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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Coffee break

We hadn’t seen each other in a while so a catch-up chat over coffee was long overdue. It was a cold windy day and our old bones rebelled against the damp cold. It was comforting to have a hot cup of coffee and a chat with a friend.

We always talk about our children and grandchildren, catching up on the adventures of each child and grandchild. There is much to share as the young families are active with careers and activities. The children enrich our lives immensely and we are fortunate to live near them.

At our age, we have lots to discuss regarding our health. Arthritis, dental work, physiotherapy, digestive issues all make the agenda these days. Medical specialists, diet and exercise are discussed too. Changes in our aging bodies give us some concerns and a few laughs besides. Life at this age involves adaptation to an ever changing body. We are like teenagers in some ways!

Each of us has been married a long time, so we always share news of our spouses. We married home bodies who enjoy puttering around the house rather than socializing, which is fine with us. However, we like to be a bit more social.

Death of friends and family, as well as illness and prognosis always find their way into our conversations. Our aging friends and relatives are dealing with serious health issues or terminal diagnoses. We lose people we treasure all the time now.

The walls of this shop have heard every story, from its years as a coffee house to its days as a bank. Stories shared among friends have filled the crevices over the years and others fill the air this day.

Nearby, a group of older teens spoke about a party and their plans for the weekend. Three middle-aged sisters discussed their aging mother and how she was doing. An older couple spoke about an up-coming trip to see the grandkids living in Ontario.

On a coffee break thirty years ago, we would have included discussion about careers and vacations to far away places. Now, the careers are distant memories and those type of vacations are less important. Health issues were not a concern years ago and we had few discussions of deaths. We have been fortunate.

For now, we are able to meet and enjoy each other’s company so we planned the next coffee break before we parted. One day, others will fill that time and space and our voices will be added to the verbal archive in the walls. Meanwhile, we enjoy every minute around a good cup of coffee.

Monday, 14 January 2019


It was the morning after a storm and the driveway was plowed. While my husband shovelled the walk, I left to do several errands that couldn’t wait. The roads were rough and icy from the freezing rain which had left a layer of ice under snow. I was cautious.

The main road was straight ahead and there were no vehicles on the road ahead of me. Suddenly a car pulled out of a side street on the driver’s side of my car, almost into my vehicle. I drive a compact. This one was a full size model which you don’t see much anymore. 

I reacted immediately, and swerved to the right, away from the other vehicle. Had I not, he would have severely damaged my car and injured me. The other driver did not react at all, just kept going. I hit the ice and after several tense moments slipping around, I stopped just short of a pile of snow near the end of a driveway. The other driver was gone.

I paused for a few moments to collect myself. It had been totally unexpected and shocking. I was lucky.

I saw the other vehicle at a nearby intersection afterwards. The driver was an elderly man, older than me. I thought of my mother as I waited for the light to change.

Mom, at 79 was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm which couldn’t be repaired. She was still driving up to that point and after the unsuccessful surgery, the doctor said she couldn’t drive for six weeks. My brother and I were concerned about her driving at all with the aneurysm, a ticking time bomb, which would probably take her life quickly without much warning. We had to find a way to discuss it with her.

We didn’t have to worry though. Before she left the hospital, Mom told us she wasn’t going to drive any more despite what the doctor had said. She didn’t want to endanger any passengers, other drivers or pedestrians if the aneurysm should rupture while she was on the road.

I was with Mom when the aneurysm took her life quite suddenly. She would not have been able to control a car in those circumstances. The wonder is the doctor hadn’t said the same to her. Luckily she’d had the good judgement to know the difference and take herself off the road.

I hope as I age, I will, like my mother, know when it is time to hang up the car keys.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Foggy morning

Every second Saturday, I take my five year old granddaughter to her ballet class. The forty-five minute wait gives me little time to do much, so when weather permits, I walk on the nearby boardwalk.

Last Saturday morning, it was foggy. Fog over a snowy landscape is not common here but when it happens, it is a calm, damp day.

The views from the gazebo 

and the bridge were limited as I headed out. 

As I proceeded, the fog began to dissipate, making the lighthouse across the harbour just visible through the mist. 

                                             Can you see the lighthouse?

Twenty minutes later, when I arrived back at the bridge, there was a noticeable difference in the view.

It doesn’t take long for fog to disappear when conditions are right.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Happy 2019

It’s been almost three weeks since I posted and another year has begun. We had a green Christmas for the most part in Summerside. The snow we had before Christmas disappeared with torrential rain and warmer temperatures. Now it’s back again and so is the cold.

My husband and I had a great Christmas with our daughter and the kids after a reminder of how quickly life can change. We woke Christmas morning to the youngest grandchild, Owen, as limp as a rag doll. 

