Category Archives: Towntales

Feeling the morbs


This wonderful word was used in Victorian times to describe feeling downhearted. I’m all over the morbs today.

I find it hard to believe the bombing in Ukraine is actually happening. How is it we haven’t evolved past the need to pound innocents with weaponry? It is obscene.

I can’t help but visualize the poor mum’s and babes in the maternity hospital, being forced to shelter in the basement, the patients of all ages in the hospitals with nowhere to hide, no supplies, no oxygen.

It is astonishingly evil, this attack on Ukraine and like so much astonishing evil these days, we seem helpless to stop it. I had thought we had safeguards built into our governments, our processes, but no. It seems that in the face of malevolence, we are stunned, stuck in space.

I am frustrated by my inability to be much help. I refuse to enter into the social media humble-bragging about how “the news is depressing so I have to remind myself that I live in safety and have nice things” miasma, though. It seems smug at the least and quite inexcusably tone-deaf to tell people how happy and warm you are while people are being exploded into smithereens by war-crime quality bombing.

We privileged folks have always done this, while people in other parts of the world survive hell (or don’t). It needs to stop. We live a life of good things on the backs of those who provide it, often at their cost. I am typing this on an Apple phone, something for which I feel guilty though it’s an old version and I can alleviate some anxiety by remembering that.

I have a lucky life. I know this. It was a result of the land of my birth. If I’d been born in Ukraine, or the Sudan, life would not be as lucky. So let’s stop being smug about our accidental location, and do what we can to help those elsewhere. Please? We need some humanity, not aversion of heads.

UNITED WE STAND
FOR
UKRAINE

And once more into the fray, my friends


Tubercle bacillus

It only seems right to write about infectious diseases in this endless time of plague. As a retired nurse with an epidemiology degree, I’ve always been fascinated by infectious thingies, and particularly by the above, tuberculosis, the gift that keeps on giving.

We keep thinking it isn’t much of a problem. After all we have drugs, right? Well, we did, until the recent AIDS epidemic caused a huge TB upsurge and the boosting of medication resistant bacilli. It’s lurking, people, it’s lurking, and until we do something about poverty and housing overcrowding and all those upstream causes of illness, it’s going to lurk on.

And sooner or later it’s going to come back, in a more generally aggressive format. Because infectious things have to live, man, much as we wish they wouldn’t.

So, having recently moved to Kingston, ON, where my father spent some time in the TB Sanitarium after WW2, what could be more natural than to want to research and write about that time in history?

As I research, it was the TB treatments that lured me in – hellishly invasive, involving total body casting for months, cutting away ribs, deflating lungs, and so many painful procedures – and yet the death rate remained high despite this and months of enforced bedrest. It wasn’t a good diagnosis. I remember my dad’s brief reference to getting his news: “All of the nurses were crying…”

He was quite a charmer, my gentleman dad, so I believe the scene. He survived only to have it come back when he was being treated for cancer. Because it’s one of those diseases that lingers, hiding in the back alleyways of your body, waiting to be reenergized. Scary stuff, no?

But as I looked into that time period, more fascinating details opened before me. The end of the war was a tumultuous time here in wee Kingston – yes, the war ended, and the fallout from that, but also the changing face of medicine with better antibiotics, the movements around the many nursing schools here – at KGH, at the Dieu, at Queen’s, at the mental hospital, even at the San. The movement of women from industry back to the home as the war ended. The development of a professional nursing organization. The growth of industry, the arrival of the common car, so many many changes.

And still the nurses graduated with bouquets of roses and the nurses’ cap, earning their literal stripes as they progressed through the years. Nursing work hours started as inhumane, shifted to merely gruelling. Training was always about deportment as well as technical skills; as nurses were expected to be the embodiment of virtue as well as technically proficient, filled with common sense but still feminine enough to charm. Endless jokes about getting a Mrs. degree or being on the “fishing fleet” to capture a man from RMC floated about even in my day. A few nurses carried a banner to establish nursing as a lifelong career, instead of a stopgap until marriage. Many of them gained traction during these years.

