Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Blurt 2

 Bits and pieces as I manage, or try to,  the sporadia of my life.

Tax season, though much, much reduced from days gone by in its volume, is upon me. But so far managed well. There now I've jinxed it.

I have my season of writing workshops starting on Saturday for which I am completely unprepared.

I semi-reluctantly signed up (under pressure from the board et al) for the Tenants' Committee here and now find I had the most votes even though I don't get involved, AT ALL, in the frenzy of activities here such as Bingo Night, Soup Day, Darts Night and Koffee Klatch Wednesdays and Garden Beds (which are glorious as we have magnificent gardens). So now what do I do? 

A few pics.

I really like this photo of my bathroom mirror capturing some of the art on my bathroom wall.

Loved my latest read, the pacing, the tension and the complex characters.

I can't praise this series enough. Most of it I lived through but the fresh perspective on everything (Bay of Pigs being one example) is enlightening. I highly recommend.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


One of you dear readers suggested I do a blurt now and again, rather than a BIG MOTHER OF A BLOG POST.

So here goes.

I read a prompt recently about a slice of news of the day that was the first which stuck in your mind when you were a child.

Here's mine.

It was 1952 and I was 9 years old. And every night we were all glued to the radio listening to the updates on a capsized boat, the Flying Enterprise and its captain, Captain Carlsen who was alone on board, not deserting his sinking ship even though he had shepherded his crew to safety on the rescue boats.

I was thrilled to see a wee film on this on Youtube. And it evokes the tension we all felt for this brave soul who would not leave his ship.

It was about 9 days of listening to this news every single night, hearts pounding for the hero captain.

Here's the Wikipedia link 

Can you remember what news you heard that first grabbed your attention as a child?

Tuesday, March 19, 2024


Sporadic indeed. Thank you to all those who emailed me to see what was happening.

I hasten to assure I am still above the sod and not pushing up the daisies. I haven't popped my clogs in other words.

In old age. everything, yes everything, slows right down. 

And the managing of energy and where we throw it becomes almost a full-time job.

I want to do so much, packing everything in, and have yet to come to terms with my own limitations.

In short:

Tax season has entered my life yet again. I embrace my now minimum business which funds a few of my wee luxuries. This year I need a new computer as the one I have, though functioning, is showing her age by screen dimming and being quite nasty in her behavior on my Zoom calls which moved me to use my phone which is not the best solution, especially when I chair some meetings and can't quite see everybody as the gallery is tiny.

I also am restarting my writing workshops.

And I agreed to sit on the tenants' committee in my building as I feel quite passionately about seniors' wellbeing and am a highly vocal advocate of same. 

So there you have it. Meanwhile, I started a lovely sweater for my Parisienne Grandgirl.

A couple of shots taken on Sunday of our beautiful harbour (and sky) in St. John's taken from the south side.

I'll try and behave myself and update more frequently.

And also get caught up on all you lovely fellow blogmates out there.


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Sunday Selections

 Long ago, Kim of Frog ponds Rock, (who no longer blogs), dreamed up a meme called Sunday Selections. 

A place where those who were willing could put up photos they wanted to share, new, old, good, bad or indifferent, any photos you please. 

Nothing rude or vulgar though.

And we don't mind at all if other bloggers care to join us.

The meme is now continued by Elephant's Child and I join in when I can, as do a few others. River is one, Andrew is one.  Messymimi is another. Drop in to their blogs and have a look.

Elephant's Child is taking a break this month.

Snow and ice and storms out in the Wild Atlantic.

For those in warmer climes, I present to you our Winters on The Rock.

We get a lot of snow. And it's quite hard to capture the "lot". For one, we have all varieties of snow removers, the ones that look like war machines all the way down in size to the personal snow blowers, and of course shovels.

The white stuff is cleared up rapidly with all these gadgets, salt and sand are thrown at the ice and we are all on our way. On a drive back to my place I snapped a few shots in an attempt to show where all the snow is thrown. It forms mountainous walls around buildings and at the sides of roads.
Parking lot of my building

If you peer closely, you'll see the ocean top left, and the lake above the trees. I left my car in the shot for scale.

