Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Little Things

I imagine that when we age the joy of little things take more significance, gives us more pleasure and get noticed far, far more.

Hell, even to get out of bed in the morning, sorting out the limbs, catching a breath, finding the floor with our reluctant crampy feet are little things but the success of standing erect, ready to face another day is a little thing, unnoticed in the past, laughed at by the youngers (Whut?). The smell of freshly ground dark roast beans, ths sunrise as I sip, the birds, the silence, the sea with fishing boats in the distance. None of this I take for granted.

I finished a cushion I designed and created. The back is jet black but shows grey in the photo for some reason. It took me a while, a kind of inertia for the few knitting projects on the go. I was busy with the writing and the workshops. But I realized knitting may be a little thing but it calms and focuses me and gets my mind off health and other challenges. 

The size is about 18"X18", I still struggle with metric and constantly convert, either in my head or with a measuring tape. I gifted this yesterday to a friend, long overdue from her birthday in February.

Another friend gifted me with my very first orchid and I absolutely love it. Her buds continue to burst out and smile at me.

May your day be full of the little things that make you smile, however briefly.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

A Mini-tour of St. John's, Newfoundland Yesterday

We get quite a few cruise ships in our wonderful harbour here in St. John's. Yesterday it was the Insignia. So I toddled down to the harbour front to have a gawp.

There was a lot of traffic down there so I couldn't get far enough away to get a good shot of the whole ship so I decided to go to the south side of the harbour, which is always devoid of tourists and vehicles and crammed with boats of all kinds, fishing, service and coast guard.

So I took another shot of the ship across the harbour.

It's always lovely over there, I saw this gull sitting on a pole surveying the scene. You might have to embiggen to spot him but he caught my fancy.

I love the houses climbing the cliffs surrounding the entrance to the harbour.

I then took myself off up Signal Hill, which was crowded with busloads off the cruise ship and I overheard some conversations. Apparently this cruise line speccializes in off the beaten track cruises and their enraptured comments about St. John's were pleasing,

I stopped to talk to a woman who had six dogs and I fell in love with all of them.

I am old so no one gives a tosser when I am listening to conversations, I have the advantage of being invisible. So I was sitting on a wall behind two thirty-ish men who were holding hands, standing extremely close to each other, pretending to be catching the spectacular view but their undercurrent was electrifying. Summary: they were on the cruise, had met the night before on the deck at midnight, were married (to unsuspecting women?) and were planning another midnight sojourn once more when the ship sailed later on, meanwhile they had to get back to their wives who were left browsing in the tourist shop. As they were whispering intensely I took this photo of a fishing boat heading out to the open ocean. I am always struck by the forty shades of blue we have out here.

And I pondered on the secret lives of others.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Beautiful rain


With all the dreadful fires happening in Canada and elsewhere, I view rain in a different light than ever before. 

Outside it rains today and I find a tear of gratitude, matching it, rolling down my cheek. I imagine that most of us in the world see rain differently these days. I am hoping that it rains in the Northwest Territories and Northern BC here to bring desperately needed relief. I can't bear thinking about the lack of it in so many parts of the world. And the excess of it too. All out of whack.

One thing that sickens me completely about these fires are the animals, the innocent animals (and birds) trapped in the conflagration and I daren't google the numbers, even if there aren't statistics on all these precious creatures who are lost. It really doesn't bear thinking about, but I do. And I find thinking about their terror heart-wrenching.

What absolute evil us humans have wrought on this tiny planet where democracy is worth shyte and theocorporatocracy rules and regulates our bodies and our very existence. And is the ongoing cause of these climate change events disasters.

We're on the edge of a cliff and like many, I no longer feel safe and secure.

Outside today. Our noon cannon on top of the hill facing my window just boomed. The soldiers dress up like soldiers of yore, all red coats and mighty feathery head toppings and the tourists flock and us locals go: ah, lunch, and at times I think of the noon city wide angelus bells that rang out my childhood in Cork.

