Friday, February 09, 2018

Elder Musings

~~I am thrilled with a new project I was fortunate enough to get.

~~However, I am slower, do you guys of elder vintage find that tackling work that was formerly a kind of I-can-do-this-with-one-hand- tied-behind-my-back is now an-all-hands-on-deck situation? And speaking of all hands I find that a sporadic carpal tunnel problem I had returned and boy was it a challenge to heal, older tissues, repetitive strain injuries take triple the time to heal including an arm splint to bed, oh gawd was that awful. I digress, it is now healed with the odd twinge to remind me not to abuse it again.

~~I'm also aware that the the 30+age gap between my clients and myself has me faltering a lot with business language. It's not that I don't know it, it's that it is more difficult to retrieve out of my brain files, particularly in business conversations. This morning on a 3-way conference call I found myself fumbling mentally with what term I could use for my PC(personal computer rather than my smart phone), thinking: is PC still used? So I blurted "Main frame." Now there's a blast from the past. I've been 40 years using these suckers. They let it go, tho surely they must wonder what I meant or what decade of the ought-oughts I was in.

~~See what I mean?

~~My wee friend whom I've mentioned before (under 30) wants a coffee date late tonight and my mind immediately goes to bedtime interruptus now: my nightly routines of a bit of Netflix, my book, my games of online scrabble and I want to decline but hey, I know this stuff is good for me too. Break the old routines, get out there.

~~Daughter wants me to meet 2 of her friends and host them to brunch in my place next weekend and I'd thought: no more of these get-togethers when I moved here, just hermitize. And hermitizing has not been good as my inner slob takes over and things need to be put away rather than gaped at in puzzlement as to where to put them. There's very little excess, but photographs, binders of writing, old laptop, wools, crafting supplies, multiple unhung pictures, you get it. But I mulled and thought well: incentive. In the past friends and I always joked that the best housekeeping system is to entertain once a month and I've followed that for years and years now. So yes, I need to do this, there's nothing like new friends and seriously I'm quite proud that Daughter likes to air me and share me. The maternal age-gap has shrunk between us which is quite lovely. And rare. And I treasure it.

~~Impatience with myself - that internal voice. I must slow down as I drop things in my speedy old way of doing things. Spoons, pens, phone, blue tooth ear piece, papers and I find myself castigating myself. Slow down, honour the crone.

~~One thing at a time is important. I can't do everything in one day and mornings are the best. So I do one thing on the to do list every day, or more if I can manage it, and the current day's wee jobs too, but I list them all as I learned in that Living with Chronic Diseases Workshops so I know that I've accomplished something at the end of the day, even if it's self care.

PS Photo is not me, but hey, I can sometimes feel like that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Dear Diary

Dear Diary:

I'm sure you're very bored with all this nonsense regarding my holdings of 7 acres and its numerous outbuildings, far too numerous to count, that is holding me and my future financial security hostage. I've practised much mindfulness and letting go and shifting importances. And it works, most of the time.

And that window thing? I started that again as we know D, that if the current permutation of this sale goes through I will have to supplement my sad pensions and OAS. So I restarted the window thing the other morning. I witness dawn every day. And right now it is magical as we know. No snow, glorious sun (casting climate change concerns away from me) so I threw out my arms as I used to do when 5 employees were depending on me for their livelihood and welcomed work, interesting work, a project, any non-physical work.

And lo and behold, D, there it was, a distant contact emailed me and asked if I was interested in cleaning up some theatre matters. A bit of a shambles on the books and with grant season coming up? Offered to pay me in advance too, the best kind of client. So yes, I'm started on that - it's all remote work too which is even better - and with many theatre companies in Newfoundland this could be a cottage industry, who knows. And D, did I mention comps? Free tickets for all performances.

So D tonight I'm walking along the gallery (to retrieve my (free) laundry) overlooking our gorgeous community room when the piano strains of The Parting Glass drifts upwards and I stop and lean over and start to sing the words, softly, and the pianist finishes and discussion ensued. My voice is sorta back after a long absence. She plays in a small band and was rehearsing. She's 80 I'd say. I mentioned I'd like to play, practice for a while, I played daily for my own pleasure for years but piano in absentia has been a hole since I moved to Newfoundland 14 years ago. So yes, I'm going to play again and, bonus D, I really liked her, I love seeing older-than-me folks thoroughly engaged with life.

Also I'm feeling better, don't know how this is. I still have 2 more tests to get by. But gift-horses and mouths come to mind D, so we'll just roll with that and play The Parting Glass, shall we?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Garbage on a Finite Planet

My building doesn't have recycling.

