Tuesday, September 19, 2017


One thing at a time, what?

My book club met yesterday, I wasn't too happy with the book we read . In fact I downright disliked its plotting, characters and resolution - if one could call it that as there was no conflict. I was pleasantly surprised that most of us present (17 out of about 28 members) felt the same, as I was first to go with my review. We're all sure it will be a movie as it reads like a bad film script and would be right up the more simplistic Hollywood's alley.

For an update on my reading this year, please go to my 2017 Books Read and Rated Link on the sidebar.

There have been more wonders than duds and for that I am pleased.

I'm also riveted on the Netflix series "Narcos" which is an extraordinarily well produced, written and directed history of the drug trade in Colombia interspersed with news footage of the actual personae involved. The one downside for me is that I can't knit throughout for the dialogue is mainly in Spanish with subtitles and subtitles and knitting don't mix, I'd need another pair of eyes.

My real estate agent and I are in sync on the sale of the house. I've now dropped the price substantially, fire sale bargain really, just what the builder of The Cathedral next door had planned. But I need to move with a sale under my belt and supporting the house through the winter is beyond my financial capabilities. And reality is reality.

Daughter had a unique Mothers & Daughters Luncheon for a bunch of us women with middle aged daughters. It was lovely and lasted five hours. Great conversation and delicious Indian vegetarian cuisine.

I was asked to join a major choir in the city once I move but I think my voice fled with a really bad resistant-to-super-antibiotic ear infection I had a few years ago. Things have never been the same with my hearing or my voice since.
I have other plans for my new city life though, all good, and interesting.

As I mentioned in one of my responses to comments on my last post, this time next year, this will all be far behind me. both the good and the worrisome.

Saturday, September 09, 2017


Yeah, my last post. In the way of enlightenment for you, my faithful readers, a lot went down prior to writing it and in that way of mine, I take inordinately long to process things, to say "whoa, this is too much right now!"

It's life, I know that, and life sucks the bag sometimes.

OK so the list prior to my black discing was, and I should mention, not in any order of priority:

(1)With all the interest in my house, once the Cathedral next door hoves into view, even though they've seen pictures and they've raved about my house, inside and outside, they can't bear how the Cathedral cuts off the western light and towers, threateningly, over my driveway. There is no way of knowing the noise and/or traffic to yet be endured once it's complete.

(2)Meanwhile, the nail pounding on its interminable and unpredictable construction goes on and on. A lovely chorus when you're already feeling low.

(3)I came back to the news that my friend/worker/general factotum for lugging of wood and heavy objects around, had been banging on my door for days not understanding that I was away in Daughter's car. He had something quite awful happen to him and wanted to talk to me about it. Long story short, he wound up in an ambulance having attempted suicide. Nobody went with him and the hospital believed his bending of the truth that he didn't know pills and alcohol are a deadly mix.

(4)I was surprised when my friend D called to tell me my friend L had asked for my telephone number as L and I talk frequently. L and I connected and I didn't address this, I was too scared, I guess. My fear was borne out in the shape our conversation took. There were huge gaps in her memory, serious gaps, of our last conversations when she was reviewing some legal matters with me and a policy had been put in place for going forward. She had no recollection of this and was startled when I went over everything in point form with her. She then referred to a friend's daughter by my daughter's name. Terror hit me full on. Her mother, a darling woman, had Alzheimer's at my dear friend's age. I cried after the call. I feel so helpless as she's in another province and truly, there is no one looking out for her.

(5)It's Ansa's one year anniversary. More than that, it's the way the year has gone and galloped underneath me and I think: I've cried every day for her, how foolish is that?

(6)My legs were bad in St. Pierre, the shooting pains, the lack of ongoing mobility. I had to take far too many breaks. Daughter is a saint, so patient and kind. I am lucky. But worried about the deterioration which is magnified by the rest of the stress.

(7) Absolutely no B&B bookings for September, zero. So no income.

So there you have it.

My sorry little tale.

I reflect on how little we can do to change things. I think I'll abandon all the horrific news from around the world. It's not just Irma and Harvey, it's Tibet and Mexico and Montana and B.C., et al.

