where am I?

I am trying to save and publish some of my deathless prose but I can't seem to get a fix on it. I'll just keep bloging along (to the tune of Donkey Serenade?).  

happy May first (yesterday)

 Long time, no blog. 

 It has been a busy, odd week, beginning our disappointment in not going ashore at Easter Island.  None of the passengers I talked to had been warned by their travel agents or by Oceania that three out of four times, the ship did not actually moor, forced by unfavorable weather conditions (winds and waves) to sail on by.

 June and I were fortunate in that we were on the starboard side as the ship circumnavigated the island seeking a safer mooring. Nada. But we could see the shore and in one place a row of tiny dots like pebbles that were five of the moai statues that we had planned to see. I took a picture of them. A friend with a telephoto lens was able to get a closer glimpse.  In his pictures the pebbles look like chess pieces.

I told you about Pitcairn: the small population came to us. Then two more days at sea to Easter Island with no landing, then four more Sea Days to Lima.  We were eleven days on the ship without going ashore.  Talk about sea legs!

The floor is still moving when I walk and I really feel the motion of the ship when I shower. In four days I will be boarding a train, taking VIA Rail from Vancouver to Toronto. I wonder what I’ll be walking like when I get home. I didn’t start out too well because of my wounded leg.

 It’s better, by the way, but I didn’t swim on the ship.  I still have one scab I have resisted the temptation to pick at. I don’t want to risk further infection so I’ll wait till it’s clear. My new bathing suit was the only article of clothing I didn’t wear. Did I mention that I have managed this entire month of disparate travel (plane, ship, bus, ferry, train) on a carry-on bag and a backpack designed go carry my small laptop and my iPadMini?  I’ve discussed Li’l Orphan Annie before.  For those of you too young to remember, the once-famous comic strip character who inspired a hit Broadway musical, wore one red dress with a white collar throughout her entire career. I wore black and white.





happy May First

That was yesterday.  I'm on dry land now but my legs are still at sea.

Soon soon I will catch up, like today, maybe.

anon anon....

Lima et al

 I wrote a blog yesterday as we approached Lima, trying to get caught up. Our Wi-Fi is capricious, to say the least, and I lost Lima before I could post it. This morning we will be docking in Lima a day early because a medical emergency on board ship has forced us to reach land faster than originally planned.  Why not send a chopper, you ask?  Because – have you looked at the map? It’s a vast ocean. Where would a helicopter come from?  Possibly out of fuel range. Better to speed up and reach land a.s.a.p.

 Oceania has set up an extra excursion for today and it sounded interesting but it’s five hours long, which is about two hours longer than we would like. We might try for a shopping mall and there’s a regular shuttle to take us there and back, but it may not have what we want. I was counting on Easter Island for significant tchotchkes to take as prezzies.  Nada, of course.  So I’ll see what Lima has to offer, if anything. As it is, right now, I have 4 or 5 magnets from Pitcairn Island.

 I am surfeited. Another quiet day “at sea” even though we are moored, will suit me very well. After the last long trip, people asked me would I go again and I said “in a heartbeat”.  Now, I am several heartbeats away from a repeat cruise.  Not yet, anyway.

Anon, anon

Pitcairn Islands

Reporting April 24

 I promised you Pitcairn a few days ago but time and the satellites (and the Wi-Fi) and the seas were against me.  But we are back on Sea Days now, facing the inexorable ending of our cruise.  Proceeding a little more slowly now so as not to arrive too early, that is, before our booked reservation of a mooring, we will arrive at Callao, the harbour for Lima, some time after midnight on April 28.  My plane does not leave for Dallas until 12:05 a.m. on April 29, so I have time to put in. It’s not Easter Island, of course, and I will be out of Wi-Fi communication then, so I had better make up for it now.

This is the joy (?) of modern travel, putting in the time between destinations.  You already know what I call it: moving one's body through time and space.  Time capsules would be ideal, or ruby red slippers with clickable heels. I have no idea what that would cost.