I know. A bald statement of fact.

But seriously. Think about it. As I have.

Us residents? Well we range in age from 65-100+.

And there's also no garbage chute.

What we generate, rubbish wise, we have to cart forth to one of several commercial dumpsters scattered at the edges of many parking lots around our building which is a 2 storey sprawled hither and yon. A building from a former US army base plus its attendant buildings (school, hospital, houses, apartment buildings)was sprawled lavishly over many hills overlooking lake, harbour and nearby battlements in WW2.

For several decades now I've been used to recycling. Particularly in Toronto where even kitchen waste was separated along with glass, plastic, metal and paper.

I order online a lot, to prevent stress and strain from carting heavy and awkward cans and toilet paper and flour and oatmeal from parking lot to second floor apartment.

So my cardboard, packing material, boxes, empties, etc. all go to the dumpster, which in turn is emptied into landfills which makes me feel ill. It all feels so wrong.

Every week I generate a huge garbage bag, place it on a small luggage trolley, take it to my car and then drive the car around to one of the dumpsters and throw this bag into it. With effort. The lid is chained and heavy to lift. Not senior/disabled friendly by any means. Most older seniors here have home help. These helpers, mainly in their forties/fifties, cart their employers' garbage down and out.

I've asked management about this but receive a puzzled shrug. My lively friend on the first floor, my own age, has offered to take mine down if it's a problem for me but no, I don't want to burden her unnecessarily and it's not really about carting it down but the fact we don't have any recycling and no plans to implement it.

I can't to get used to it.

Living on an island as I do.


To be clear here: most of the island has recycling, including the small village where I lived. All of St. John's has recycling but not this apartment building. I'm not sure about others.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Bad Cess

I haven't posted in a while as I didn't want to jinx the sale of my house. But guess what, it was jinxed anyway so my juju didn't work now, did it.

The closing date was really early, January 31st but hey was I going to look a gift horse in the mouth? No siree Bob.

Anyway the Big Day came yesterday and two glitches, one of which was the well water not passing inspection, which was no surprise to me as the water had been shut off in the house for 3 months and only hooked up upon the offer of purchase so I don't imagine the inspector ran the water for too long. So now that process starts all over again. Another glitch was my former town clerk classifying my house as an "inn" which it wasn't and that caused legal repercussions. I was furious with him as I had gone to great lengths to explain to him how Airbnb operated and I was honest enough to pay municipal taxes on my earnings as an Airbnb host.

So jinxing be damned. Maybe I'll shine the light on this fresh challenge on my blog in hopes of this bad cess being turned around. I feel my life is on hold until all this is resolved and have felt this way for a while. I don't want to join the food vs heat brigade of which there are so many of us impoverished female single seniors. But I have utter sympathy for those, unlike myself, who don't have the luxury of waiting for a real estate sale. And seriously, I've thought of sponsoring a poor woman's heat in some meaningful and secret way if I have any funds at my disposal.

So yeah. Onward.

I'm not as stressed as I thought I might be, though a bit sleepless in St. John's last night.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Wee Giftie - The Winner!

So here it goes: the two dishcloths, 1 still on the needles, the bag full of "I'd like thats" and the moment of the draw.

And the winner is.....drum roll please!

Congratulations Pauline, please send your postal address to wisewebwomanatgmaildotcom and I will mail out to you this week along with one of my cards :)

Thank you all, my dear readers. You are truly special.

The Books of 2017

Late to the gate on this one. It was a year of illness, discombobulation and moving. All very stressful. But I managed 59 books of various interests and genres.

There were many goodies, some dreck, some re-reads, but over all some stellar reads. Now I must start on listing 2018 so far. You can click on the sidebar for updates.

Here's the list:

(1)Leaving Earth - Helen Humphries *****
(2)Commonwealth - Ann Patchett *****
(3)The Last Half of the Year - Paul Rowe *
(4)A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara *
(5)Single Mothers Speak on Patriarchy - Anthology *****
(6)212 - Alafair Burke ****
(7)More than a Mountain - T.A. Loeffler **
(8)The Bridge Ladies - Betsy Lerner ****
(9)Vinegar Hill - Manette Ansay *****
(10)The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena ****
(11)Picture Perfect - JOdi Picoult ** done with Jodi.
(12)Booked to Die - John Dunning ****
(13)Did you Ever Have a Family - Bill Clegg ****
(14)A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews {BC} 2nd time reading. Fabulouos book.*****
(15)The End of the Line - Clayton D. Cook ***
(16)The Nest - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney *****
(17)The Bookman's Wake - John Dunning** (off him now)
(18)Things I overheard when talking to myself - Alan Alda***
(19)Unholy Orders - Michael Harris
(20)Saving Grace - Jane Green 0
(21)When the Moon is Low - Nadia Hashimi*****
(22)Red Bay Labrador - Tuck & Grenier *****
(23)Come Thou Tortoise - Jessica Grant ***** 3rd Re-read {BC}
(24)The Girls in the Garden - Lisa Jewel * {BC}
(24)The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Attwood *****(again)
(25)Racket - Anthology - Various *****
(26)The Condition - Jennifer Haigh*****
(27)The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway*****{BC}
(28)In the Cold Night Wind - Owen Hiscock**(terrible editing)
(29)Wolf - Mo Hayden*****
(30)The Humans - Matt Honig****
(31)The Necklace of Occasional Dreams - Kathleen Winter*****
(32)The Wonder - Emma Donoghue*****
(33)The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski (1/2 thru realized I'd read it before)***
(34)Poppet - Mo Hayden****
(35)Iron House - John Hart - Dropped at page 272, violence and predictability was too tiresome**
(36)Wild Life - Molly Gloss
(37)The Girl in the Red Coat - Kate Hamer*****
(38)The Labrador Fiasco - Margaret Attwood*****
(39) Song of the Humpback Whale - Jodi Picoult
(40)The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper
(41)Annie Freeman's Fabulous Travelling Funeral - Kris Radish *{BC}
(42)Behind Closed Doors - B.A. Paris*****
(43)Baker Towers - Jennifer Haigh*****
(44)Medicine Walk - Richard Wagamese*****
(45)The Day I died - Lore Rader-Day**
(45)Creaking in their Skins - Michael Winter **
(46)Swim Back to Me - Ann Packer*****
(47)Crying for the Moon - Mary Walsh*
(48)Don't Say we have Nothing - Madeleine Thien***{BC}
(49)Please Look After Mom - Kyung-Sook Shin****
(50)The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Attwood**
(51)First Snow, Last Light - Wayne Johnston*****
(52)Dear Everybody - Anne Budgell*****{BC}
(53)The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne*****
(54)Songs Without Words - Anne Packer*****
(55)Salt to the Sea - Rita Sepetys****
(56)Away From Everywhere - Chad Pelley**{BC}
(57)It Never Made Sense - Ross Morton - a friend, not rating.
(58)The Art of Mending - Elizabeth Berg*****
(59)On Dublin Street - Samantha Young 0

TOTAL TO DATE: 59 {BC}=Book Club}
Ratings:0(awful) *(poor)**(fair)***(good)****(very good)*****(excellent)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A wee giftie

If you'd like a pair of my hand-knitted wee wash/dishcloths just send me an "I'd like that!" in the comments and I will have a draw in the next few days and send a pair to the winner. They can be used in the kitchen or the bathroom or the shower and as one of the old folks around here says: no matter how damp and how long you leave them, they never smell. And they wash beautifully. 100% cotton.

I've been around here a while and I love your comments, concern and faithful readership.

So this is just a small token of my appreciation.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Strange World of Predawn

I haven't done this in a while. Write in the pre-dawn hours.

There's a good reason.


Intermittent and weird.

Tests are being conducted. Daily it seems. Various hospitals, clinics.

I've become a medi-bore overnight. Not about the symptoms. No. They're brief and troubling. But all these blood tests, scans, etc. My life is filled with medi-treks every day this week. Which exhaust me. And then I'm flooded with relief once they're behind me. Like I'm joining the real world again. I do these treks alone, by choice. I don't know what it feels like to have a partner/loved one journeying beside. I don't think I'd like it. I pursue my own thoughts in these waiting rooms.

"Ah, The Galway Shawl" I said to a pacing man yesterday in the nuclear medicine clinic. He'd been whistling it under his breath. Waiting for someone, I speculated.

"I don't know what else to do," he whispered, walking slowly around the pod-like room.

On top of that a friend of over 30 years has been diagnosed with liver cancer so he just recovered from surgery on Tuesday and another acquaintance messaged all of us yesterday that he is refusing any further treatment for cancer and is going to die with dignity in the next few days. He's 63.

So a fresh batch of pain strikes me before 5 in the morning most mornings. And I get up and take some meds but they take a while to kick in.

They say it's a good time for writing. Blank slate of a brain. So here I go.

I trek off to the doctor later on this morning.