End of Days indeed. Am I exaggerating?


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Black Disc

I wish there was one.

To hang on one's door. Or on one's Twitter or Facebook account or give an automatic email response. When one is incommunicado, please don't bother.

Like for today.

Feeling scowly and sad and a mite worried and physically challenged and super-tired.
And you know, this is when everybody decides to call, bang on the knocker, phone, message. Want to visit, want to make social interaction with me. And frankly? I don't. Not at all. I feel like one long week of rain. Miserable. So I ignore. And hide.

What makes it worse is the gorgeous weather outside, the blue of the ocean.

And yes, thoughts of Irma and the dreadful happenings of climactic weather conditions for our neighbour down below and to the left of where I am. And they have a guy in charge, so I hear, who doesn't believe in climate change and the warming oceans that cause this and that it's going to get a whole lot worse.

So I should feel grateful and safe.

And that makes me feel small and selfish and self-centred and even more miserable.

Bootstraps don't work.

Sleep is the antidote to misery.

I curl up and sleep and assure myself, like Scarlett, that tomorrow is another day.

Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rising Up

Thanks for all the comments on my last post. My realtor had called on me after the turnarounds of potential clients. I should mention my realtor's wife is dying of cancer and my concern was more for him than for the unimportance of my house when real-life horrors visit. They had thought she could abandon her chemo (6 years of it) as the quality of her life had deteriorated so badly but she had been rushed to emergency after a week. She is stabilized now and had insisted he leave her bedside and visit me.

We were both in agreement that we deal with the Cathedral head on in any publicity and also that I write an essay on what the house means to me and my story while I lived here. All that I had accomplished and fostered and enjoyed and improved upon and preserved.

Meanwhile I had spoken at length to a dear and wise and old friend in Ontario. He is one of these steady people, hand firm on the tiller of life, no room for the wild and crazy and unpredictables. I value his take on life, very different to my own and over the years we have just enjoyed each other's differences and valued each other's advice.

So he said why don't you crunch through the numbers and see what is the very minimum you would take for the house to keep you floating financially until you, well, snuff, and then if you get anything above that it will be a bonus. So I took the time to do this.

I felt so much better after the meeting with my realtor and my long conversation with R.

It is rare you meet a realtor who sings from the same page and I feel so fortunate with C.

So he had a call yesterday from a young couple and he mentioned the Cathedral and they were untroubled and enthused about the B&B and the cabin and all the positives so they're visiting tomorrow afternoon.

Fingers crossed but my thinking has shifted after the initial shock and horror. So yeah, onward and upward.

But my knees have taken a beating, I can tell ya.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On My Knees

I call it The Cathedral. On the day my house was offered for sale, the neighbouring landowner put up this eyesore, it is much higher than it looks as it is taller than my two storey house. There are no zoning bylaws in this town, no town plan (though I did put up a fight for one). So if you buy land in my town, you can literally throw any structure your heart desires on it. This is what happened next door to me. Vlad bought up the two parcels of forested land, left them fallow for years and then stripped them and built one enormous warehouse, and now encored with this monstrosity. It overshadows my house and all seven acres of my land offer a view.

On the second day of my house listing, the day it was publicized, there was tremendous interest in my house, agents and their clients drove out of town to inspect, clients eager to make an offer. But as soon as The Cathedral hove into view they quickly changed their minds as it is smack dab up against the right side of my property, blocking the beautiful light from the west.

I was devastated. This is not the first time Vlad the Destroyer has done this. When I went away for a week last year this greeted me on my return:

I sat in my driveway and cried, there were about 500 trees torn down and clear cut to leave these wounds on the land.

But, he is perfectly within his rights to do it as there are no zoning regulations and this is not the first time Vlad has torn down old heritage homes to replace them with monstrous and ugly warehouses dug into the once fertile and forested land in residential areas.

The Vlad plan is to then buy up the adjacent properties of the disgruntled and dismayed and devastated owners at a bargain basement price.

Vlad and his cathedrals to wanton ugliness. This is what happens with no town regulations. Barbarians climb the gates and plunder and pillage and destroy.