Roadsides around hydrants are cleared.
And now I bring you a wonderful peculiarity of Newfoundland. When there's a storm forecast, shelves in grocery stores are literally stacked to the ceilings with these huge bags of potato chips (known as crisps elsewhere.)

There are known as, wait for it, Storm Chips. You should see the lineups. I've seen carts FULL of these monster bags. Survival mode. Batten down the hatches.

One of my favourite songs involving snow. Written by Gordon Lightfoot. Sung by Sarah McLachlan.

Sunday, February 18, 2024


They become more precious as we age, we lose some and we gain some if we are fortunate. I still grieve the many I have lost to death, a couple to dementia, another long time one through intolerable disrespect and passive aggression.

We can hit breaking points in friendships. For me they have been rare and I'm grateful for that. One broke many years ago when she became angry at me for an offhand remark and she exploded at me in a café in front of others. She didn't speak to me for many years and then at a funeral of a mutual friend she came running into my arms and wept like a baby and kept apologizing for her over- reaction to my comment in the café. It healed the friendship and she said my remark had reflected her own truth about the situation but she wasn't ready to face it.

In another friendship I bore hostility until there was a breaking point. I was always making excuses for a particular friend. "She's having a rough time, I understand she's taking it out on me." "She's fierce odd, I know." But after many years of that, there was a breaking point, a wakeup call that I no longer felt  good around her. In fact, the justifications and excuses were becoming hard work and happening more and more. Chronic lateness for meetups, rudeness to other friends, snide criticisms "you're wearing that?" and on and on until something snapped inside me and I realized this long term friendship was serving neither of us well.

The long term friendships in my life I cherish and I realize the common element is kindness. We are kind to each other. Tolerant. Helpful. There are no hidden agendas. 

I also discovered in old age asking for help can initiate new friendships. I've always been reluctant to ask for help. But recently I mentioned I don't drive at night anymore and the offers of driving me astonished me. This has ignited a few acquaintances into becoming a little more. One is off to Bali for a few months (I know, I'm jealous too) but she told her house sitter, a mutual acquaintance, that I might need rides at night now and again and bingo I'm enjoying this connection now. People love to help. I always love to help. And did a lot of it when younger and older people wanted rides or company. It must be karma.

Blog friends are also wonderful. Sharing our journeys with each other. Writing and tracking each other's lives, our talents and foibles, our struggles and victories.

I truly believe friendships are sustaining us as we age, the daily check-ins, the emails, the WhatsApps, the Facebooks exchanges, the texts, the phone-calls. And yes, postcards, cards, letters.

After all, we are simply walking each other home.

Music and Friends: This is played at the end of gatherings here where everyone gets in a circle and holds hands. I always get emotional. And I do hope you readers outside Canada can see it. It is very, very Newfoundland.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Small Stuff

I'd like to post more here but a dearth of any kind of originality discourages me. I struggle with the acceptance of aging and not being able to do all the things I did. Spontaneity is missing. I have to weigh my energy carefully and limit myself to what my energy allows me.

Fitbit update: I find tracking my sleep is helpful as I am then prepared for what I can do in a day and not beat myself up because EVERYTHING. Everything doesn't happen anymore. Iffy health plays a part in this too and I try and focus on gratitude for all I can do, not what I can't. Most of the elder blogs I followed are now RIP. I looked down the list the other day and was shocked at how all those dear ones have now returned to stardust. 

A friend in my building dropped off these roses the other day and they made my day.

I'm not into knitting big projects at the moment so contented myself with knitting a little pile of these dish/face cloths which I give away individually as gifts in a little gauze bag with a small soap and a magnet. Let me know if any of you out there would like one.

We've had an ongoing blizzard here and I took this photo from my living room window at midnight last night after the snow plow had been. I love the effects of the lights.