I hope we get to the bottom of this.

I was waiting in a coffee shop yesterday to sign some papers for my real estate agent and I deliberately sat across from a man who was knitting a hat very similar to one I just finished for a friend (see above). And I showed him a pic of it.

We chatted and he let me feel the hat he was working on(silk and merino) and then he let me feel his hand-knitted scarf (muskox from the North West Territories) and then he admired my Kipling knapsack so I offered him a feel of it (parachute material, very light, very old) and he searched on line for one like it as he loved it. And he told me of a sealskin mitten workshop happening at the end of the month, and I told him about my story shawls that I create and we had such a lovely time. And then my realtor arrived and I never even found out what my new friend's name was.

Or maybe it was just one of those jewels of a connection and should lie where it is, you know?

I mean it's kinda special when you get to feel a stranger's clothes and can ooh and aah together over the sensuous nature of beautiful material, right?

Where do you take it from there?

Thursday, January 04, 2018


From my mother I inherited thick hair and good skin.

I also inherited her love of music, live theatre and reading along with a passion for needlework: sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery. She was skilled in all 4 of these disciplines, I in but 2 but she would tell you that I exceeded her ability in those two: knitting and sewing as I took them further into designing.

She was a woman of her time, born in rural Ireland in 1914, traumatized by the explosion of her village barracks ("it shook the ground I was playing on") in 1920 when she was 6 resulting in her becoming a life long Irish republican. She was self-educated and was managing a large grocery store when she married at 28, thus thwarting any further ambition of her own {"he wore me down"). It didn't kill her thirst for learning and she could converse readily on the novels of Charles Dickens. She took advanced cooking classes and singing lessons when she was in her forties.

She found it easy to make friendships, her outgoing personality and overall petite prettiness and "style" attracted even strangers drawn to share their confidences with her.

She knew quality from a mile away and would advocate owning only a little quality versus a lot of cheap trash. She loved roses and hydrangeas and field mushrooms and blackberries and the sea. No matter the temperature of the water, she'd take one sight of the sea and before we could blink, her ever-ready swimsuit was on her and she'd be diving in, breathless, waving her arms telling her shivering children: "it's lovely, you'll warm up in no time!"

She was a true gameball as we Irish say.

From my father I inherited bright blue eyes and one of those faces that shows visible displeasure when things are "not going our way."

I also inherited his love of words, new ones, old ones, complicated ones, words with multiple meanings and interpretations, words of obscure etymologies.

He gave me my first library card when I was 4 (he taught me to read) and our routine, every night after tea till I was at least 14, was that I'd sit on the arm of his easy chair and we'd complete the Evening Echo crossword together. I learned about newts and tors and bitterns. Later we played Scrabble and when we traveled together in later years we packed the Scrabble board for our after dinner game. Once, he bought a beautiful hand crafted turntable in a prison workshop in Maine which I still use for Scrabble.

He taught me knitting - he had 5 older sisters and had observed them. I remember his patience one time in a wool shop in Camden when I took hours poring over obscure old knitting patterns talking to him about Guernseys (ganseys) and Jersey fishermen sweaters and Aran patterns and Shetland wedding ring shawls and convent lacework.

I asked him once what he would have done with his life if he had the resources. He answered without hesitation: "I'd have created new varieties of roses."

I was gobsmacked.

And then I realized, for the very first time, how he and my mother were drawn to each other.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Rules

I saw this on a fellow writer's FB wall and thought, my gawd, I should have it painted, large, in black caps, in my walls. Seriously.

I can't believe how one simple task on my to do list today can expand to 4 hours, as I wander the corridors of the interwebz, slamming up against online Walmart, then into Ravelry for the perfect wool for an infant aran sweater, then pick up a piece of knitting for a friend and mull the shortage of yarn in the expensive wool she bought for this "slouch" hat she commissioned. There wouldn't be too much slouch so I dove into my wool stash for a kinda match and eureka, found it and test drove it a few rows. Then there was this picture needed framing so I played hunt the hammer for a while, studied the picture (I had several knitting pics enlarged and printed and oh my, are they gorgeous) to see where trimming could happen, abandoned that, picked up a marvelous book, a gift and I don't know from whom as s/didn't sign it and made notes for expansion on an existing novel.

Exhausted from all the activity, I had to go back to my list to see what the original task was:"send off self-potrait and short biography to Writers' Alliance.

Still not done.