It was a difficult role, and in my time in the late 1970’s at Queen’s as a nursing student, I was called onto the red carpet many a time for failing in one way or another. And at the end of the four years, our caps didn’t even have one stripe – we were to be distinguished from our non-university peers by the lack of a stripe, which of course made us look like their probationary nurses. Which seemed appropriate when I graduated – I felt as if I still had so much to learn! As I did. SO thankful for my mentors along the way.

I’m combining my experience as a student here in Kingston with my research and writing a story about a nursing student at KGH in the last of the war years of WW2 (I find it infinitely sad I have to specify the war). She’s plucky, but a bit of a failure as she starts, only knows that she wants to get away from her claustrophobic home and preacher father. Will her time at the Kingston Sanitarium working with the TB patients help her develop her confidence? Or will she find the man of her dreams and escape that way?

Time will tell.

And so…or waiting waiting waiting


We seem to be stuck in a holding pattern- stuck in a growing pandemic, stuck with the defeated US president clinging to power, even stuck in autumn- we’ve had warm weather here in Ontario and, though lovely, I can’t help but feel like winter is waiting on the edge, ready to spring.

It all reminds me of a time we were in the Everglades watching a nature scene take place before us. A frog was catching insects. A snake was watching the frog, ready to spring. An egret was watching the snake, preparing an attack, and behind the egret we could see the watchful eyes of an alligator, looking for dinner.

In one instant, the frog leapt for a big, the snake leapt for the frog, the egret pounced on the snake, and slurp, the food chain played out. Fortunately for the egret, the alligator was just that bit too slow, and missed taking his place at the top.

So here I am feeling a bit like that egret. Or is it the frog? Waiting for winter to leap and release the Covid virus again, all while knowing there’s a democratic confrontation awaiting in the wings to gobble the whole disaster up.

It’s unsettling.

Will the alligator be able to take the whole mass down? Or will we have a narrow escape as the egret did and fly away with a full tummy and the will to fight another day?

Or will everything leap forward and manage to continue unabated- winter, Covid, democracy-undoing…

In trying to remain optimistic, but I can feel the tension like the sound of a violin A string, scraping along the bow.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay


“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes
Watchin’ the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again..”

Ah, Otis. Such an apt description of my last weeks here in paradise (aka Nova Scotia). It has been perishingly hot and humid and I’ve been forced to sit, beached carp-like, gasping for breath as my MS and the humidity do their little dance.

And then, mid-August, the cool nights arrived, the decreasing dampness. It happens every year and it is always a surprising gift – people start to walk about again, there are some twinkling eyes above the inevitable masks, the mackerel are running and the dock is filled with men casting their hooks into the sea. Sometimes they even catch things…and I fall in love with the place again.How to Get to Dartmouth from Downtown Halifax – Discover Halifax

It’s been an odder time here, of course, what with the constant refrain “stay home, stay home”, mixed with the hymn of “get out and shop local” buzzing in my ears. I am overdue for a voyage across the harbour on my sweet ferry to see one of my favourite art galleries (Argyle Fine Art), but the whole idea seems so daunting after months of hiding out at home it requires loin-girding of an unusual degree.Argyle Fine Art | Downtown Halifax

So I sit on my balcony with its wonderful view of harbour happenings and the occasional street crime (this IS Dartmouth, after all) and watch the tide roll in and out and in.

My motivation isn’t helped by the fact that 90% of my belongings are packed. Including most of my clothing. I have, of course, chosen the things to leave out unwisely. Getting dressed to go out to do the “shop local” part of my inner dialogue is usually a melee of shirt and dress-tossing, trying to adapt to the changing weather – a shift of 15 degrees Celsius is common these days – and somehow I have hidden all the things that go together.

From muumuu to Miu Miu: Turning thrift-store rejects into cute ...My friends are kindly silent about my selections, bless them.

No matter. Tomorrow the junk company comes by to en-lighten (unnecessarily hyphenation added in honour of LD) me of a great many things (they say they will donate much of it and I am grateful, if slightly skeptical, but at this point, I just do not want to know). Today’s task is to complete the junk assembly into a digestible chunk. After that, I’m down to the last lingering few things…

And back to:

“I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time..”

I suppose there are worse ways to spend the next few days…

 

Waiting for the Tsunami, or Stay the F at home, already!