I'm on my knees.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Downsizing Part XV or Dither and You're Done.

The more I work on this, the more I love it.

Catch up Day.

Well, the dump is open all day, limited hours in my wee town out on the Edge of the Atlantic.

So I look around me and my eyes fasten on my enormous collection of VCR tapes. Enormous, you say? You have no idea. I have maybe 2,000 movies scattered on these bulky (often 4 movies on a tape)suckers, all labelled and indexed carefully.

And now I shamefully report these have all been unwatched for something like 14 years now. I think I taped every episode of Saturday Night at the Movies when Elwy Yost was doing his gentle, professional interviews of all these old timers (performers, directors, technicians) before they died off. The only one who was doing so. I had planned to have a periodic movie night with a feast of these old classics. Alas, that never happened. When you're an aficionado, it's hard to find your equal nutbar twin. Most have no time for the old black and whites. And "restored" to colour? Oh please.

So I tackled the deep green shelves today. These held a triple layer of these tapes. Times 4 shelves.

I knew the only way to do it was to take out a row of garbage bags and start pitching without looking. If I lingered, it would be game over. Ah, you're definitely going to want to see this again, oh look, another Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, James Stewart. See? So seven full garbage bags later I think, I could donate these, oh someone would love these, I should Kijiji these as a freebie.

You catch my drift. Stall tactics. I slapped myself. Hard.

I loaded all 7 bags in my car and drove to the dump. I told Brian, the dump-man, what was in the bags (You have to do this, they don't want household waste) and he said, hang on a minute, there's a real old fellow I know living in the back hills, he's a right old movie buff, do you mind if I take all these for him? With the winter coming on he'll be thrilled!

I mentioned I may have 7 or 8 or 10 more bags to follow and Pete says, even better for the old fellah, he'll love them all. Bring 'em over when you can!

And oh, yes, as I drove my empty car home I realized the "old fellow in the backwoods" was a year younger than me.

Letting go is not easy but it can be done if you don't stare.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


What would you like to be doing, wouldn't you like to be auditing and software training?


So what's next. You just had a birthday.

What I'd like to be doing is writing. And knitting when I'm not writing. And going to movies in the afternoon. Daughter gave me a loaded movie card.

There's not much money in writing.

Yeah, I know. Or knitting for that matter. That's why I need to sell my house. Then I can write.

So what are you doing to facilitate that?

I listed my house for sale. I took stress leave from my municipal time-consuming, enraging position. I backed away completely from stifling, drunken massive social events. I spaced my PGs a little better, gapped out some time for myself.
And yeah, I forgot to mention, I'm lying down for an hour in the afternoon. It's a brilliant revitalizer.

But you're not happy?

No. I'm easily irritated. I'm impatient. I'm snarky. I can't believe the world is not going along with my intention for a peaceful, blissful, last few years: Nazism? Ku Klux Klan without the masks? Anti Fa? (aren't most decent human beings?) In your face racism. Worst forest fires ever in BC? Domestic terrorism in the U.S.? And need I mention the occasional occupier of the White House?

I wish this lonely wee planet would get its act together and its useless and vile janitors thrown off it.

Maybe then I might be happy.

As if.

Sunday, August 06, 2017


Latest creative project

As I age, I endeavour to look at the additions in my life rather than the subtractions. Subtractions are so many,I can overlook the additions.

I have renewed contact with a family member which is enhancing my life once again. (No, not Missing Daughter). This shared history, the aging process and family news catchup means a lot to me. I can gnaw at those absent ones, but that does not serve me well. I celebrate this renewal, this rebirth, and put no expectations on it, for I stay in the moment with each conversation.

I get so absorbed in my needlework that I forget to eat. I'm working on this artist's palette and a burst of stars on a new shawl (see above) and being absorbed in the creative process drenches my soul in light and gratitude.

Forgiveness and understanding come easily as I age. A good friend had shut me out for several months, much to my bafflement and hurt. A few nights ago she texted me to come over if I was available. I did, with some trepidation. (Was I going to be accused of something, anything? Was the chill going to be reinforced?). Her husband hugged me as I came in and she lurked in a corner looking at me nervously. I didn't hold back. I held out my arms and said: give me a hug. She did, quite teary. I don't know what the estrangement was all about and I don't want to know. It may happen again. Or not. But I'm not wasting any more speculation on it.