But hey, look at my knitting, a gift of a lovely picture and my book bag, another gift.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hollywood vs Real Life

I've wanted to post about this topic for a while. Being weaned on movies (pictures) in my life, the black and white of character depiction by Hollywood was a belief I held for a long time. Bad guy/woman = no redeeming features. Good guy/woman = no dark side.

I remember seeing a play. The Steward of Christendom (in the Abbey in Dublin) that showed a bad guy ( a male nurse) mistreating an elderly patient in a psychiatric home. In the second act it showed the bad guy being superbly kind. No one, truly, is all bad or all good, in spite of Hollywood. That play has stuck with me over the years.

I took a workshop with an older woman in Toronto a few years ago. It was about exploring all of ourselves, loving the inner, exploring our own darkness. At one point she said: "There's a Paul Bernardo within all of us." It gave me a chill. Us participants looked around at each other and then slowly nodded. Of course there is. Most of us can squelch those murderous thoughts, but a very few act them out.

Which is all in the way of saying I had a problem with my unsold salt box box. There was a bad storm this past Sunday and a large branch broke off a tree and caught a wire which in turn was fastened to a corner of my house. The wire came down, taking with it a part of my roof.

I called the power company who were on it right away. They called me when they were on site to tell me it was a telephone wire that had downed. I called the telephone company who, fortunately, came the following day and disconnected the wire. I texted a good friend to request that he check out my property to ensure there were no further hazards. *Crickets*. That surprised me.

So nothing for it but to travel out to my old house to inspect things myself. There are other friends out there but for reasons I won't get into I didn't like to ask.

So I'm out back, loading my regular tires into the garage to await the spring, when who should appear on my meadow but Cathedral Man. all chatty and smiley.

My first reaction was to go sour and vinegary but then I thought, shyte, no. What a waste of anger and frustration. He asked me why the house wasn't selling and I mentioned the Cathedral. He looked genuinely surprised. Well. I then mentioned the wire and the corner of the roof. "We noticed that had come down," he said. Well. I responded I was upset about it.

"Let me go get a ladder and fix that all up for you, right as rain," he said. And he did.

And I thanked him. And thanked him again. And he said it was nothing.

See what I mean?

Thursday, December 14, 2017


'Tis easy indeed to focus on the challenges, the negativity, the scarcity.

Today, I focus on the positive, the intangibles and tangibles.

I find it helpful to take a look at the life I'm living from the perspective of a stranger looking in.

I had a giggle in the hall yesterday with a woman who admired the fact I was driving still. She only drives in the summer. I said rain was a challenge in the short days when night descended so rapidly. She agreed. I asked where she was off to. She said she was a champion dart player and was off to claim a prize and free dinner. Dressed to the nines she was. She said: I think I'll beat their darty asses for another 10 years. She volunteered she was 84. I loved her spirit.

I'm still one of the "babies" in this building which makes me smile.

I found this delicious white fur coat (fake fur) at the SPCA thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. It had the tags still on it at $225 and I got it for $20. It was one of those mad purchases (internal dialogue: white? white? Are you insane?) but every time I wear it - for a fancy dinner with a Toronto friend, to a marvelous potluck dinner on Sunday, to my book club luncheon on Monday, I feel like a movie star. And the reactions? Everyone comments, even strangers. (OMG, the coat, that coat!). Best $20 I spent in a long time.

Daughter booked us dinner on Xmas day in one of the fancy hotels here. We had a bit of a hunt as Christmas is a sacrament in this province (aggressive Merry Christmas pronouncements, Jesus' birthday donchaknow, etc., no understanding of other faiths celebrating during the same timeframe, and oh horror, you're a pagan/atheist, Satan stay away from me, etc. Along with the most outrageous consumption of material crap I've ever witnessed and the most deadly and ugly driving to get at it.

So to find this civilized hotel was amazing. We would do this in Toronto on Christmas Day and often take a movie in too (exnay on a movie here, unfortunately). Delighted we are.

A dear friend in New York sent me an outrageously flamboyant poinsettia. Her story of how she managed to order it and have it delivered to me is a long blog post unto itself. And to top this off, in the mail today was the most beautiful hand designed silk scarf from her. I am so touched.

Grandgirl called me from Cambodia where she is stationed for a while and we chatted for 2 hours. I feel so very blessed with her in my life. She is one fascinating young woman and we have a wealth of commonality in our interests.

So conversely, on the downside, the last windstorm took down a large tree branch at my unsold outport saltbox house which snagged a wire which pulled down a corner of my roof and left a mess across the meadow. The power company is getting there today. I was so upset yesterday when I was there and felt quite powerless. Even more upset when I realized that a few were working on the Cathedral next door and hadn't bothered to report it themselves or to me. The inhumanity of these prominent churchy people who want my house for a song, continues to astonish me. Long may I be surprised as to be cynical and hating doesn't serve me well.