I know, staying at home (potentially with fighting children or that spouse you were barely tolerating at the best of times) is gruelling. I know. I have an eternally shedding/hair balling cat and you haven’t lived until you are woken up six nights out of seven with that horrible retching noise, followed by a bloom of vomit smell.

(I know. I’ve brushed him, fed him oils, tried to make him run around. But I digress…)

The thing is, we don’t have it that bad, we people at home. Think of where you could be. Like a prisoner in a long term care home, for example. Because that makes me quiver with terror and nightmares.

It’s bad enough being limited by physical disabilities and living with that trapped feeling, but imagine being physically limited, such that you could not be taken anywhere else because you need professionals to care for you, and watching as your home-mates start to fall with Covid-19…

Terrifying.

Because you know, without a doubt, that if you get this thing, it’s going to take you out, in a nasty brutish way. I hear it makes you feel like someone is standing on your chest and pulling your arms. I hear breathing becomes painful, wretched, impossible.

And to add to the wonder of the infection, you must also add the total isolation you will be in as you slowly, painfully leave this world. Alone.

Not that I ever wanted an audience for my last moments. Though I’ve been present at other’s ends and felt my presence was a comfort, so I might change my mind about that. But having no option for company as I gasp out my last few agonized breaths is a scary proposition. Options are good.

As are the options to get care. As a 60+ year old with multiple pre-existing conditions, I am probably not high priority for those scarce ventilators. But even I am higher on the list than many of my chums and definitely anyone in a care home. Those guys will just have to be let go.

And then there’s the life of the trapped health care workers. I remember from pandemic planning long ago that the only health care professions who were REQUIRED to show up to look after sick people were nurses. It’s a condition of our licensure, something about not abandoning patients. Lots of docs and other professions take their job equally seriously, but nurses are the only college required to be there, inhaling viruses and struggling through their own fatigue and overwhelming despair.

Bravo to them, to first responders (also tasked with being there, by god, no matter what) and all those who step up to the front as they can.

And yet, you healthy folks, you are still looking for loopholes, talking about sewing masks so you can go out in public as you will, sneaking into “speakeasies” in the UK, getting together with friends and family, “because it’s just us and I have to see the grandkids.”

Not needed

Shame, shame on those of you who selfishly insist on living life as normally as possible, going for recreational shopping, taking the kids for play dates, meeting friends for drinks. You may not realize this, but you are likely committing murder.

This is the time to actually get your head out of your own arse and look after the rest of the society. Do without for a bit. It won’t kill you to not meet up, especially with all the technology available. Stay away from the parks. Don’t play with power tools. (You won’t get that sawed off arm looked after)(or, more likely, you will, while someone’s grandfather dies in the bed next over.)

So, stop it. Know that you are increasing people’s risk. Know that people will die if you don’t. Some will die regardless, but the next time you head out to merrily break the rules, imagine yourself at the end of a hallway in a care home, as the virus creeps down the corridor towards you, as your former dining mates become absent, as the staff change over to new, uninfected people. As they tuck you into bed and you lie, alone, trying not to inhale the air or call for help or panic, trapped as you are in a bed as helpless as a turtle on its back, unable even to fully turn your head. As death walks down the hall on soft-tread feet, opening the door to your room, slowly, slowly, inevitably…

“Five minutes more…?” Or how whining like a three-year-old won’t help us stop the coronavirus.


219dhc

Back in the day before my freedom 50 plan took over and MS threw me out of the workforce, I used to be a nurse, epidemiologist, and health care manager. Many many years of study piled those degrees on me, and I still try to keep up to date.

I say all this because what I am going to say next might offend some, but I am coming from this background.

Stay the fecking well home!!!

Let’s stop this endless “Oh, I can still see my grandkids from across town”, or “there’s nothing wrong with taking the kids to play in the playground”, or “I just need to run into the mall for a few things.” I keep hearing and seeing this. One chipper lass even got on a plane KNOWING she was infected. Wow. That’s thoughtlessness to the max.

I see gatherings of people where social distancing isn’t happening, as have we all.

Please, just stop it. Stay home as much as possible. If you MUST go out for groceries, pick one family member to go alone. No dawdling. In and out and when you get home, wash your hands for a long long time.

