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Wednesday 30 January 2019

A few scuffs

Our granddaughters love to dance. They do ballet, modern, step and tap dance and take to the floor for anything from classical music to jigs and reels. Our daughter and I love to play Newfoundland music for them, especially jigs. We all join in for a scuff, a dance in Newfoundland vernacular. The youngest, Owen, has a few scuffs any time he hears the music. However, he isn’t the only one. Even Georgie, the golden retriever, joins in.

In the photo, she watched as we danced. When the next song started, she sat in front of me and jumped up to place her front paws on my shoulders and danced around with me. She joins in all the time now too.

It appears many creatures, including gulls which are abundant along the coast of Newfoundland, enjoy a few scuffs as well. They dance like Owen.

Check it out.

Monday 28 January 2019

Winter blahs

This winter is keeping me inside. The weather has been bitterly cold, then mild, snow alternating with rain. It is icy and dangerous to walk without ice grips. I have several kinds of those but each feels like I’m walking on spikes, so I’ve been confined to the house for the most part.

How does one stay busy at home? Books, movies and exercise have filled some time but I’ve even resorted to housework! I am on the verge of uttering the word ‘bored.’

There are few things in life I hate more than housework. I know, I should be grateful I have a house to work at and I am. However I would rather do anything than clean an oven, wash a floor or dust! 

Dusting requires the movement of stuff on tables, counters and mantles. I am glad I don’t like many knick-knacks so there isn’t much to move and dust. However, even great Gran’s vase is getting the critical eye these days. 

Meanwhile, I am giving serious consideration to the sentiment below as this winter confinement continues.

Friday 25 January 2019

The bulb

The roots erupt a few hours after the bottom of the bulb touches the water. We watch with interest as the roots lengthen every day, the pure white tendrils answering the call of gravity.

Meanwhile, above water, the top of the bulb erupts with green which grows day to day. Before long the center of the bulb looks different, not merely expanding leaves. As it grows, it is apparent blossoms are curled inside and over a few days, they open.


The transformation is complete. A small plant sits on the table where it absorbs sufficient light.

However, this small plant demands attention. Walking downstairs towards the table, one is immersed in hyacinth-scented air. It fills the living room and wafts into the kitchen. The blooms last a week 

and the scent lingers for a day after the plant becomes compost. For the two to three weeks it grew and bloomed, it was impressive.

There is a lesson here.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

The thought

It happened as if in slow motion. I could see the little two year old body as it rolled over the stairs, stopped at the bottom and cried, loudly. Sylvie had fallen.

It started out with tickles and laughter in her room, playing pretend sand castles on the floor of her bedroom. My mother’s words jumped into my head. Any time
my brother and I did the same, Mom always said it would end with someone crying. Sylvie and I were just tickling surely.  Nothing could happen. 

Sylvie ran ahead to the stairs as the dog and I followed. I remember thinking that the dog should wait to go down the stairs so as not to trip Sylvie. Then the toddler turned and lost her footing. My mind processed the tumble in slow motion but in reality, the tiny frame quickly hit various places on each step.

Her father scooped her up and he and our daughter checked her out. A large lump appeared almost instantly on her forehead. The hospital was the only option.

I became busy with baby sister, Caitlin which was a good distraction. Every detail is etched in my mind. She smiled her way through her bath and reached repeatedly for the book during story time. She cried a few seconds then quietly watched and listened to the crib toys as I turned out the light. I circled the main floor numerous times, trailed by Georgie, the golden retriever.

Finally they were home and everything was fine. They had to watch Sylvie closely for the next few hours and monitor for the next 72. She was sleepy as it was well past her bedtime. As my husband and I drove home, I was on the verge of tears, felt weak, tired and overcome by the experience. A sudden deep weariness came over me. 

Besides being extra careful around stairs with the kids, the next time my mother's words reverberated in my head, I paid more attention! 

Monday 21 January 2019

The wild ride

The poet, Mary Oliver died this past week. Mary, a prolific writer, wrote about animal life and the natural environment. She wrote:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I felt challenged to answer.

The candles on the cake have been blown out for another year while the days rush by. 

It feel like I’m on a raft in fast moving rapids, the white water bubbling all around me as I float along. 

Time slips by just as quickly and I have no control over it.

There are added dangers along the way. 

Rocks appear every now and again, protruding from the water, adding to the danger already present.

Periodically a low hanging branch over the river requires a quick manoeuvre. 

Yet on I go, carried by the relentless current of time. 

And though it can be scary, it is invigorating and exciting too.

Others are my raft. 

Family and friends keep me above water and catch me when I fall.

The current is slowing with each set of candles however. 

Still, the anticipation of what’s around the next bend keeps me going. 

I look forward, knowing the raft is solid even though I may falter.

I am going to hold on to that raft until it takes me to the sea,

While I soak up every bit of sun I can, lathered in sun screen.

I revel in the beauty along the shore, from the tiniest creatures to the highest mountains. 

And as the current slows, the sea spreads before me and I float into the great beyond, I will smile, knowing I have loved and been loved.

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,