Anyway, Pitcairn Island – a real revelation.  From our Currents magazine (the on-ship nightly newsletter):

 “The Pitcairn Islands, officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Ocean that form a British Overseas Territory. The four islands are spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total land area of about 47 square kilometres. Only Pitcairn, the second largest and measuring about 3.6 kilometres from east to west, is inhabited…”

..by 45 people!  Pitcairn is the least populated jurisdiction in the world. There is no decent harbour for a ship the size of ours, so the entire population of Pitcairn, less three, came to us. (The three were a 99-year-old woman, her caregiver and someone to help the islanders’ boat back to the dock on its return.) They brought with them piles of T-shirts and tchotchkes to sell: shell necklaces, honey, spoons and bowls and trays, etc. made of burro wood, the local tree.  The tourist ships are a valuable financial source for the community.  The minimum/maximum wage is ten dollars an hour for any activity, so the Mayor told us, a woman in her sixties (my guess), born on Pitcairn who married and lived in Alaska until she returned 6 years ago.  She also edits the local newsletter and rakes the weeds on the side of the highway.  I sort of gather that this money comes from the U.K. or the U.N. – not sure?  The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes the Pitcairn Islands on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Five school children came along too, of course. I mean, who would be there if everyone was here? They are taught by a teacher who comes for a year, as does the local doctor. After elementary school, the children have to go to New Zealand for the rest of their education and few of them return.  The average age of a Pitcairn inhabitant is 57, beyond childbearing age. Unless some young adventurers choose to come here the population may soon die out.

Everyone has a telephone and Internet access but no television.  A supply ship comes every three months from New Zealand bringing in the necessities and everything else, for a price.  The mayor told us she loves to be free and to be the mistress of her own destiny. She says she goes fishing on Bounty Bay to catch her dinner and grows her greens in her garden, beholden to no one.

 After the sale, the islanders enjoyed a big buffet lunch as guests of the ship and then they gave us a gift before they left.  They all sang, from the five schoolchildren, the youngest of them about five years old, I would guess, to the thirteen-year-old boy who will leave for N.Z. next year. There is one church on the island and I suspect the congregation comprises the choir we heard, with beautiful, polyphonic harmony.  They sang “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” – you know, that ends in “till we meet on that shore”?  Lump in throat time and a beautiful, memorable highlight of this odd, truncated cruise.

 I count my blessings.


at last!

April 20

It has been a while. Not the ship’s fault, but mine.  I lost my Add-a-Post command in my cowebblog and could only write through an Edit order, so that my readers, if/when they logged in, had to read through back reports till they got to the new one.  I hope I am caught up now, thanks to my friend and mentor, Jennifer, who straightened me out from afar. I will write a blog-by-blog missive and hope it lands safely….

It has been a busy time.  I told you about the fabulous dolphin expedition and the poetry-in-motion of the most promiscuous creatures on earth (or water), next to humans.  They live in the moments, as we have been doing on this ship. We had a triple whammy on a glass-bottom boat out of Bora Bora when we experienced not only a feeding frenzy among the fish beneath us but also an intimate encounter with a stingray/ stingrays.  I think I told you about that, and the cartoon-like face presented when our diver turned one upside down to show its mouth and eyes.  Yes, I think that’s where I left off.

In Raiatea I had been on the same expedition last year and I still don’t want to buy a black pearl or eat coconut. But it was nice to sit there in an AC bus on a tropical island and bask and gaze, two activities I seldom indulge in.  My leg was still swelling and aching after walking so it was good to sit.  In Rangiroa June wanted to take a sentimental journey. We took the tender to shore and walked briefly to a place (restaurant? cafe?) where we bought cool coconuts with straws set into drilled holes, to drink coconut water.  It was a photo op to commemorate a similar excursion June enjoyed last year. I took a picture, she took a picture, a stranger kindly took a picture of t he two of us.  I’ll try to send you one, but don’t count on it.

I had a pedicure and a manicure in the spa on the ship, another indulgence that I should enjoy more often.  I keep thinking of Scarlett O’Hara when she went to ask Rhett Butler for money when he was in jail. Remember? Mammy made her a lovely dress from the green velvet curtains at Tara but she forgot her poor, abused hands. (Scarlett O’Hara, you look like a field hand! I am a field hand!)  Well, I look like a pampered traveller. 

Fat, too.  I haven’t been as careful this time and there are special foods I want to enjoy during this brief cruise.  I mean 18 days is brief compared to the 109 days I had last year.  I find, too that I’m in a different mindset.  The last two and a half months have been grueling and I seem to be – no, I am – very lazy – no, tired – and lackadaisical (lack-a-daisy-me, this is none of I).  So, lacking daisies, I am now sniffing the flowers as I go by.