I am working on submitting a play to the Women's Work Festival. I'd written this play a while ago but was unable to get it produced in the outports. Maybe I'll have more luck in St. John's, the Big Small Smoke.

I must say I love living here in St. John's.

It's a rebirth of the finest kind.

Friday, December 08, 2017


I had very strange dream last night where the theme was displacement. A series of problems cropped up and the answers were given to me by the many, past and present in my life, standing around me. We were on a cliff looking down at the strand below as the waves gently rolled in and out.

One of the many problems I had was having a baby and not knowing what to do with her and asking those around me for help. The answer came back: displacement

Another was the feeling of homelessness, I knew there was no home and never would be. Displacement.

Some of those surrounding me had long passed. And I knew this and it was OK.

As they all uttered this one word at me every time I shared my feelings or posed a question, I remember tuning them out and looking down at the strand, this long stretch of unlimited pristine sand, and thinking: I need to get down there. I need to make my own footprints, I need to place myself. Ill find my own answers to these complex questions.

I found it a powerful dream. My missing daughter's birthday is tomorrow. December is a fraught month for me. I despise all this Christmas cheer and massive consumerism. Somewhere along the way the message of quiet, peace and reflection was lost. Solstice helps. The coming of the Light and gratitude, the welcoming of another season of renewal.

I have a sense of unease, not unlike the theme of Displacement. Home is an internal feeling I seem to have lost.

My dream needs no intense analysis.

Displacement is a theme running loud and clear through my entire family of origin.

Do any of you out there have a strong, anchored feeling of "place"?

Monday, December 04, 2017

Blog Jam

A long time blog friend passed a few days ago. It's a wrench and particularly so in Marianne's case as we sang from the same page of the political and feminist song-book. Her posts and her comments were incisive, intelligent, wise and compassionate. She went far too quickly, but comfortably, at home and in the warmth of her family. She joined the ranks of quite a few of my blogmates who have passed. Time from diagnosis to death has been swift and unrelenting in the cases of the many, both in real life and in internet life, who have departed my world in the last few years. And their losses never get easier.

I find I wrap up most of this grief in the void that Ansa has left. I only realized this recently when I was in the car and I saw a dog that looked like her and I was overwhelmed with sobs. Unreasonably I felt. But I learned from grief therapy that this is often the case with us mourners. We will find something that triggers a whopping outpouring but it's yelling into the void of pain and absence of the many. Of all, I think. Opening up every single loss. This is one of the reasons why so many seniors gamble and drink as the stats are simply frightening. Undealt with grief and depression would be a foundation for this I would speculate but it would be enlightening if more studies were funded on this possible correlation.

Daughter and I fielded a table of our wares on the weekend at a fair. We sold a little but boy I felt it when people raced through my prints and knitting and jams without comment or question. Surprisingly, a shot I took of a miniature village a few years back was the hot item as the old man who created and built it tore it all down after a couple of tourists banged on his door. He was over 90 and terrified and thought he'd stop this harassment if he destroyed his magnificent work of art. I know, sad. But I'm still getting calls from people who heard about this picture and want a copy. It is large, 11"X 14" but captures the sense of the beautiful wee village of Oderin. It was where the old man grew up. The residents there were resettled as happened a lot in rural/outport Newfoundland but his heart remained in the idyllic place now long abandoned and forgotten. But not by him as he painstakingly recreated it.

Here it is in video format:

Sunday, November 26, 2017


The Table - looking into the kitchen. More photos to follow.

They can be positive or negative.

The biggest adjustment to both my new life and my health challenges is the lack of energy. I've always been a high energy person, whether internally or externally. Reading voraciously, loving live theatre, concert halls, performances. Hiking, travelling, racing,spontaneous walks, etc.

Now the lack of energy has me parceling out activities or performing trade-offs. If I shop today I can't run around later to visit so-and-so. If I write today I'll be wiped in the afternoon. Or working out a new design means I can't start the new book.

I was completely frustrated and hopeless for a while until I took the time to redesign my new space and go against the grain of popular opinion and have the old long dining room table moved from the house to the apartment. This simple task has opened up my new life in ways I couldn't have predicted. I find this new multi-use space invites flowers. And a candle and lamps for close work. I've never been much of a couch person. I like a table, the bigger the better. I sit here a lot, read, have my meals looking out at the view, everything is close at hand. Instead of making the space smaller it has opened it up.

