advance of dangerous technologies such as AI. And they unleash dangerous social movements."

The whole article is well worth the read. The multiple upheavals on our planet right now are merely a symptom of massive and dangerous underlying symptoms which we ignore at our peril.

Saturday, November 04, 2023


No worries on the title. I just invented this word to cover sporadic posts, blurts, exclamations. I think it neat. You may not. But whatever, as the young 'uns have it.

I've had far too many medical appointments in the past ten days, sucking the bejaybus out of me. Old age, seriously, is a full time job. Procedures, tests, evaluations, medications adjustments, frequent labwork, one on ones with members of my team, recording all my readings daily, exhaustion recovery and on.

More than ever I appreciate escaping into books and knitting which don't take much energy. I find my writing has slipped by the wayside and that niggles away at me. I celebrate a good night's sleep as an enormous achievement and a day which doesn't need the boost of a pain pill deserving of an Oscar.

I mete out my weeks like a miser hoarding his slivers of gold.

Next week I have the time for a hair appointment. I view it as a luxury now where before I would view it as an unwelcome intrusion into my busy week.

I read about trimming down even further and viewed my kitchen drawers with a discerning eye of merciless evaluation. I cling to stuff like they are mementoes of good times. So I daringly tossed out all the old dishrags and tea towels and hand made pot holders. I have far, far too many of everything. All hidden, grant you, but I know they are there lurking in the cupboards and drawers. Next will be the shame drawer and shelves, you know, the big ones, holding all those plastic containers for leftovers and freezables and give aways. And the twos (or threes) of everything from tongs to serving spoons to spatulas. Mindless collections. 

Between the shredding and the tossing my leftover - ha - life is full. 

I've even recently arranged for the disposal of myself.

My dad had a very tidy ending. 

And I desire the same.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Sunday Selections 3

Not much to produce here this week. It has been a wet, windy one apart from today where I had planned to go out but my body went on strike, particularly one leg which woke me up at 6 and now it's 10.30 and I'm so short on sleep this could be a deranged post. Push on if you dare.

I found enormous comfort in this needlepoint image this week. It really speaks to me for the soothing effect of knitting.

This is what our universal health care looks like.

I use these to sketch out knitting patterns

Postcards received from my beloveds during the past week (we all love postcards!)

And some animal stuff to make you smile/laugh.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Sunday Selections

 I'm joining with Elephant's ChildRiver and others for Sunday Selections.


I took shots of the places around me - inside.

Upper community area which overlooks the lower community area.

Lower community area which is quite massive, our resident pianist is practising.

There are libraries in both community rooms.

A "burning bush" bright and smiling in the fog outside the community rooms. It's autumn here in Newfoundland.

My living room. Note windows have no drapes as nothing overlooks me, just the sea and the lake and Signal Hill in the distance.

Photo by Ray Mackey

Outside from where I live overlooking the "village within the city" of Quidi Vidi. Can't tell you how beautiful it is, particularly in the autumn.

I am shredding stuff like a mad thing. But I found this note to myself made a long time ago and I must start this practise again. My energy is really low in the past week or so, but there are such moments and I forget them in the fog of poor mes.

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Saturday/Sunday Selections.

I'm joining with Elephant's ChildRiver and others for Sunday Selections even though it's only /Saturday (early) here but yay, Australian time!

No theme just eclectic.

My blackboard in my office/bedroom, I usually put one word on there to keep me going for the week. As an elder I believe it is important not to go all geezerish and start off any sentence with "in my time" or "let me tell you that wasn't"...choose topic. So forward march.

One of my brothers gave me this for my birthday, it's married, via Bluetooth, to my phone and hence to my favourite radio stations (one particular fave is out of Ireland that plays all classical all the time) and the sound is truly superb. it's been playing solidly for a couple of months now and I havent had to recharge it.

I picked this commercial style shredder up for $15 from a sketchy looking fellah on the side of the road who sold it on Marketplace, used. I have a ton of files from my tax business to shred. it takes everything in its savage maw, staples included (important). I am thrilled with it. Already two full blue bags for recycling. Effortless. Better shredder than the one I left behind in my office in my former house.

A friend takes these incredible photos of birds. One of the newest arrivals to Newfoundland (climate change) happens to be the saw-whet owl (owl is my spirit animal) and he took this exquisite closeup last week. He says there are many of them here. Those eyes, yeah?

Photo credit Geoff Smith

And finally, slightly vulgar, but many of you will snort as I did when this was posted.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Stories I am told

Photo courtesy John Moore

I have one of those faces, the kind where a stranger will sit down and confide all kinds of personal events and occasions, happy and sad, broken hearts, personal history.

I make notes afterwards when something captures my attention.

Recently at a cafe, I was sitting harmlessly and writing in my journal when a middle-aged woman asked me could she sit down at my table as the place was packed.

In due time she said she could write a story about her sister so I politely cocked an eyebrow at her. I was taking a break as I only have so much energy in my day now. 