We went to one island, an atoll, really, that we skipped last year, at the eastern end of French Polynesia. No excursion was laid on (not much to see) but tenders took us over so we could say we set foot on Fakarava. Four swivel-hipped dancers with thick leis around their pelvis stepped and swayed to the rhythms of drums.  One of them, a little older than her companions, kept losing her way and glancing at the others to catch up, smiling all the while. We smiled too.

Two Sea Days brought us to Pitcairn Island and I began to touch base with my homework: a harder look at the screenplay I’ve been working on.  I think my mind has turned to coconut water. 

Pitcairn Island touched and astounded us in many ways. I’m going to have to write a whole blog devoted to it, and an essay for publication (?).  More anon. 

June talked to a seatmate on her flight from Portland (Oregon) to Hawaii and he showed up on our ship.  He’s rattling around in the Owner’s Suite.  His wife had to work; she’ll go with him on a later cruise, also in the Owner’s Suite.) So he’s a little lonely.  We had dinner with him a couple of nights ago and we’re dining together again tonight, with drinks and nibbles each night before going to one of the specialty restaurants.  The Owner’s Suite is palatial, comprising the entire stern of the ship on the ninth level.  The décor, by Calvin Klein, is custom and capricious and dazzling, like something out of a Hollywood film set – circa the 30s and 40s when they made those madcap movies.  It’s so big, no wonder he’s lonely.  He says he’s been watching a lot of movies. He has not one but two butlers who insist on bringing him afternoon tea, and who look after our pre-dinner goodies.  And by the way, June and I don’t have a butler, as I had thought; we have a concierge we share with our neighbours.

So here I am, hoping I can ADD A POST and catch up with my faithful bloggers. 





time's up

Getting ready to go on a big trip is like going into the case room to have your baby.  Suddenly the question occurs to you: Are you sure you want to go through with this?

I finished the last of my pressing chores and errands this morning and now I’m ready to pack.  Oh dear.  All the decisions, irrevocable for the next month, lie ahead of me.  Maybe I should just stay home.  Or go.

But then there’s homecoming to face. The last week or two, I’ve been putting things off.   Oh, I’ll do something about that when I get back. Oh, that can wait till I get back.. Oh, I’ll have so much time when I get back.  Sure.

That feeling of time to spare, time to relax, time to squander, lasts about an hour or two when you finally do get back, before reality sets in along with unanswered mail and the laundry.

In the meantime…in the meantime I really am going away and I must pack.

Anon, anon.


weather or not

This weekend I will pack but I still can’t decide what and how much to take.  There are only 2 sunny days forecast for  French Polynesia over the two weeks- bit early in the season?  Easter Island is always windy, so I hear, and the temperature will be around 20-22 degrees Celsius.  But them I’m gong to Vancouver for 5 days – bit soon to tell. I won’t be there until the end of April.  Till then it’s mild and often rainy. And then I will be in a climate-controlled train (VIA Rail) for 4 days and 4 nights en route home.

I have always liked to travel light, going carry-on whenever possible.  I don’t mind wearing the same few clothes. They’re all washable and no-iron. I used to say I was like Li’l Orphan Annie but you are too young to understand my reference. She wore the same red dress with a white collar for years and years and years.  I remember an episode once showing her washing her clothes and a clothesline strung with identical red dresses.  Mark Zuckerberg today is famous for his wardrobe of grey hoodies and jeans, and there was a man who went public recently – can’t remember his name – who said he wore the same suit for a year.  No one noticed.  President Obama sticks to the same colour (one or two colours) suits; he says he has enough decisions to make without worrying about what to wear. 

Long long ago when I was a flighty teenager I went out with a boy for about a year and a half and never wore the same outfit twice.  I think finally after I was married and couldn’t afford so many clothes and then wore the same three or four smocks (in those days) during my pregnancies, that I finally learned how unimportant one’s wardrobe was.  The adornment of your mind is more important than what you put on your body. That sounds frugaller than thou, doesn’t it? 

That’s not what I’m thinking about today. I’m still wondering what to pack and what to leave.

Depends on the weather.  

a review


Yesterday I went to see a new play at Canadian Stage, Lucy Kirkwood’s “Chimerica” (a portmanteau word for China and America) about Chinese-American relations since 1989, the year of the Tiananmen bloodbath.  Ms. Kirkwood was 5 when it happened.  This is not her first play. Before she graduated (from the University of Edinburgh) she had had two professional productions of plays she had written.  And more since.  Wow.