Thinking outside the box when re configuring a downsized life is very helpful. I've observed a few apartments here and see that they are crammed with relics of the past. Huge china cabinets, tea trolleys, overstuffed furniture, massive bedroom suites. If that is what gives one comfort then go for it. But I like the reinvention of who I am now. Yes, I have to safeguard my energy and calculate the expenditure of it during the day.

In the common hall outside I hung some of my artwork and a little sculpture I made with knitting wool and needles and a few owls, one is a small vase filled with fresh flowers that I hope to replenish every few weeks. A bunch of flowers purchased late on a Saturday night costs under $5.00 (full price $10.99) who knew?

Some of you thought I was upset about leaving the salt box house in its wee paradise of land and ocean and woods. I tried to summon up some feelings when the fellahs were taking apart the dining room table prior to moving it. I stood in that dining room, summoning up all the dinner parties and brunches and convos held around it.

And you know what? There wasn't one shred of sentiment in me.

I was done.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Toilet Plunger

One of my prints for sale at the Craft Fair.

Eye catching heading, right?

You don't pack an old used one, right? I mean a toilet plunger is married to your toilet for life, until breakage or punctures doth part them.

And somehow you don't think of buying one before a problem strikes in any new dwelling either.

Odd that we don't think of ever knocking on anyone's door either asking to borrow a toilet plunger? I mean it's so personal, isn't it? It would be like breaking up the marriage of it and its toilet.

So the city. 24 hour shops. I'd forgotten. I can go out and get a toilet plunger at any time ($1.59).

So now my toilet and plunger are married. Tell death part them.

Memory Lapses

Do you get weird ones?

I do.

I did my laundry early the other day and I like to sort it into drawers and shelves right away. So it's night and I knew I had washed 3 pairs of PJs and do you think I could find them? No. I checked everywhere, even trotting down the hall to the laundry room (gorgeous spot by the way with a reading nook and desk in a wee sun room off the laundry room). No sight nor sound. Checked every drawer, every shelf, every closet. No PJs. I haven't been utterly baffled in a long time, and a little frightened too. What was wrong with me? The following day I'm tossing some dirty tea towels into my laundry hamper and lo and behold, I'd gently placed the neatly folded nightwear into the dirty laundry bin. No recollection. And still don't. Maybe I should be scared?



I found one of those collapsible luggage carts in a Goodwill style store. $4.99. Strong and sturdy. With my challenges in walking and carrying I've found this little unit amazing for hauling stuff around. We don't have a garbage chute and the outside garbage bins placed strategically at various points around the building is still an Everest to me. But this wee cart? It's a workhorse with the bungee cord. I've hauled out an old light knapsack for small grocery trips. And I have a well used Kipling smaller knapsack for every day use. It broke my heart to rid myself of some lovely Roots hand gear but I couldn't handle the weight of any of them so in to the Goodwill bag the went for donation. Someone will be thrilled.


House update

I'm meeting with my agent tomorrow to drop the price again. Depressing, I know, but needs must. Someone's going to get a great bargain.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Moving In and On

The view from my living room window

Over the years, apart from my precious Daughter and Grandgirl, I find that it is my friends who offer the most support and comfort and downright consoling when things get rough.

I don't like to lay too much on Daughter or Grandgirl, they have their own lives to live and their own troubles which they are more than welcome to lay on me.

A dear friend called me last week. She's quite the traveler and gallops around the world frequently. I must have gone on a bit of a whine about my health and the Cathedral and my worries, catch me on a down day and I'll fill one of your ears with my woes and the next day she calls me again and tells me she's booked a flight and she's staying for 3 days and find her a place to stay. I have a friend with an AirBnb in St. John's, a gorgeous terrace house on an old street, cheap digs that she'll have all to herself, so in we booked her. I am so delighted, she is a tonic, this brave soul, has beaten cancer a few times and has her own share of troubles but has that gift of curiosity and love of life and incredible loyalty to her friends. Once friends, you're friends for life. So she arrives on November 27th. She was the friend who flew in from Spain to catch my play in Ireland in 2012. I find this one act of kindness has lifted me like nothing else. All we need sometimes is a shoulder to lean on, yeah?

A cousin and I connected out of the blue and it is a powerful bond with similar histories of violence and disconnection from current family members. Goosebumps: this common thread of estrangement and distance and shunning, the theme of our dysfunctional clan. Therapy has helped both of us to just deal and protect ourselves from further abuse. This is like a breath of fresh air in my life and so unexpected.