Friday, August 18, 2023


Note: blog name change as I embrace 80 and french kiss it to the ground. I meant to do it when I turned 70 but I was damn busy then, mayor of a town, host in my wee inn, running a business consulting service and building an off the grid cabin.

"You're a baby," said a fellow tenant to me today in the laundry room as we introduced ourselves. She's 85. It was a luscious feeling if only for a second when my knees, back and wrist reminded me you are no baby, lady.

Anyway to draw your attention back to the title of today's entry.

I saw this word in a book I just finished and I knew what it was but here for your edification is the definition:

  1. 1.
    a kind of oil formerly used, especially by men, to make one's hair shine and lie flat.
  2. 2.
    variant spelling of Makassar.

So male readers, if you're missing out on that desired shine, you know what to get.
So I thought of my mother and grandmother washing the antimacassars back in the day and hanging them on the line. 

And I haven't heard that word in years, though it was used a lot as the antimacassars had to be washed, starched and ironed quite frequently.

You are puzzled.

Here's the definition:
  1. a piece of cloth put over the back of a chair to protect it from grease and dirt or as an ornament.

But also note the grease and dirt belonged to men's heads, their easy chairs, the rarity of washing their hair. I often speculated as a youngster that their hair was glued to their heads by all that oil. You could use their heads as a mirror and see yourself when you looked down on it, as I did frequently, sitting on the arms of their armchairs, one of those kids that wanted to share the newspapers, books or crosswords.

But, I am really, really happy the antimacassar days are over. Along with those filthy hankies men used often in great trumpeting nose-blowings that women had to boil, blue and dry and then iron into perfect folds for Da Man.

The hidden and unacknowledged work of women. 

Never ending.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Dropping Off

Yes, many of my blogmates are dropping off. I hesitate to email them in fear, you know? I'd rather they stay vibrant in my mind's eye.

I will officially change the name of my blog on my birthday, next Wednesday, where to my shock (and astonishment) I cross the bridge of eighty turns around the sun.

I am astonished because I lived for many years with a cigarette hanging from my mouth and a drink of rum and coke solidly in my fist. Both abandoned in humility and defeat nearly forty years ago - now that deserves an exclamation mark, what! Nick of time should be my mantra.

I hesitate to write here now and again as I feel I have nothing to talk about. There's always a lot, of course, but I am conscious of being one of those old drones who goes on about nothing at all.

I am busy (I use "busy" when busy is a full day because of One. Solitary. Task) formatting and editing the anthology which has been ongoing for four years now, my writing workshops sadly interrupted by Covid. Writing workshops, face to face, are, to me, essential elements of writing. They are stimulating, encouraging and inspiring and most of all, massively improving to the individual writing process.  

But we are ready to roll now, the formatting has taken ten days due to the different platforms my writers were on and other issues like paragraphs tossed aside, fonts all over the place, spacing random, unessential capitalization, exclamation marks spattered like mud and, well, you get the picture.

I close with this photo I took a few days ago from the front of my building, which shows the lake on the right and the ocean on the left. Yes, I live in paradise and I need to remind myself of this when I whinge and whine.

Pleasantville, St. John's, Newfoundland.

and this gave me pause and then a huge laugh.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Soothing the Spirit


An artist en plein air on the beach yesterday. Click to embiggen. Note his red beret.

I betook myself to "my" beach yesterday. I sit there and let the sounds and sights wash over me. I love the dogs and kids playing in the sand and jumping the stones on the stream nearby. I had an intense day and needed my "fix" desperately. It always does the job.

I popped off the pic to the family on whatsapp later on in the day and a picture of the Sturgeon Moon over the sea in Kerry, Ireland, came back. Taken by my sister.

She is all alone down there, consuming books and looking at the ocean. We agreed it was so healing and centering. It's our goto.

I was inordinately pleased at the synchronicity.

And PS did you know that a fairly new profession is "climate therapist?" People are so stressed out by the non-stop climate disasters. 

My therapist is the ocean.