Because this is the virus, seeing us refusing to take social distancing/isolation seriously:

yeah-im-gonna-get-you_o_5592461

I know it’s tempting to try to slip in just one more trip, one more little infraction, like the kid who keeps pushing their parent to let them watch just a bit more TV, play just one more game. I feel house-bound, too, am bored of my own company, keep looking through my cupboards for snacks and treats that I’ve already chewed my way through, leaving only the healthy stuff that needs some preparation…

5e5ff9d8fee23d6516720658But I was part of the pandemic planning some time ago post-SARS, and really, we have no idea how bad this could be. Imagine hospitals overflowing, doctors having to decide who lives or dies, funeral homes backed up so far the corpses have to be put in rinks until they can be dealt with. Imagine everyone who maintains out electricity, the internet, and cellphones becoming ill. Imagine there’s no groceries, see if you can…

What will we do then?

It might not get that bad, but if you look at the example of Italy, you can see there is a possibility. Our only hope is to stay home and try to slow the infection rate. Because right now, we can’t stop Corvid-19 from rolling through us all. We need to provide time, to ease the hospitals, to give time for a vaccine to be developed, to organize a vaccine deployment.

Yes, businesses will have a horrible time. The stock market will swing down, and the possibility of a depression is real. But those who encourage an early return to normalcy to save business are short-sighted. They assume that people will remain healthy enough to support or work at these businesses.

(TBH, if a few billionaires were really concerned about things, they could probably support businesses with some of their excess money, keep them standing until the situation normalizes.)

Pretending that we can just slip by and play hard and fast with exposure just isn’t on. Stay home and stop whining. Or, as my mum used to say, it’ll “give you something to whine about.”

Please? Asking for a friend. Well, many many friends.

PS: I know so many are doing what they should, and bravo. It isn’t easy changing your entire life pattern. And I feel for all the small businesses who are losing ground. I try and help where I can, and you should, too. Get stuff delivered or for pick-up from your favorite stores. Pressure the government to support businesses and people at risk. We can get by this.

yin-yang-fs-clapping-03

Please, keep safe.

We now return you to our normally writing oriented blog.

 

 

A rabbit in every pot and a saint on every corner- or why Malta was so confusing


99AEDA4F-9342-4307-A0D5-B85E0B056E3BI’ve just been lucky enough to take a trip to Malta, land of my grandfather’s birth and burying place of other in-law relatives. It’s not an easy place to get to, but my heart has wanted to go there for years. It’s the fabulous history. Millenia of history. Footprints of travellers from centuries back. The sense of struggle and growth and religious wars. Cool stuff.

Kind son and his lovely partner arranged to take me and led me through hundreds of streets and pathways. I can’t thank them enough. It was a fabulous experience.

It’s an interesting spot. There ARE saints on every building corner. No one seems to notice them. The buildings in Valletta and Birgu are astonishingly attractive, their golden limestone sides glowing in the sun. They are also largely vacant.

Apparently Valletta has been on the downturn for some time- the buildings were wrecks until it was declared a UNESCO international treasure in 2018- lifting the tourism industry and helping with renovations. Some of the four-story buildings have coffee shops and unbelievably tiny shops in them. There are virtually no grocery stores. There ARE pharmacies. And balconies.

And tourists, even in this dead mid-winter time.D0C10A16-99A1-43D3-B532-292AF2EDC7E2

Culturally, it’s an odd place, too- people seem to come and be swept away. Prehistoric temples abound- but the people from that time mysteriously died out. The Phoenicians arrived and created art…but left. Muslims conquered through (and have been wiped off the history), and then the Knights of St John essentially built the Valletta seen today, and as far as I can tell, nothing much has happened since then. It’s all been about maintenance.

The knights were very ornamental – to the right you can see the interior of St. John’s co-cathedral, decorated on every flat surface. Even the floor is ornate, covered with decorative memorial slabs. It’s spectacular.

6C17B68D-72CF-4A2D-86C7-0D2C8007F6F2Earthquakes have shaken the place- half of the former capital of Mdina was shaken to the ground- original buildings are medieval style, rebuilding is Baroque. To the right, you can see the line along a wall where the medieval crumbled away, the right side rebuilt in the Baroque era. (They rebuilt it almost exactly the same, but with Baroque fancies.) Much of Malta seems to be repairing things to be exactly as they were.

