Sunday, June 30, 2024

Sunday Selections

 Joining others in this Sunday Selection mix of photo-dumps.

Elephant's Child

From The Highrise

Drifting through Life

And maybe more!

Rambling around my apartment time:

I stole a cutting from the conservatory a couple of months ago and put it in this wee wall vase. It's grateful.

I love this mini garden on a side table.

A little tribute wall behind the door in my bedroom of the dear ones lost in the last few years. Some of the kindest people I have ever known. The one on the left is me and my bestie (since we were 6 years old). The two on the right were treasured mentors.

I am editing my part memoir of a stretch of time when I was only 23 years old which had a lasting impact on me. Chapter outlines, character outlines, magnifying glass for my not so good anymore eye sight.

This most gorgeous hand-painted card from a dear artist friend received a few days ago. We have travelled a long, convoluted path together encouraging each other's artistic endeavours. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Childhood Trauma.

The hospital of 1949 horror still standing, 3rd window from left, 2nd floor.

Indulge me, please, if you would. This is long but heartfelt.

My #2 brother (I have 4) is going through an extremely rough time at the moment on a gurney in a hospital corridor exposed to lights, noise and the comings and goings of strangers. He's only allowed one visitor at a time. If you could call that interrupted and overheard time a "visit". He is very ill with a cancer that has gone crazy in his body and was moved (via taxi!) to hospital yesterday as he had developed clots in his left leg. Public health care in my home country is drastically underfunded and he told me last night that when he asked for a pillow there was none forthcoming as there were no funds for that kind of health care. To call me upset would be understating the whole situation as I imagine myself where he is and would want to die. A 'kill me now' scenario.

I'm in flashback mode Daughter reminded me today.

I'll give you the scene:

A six year old girl (me) in hospital with eye infections after an operation on them, plus a removal of adenoids and tonsils. Blood. Lots. In an adult ward as there were no children's hospitals back then, 74 years ago. Terrified. The adult patients around me "teased" me constantly. In those days child abuse was called "teasing" They told me my parents had forgotten about me, told me I was going blind. You get the picture.

Missing my mother who had two younger boys at home. My bandages were taken off one day and I was told to go into the corner to a baby's cot. Inside that cot was brother #2 with something pouring out of his ears. He was bawling his head off clutching his ears. I remember shutting down completely, holding his little hand. He was only a year old. He still had no words but "mama." 

I worked everything out inside my head. My parents were abandoning us, one by one. But they had missed brother #1 so they must be keeping him. Maybe he was a better child, maybe we were bad children like I was told by the priest at school. All born bad. Only when I had my First Confession would I be cleaned of my  original sin. Maybe I had infected my brother with my sin. As I had already  been told I had infected him with the measles that had put me and him in the hospital. 

Mum arrived that night. She and dad took turns each night. I wouldn't let her go, I screamed and cried and followed her down the stairs hanging on to her and I saw I had made her cry and that made me worse, shouting at her even more to take me and my brother out of there.

The nurses pried me off her and told me how awful I was upsetting her like that and threw me on my bed telling the ward not to speak to me as I was a very bad girl upsetting my mother like that.

My father arrived the following night in a towering rage. He dragged me over to my brother's cot and said I was upsetting everyone, the whole hospital, with my naughtiness and whinging and rudeness, look at my brother crying all the time on account of me.

If I ever did this again, my mother would never visit me. Never. Put that in my pipe and smoke it. Never. And that would mean she wouldn't see my brother either.

And I shut up. I shut up on situations when I shouldn't have shut up. I recognized at a very early age that my feelings didn't count, my voice was of no value. And I could be abandoned at the drop of a hat.

I learned to speak up through therapy and support, not to take things lying down, to call out evil and abuse. To help where I could, to scream and shout at authorities, to advocate for the homeless and seniors in poverty. To see and call out government ineptitude. To write and petition and not ever people-please to make my own life easier and never worry about what "others" might think. My true friends would love me as I love them.

I spoke up today, to my family to do more. To help my little brother more. To get him out of an intolerable situation if at all possible. To fight for him, for that little guy in the cot in the corner, crying himself to sleep. Exhausted.


Friday, June 21, 2024

Serious Hot Stuff

Interview on Churchill Falls evacuation, wild fires. In Labrador.

I started my blog way back in the mists of time writing about this. And here I am twenty years later, still thinking, talking and writing it.

Like a nonsense of an oul granny wittering away about her favourite cat.

I moved to Newfoundland for a few reasons. A primary one was climate change. Newfoundland was deemed one of the safest places in the world in which to live.

If you want to read what Gwyn Dyer says about it, here's the link Gwyn Dyer.