Her sister had always been trouble, since the day she was born, she ran away at fifteen and had a baby at sixteen that she gave up. Her father banned her from the house when she showed up one time, drunk and abusive. She would have been seventeen then, Anne, my temporary friend, told me. Her mother's heart was broken. Rosie went off again and they would hear from her now and again, looking for money. It was obvious she had a booze and drug problem. She was with a whole series of fellahs who abused her and, Anne suspected, pimped her out as she complained she couldn't work because of injuries.

Dad died and mom was left on her own even though Anne invited her to live with herself and family. They hadn't heard from Rosie in a long while when mom got cancer and lasted only a few months before succumbing.

Rosie showed up  year ago at her doorstep demanding her share of the estate. Anne refused to give it to her even though she had set her sister's portion aside in a trust account. She knew she would hasten the death of her sister who already looked wrecked and at least thirty years older than her age from hard living.

Surprisingly, Rosie accepted she wasn't going to get the money unless she sobered up and got clean. She next asked where their mother was buried.

A month after that, a cop showed up at Anne's door and asked her to come to the graveyard.

She did. And there by mom's grave was a small tent with the opening facing the grave and Rosie sitting inside talking away at it.

The cops had received many complaints about the "homeless old woman" occupying a gravesite who never stopped talking.

Surprisingly, Rosie was sober and coherent.

"I'm telling her everything," she said to Anne, "My whole life story, so she will understand why I didn't see her."

Anne had a brainwave.

"Come home with me so you can tell it to me every night," she said gently,"And I will type it up, and you can read it to her every day."

And slowly, with the cop's help, they gathered up the tent and the bits and pieces left of Rosie's life.

"And what a story she told me," Anne looked at me, tears glistening on her lashes, "It would make the very hairs stand on your head."

And she got up then and left without even a goodbye.

Thursday, September 28, 2023


 TuesdayI sat on the cliff at the ocean and watched the wild waves and mused.

I find dreams enormously revealing. In fact I am quite good at analyzing the dreams of others, and a blog friend, sadly missed - who has gone into the vast stardust - and I exchanged our dreams at times as she also had the gift of dream insight.

Now, I'm on my own with my sometimes baffling dreams.

Recently, two nights in a row, in sleep, I lost my car and the pursuit of my car was fraught with difficulties and challenges. One night I could see it at the top of a cliff and tried to climb up but kept falling backwards. I had a huge Newfoundland dog and endeavoured to have her help me by towing me up the cliff to no avail as she kept falling too. I woke in despair, carless.

The next night I was in a familiar small town in Ireland which had a parking lot for shoppers and when I went back to the lot, my car was missing. I was told by a cop that I had the wrong parking lot, there were more parking lots, I had to check them. So I did, I kept wandering around, exhausted knowing I would never find it as I knew this town had only the one parking lot.

Dreams are utterly symbolic and tap into our subconscious deeply. I wrote about this dream in my journal as I knew it was powerful and I didn't want to forget all the details.

And then it all fell into place.

Recently I resigned from two pretty intense projects for many reasons. And now I am noticing I have lost bits of myself. I was changed in a way I couldn't define.

And then it hit me. I have lost the drive, the force, that has always informed me, made me, ME.

I need to find it and this is my challenge at the moment. I need purpose. 

I need to find my drive - my car.

A photo from 9 years ago in the town I loved so well.

Sunday, September 24, 2023


A couple of the definitions (brief):

misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.
"a cult of personality surrounding the leaders" 
a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

I am continuously surprised at those who can't understand those who worship Trump, who will put this criminal in charge of their very lives in the next presidential election in the US in spite of the indictments, the foiled impeachments, the 91 criminal charges. A man who exhibits contempt for them at every opportunity and spews venom and revenge rather than policy in every pathetic "speech." Who all believe it when he says he is doing it all for them as when they come for him they are "coming for you."

We have seen all this before in the cult of Hitler, the cult of Mussolini.

But more importantly for me, I observe it in the cult of the RC church. I am continuously astonished that despite all the evidence that it is and was a cult of rampant paedophilia endorsed by the Vatican in constant cover-ups and denials with victims thrown to the kerbs, and hundreds of thousands of children's lives destroyed forever, many continue to worship and donate and entrust children to be educated by this monstrous organization.

So the cult of Trump I completely understand.

Cult Psychology.
Experts who study cults suggest the human need for comfort prompts people to seek out others or things to soothe their fears and anxieties. Research suggests that these elements and others have led hundreds of thousands of people to commit to of cults operating around the world.

With RCism, it is the promise of suffering here on earth which will guarantee you rewards in the afterlife.  Like all religions. But we need your money.

With Trump, he is the sacrifical lamb on the altar of Deep State. But even though bragging he's got billions of his own he desperately needs your money to save him.

Bottom line is, of course, that it's all about money and the poorest of the poor are usually the ones who give it. Willingly, hopefully, thinking that their lives will be somehow improved, that the ones leading them by the nose will "save" them from the boogey man who lurks everywhere ready to pounce.