I love the Irish expression of: "he/she had notions there for a while." It sometimes explains a whole pile of unexplainables. We all get them. Off with the fairies nursing slights or hurts. Real or imagined. Finding words for such behaviour can be difficult without sounding insane or unhinged.

I'm dealing with such a scenario with my young friend at the moment. Helping her label her feelings. As she can't. I was there once, in another lifetime, a frightening place to be. And someone dear took the time with me to walk me through the emotions and help me label them and understand the turmoil. I'm passing it on.

So yes, there is much in my treasury right now. It may look like slim pickings to some, but it is abundantly rich to me.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I'm sharing bits of the books I've read in the last while, little phrases that had me sitting back and taking stock, so to speak.

Take this: "How do you get old without letting sadness become everything."

Page 62. Lost and Found. By Brooke Davis.

I've wrestled with that, tried to block it, let it seep through me, let the tears flow freely, tried to stop the tears, talk to myself, overcome it, become overcome.

I feel guilty for living with so many dear ones dead. I constantly feel a part of me is missing without my dog by my side, in the car, on my bed, sitting on my feet when strangers came so she could keep a close eye on them, the breakfast routine, the morning and evening walks on the shore, talking to her, hiding from each other in an elaborate game of hide and seek - god, she was clever.

Yes, there's joy in playing with a friend's young grandchildren, having a laugh with Daughter, the whales, the whales. The flowers and herbs in my community garden, the way the water is right now, denim blue with underwear of white lace, the clarity of the houses and trees across the bay in this blinding afternoon rage of sunlight.

But this feeling of underlying sadness doesn't leave me for any great length of time.

I'm putting it out there to others, is this normal for old age?

I remember my dad telling me, he was then in his healthy early eighties, that with all his friends dead he knew loneliness in a brand new way (he was a long time widower). I remember suggesting to him he should make new friends. The ridiculousness of that remark appals me now. For the shared memories are what one misses.

It's difficult to keep one's head out of the past.

And I feel like such a bore.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Taking Stock

I've been fortunate enough in the past week to have a trickle of extra income land in the bank account. One cheque was for a project I worked on for an old client, the other was a long sought after backpay of an Irish pension - an ongoing battle since 2008 which many have helped me with. I had given up and then got a letter saying they had reviewed my case and I was entitled to a few crusts, not much in the overall scheme of things but I was happy to get even this tiny acknowledgement of what was rightfully mine.

All that to say that with my two guests leaving tomorrow after breakfast, I have blocked every day for further bookings until Monday next. My doctor called me in today to check on a few health items. One being my blood pressure which is still alarming. He stopped me from taking my own readings as I was becoming obsessed with it. He was also concerned with how stressful my life is with having to earn a living by hard work along with a projected move and my demanding municipal position. At my age, he said, I should be smelling roses and relaxing and planning some trips. I allowed my hollow laugh.

Out walking with my young friend, she had mentioned in light of my vascular pain that I should see about pain medication. I have a dismal level of tolerance to pain. A low threshold has plagued me for ever. I always feel like a wuss when I'm with those who are stoic and tearless along with being much worse off than I. Example: I kicked the delivery room nurse when delivering my first daughter. I apologised later for being so far out of my mind.

Doc reviewed my meds and said to try low dose Tylenol and see if that would help with exercising. The obvious solutions (such as pain medication) often elude me. My brain is strange uncharted territory.

I'm going to use the next few days to take stock of health: physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual and play with the plans for the new place and draft out the next few months and concentrate on the huge amount of interest by potential purchasers for my house.

The whales of St. Vincent's have been magnificent this year. Hundreds of them "in" in this magnificent weather.

Daughter has booked us a 5 day trip to St. Pierre & Miquelon, long on our bucket list, for the end of August. I'll have to dust off my rusty French. Luckily, I've had a few PGS who were just there and have passed on some amazing hints to me from their recently being on the ground, so to speak. The best restaurants, Josephine's for tea, and the best museum and tours.

