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Friday, 18 January 2019

The usual subjects

It’s been bitterly cold, with “feels like” temperatures in the -20s Celsius, so we haven’t done much walking outdoors which is our preferred place to walk. However, one calm day, we ventured to the boardwalk in Summerside to see the usual creatures who make their homes along its length. They did not disappoint.

Male and female Mallards floated along in the stream which has frozen and thawed several times this year already. 

Early last month, what may have been this same two, swam in open water, unimpeded by ice along the margins of the stream.

A flock of Blue jays was quite active. I counted fourteen at one time, flying around the bridge where admirers leave peanuts. Try as I may, I was unable to capture any more than one at a time. 

The white abdominal feathers look downy compared to the tail and wing feathers. The blue and white markings on the wings were dabbed on by the Maker’s paint brush. The head crest and the black chin strap added the final touches to their richness.

A Red squirrel appeared to bow after he ate some of the seeds offered by another walker. 

He scurried along the railing, watching, then approaching any new walkers who happened by.

A Mourning dove fluffed its feathers as it sat watching the scene, waiting for the opportunity to feed on the last of the seeds when the more aggressive birds were finished.

It looked twice it’s size fluffed up on the branch as it kept warm. The soft colours on its underside were pronounced from that position.

And finally, a female Hairy woodpecker made an appearance as we approached the end of the bridge. 

She was looking for peanuts and hopped along the railing and down the sides of the bridge with ease. The spots and bars on her wings made me curious to see the markings whilst she was in flight. She is a sturdy looking creature!

A sparrow approached the bridge as well, but it was too fast for photographs. Some varieties of sparrows stay on the island for the winter though this is the first one I’ve seen.

I always enjoy the time with the animals along the boardwalk and think about them during the bitterly cold weather every winter. They manage to survive and even thrive though with the help of their human friends.

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,