Tuesday, September 19, 2023


In another life and time I would have loved to have majored in film study. I have been in love with films since I was 6 years old and taken to my first at the Savoy Cinema in Cork to see Cinderella. The night enchanted me. Thehuge organ at intermission coming out of the floor with the words of the songs printed on the screen, the extra B films, the newsreels,  the icecream brought around in those little tubs with the wooden spoon, the upper balcony, the lower balcony. The magnificence of it all. Spellbound didn't cover it.

One of the huge bonuses of my childhood was spending a chunk of the summer with my favourite aunt in the small town where I was born. Her husband owned the town cinema. I remember the serials on Saturday and the rapid turnover of various films during the couple of weeks I stayed there. I feasted on the likes of Roy Rogers and other films which were sanitized  censored by the RCs who influenced the government and their righteous puritan hypocritcal hellhole  Office of the Censor. I only got to see complete films when I moved to Canada including, if you can believe it, Hamlet with Lawrence Olivier and the unintelligible Gigi (huge swathes of film-ribbon on the floor in that one) so the plot hadn't made sense and finally did.

I've been in love with film for ever. I would mitch off school on a Wednesday afternoon and scrape enough money to go to the foreign film cinema and feast on German, Italian and French films (all cut by said Office). And of course the American blockbusters, short on nuance but loud on effects and Big Screen theatrics.

I had a collection of thousands upon thousands of films, many taped by me especially from TVO, an Ontario station that featured fabulous films on Saturday Night at the Movies along with serious interviews with the cast and directors. Downsizing, I had to let go of this massive collection (indexed and documented to boot - ADD much?)

I saved some of my favourites. But not many.

I recently discovered Criterion which has about 1000 old films in stock for streaming and am positively thrilled to bits. It continuously changes what's available and for me, this is a gift out of the blue. Around $8 a month to subscribe. Many are the foreign films from my teenage life at that tiny foreign film cinema in Cork which opened up so much of the world to me.

I try and see all the Oscar winners every year. Still. And I post irregularly on IMDB and have since 1999(ye gads, 24 years!)

Here's the link to that: Wisewebwoman - Movies

My favourite film of all time? The Dead

But there are so many close that I can't possibly list them all.

But a recent one comes to mind (pardon my Irish bias)

The Quiet Girl

But there are so very many incredible films. Many of them made in the forties and sixties but so many made today also.

Bless you, Criterion.

And your favourite film?

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Unsteady As She Goes

Two wonderful Australian friends visited and took me here for dinner.


I told them (to much laughter) I had arranged for this cruise ship to leave as we ate dinner to enhance their harbour experience.

I get frustrated with this old age business. I'm finding lately I lose patience with myself. A lot.

There is so much on my plate and I want to tackle it all at once, just like the old days, quickly wipe my hands together and get on with the rest.

But no. I'm finding more and more I need a whole day's break between a busy day's activities.

I was complaining to Daughter yesterday about this and she said, as well she might: "Mum, you're 80 years old, that's normal!"

I don't care for this new normal.

The way my body cramps up and exhausts itself and falls down into sleep at weird times.

And then, like today, I remind myself of how sick how I was just a few years ago when the pain wouldn't allow me sleep in my bed but curled up in a chair, where I needed a wheelchair to get anywhere, where tests and procedures ran my life and those of my family, where I couldn't stand long enough to get even my breakfast put together and had to send my laundry out and I feel a flood of gratitude that I am still here and more mobile but need to honour my body, my outlook, my life and yes, ADAPT, my motto. And remain grateful in my self-reminders  of how far I've come.

So I will pace myself and know my limitations. Say no, politely and nicely and do the things I do  best and there are many and it takes a long, long time for us to know we are precious and amazing and talented and are worthy.

Our one wild, extraodinary life waits for us to wake up. 

Every single day.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Analogy for Life

So like all carefully plotted and planned ventures, my latest knitting project blew up.

My rebellious circular needle gave up the ghost and gathered much of my stitchery to its shattered bosom before it did so.

Above you see the lifesaving results of many needles salvaging the disaster.

And here a McGyver solution on the brazen suicidal needle loop.

A mugshot of the disgraced needle.

And finally, after a few intense hours, a triumphant photo of the restored work.

My local knitting supply shop were so fantastic and as soon as my car pulled up out shot an employee with my blessed silvery brand new needle. Note to self: always have a back up needle for a project..

All the above inspired me to write this:


At times like these

Uncertain, unfinished, unknown

The ancestors sit on my shoulders

And say, over and over again

As if I’m still three

“What are you afraid of, girl?

What exactly?”

And then I take this sliver of time

And roll it around in my hands

And stare at it, at all the colours of it,

Mutating, twisting, transforming,

And say back to them, the wise dead ones,

“Afraid? Me? No!

Look at the colours of now!

Aren’t they beautiful?”