So yes, off to France we go. Ooh la-la.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Unashamedly Geezer

I was talking to a very old friend on the phone today, she's in another province so we tend to catch up with each other every odd month or so and get caught up in our doings and in those of the slender little mound of joint friendships remaining from the random scythe-swipes of Mr. Reaper.

I've noted something in myself lately: an increased crotchetiness accompanied by far less time for fools and eejits, all doused with a spicy mix of darkest cynicism.

Youngsters (under 60s) don't understand this so I don't mention it, though I'm sure my Resting Bitch Face gives them a clue from time to time.

I have to put on Nice Face a lot, and it's looking rather worn and tired from overuse during this PG (tourist season).

D asked me if my house was listed for sale yet and I said no, it was all too much for me at the moment.

She asked me to parse that for her.

And I said, like Eleanor Rigby, I had to put on Nice Face so much lately - public events, hosting, library volunteering and on, that there was hardly any time for RBF (see above) and she needed to come out more or my head would explode. My nice quota had maxed out. And potential purchasers traipsing through here would finish me off.

She totally got it. Her tolerance level for life's stupidities and the appalling state of our planet matches mine. Our sorry future along with Stephen Hawking's predictions in light of the Orange Nightmare's disbelief in the science of climate change is giving us elders the freedom to be as cranky and crotchety as we want and expound on this rancid world of endless war as we see it: a hopeless, boiling mess, lurking for the final shove off of its pestilential fleas - the human race.

We agreed we need to turn off the news and the newsfeeds and the Twitters and Facebook updates, treating all of it in a Kardashian kind of way as if 45 is a joke and oh let's impeach him. Soon. As if. When the real problem is those who put him there, those who keep him there and the Fourth Estate who refuse to do their jobs and leave it to very few unread non-MSMs who do it for them.

Enough jokes from the John Olivers and the Stephen Colberts. This is not satire or humour or what's he tweeting now, the toddler.

Very few MSMs are taking the current global status with any seriousness or offering realistic solutions. Because they are mostly all bought and paid for.

Which leave us elders muttering together, feeling all rather hopeless for our grandchildren. But without the physical vigour to placard and march.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Humans and boundaries

My PG (tourist) season has been full. Which is all to the good.

I've observed something over the years with our fellow creatures. If one concedes even a tiny bit, they continue to pound away at the boundaries until one cries uncle. Or not.

I had one such recently. My breakfast schedule is between 8 and 9 a.m. After she checked in she wheedled her way into making it 7.30 - a very early rise for me. When she did come down for breakfast she announced she was celiac. No gluten. I asked her why she hadn't shared that information with me before her arrival and she confessed I mightn't have taken her. So here I am pantry scrambling and freezer digging. On Day 2 she asked could she do her laundry even though on my profile I say no laundry privileges. I conceded ( I need my head examined!) to take her laundry and do it for her and later folded it and put it on her bed. On Day 3 I asked if she found her laundry on the bed and received the casual: "oh yeah, I guess, thanks". she never moved a plate off the table which nearly all guests do and left her bedroom tossed. And never purchased even a token in my wee shop. A forty something privileged white woman with a healthy bank account (she had shared that much).

Thankfully, she's in a tiny minority of humans who believe that I host for fun and pleasure and am there to fulfil any need they express.

She also helped me considerably to firm up my own boundaries and tell guests that early breakfasts don't work for me, I can't accommodate special dietary requirements unless given at least one week's notice and there's absolutely no laundry.

So I still learn from those who are in my path to teach me what to do but also what not to do.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I shepherd my energy carefully these days as I feel I'm falling behind. So the blog gets shoved aside for another day.

Tourism is a huge benefit to my life. Both the engagement with my PGs (guests) which feeds my intellect and the financial benefit which I rather desperately need.

Many ask me how I keep going with my health challenges and the demands of still having to make a living in my seventies.

My answer is: carefully (see first sentence). It would be fairly catastrophic if my health worsened now, as inevitably it will. I need to keep chugging until September when my load will lighten considerably, fingers crossed.