The Maltese people have lived through invasions, the Inquisition (which apparently involved the ‘overstretching of muscles’ only and was MUCH gentler than the Spanish Inquisition), the blockades of the world wars and starvation thereof. They perch on an island made of limestone, with a thin coating of soil. Somehow they farm.

So, they’ve had a challenging time.

Now, they are having a harder one. Hidden behind the fronts of the tall houses are the Uber-rich, the 0.001%. Apartments are over 2,000,000 euros for a tiny cold space. The only real offices downtown are wealth management and investment companies. The rich hide in the tax haven, rarely seen. Do they contribute? Every museum collection and painting is labelled with the name of its sponsor, going right back to the dawn of history. Do the Uber-rich willingly pay for sewer and electrical systems when their names cannot be attached?

The rest of the island seems to rely on tourism only for support, and tourism is a fickle thing…and it doesn’t pay enough for people to live in the places they show to tourists.

8F9EDFBD-95D1-4F25-85D0-685B83DC4415

Church seems scandalized

 

Music isn’t as present as I would have thought. We wandered over a large part of the main island and heard only top of the charts from the 1980s – except for in one very funky coffee bar down near the waterfront. In one extremely posh restaurant, we ate our dinner to a selection of bad covers of North American 80s tunes. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard YMCA sung as a ballad. Or “Killing me Softly” as an upbeat tune. It

100B945A-DECE-43BB-B39A-68EED03D0E66broke my heart a bit, local music being one of the things I like best about travel.

Instead I listened to the language, a marvellous river of Maltese, English, Arabic, Italian, all swirling around, mingling even in the same sentence. It was fascinating, and loud.

Art in Valletta seems focused on the past, even in the new art gallery, Muza. As with

6E1CCC79-0DA8-4ECD-9147-1514D85291F1

Antonio Sciortino’s flowing sculptures

much of Valletta, the new museum was built within the framework of a baroque building. This is charming, and makes every museum visit interesting on many levels, but it means little conveniences like elevators, accessible washrooms, etc. are missing.

Of course, there is so much art – temples inscribed in the many years BC, decorated pots and crypts and walls and floors and sculptures on every corner by city by-law. Saints are hung by every house door.

07A5E228-CF00-4010-AC5D-06726A24C70F_1_201_a

sculptor unknown

The new artists seem to choose ancient subjects – religious paintings are prevalent. Sculptures, though new, reflect ancient events. The most recent images seem to be of the terror of WW2 (well, except the mandatory prime ministerial statues. One wonders what they will do with the latest PM, escorted in shame from the country).

Of course, they know what sells. It is a tourist destination, after all, and people come to see the saints on every corner, enjoy the buttery sun on the beaches and the buildings, taste the rabbit that is on every menu. (It’s good!) But it has the air of a country frozen solidly in time. It’s beautiful, but, like the women climbing through the cobblestone streets in stiletto heels, Malta seems to be teetering on the edge.

CD29E7E9-BB67-4B20-8871-AA543380F2A8

 

Now is the Summer of our Discontent


Made impossible torment by this fog of humidity

And all the clouds upon the horizon looming

Lessen not the damp through lightning or storming

Now our brows are laced with gobs of sweat

Our pale-white arms hidden from the sun as we search for coolth

And fierce horns presage the coming of ships

Shrouded in fog – moistness made solid…

Okay, is it just me or would all of you out there like to wrap the climate change skeptics images-33in their bespoke suits and dangle them over the bayou of Louisiana without access to a/c? Or worse still – place them in the scorching hot cities of Europe – Paris, wreathed by concrete; Edinburgh, utterly unprepared for heat; London, on the tube surrounded by anxiety-sweating people suffering in polyester; Rome, in tourist season…again without any access to ice or shade or air conditioning…Or even Toronto. You know the perfect place.

 

images-29

Ideal shape for humid weather

I am melting melting melting, except not really because in order to melt one would require the ability to liquefy of which I can only dream. My cozy fat wrap seems a teensy bit dysfunctional at present.