Here's the pertinent paragraph:

What price do you see Newfoundland and Labrador paying with regards to climate change?
Newfoundland pays a smaller price than most places. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this; scientists and so on, and I’d say we’re one of the three or four most favoured places, that now have a significant population in the world, to withstand the ravages of climate change because of global warming. Essentially, the oceans are cooler than the land here. We have an oceanic climate and we’re very far north as these things go. Put those two things together and what you don’t get in Newfoundland is what you do get in most land parts of the planet, which is: the heating over land is much higher than the global average.

My direct observations, having lived here now for twenty odd years:

Summers are hotter, far more humidity, a longer fog season.

Birds are hurting. Many, many more are thrown on our shores by unseasonable storms. Hurricanes have taken out a few towns. Wildfires are rampant today in Labrador with a whole town evacuated. Labrador, reminder, home of the Innuit and igloos and dog teams. Migrations are iffy.

Icebergs are getting bigger and bigger as Greenland melts. Awesome for the tourists, bad for the rising sea levels here and everywhere.

Shorelines are changing, vanishing. I noticed that when I lived around the bay and I'd note the changes in daily walks with my dog along the shore outside my house.

And today, as I fold my winter clothes into storage, I note I never had to do that before. There was only one set of clothes when I moved here. A medium set. Now I wear the summer clothes of yore. Light cotton, head band for the sweat. Air conditioning has become de rigeur here now. None in my building, as it was never built to withstand such excruciating heat and there's talk of expensive retro-fitting.

Lawns were never watered, now they are. BBQs and outdoor bonfires are forbidden across the whole island as of yesterday. Unheard of before. Water levels will lower before too long now. 

Grapes are now growing here and some have managed to grow quinoa. More heat resistant paving is being thrown on the roads.

And, yes. the heat season has expanded and heightened to such an extent that private swimming pools are being installed in many homes.

I just placed a hold in the Library on the book The Heat Will Kill You First

I saw several interviews with the author and maybe it's better to know what's coming and plan the pre-exit strategy.


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Narcissism Magnified

 All sorts of thoughts crowd into your head some days. At least they do in mine.

I am so grateful for the massive reach-out in my last post. Like a ginormous hug. I have the best of readers. The absolute best.

It meant more than I can say as I traverse a sad journey alone apart from the support of my family and you wonderful readers.

I had one of those thoughts about aging this morning and I'm throwing it down here.

The natural (unnatural?) instinct of old age is to get more and more selfish. The organ recital for one. Every time I meet some people (fellow tenants, randoms in coffee shops) they launch into their ailments. I call it the organ recital. That's fine but they never offer a question as to my state of being. 

I am blessed in that I have a fellow traveler in our journeys of ill health and we launch into our challenges, big and small with each other and care deeply about ongoing nasty health issues. But that's it for me. I get comfort from her emails and I trust she from mine.

I rarely talk about mine to others unless asked (and I am astonished how rarely I am asked.) 

But around me the bleats go on but I also notice that their language is full of bleats. About everything. And I have to deal with them being in the position I am.

 There is so little joy in these elders' lives and I wonder why. I could list all The Things and they are all the same.

  • Nobody calls
  • Nobody visits
  • I hate the *fill in the blank* here
  • I don't like being bossed around.
  • Organ Recital.
  • I'm bored.
  • So and so is pissing me off.
  • Nobody cares if I live or die.
  • Life was so much better back then.
They've stopped caring about others, feel no need for learning new things or exploring ideas. Have very few hobbies and hate being alone with their own negative thoughts so inflict them on others willy nilly.
One of the things I do when feeling down and sorry for myself is to reach out to someone else. Always. 

I was crap yesterday and reached out to my neighbour who's is down with Covid yet again (doesn't believe in masks) and cooked her dinner and dropped it off outside her door. I forgot my grief. Forgot my own stubborn body in those moments. And thought to myself, I just know her daughters won't give a fig and how lonely is that for her? I know she's all about herself when they're around her. So basically, it's self-inflicted isolation. 

It's easy to be kind to the loveables but I find being kind to the unloveables raises me out of myself more. It's more of an effort.

The isolation of old age can be a form of narcissism, A dear friend always maintains that our contrary traits in youth really magnify in old age.

I see it all around me. The What About Me Syndrome. 

Long post. Oops.

Thoughts? How do you deal with it?

Thursday, June 13, 2024


Ben Bulben

The last 3 lines of W. B. Yeats' poem. I sat there one time under the shadow of Ben Bulben and read the entire poem. And looked up finally and saw that of all people, the Clancy Brothers were there too, to pay their respects. Gobsmacked doesn't cover it.

Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,   
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago; a church stands near,
By the road an ancient Cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase,   
On limestone quarried near the spot   
By his command these words are cut:

               Cast a cold eye   
               On life, on death.   
               Horseman, pass by!