Therefore I prioritize. We just finished the Living with Chronic Disease series of workshops yesterday and I can't praise it enough. I've been asked to be a facilitator in the future but I've shelved that for now. I'm becoming more skilled at the art of saying NO.

I learned so much about accepting where I am and dealing a fresh deck of cards which encompasses my heath challenges, not focussing on what I used to do, but focussing on the now and making Action Plans for each day that are manageable and achievable. I had been thinking in the light of what I used to be able to accomplish but recognise now that I was doing far too much as a result and burdening myself with unrealistic expectations of what my day should be packed with and beating myself up for failure to do so.

The art of pulling back and the power of both Now and No are my new best buddies.

One of the incredible results of the workshop was our youngest participant (in his mid thirties) shared yesterday that his last hope was committing to the workshops for all 6 weeks. If nothing changed for him, he had planned suicide. We were all crying after he spoke. He has many challenges including his young spouse in a wheelchair (boy, perspective!) and he had absolutely no hope. Now he's attempting to live within his limitations and try one new thing every week and list his achievable goals.

I feel I've turned some kind of corner too, not clear on what it is yet. But more will be revealed, I'm sure.

I just know I feel so much more alive now.

And ready.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Local politics and knitting.

I'm still learning at my age and with, at times, my challenging health. None of us gets a free pass at life, do we? Roll with the punches, etc. Importances shift and swirl and change. Observations become keener and sharper. Letting go of toxic people becomes easier. Personal growth takes on a new meaning as I learn into the grave.

I recently persisted with a form of knitting that I didn't have the patience for all my life - or, you know, adapting the instructions for it which never worked and resulted in awkward bulges and then I would toss the results. So I sat down and wound all these bobbins to hang off the back of the work and persisted in learning and finally mastered intarsia a couple of weeks ago. It felt good and satisfying and fulfilling.

I've had my battles at the local political level too. I've been up against some old guards, bleeding deacons, buzzards, in my efforts to create outdoor community spaces that are used daily. I was drowning in negativity and mockery. Frankly, it wore me down. I've only 3 months left on my municipal term and I'm trying to push through some more town enhancing changes and it was endless, soul destroying battles one after the other at our monthly meetings.

I gave up. I've got too much other stuff on the go which is sapping me until I move and I thought: conserve your energy, f*** them all. I'm just too tired and each battle is chewing another bite out of my soul.

I mentioned how dispirited I was to my clerk (who is quitting at the end of my term, he is equally disillusioned) and he said: "Go down fighting, don't let the bastards grind you down."

And I thought to myself: there in one sentence is the difference between men and women and our cultural conditioning (I don't believe in the concept of 'gender'). Women are taught to be subservient peace makers, men to assert and dominate.

I've worked in so-called male positions all my life, starting with my first job in Ireland. And too many times to count, I subside at meetings as the men talk/yell/shout over me. As the men talk/yell/shout over me today at meetings even though I'm technically their boss, until I bang the table loudly and tell them to stop. I dread these confrontations, not so much as before, but yelling shouty men have the power to make my heart pound, as in my experience it was always a prelude to violence.

So I took his words to heart and thought: No, I won't shut up, I will continue to speak my truth and whether they adapt my ideas or not, I'll leave "unground".

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Leopard, spots, death

Never speak ill of the dead.

She did her best.

She didn't mean to be nasty, did she?

Words soaring in my head after an older cousin died. A cousin I tried to like but couldn't. She was an only child of a "widowed" and cold mother to give you a little background. The widowed aspect was always under a cloud as our granny would always "humph" nastily when her daughter's status was mentioned. Only one picture of her father existed and it looked like it was cut out of a magazine. I remember he wore a uniform of some kind but no one could answer how he died.

She was enormously cruel to me when we were younger and even when we were older too, come to think of it.

When I was 4 and she 10, she threatened to hang me by my nose off the church railings if I didn't give her the bracelet my granny gave me. Needless to mention.....

When I was 8 and she 14, I was staying at an aunt's in the country while my mother was giving birth in the city. I felt very important as my father had written down his work number on a piece of paper so I could telephone him from the post office up the main street and he would tell me if my mother was OK and if it was a boy or girl.

