Saturday, July 29, 2023





the state of being barred from one's native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.” 

I would add "religious."

I am an exile from Ireland. I have been so for fifty six years.

It’s a strange word, exile.

Me, I left because of religious intolerance – which infected entire families – of a woman/girl who became pregnant outside of holy matrimony. Back then, if this happened, there were three choices for a woman in that condition.

(1) Get married if the fellah was honourable and didn’t vanish or deny his responsibility. A choice not available to raped women or girls who were blamed for their condition and were now “spoiled” and deemed unmarriagable for any decent man.

(2)Be incarcerated in a Mother and Baby Home, run by nuns, giving birth in agony (suffering being a reparation for carnal sins committed) and then have the baby whisked away immediately and sold to a decent Catholic family in the U.S.

(3)Become a slave for life in the infamous Magdalene Laundries, mocked, beaten, demeaned and the baby yanked and sold immediately post birth.

 (4)Emigrate to the UK, Australia, South Africa or Canada.

I chose options 1 and 4. I was twenty three years old.

To be pregnant and getting married (in a side chapel away from the prying eyes of relatives and friends who would be counting the months) was no joyful event. Disgusted judgment would be wrought upon the family of the bride for raising such a tramp. Fathers would forbid the errant daughter from darkening their doorway so the neighbours could observe their disapproval as would her siblings as a signal as to what could happen to them.

I hid my condition from everyone. I was, luckily, tall and carried high.

My wedding was a grand affair. Absolutely no one knew of my four month’s pregnancy and the Canadian Embassy blessed my potential emigration with free passage to my new country along with free rent on an apartment until we “settled in.” Many employment positions were lined up as Canada was in need of more bodies in the work force. Economically then, Ireland was dismal.

Shortly after the wedding we vamoosed on the SS Carinthia.

The SS Carinthia.

Standing on that deck, looking down at the tender taking my grieving family back to Cobh Harbour, I finally realized why it was known as the “Irish Wake”

Cobh - also the last port of call of the Titanic.

I didn’t cry. I turned my face to look west, to the new land that awaited me with open arms.

I had exiled myself and my little one to Canada.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Pink Tax


The “Pink Tax” is a term used to describe the phenomenon where goods and services marketed specifically to women, are priced higher when compared to similar goods and services marketed to men.”

Women in Canada paid more for toiletries and more than 50 per cent more for deodorant and body washaccording to 2021 data.May 9, 2023”

Latest development: no buttons or buttonholes or pockets on many jackets and cardigans. Same price or higher than before but still they cost more than men’s cardigans. Imagine a man putting up with this shyte.

Pockets are such a rarity than in my family when we find a skirt, trousers or shirt with pockets we rave about it. Men would roar loud and long if pockets and buttons were eliminated from their clothing and they were still charged the same price.

On a sidenote I always buy men's pyjama bottoms and men's t-shirts. Why? They each have pockets AND last longer as they are better made. Women's nightwear is not made to last and costs a bundle compared to men's.

Dry cleaning charges for male and female shirts have a huge discrepancy in price. Guess in whose favour?

Walk down the personal care product aisle and see the price differences on:

Body wash



Shampoos and other hair stuff such as male hair dyes and female hair dyes.

And don’t get me started on the tax on menstrual products in many countries but eliminated in Canada.

With women making far less than men in the world, this is unconscionable. And an unfair tax burden on women.

I imagine this is something many men don’t think about.

Thursday, July 06, 2023

No Roadmap.

Old age is not an overcoat I slip into easily,

I feel threadbare, uneasy in my own skin

Memories flood my mind of those beloveds lost

And never found except as dimly lit ghosts.

Daily challenges are suddenly mountainous

And steal more time from my meagre pantry.

I was feeling very tired recently. I never think to myself, there's something wrong. I always say to myself, well, it's old age, everything starts to break down.

And then I'm with one of my specialists yesterday and he tells me my hemoglobin has tanked and I need to get iron infusions from here on in.

And I ask myself, why do symptoms become so difficult to sort out from aging itself and I bet this also happens to others in the elder boat. Writing every peculiarity off to the aging process.

There is no roadmap that I'm aware of. It's a kind of hit or miss senior life. Is this serious? Do I sound like a whiny baby with an organ recital for every day of the week? Should I just up and get on (poorly) with putting one foot in front of the other while craving my bed at eleven in the morning?

I'll tell you a story about a dear friend of my daughter's who's a little older than I. She went off to the hospital to have her heart checked and felt very weak and sick after her treadmill test. So much so when she got home she had to use a walker (Zimmer frame to many of you). There is a shallow step between her kitchen and living area and the very next day (yesterday) the frame caught on this and tumbled her to the ground, unconscious. She has multiple fractures and had to be carted away by ambulance. 

And I ask myself why do elders go through awful testing sometimes - you might remember I went nearly blind in my right eye after one such procedure as it was so painful and I wasn't permitted anesthesia due to the medications I am on.

Needless to mention after her friend's accident, Daughter called me and asked me about surfaces and do I rest after getting upright from my bed, etc. And do I take my time going down steps or stairs. Next step, a videocam on Mother (joking).

Which got me writing the above poem and thinking at this precious time in our lives when time is in short supply we gobble up so much of it just in walking upright carefully and being vigilant in not tumbling or falling or stabbing ourselves with sharp objects.


Tuesday, July 04, 2023


I must stop watching the news at night. I resolve over and over again to do just that and then tell myself - well just the headlines, well, just five minutes, and then before I know it, it's the whole sorry flood of it, on and on and on.

What kind of effing planet are we on anyway?

We have the obscenity of billionaires spending in frivolity, in lavishness, in greed with the pollution of private enormous yachts and private jets and multiple homes with millions and millions starving.

Meanwhile - (now stop here if you don't want to get depressed and move on to a sunny blog)

Lebanon: the whole economy has tanked and seniors, yes seniors, have had their pensions, their life long savings, erased and are living on the streets in poverty, depending on charity to sustain themselves. Forget any medications.

Israel and Palestine:  at it again, my land, no my land, here's a bomb onto your camp, I'll teach you. And on it goes.

Sudan: well, unbelievable starvation and desperation.

Russia-Ukraine, war crimes, toddlers dead in their mothers' arms.

The oceans are dying, warmed just about to extinction. The quantity of icebergs here for the last few months is staggering. Greenland is finally green I would imagine.

Forest fires in Canada are at a record high and the polluted air has hit most of the northern and mid USA in a yellow poison along with the major cities here. Millions of hectares gone forever.

Heatwaves in the southern USA at record temperature highs.

Maternal deaths in the USA are one of the worst in the world. And the rights of women and gays eradicated by their corrupt Supreme Court. The USA desperately needs to change its entire system of democracy. I mean, seriously, Trump running again? Is this a joke? A traitor president? 

It's violence everywhere. Wars between countries, wars on women. 

Constant violence waged upon the only planet we have.

We are a pathetic species.

And yes, maybe I should stick this old head in the sand and go nah-nah-nah and shut off the news.

But seriously? We are on the road to extinction, at least I believe that.

You? Do you have any hope for us at all?