 

It has set my MS off, so I am tripping over dust particles and dancing like a drunken soccer fan, looking for a fight like the same. I have fallen, not wisely, but too well, spraining my hand and denting a rib and generally mashing myself up. It’s not getting better, the hand or the MS or anything, and likely won’t until the mind-clearing breezes of fall. FML, as the word-impaired sorts say.

 

c09b97682e91775164f990fdfd5a2112

My parents didn’t believe in orthodonture until child #3

 

Truth be told, I have no right to complain. Life is overall good, and I am blessed with a loving son who has kindly arranged for house cleaning so I can spare my hand for more important things, like making blueberry sorbet or embroidering ridiculously small things. Or brushing my hair and chaining it back so that I don’t frighten young children…

 

images-30

After not doing a THING in the heat…

 

Today is their first cleaning day, and I only know this because the coordinator called me at ten last night to check if I was going to let the workers in. At the time, I was laying gasping on my chaise courte (in truth a meridienne)  like a beached cod, waving a plastic bag at myself for the breeze (and to keep the cat from eating it).  I looked around myself.

As anyone who has had official house cleaners knows, it ain’t so much the dirt as the clutter that fells us, though I am eternally grateful to said son for the help in scrubbing detail (not possible for me at present) (and truth be told, the idea of tumbling into my tub head first like Father William lacks a certain charm anytime, least of all in my current wounded state) (But I parenth).

085cf2013facbb3c3e02a2bbc017e5f7--alarm-clock-app-storeSo this morning, before all my %^*%$ “get up in a positive mood” alarms went off, screaming at me to ‘drink water’, ‘stretch’, ‘be grateful’, I was dashing about in a polka-like rendition of the IKEA ad ‘The People are Coming” 

As a side comment, who on earth has a kitchen that organized? Well, I do know of one person, but she is a superhero and we can’t all be like her, can we?(CV, you know I mean you…)

Also, note to self: delete said programs and alarms. They are just depressing you in this heat. New goal: breathe without falling over.

So I spin about, trying not to use sprained hand and failing, throwing things in drawers, which, unlike in the IKEA ad, I have very few of so it is likely I shall find the things again. Possibly. I have ordered tracking devices.

images-32Meanwhile, Bendicks, my cat, decides this, yes this, is the time to show how truly gobshite-y he can be – eating all plastic items, thrusting his head into cupboards and extracting feminine supplies on which to chew, pushing things off counters, standing just in front of me so I can step on him and he can look wounded, vanishing who knows where….

Hmm. It’s quiet. Too quiet…just a mo…

<extracts long partially chewed piece of plastic from cat’s intestine>

funny-cat-pictures-i-dont-always-chew-on-plastic-bags

Yep. Summer. Be kind to one another. Hide your plastic bags.

Reunite the separated immigrant families!!! Oh, and while you are out? Impeach Trump and jail all his cronies, will ya?

 

It’s Evening. . .


img_0070

Of a foggy foggy day, filled with grey skies so low and looming that one could easily slip away in them, vanish like the ferry as it skims to and fro. The fog has finally cleared and the reflection of the lights on the water seems oddly bright. Even the ferry lights seem shinier than usual, against the fog-calmed sea.

Brain-Fog-Clouds-in-Xray-headI’ve been feeling foggy, myself. Lots going on, various family and non-family tragedies and worries, enough to keep my brain spinning unproductively in the mist. Toss in another school shooting, more horribleness about the fascist-leaning land to the south, and the fog deepens. A good friend of mine writes satire and humour about the Trump government – I’ve told him I can’t read it anymore. I used to keep track of the lies and foolishness through twitter and news sites; I can’t anymore.

Of course, this is what the “they” want. Numbness vs. outrage, passive acceptance. Our own Canadian government clothes platitudes in tight pants and expects us to not see their real plans. Meanwhile, the oligarchs plan and plot and gradually little bits of our life and our planet are teased away from us.

powerpuff-girls-key-art-smallBack when I was younger and full of piss and vinegar, I used to take this on (that’s me on the right, a rare thing). I wrote letters, went to protests, was active in party politics. I’d love to do that again, but I realize I can’t – my brain doesn’t hold onto facts anymore (if it ever could) and my arguments slide away into inappropriate confessions and parries and thrusts with blunt weapons. I embarrass myself. It’s truly awful. As I get older I keep my mouth closed more and more…or regret speaking more and more!