Daughter rented a table for us both at a Craft Fair in early December So I'm busy crafting. I've ordered prints of some of my photos, the ones that have sold out a few times. This should be fun, just being with others who also sell their wares and making some coin. I'm considering taking orders for story shawls. A lot of work but there is an interest.

So here I am on a Saturday night. Remembrance Day. Poppy Day.

All is calm.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Downsizing 101

You know, all the books you read, the plans you draw up, the discard piles, the maybe piles, the WTF piles, the definitely moving with me piles? Garbage. At least for this downsizer.

To give you an idea: 5 bedroom house (granted, small wee rooms), 3 very large halls (I know, ironic), kitchen, dining room, family room, office, bathroom and oh yes, the Tigeen, garage, barn and shed. All to be condensed down to a 1 bedroom apartment with its own largish locker en suite.

First of all I should mention I am ecstatic that I moved. It took me approximately 2 minutes to adjust to city living. The location helps, overlooking lake and ocean and Signal Hill in the distance, plonked right in the middle of my living room window. Cars drive up here at night and park to drink in the night lights.

So that went well.

But stuff.

I took my largish sofa but left the over sized chair that went with it. I took my hand-painted decorative but functional small round table and its adorable chair from the craft room. Mistake.

I took my small antique lady's desk with needlepoint chair - desk fine but hello chair, what was I thinking?

What shocks me is that I carefully measured a space where one of the kitchen arches opens to the living room and realize my custom-made 90" long dining room table from the house will fit lengthwise across the space providing multiple uses: a craft table, design table, a sitting baking table and an eating, reading table and entertain a few in a pinch. Daughter rolls her eyes at this. But I know in my bones it will work. For me. I like to spread my wools and graph paper and my finished creations and my writing projects all about me.

My worries remain and ebb and flow. The house remains unsold, the Cathedral looms over it, unfinished, with garbage tossed all around it. The For Sale sign keeps being kicked and smashed. Potential purchasers still visit and bolt for the hills once they see the Cathedral even though forewarned and shown pictures.

I've been looking for a wee job. I hate to do this, feeling ill about it actually, but needs must. As long as it doesn't involve standing for any length of time, I'll be OK.

My retirement fund in the shape of the good equity in my home has evaporated like smoke. A friend's son said yesterday he's never seen elder abuse like this. And it stopped me in my tracks. Of course it's elder abuse. An elderly infirm woman being victimized deliberately by the wealthiest landowner in the town so he can pick up her property for a song. Like he's done many times before. But it's an old story, time and time again, being repeated everywhere. I'm powerless to do anything as he's within his rights, I couldn't get zoning laws put in place for the town because his family members are on council.

But I try not to brood on the downside of all of this.

Just do the next right thing.

And try desperately not to look backwards.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The Formerly Outraged Granny Part 7

As one wise comment on a previous post said: when we're older we have to conserve our energies and really choose our battles. I am so very glad that I did fight this one, particularly in light of many elders who do not, or choose not, or feel so defeated and demeaned, that they don't take on a large corporation with any hope that their voices will be heard.

Well, hats off to Toyota because my voice was heard. I am certainly glad I did write these posts and forwarded them on to Toyota Head Office.

The response at the dealership level was extraordinarily courteous and respectful and satisfying and apologetic.

I thought I was beyond having a love affair with a car. But. This. Car.

She is a sparkling deep blue like the three sapphires that sparkled on a ring I had way back. I don't think there's a bell and whistle she's missing, from automatic headlights and dimmers to heated seats and crash prevention camera to cruise control to line crossing alert. And yes of course air-conditioning. I'm forgetting all the features. I drove around in her like a teenager after the sales manager had given me the internal tour of the car for half an hour, setting up blue tooth and Ipod and treating me so well it just about erased all the bad vibes and ill treatments I'd received a month or so ago.

I get a lot of sideways drivers' gapes at her. She's such a little beauty.

To say I'm pleased is an understatement.

My faith in responsible corporations is restored.

Toyota: you rock, you seriously rock.

Sapphie and I are going to be very, very happy together.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Outraged Granny Part 6

A brief update as I've been flying back and forth with this move of mine:

I will post in more detail but it looks very much like Toyota are being:

(1)Totally honest and apologetic with me in what happened

(2)A new car is on its way to me to replace the new one I have

(3)It has got all the features I had in my old car + +

So like Granny said: the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it.

I will update once I've got the new ride.

And seriously, their honesty blew me out of the water.

I just might be ready to kiss and makeup and abandon the divorce papers.