Our daughter, a nurse, rushed him to the hospital where they determined he was fighting a virus and had low blood sugar. A day and a half later, after iv fluids, they were home again to celebrate Christmas. It was a scary time for everyone, even his two young sisters. 

I am usually aware of living in the moment, not taking experiences for granted. My husband and I, as seniors, don’t expect to live as long as the younger members of our family. However, Christmas morning was a reminder of the fragile thread which holds each of us to this planet, regardless of age. 

Each moment is a precious gift to be savoured. May we all enjoy the gift of 2019.

P.S. Thank you for the suggestions regarding my problems with Blogspot. While everything is still not perfect, I had the most success when I turned off Google+ as suggested by The Happy Whisk,

Friday, 21 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays. I hope, over the next few weeks, you have the opportunity to spend time with people you love.

For the first time in five years, I am taking a break from my blog. It is hard to let go after five years of at least three posts a week. The habit will be a hard one to break, even briefly. 

Part of the reason for the break has to do with my frustration with Blogger. I cannot respond to people on my blog any more and for days at a time I can’t comment on other blogs. Sometimes I have a few minutes to make comments for days of posts. I have reported the problem numerous times to no avail and tried different fixes suggested by other bloggers. I enjoyed both of these aspects of the program and the frustration, with the writing and photography is too much for now. The weather and the busy season haven’t helped either. I will continue to follow my favourite blogs and comment during the brief windows of opportunity I have to do so. I hope to be back in the new year. 

For now, take care.


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Hungry animals

There were few walkers along the boardwalk. It was after 3 p.m. and many of the regulars to the area had been there already. The sun was headed to the horizon in the next hour. 

I was alone as I did the usual trek in silence, except for the sounds of the birds. They were busy feeding on the seeds and peanuts left by the earlier walkers and chatting amongst themselves. Even a woodpecker made an appearance.

I had forgotten to take the seeds from the car. The birds didn’t know that. The blue jays were in the trees around the bridge, some puffed up, warming the captured air around their bodies. 

They watched every move I made, ready to swoop by if more food appeared.

At least eight chickadees came around as I stopped on the bridge to look for muskrats in the water below. These Black-capped chickadees hopped along the railing, approaching as I stood there. I reached into my pockets for a tissue and the tiny birds took flight around me. I could hear the vibrations of their wings as they circled. They expected sunflower seeds. It was impossible to take photos of the swarm however. I held up my empty hands and off they flew. I captured a photo when one landed.

Someone had attached a new feeder to the bridge railing, replacing a feeder destroyed by the recent storms. A young squirrel was busy eating seeds in the house-like structure, but he paused long enough to see if I had any peanuts to offer. His presence kept the chickadees away from the feeder.

I stood on the gazebo to take in the scene. It was too cold to wait for the magical moments of sunset. Another day!

Monday, 17 December 2018

Seafood anyone?

We purchase our seafood from a local fishmonger and on our latest visit, he gave me a package of smelts. Neither my husband nor I had ever eaten smelt, though we see the fishing shacks, used for that fishery, on the ice here every winter.

Though we are both Newfoundlanders, we were not familiar with smelts, though they resemble capelin, which we know well.

When it comes to Prince Edward Island customs and traditions, I rely on our friend, Eleanor. She is originally from the lower north shore of Quebec, along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, from a small community called St. Augustine. Her paternal grandfather was from Newfoundland too. However Eleanor married Eldon, who was originally from Prince Edward Island and has lived here for many years. She knows this island and is a wonderful cook.

Eleanor was familiar with smelts from growing up in St. Augustine, where fishing for smelts in the winter is similar to this island. There too, fish shacks are hauled onto the ice and lines are jigged through the ice for the tiny fish. Eleanor gave me a smelt cooking lesson and we had a seafood feast.

I made scallops martini which is scallops in a vodka marinade. 

Eleanor made fish cakes out of salt fish which is our favourite.

I cooked shrimp and Eleanor fried the smelts or white fish as it’s called on the lower north shore of Quebec.

We had baked potato and another veg dish as well. And of course, we had dessert. 

The smelts in the package were cleaned which was a great bonus. We used a thin coating of flour and seasonings and gave the fish time to brown. The trick when eating them is to slice them through the dorsal fin along the back and open the fish to expose the backbone, which is then easy to remove. They are tasty fish which my husband and I both enjoyed.

We had way too much food, but leftovers for the next day are always great. Such a seafood meal is in keeping with our heritage, though my ancestors would have been lucky to have one type of seafood at a meal. And you can bet, there wasn’t any vodka for the scallops either!