So I pull the fog blanket over me and go play with my art, wander around my ‘hood, filled as it is with comfortable people who smile and greet me, distract myself with movies from more innocent times, drink a glass of wine.

I need to pass the torch on images-6to others whose brains can formulate arguments and make sense. They need to keep their noses to the grindstone, their foot on the pedal, to blow away the fog of fatigue. I can’t anymore.

 

 

But maybe that’s okay. The kids know much more than I ever did.

Jumping from here to there, or why I am still Anne of Green Gables in my heart


anne-of-green-gablesSometimes I wish I hadn’t read Anne of Green Gables. Not that I necessarily believe in her character, but I seem to be as restless as she is. My kids think it’s because I’m unhappy. I’m not unhappy. Clinically depressed, yes, but not unhappy! With good medication, I can laugh and create and live and sing and play my ukulele and loll in the sun and read and write and laugh and be silly.

People wonder why I move a lot, why my dating life is so … interesting, why I overcommit and then have to back out.  Why I try new things or toss myself into books, or travel when I can barely afford it. They, again, think that I am unhappy. I’m not. I don’t think I’ve ever been ‘unhappy’ – mad, sad, bored, I’ve been all of these, but I haven’t been unhappy, not ever. My approach for years has been if I don’t like something, I work to change it, whether in myself or in my neighbourhood. And why not? Even if sometimes it doesn’t work out, I can always try, can’t I?

“I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people KNOW more… though I know that IS the noblest ambition… but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me… to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

(Not sure how that blends with my dating life, but you can’t win them all…)

Like Anne, I refuse to settle. For much of my life, I had to accept things as they were allowed to me – everything from love to places to live, to time to read, to food. I was granted lots before I married, I was loved and spoiled, and people thought highly of me. I confess I got used to that, a bit.

Then I got married, and I learned to distrust words. And to write them. It’s easier to write fiction when you live it, I think.

Be that as it may, since I left, I have tried to do the things I feel are right for me and those around me. I volunteer where I can, I try to be creative, I try to help out.

But that doesn’t mean I need to put up with things that I don’t like. Heck, I’ve got MS, and arthritis, and depression – that’s enough to accept. I have a son who refuses to speak to me. That’s more than enough.

1000-images-about-anne-of-green-gables-on-pinterest-green-93123

So for the rest of my life, I change what I can and make the best of the rest.

Since I moved to paradise (aka Nova Scotia), things haven’t always been easy. I’ve been lonely at times, I’ve missed friends and family, but I know it’s where I’ve been meant to be. The sea, the air, the climate – they all make me feel whole. I’ve found a home here with a great community, good friends, meaningful volunteer work and craft.

But I’ve always wanted to be able to see the sea from where I live. If I dangle out of my current Juliet balcony, I can spot the sea to my left, but where I am moving this time I can see it out of my windows, I can sit on my balcony and sniff the salty air. Grow flowers and plants, step outside and see people. Because of my MS, some days I can’t get out of my apartment. A pleasant place is very important to me.

“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I’ve found I love living downtown, walking to everything, sampling the stimulating environment that is downtown Dartmouth. Not so keen on inhaling diesel fumes every day or living just above an intersection.

So I am taking my not-unhappy self across the street to a new place. My Anne heart tells me you don’t have to be unhappy to want to upgrade or make a change. Life is an endless buffet of options. And don’t think I am ungrateful for the chance to make changes – I am, profoundly. I hope I won’t feel the need to move again, though every time I do, I hone myself into more of what I am. I feel like I am carving away the outer layers I’ve put on over the years, gradually getting closer to who I am, what I am.

“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.” Anne of Green Gables

anne-green-gables-1920-770x470But hey, as I toss things from my old self, moving gets easier and easier! I may pick up and go to someplace else that calls to me at some point, and why not? I only have so many fit years left – maybe I’ll feel a need to move to Paris for a year, or Scotland, or Portland, NH. Who knows?

I’m excited. Weary from doing too much, but thrilled by what lies ahead.

“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” Anne of Green Gables

c1d561b4c4012062877940ecc202151e