Simple and powerful.

I am struck recently by the number of my blog readers who have died. Leaving memento mori on their blogs, some blogs have vanished. I have some last cards
sent by a few in the mail. With their photos. The Big C has taken most of them.

I can't even count the real life friends who have died. Another twenty five? Two of whom are also seriously ill right now.

All this to say, it accounts for extreme loneliness at times, wishing for that physical shoulder to lean on, the understanding, the depth of compassion and caring that comes from really old friends, the ones who climbed trees with you or cribbed your homework.

I am going through a very rough patch at the moment. Someone I love deeply is going through a sudden and rapid life changing ordeal. And the world is being turned on its axle.

I have tried sharing my depth of sadness out here but have been abandoned, one time physically in mid sentence, a couple of times (I haven't shared it hardly at all) by those on text who are my closer newer friends who live nearby but these have never followed up with questions about how am I doing, and get on with their own demands on my time as if this terrible thing isn't happening.

And speaking of time, I am so very grateful I am busy and involved with three different projects, I light a candle and play some gentle music and sing some of the old songs I would sing on stage back in the day. Self-soothing.

I am very grateful for a blog friend who stays in touch every day as we lurch along together with many challenges but have the honesty to spill it out and commiserate. 

But yes, loneliness stalks me like never before while still grateful I am on this side of the daisies as I view an afterlife as twaddle.

But I think we only hit this point of life when we survive and outlive our dearies and look around us when hurting and go whoa, Nelly, where are they all gone?

My dad. a widower forever, described it to me one time but I didn't listen, there must have  been pain in his voice but I didn't notice. I blithely said "Da, why don't you make some new friends?"

Karma. Ta, Da.

Before I hit the post button, I dove into other memento mori posts I have written over the years and was astonished at how many there were. All the old lovers are dead now, the last one in September. 

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Sunday Selections

 Joining others in this Sunday Selection mix of photo-dumps.

Elephant's Child

From The Highrise

Drifting through Life

And maybe more!

Well, actually it's late Saturday here.

Here are a few shots from my week here: 

Daughter was always the spit of her father but in the last few years we are beginning to look more and more alike and dress the same unintentionally, and put on our napkins like this in a who gives an eff approach to fine dining. A kindly gentleman snapped us eating these incredible award winning  pizzas at PI.

In case you're wondering, we took multiple meals home in our doggie bags. 

Then we headed up Signal Hill as the sun was setting and snapped away in the fading light.

A boat towing a wee boat into the harbour.

It was foggy for many days, the above is me taking a photo as I pulled out of the driveway below during the week. This bakery prepares everything from scratch, complete meals - a huge variety - and of course cakes and breads and croissants and muffins galore. The aroma of all this freshness grabs you by the throat as you go in. Instant massive hunger. And it's out in the middle of nowhere beside a lake.
The faded look and ha ha sky is the fog enveloping everything.

Some of the goodies on offer.

And finally a Monet postcard from Grandgirl in Paris where she and her mum had actually listened to me when I said please go the Musee d'Orsay as my birthday treats as you will be blown away. And they were. And spent most of the day there, which thrilled me as I had too a few years back. Grandgirl sent me this postcard with her exquisite writing on the back as this was her favourite and like myself in my time, she spent many many minutes with the original. She has also taken the time to visit Monet's house and proudly says she has quite a familiarity with ALL his work now. She is loving her life in Paris. But I miss her terribly.


Saturday, June 01, 2024

Sunday Selections

Joining others in this Sunday Selection mix of photo-dumps.

Elephant's Child

From The Highrise

Drifting through Life

And maybe more!

Well, actually it's late Saturday here.

Here are a few shots from my week here: 

I loved this book and writer and ordered more by him at my local library

Dinner with my daughter at a new Mexican restaurant. A chimichanga.

We have a late spring here and this is outside my apartment building. The Atlantic is between the hills and the lake is just below it. I always love the blues here. I call these pics #40shadesofblue and I have many.

This postcard from family in Ireland made me snort. It doesn't photograph well but features all sorts of attraction at the bottom such as wellness centre, air conditioning, ocean view and organic gardens. As you can see, the place is a wreck. Members of my family scribbled notes on the back and tested out their new pens which you can see seeping through. I love love love postcards and have a large collection.

My coffee grinder is 50 years old and was given to me for my 30th birthday by a dear friend. I have used it just about every day since then. I note it was made in France and may have been one of the first domestic electrical coffee grinders. At the same time my husband gave me a Philips Coffee drip,  the first of those drips as before then it was those percolators we had. That was accidentally dropped by another friend about 25 years ago. I'm sure it would have still been on the go if this hadn't happened. It brings to mind the built in obsolescence of modern machines.