She dropped by my aunt's (this aunt was a maternal aunt and no relation to her) and I proudly shared with her how I was going to make my first phone-call all by myself at the post office. She snatched the piece of paper from me and raced away only to come back about 10 minutes later and tell me I had another brother. I was inconsolable that she had stolen even this from me.

Frankly, I was always a little afraid of her. This was enforced by my mother who barely tolerated her due to her constant lies and demands on my father who was her only uncle. A parade of "suitable" men were paraded through our home when she hit 20 to be vetted by my father. She always insisted, privately to me, that she was closer to my father than I could ever hope to be. And there were other cruel little interplays with her, particularly when my mother was dying which still has the power to upset me all these years later.

Yeah, I get that she was needy and sad and alone and over compensated with braggadocio. I truly tried to like her in later years, being aware of all of this. But the last social interactions I had with her left me feeling so empty and baffled. There had been no personal growth, her conversation circled around herself, her skills, her beauty, her wardrobe, how all in her path adored her. And her remarkable lack of curiosity or compassion for others was breathtaking.

I'm left reflecting how bereft of feeling I am for her, this strange leopard and her spots that never changed.

Not even a whit of guilt.

And for that I'm glad.

Saturday, June 03, 2017


Strong coffee, a good book, fresh design on the needles....what more, seriously?

My friend T had his surgery on Thursday, a quadruple bypass, and is astonishing everyone with his speedy recovery, even his surgeon. He's sitting around for a few hours, all the tubes are out and he wants to go home. So next Wednesday is his release into the real world.

The Living with Chronic Disease series of workshops is marvellous. I was resistant to getting a handicap sticker for my car (only really, really challenged people get those!)and was encouraged to bite the bullet. Often I have to park a distance away from my destination and my legs seize after a few minutes walking and the pain, m'dears. So yeah, I agreed to taking my walking pole when out walking, requesting the handicap registration from my doctor (done and mailed) and checking out a folding walking stick from a local shop which another participant recommends. You just never know, she says, when you might need it.

One of the important things I noted in this workshop is that participants with hobbies are the happiest. Those with no passion or have retirement thrust upon them with nothing to fill the time apart from chores and TV are the most anxious. Gardeners, knitters, fishers, quilters, wood-workers are the most fulfilled.

We commit to certain things each week (this week mine is 1,000 steps a day and finishing a shawl and continue to toss excess from my house)plus some exercises we are all attempting, even finger exercises which can be painful. My knitting keeps my hands fairly flexible but my legs and back seem to be worsening so I am attempting more.

New York and Quebec tourists are arriving tomorrow, both holiday rooms in my house are booked which is good news.

Monday, May 29, 2017


A friend was taken to the hospital with severe breathing difficulties.

We do this, as he did, when we're older: we pretend severe symptoms are:
(3)A nuisance, but let's not tell anyone because, you know, they might over-react and worry and insist on stupid stuff like ambulances.

He's been hospitalized a week now and all sorts of nuisancy eye-rolling tests have occurred which he has shared with some of his closest friends.

It turns out there are four blockages in the veins leading to his heart, pretty severe blockages, which is going to necessitate by-pass surgeries as stents are considered too risky as he's 76. So he's in line for major surgery and it might be today.

Like myself, he was a heavy smoker and we quit about the same time, around thirty years ago.

BUT the lifelong effects are with us both. And when doctors and technicians informed me about MY smoking and the now disastrous effects on my legs and arms, my internal dialogue tells me they haven't a clue, look at the running races, the half-marathons, etc., how could a long ago habit affect me now?

My friend T has reinforced all this ridiculous denial for me. And I do so wish the young would quit while there is time. I quit in my forties after only 24 years of it but it was enough to do untold damage to my vascular system which has now aged and is unable to cope anymore. Much like my friend T's.

We've been led to believe it's lung cancer we should be worried about. But I, for one, ignored the fine print of it's other long-term effects. T has brought it all home to me, and now I really believe that yes, it was the stupid smoking that I'm paying for now.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Labelling, self-labelling I mean, can be extraordinarily useful. I was struggling with the Black Dog - and thank you so much to all those who commented in support. It is remarkable how the ether world and caring others in the real world can offer so much comfort and understanding.