In my more active days I took a series of photos and named them #40shadesofblue and this one popped up in my memories today from five years ago. I love this shot.

And finally a picture of something that is affecting us all, especially those of us on a fixed income.

Sunday, February 04, 2024



I look upon this photo with horror. It popped up in one of my feeds the other day. 

I drove this sucker every single day for more years than I can count, finally saving enough money to buy a house (on the subway) in the city itself. A friend in LA in the U.S. commented, surely it can't be busier than ours? Googled it and came back at me saying dear gawd Canada wins! Nothing to be proud of, I said. I don't believe I could drive it now having lived on The Edge so long with our always moving four laner.

I was so thrilled to see my birthday (August) gift baby bloom again so soon, such joy and now there are more buds opening up.

I caught this photo out my living room window recently in 'the gloaming" which is a word I never hear any more.



gloam·​ing ˈglō-miŋ 

It was used a lot where I grew up and it happened AFTER twilight. So a different time of day. Dusk would be the synonym alright.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Saturday Musings

I am pieces of all the places I have been and the people I have loved

I've been stitched together by song lyrics, book quotes, adventure, late night conversations, moonlight and the smell of coffee. 

Brooke Hampton 

Chalk outside Trump Tower yesterday

Will his cult pay it off for him?

Facing up to the reality of old age is difficult. I had wrestled for several days on knitting socks, something which has always been easy for me. One of my eyes is nearly blind so perspective is off. Socks are knitted on narrow gauge needles with tiny stitches. 

I struggled until a few hours ago and finally thought, why am I wasting my time on this, when do I think it will work and that magically my sight will be restored to 20/20 in both eyes? Work on the knitting I CAN do! I'm a hard case alright. Why on earth do we all behave as if we have 200 years to live in perfect health with all youthful abilities intact?

This was on Irish Radio today and it brought a flood of memories of my mother (who died so young) and this was one of her favourite songs of all time. She had a beautiful voice.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The List

In chatting with a friend the other day she brought up a familiar topic amongst us oldies.

Death and the ongoing loneliness as we age when those we loved (not family or relations) have tossed off this mortal coil. 

She said she had made a list of all those she had been close to since she was a child who had died, good friends and lovers amongst them.

I started on my own list and was astonished when it reached nearly 50. All departed from this planet, the youngest being 5 or 6 when I was in school and she died of meningitis.

One old lover caught my attention, the last I heard from him was 5 or 6 years ago on an email which I didn't respond to.

I deep-googled him and found he had died last September -"from a long illness."

I had written about him a while ago here and in the post had linked to a six-part story about the relationship which I was going to publish in a short story collection but opted not to for fear of hurting him for even though I had changed the names he would recognize himself.

Fact is often stranger than fiction.

I am wondering what other deep dives on my list might reveal in my old blog posts.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

A Bit of an Oul Rant here

What's happening in that big wild country to the south of us here in Canada?

We can't avoid the US news here as we are forever linked via trade and economies, etc. Wags have compared The US and Canada relationship as the elephant and the mouse in bed together and if the elephant rolls over.......

2023 - a partial summary of barbaric events.

  • I won't even speak of the criminal running for office with the support of his party. If he's elected president it will be a final full stop on their downward slide into autocracy and fascism.
  • Termination of Roe v Wade. Women's reproductive rights go the way of The Handmaid's Tale.
  • A 12 year old 7th grader forced to give birth in Mississippi. A child-victim of rape. 
  • The governor of Texas telling the world he would shoot emigrants and the only thing stopping him is Biden would charge him with murder.
  • Mass shootings in the gun slinging USA 2023 and school shootings increased.
  • Ignoring the ongoing slaughter and genocide (and potential extermination) of Palestinian civilians - women, children and babies amongst them. The US has used its veto power at least 34 times to block UN Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel. ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/UN. Link
Gun violence by country 2021. Note 2023 for the US is much worse.

