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