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.