It might surprise readers to know that the land mass of Canada is greater than the US


Thursday, January 11, 2024


 In the mail:

An annual magazine, published for well over a hundred years sent by my sister every year from my home city of Cork.  150 pages of Cork past and present and cherished by every Corkonian.

An Irish calendar from my now oldest friend still alive (70 years of unbroken friendship), also sent every year, and hung from my kitchen wall.

My hallway of postcards, many now sent by Grandgirl who lives in Paris but treks around Europe most weekends and never fails to buy a postcard everywhere, including art galleries and museums and exquisite old churches.

I was reading up on sleep requirements for eighty year-olds. I am nearly always shy on sleep and feel the lack of it in listlessness, lack of energy and a need for an  inordinate amount of waking up time to feel human. I am way under what's needed, sometimes I only get 4 hours. I was astonished to read I need about 10 hours a day as body is deteriorating and lack of sleep can contribute to "inagility of the brain," a frightening thought.

Grandgirl gifted me a Fitbit when she was here and I am now honouring (or trying to) the sleep I should be getting even if it means crashing on the bed at odd times. The Fitbit is clocking everything, heart rate, quality of sleep, steps, exercise, hydration. An enchanting new toy, offering daily detailed reports and quite unobtrusive on the wrist. It even notifies me of texts and emails.

What a time to be alive!

Friday, January 05, 2024

Silent White

From my bedroom window this morning.

It descends gently at first. A teaser you might call, not threatening at all. But we check the forecasts and know the onslaught is coming soon.

Cancellations pour in, schools, businesses, my helper. No one wants to get caught in the blizzard. Our first winter storm.

Some wag on Facebook said we should close the entire island for the three months of January through March.

My suggestion would be to dig out an underground city. Or at least a smaller version of the hefty one in Toronto. Where there was still a teeming life - noon time bands, many restaurants, retail, medical even a grocery outlet. I could leave my home in the snow in my business suit, no coat or mitts or scarf, warm in my car, and park underground from where I worked. The vast underground life of the city of Toronto. A huge sprawl. Unaffected by weather of any kind. Subway and railway station accessible without going outdoors.

Toronto underground PATH map.

I groceried myself yesterday so I'm prepared. I am also well booked. And kitted with knitting and a queue of streaming at my disposal.

In this new year I am playing my music every day. A mix of songs I would sing in the old folky theatre days, classical. What have you. Today it is Albinoni which lifts the heavy grey sky into summery blue. 

A lovely handmade bag with an inner bag and zippered pockets arrived from Daughter's school friend in Ottawa. I am thrilled beyond measure by her kindness. It will be perfect for my sock projects.

I was intrigued that my phone camera shows the Albinoni album I am playing. A trick I probably couldn't possibly engineer myself. I love accidental discoveries. I feel digitally thrilled as a brother gave me this incredible Bluetooth speaker that enhances the sound on my phone to concert levels.

Monday, January 01, 2024

My Best Books of 2023

 The delightful and as yet unread pile from our annual Jolabokaflod of 2023
I can hardly wait to dig my eyes into these.

I'm only listing the best of my ratings (5/5)

Many I tossed- life is short, no more time for uninteresting (to me) reading. My list is not in any particular order.

Many were enjoyable (4/5 or 3/5) but not listed. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures.

  • Colours and Years - Margit Kaffka
  • Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garman
  • Smith to America - Imani Parry
  • A Girl's Story - Annie Ernaux
  • The Diamond Eye - Kate Quinn
  • Happening - Annie Ernaux
  • Ask Again Yes - Mary Beth Keane
  • Damon Copperhead - Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Latecomer - Jean Hanff Karelitz
  • Fayne - Anne Marie MacDonald
  • Tom Lake - Ann Patchett
  • Strange Sally Diamond - Liz Nugent
  • Old God's time - Sebastian Barry
  • The Librarianist - Patrick De Witt
  • The Echo Chamber - John Boyne
  • Playing Nice - J.P. Delaney
  • Burst - Mary Otis
Thanks to all of you blogmates for your recommendations also.

AND in 2024