A man I worked with said to me he was going to this six part workshop on chronic conditions.



adjective: chronic
(of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.
"chronic bronchitis"
synonyms: persistent, long-standing, long-term; More
"a chronic illness"
antonyms: acute
•(of a person) having an illness persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.
"a chronic asthmatic"
•(of a problem) long-lasting and difficult to eradicate.
"the school suffers from chronic overcrowding"

synonyms: constant, continuing, ceaseless, unabating, unending, persistent, long-lasting;

I asked him what his condition was if he felt comfortable telling me and he said "Anxiety" - he's had this basically non-stop since brutal orphanage days (Five years old at incarceration - Sweet Jaysus).

I thought for a minute and said: I have a chronic condition too.

And then: I think I'll go too.

So there. Just affixing the label to myself I felt a load lift off me. And the workshop? I can't say enough about it. 2-3 hours each. All of us (Including the two facilitators) have chronic conditions. All of us suffer periodic depression. All of us had difficulty labelling ourselves.

There is such solace in just saying it out loud to a bunch who totally understand. And boy, are there degrees of "chronic".

I got off lightly.

More on this in the next few weeks as I learn more.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hello Darkness, my old friend....

I was wondering when you'd show up.

It's been a while and you're way overdue.

Yeah, there's been changes. It seems to me you always sense these life altering corners I have to turn. You give me a few days, maybe a week, to feel confident and secure and then, without a knock on the door, in you walk bringing your cold breath and that murky miasma that clings to everything you touch.

I ran. Upstairs. And into bed. I couldn't face work, and there was a bit of it, not much, but I knew you'd take that weird position on my desk and shoot those thoughts into my head, the why bother ones, the life is hopeless ones, the lonely ones, the nobody really cares ones.

Bed is safe, though not as safe as with Ansa in it, I have to admit. It gives you free reign really when I'm this vulernable. Though you haven't stolen sleep from me yet. Maybe that will come.

My analytical mind just about destroys me after you show up. I think: what attracted you back. The Handicapped sticker the doctor suggested? My young friend saying to me yesterday she was having a hard time seeing me taking up residence in the apartment as we sat in it drinking coffee? The suggestion made by a facilitator-friend of taking the Living with Chronic Diseases series of workshops? Finding so much poignancy in every aspect of my life at the moment? Losing interest in cooking for myself?

Yeah, none of it mattered to you. You saw the opportunity and you rushed through the door.

I don't know if I can summon the energy to shove you out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Melange a Trois

(1)I can't imagine what life is like without some creativity or passion in it. Any creativity. One of my dear buddies now since gone, would make log cabins out of those flat icecream sticks, with a working fireplace of pebbles and the chimney lined with tinfoil and a porch with rocking chairs on the front.

Me? Well I write and knit. And yesterday I finished this massive knitting project. It took me months but now it's winging its way to Massachussets to a sweet young friend whom I wrote about here. She sent me this incredible yarnbowl, right out of the blue, when Ansa died and signed it "Sunset for Ansa".

We had one of those rare instant connections at her father's wake. The kind that sees into each other's souls. Rare enough to be treasured.

(2)Since I moved here I've had the chance to explore my personality in ways I couldn't even dream of when I lived in the metropolis. Time, the gift of time and beauty all around me frees up the mind and imagination like nothing else does. The timelessness of the ocean at my door, the salt-laden walks on the shores or in the pine drenched woods invigorates, wakes up dormant brain cells.

(3)I continue to whittle away at "stuff". Discarding 5 items a day. Should be more like 10. Attaching the words precious or important or valuable to pieces of it is dangerous. A burn barrel is where much of it is going. And the dump. I don't want any kind of clutter in my new home. I'm listing what's coming with me. And so far it's not much. Clutter is weighty and murky and has a stranglehold on the psyche. I lived that in a marital home way back and remember feeling so overwhelmed as we conducted a 3 day sale around and in the property. Given space, I will fill it. Time to let go. Of inner and outer stuff.