Before I go on about her (and me), let me just say what a fine experience Canadian Stage (in co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre) gave us.  The 40-some scenes shift with minimum props and furniture against a huge revolving wall showing rear-screen projections and dropping cages and windows revealing the characters, 17 actors in all, some of them playing multiple roles.  It may sound complicated but it’s effective and moving.  The dialogue crackles with political information and commentary but with a human edge in the characters, and sparkling wit.  The playwright is well served. The director, Chris Abraham, deserves our gratitude, too.

But Lucy Kirkwood strikes awe in my heart.  I don’t envy her, exactly; I take nothing away from her but I wish I had some too. How would you like to be a white, upper middle class, straight, female, Canadian (from Winnipeg, for Heaven’s sake!)  85-year-old playwright?  When I was coming up to consciousness, there were no creative writing classes.  The first one I ever attended was available after I was married and pregnant and I had to drop out because the other students smoked and made me terribly sick.  James Reaney (Canadian poet and playwright, 1926-2008) was our teacher.  He said to me that I seemed to be unwilling to harness my talent to any serious endeavor. I didn’t tell him I was pregnant. Later I wrote a play about a woman in labour, almost a total monologue. I gave it to John Hirsch (Canadian theatre director, 1930-1989) when he was at MTC (co-founded with Tom Hendry) and he called it “that bed thing”. 

In an interview a couple of years ago, Lucy Kirkwood commented on the lack (!) of opportunity.  She is quoted as saying, “You’re allowed to write as long as you’re writing about being a young woman.”   What about being an old woman?

I’m not finished yet.


that was the year that was

I've  just finished my tax reckoning for 2015, that is, I’ve done my part, sorting and organizing the papers; I leave the rest to my accountant.  When I say  “my” I don’t mean he’s mine. You know what I mean. I wish he were - - no I don’t.  If I had an on-site expert I’d prefer a doctor. That reminds me of a famous line by Tallulah Bankhead (look her up, darling), When she was asked whom she would like to stranded with on a desert island, she replied, “a first-class obstetrician.”.

Income tax time is retrospective time, as opposed to introspective.  Introspection, self-analysis, navel-gazing, whatever you want to call it, is best done at the New Year. (That was then, this is now, where am I going now?)  It’s very personal and very forgiving.  Income tax retrospection is not.  Not only that, it’s when all your dirty little secrets come out in the open – open to your accountant, if you don’t do the tally yourself.  Your secret indulgences are exposed, there to see in black and white, or rather in red, because that’s what put you in arrears.

One does tend to re-live the year that was, not minute-by-minute or week-by-week but expense- by-expense. I do hope for your sake that you logged some good memories. 

Name one.  Enjoy.

yes but when?

In my unpublished and as yet unsold book on aging I go into some detail about first and second sleeps.  It’s an old idea, recognized in ancient Roman times, referred to in Chaucer’s Tales and based on former accepted sleep patterns.  You think adult humans need eight hours a day of sleep.  I think this became an acceptable (forced) idea with the Industrial Revolution.  The circadian rhythm had to be amended or discarded so that workers could put in a 9-to-5 day on the job.

As a writer, of course, I don’t have to do that.  I don’t go out to work, I stay in.  . So I can sleep when I feel like it.  More or less, more now that I am alone. Of course, one has to conform to others' sleeping habits – that is - waking habits. I have to be careful not to phone anyone before 9 a.m. when for me the morning is halfway over.   It’s always a pleasure when I find someone who is awake (and alert) before then.  A couple of times on trips someone has discovered me, bright –eyed and bushy-tailed (what does that mean, exactly?) at 7 in the morning, and each time he (always male) has said:

            “I’d like to have breakfast with you for the rest of my life.”

I knew it wasn’t a proposal; it was just appreciation of another human being who was conscious at that hour in the morning.

I bring this up now because there’s a new term for this ancient sleep pattern: “segmented sleep”.  Recently I have read a couple of articles in the NYT about it, and the growing acceptance of it, if not as a general pattern, at least a recognized one. It’s two sleeps instead of one: an early sleep of three or four hours, then a wakeful time for contemplation or sex, then a second sleep, maybe two or three hours, equally deep, with REM. The trick is to fit the time required into the rest of the day, or night.

I haven't mentioned naps.  That's another discussion.




Just a quickie before I spend the day preparing a tax report for my accountant to make sense of my past year.  I am innumerate. It doesn't make me happy.  Anyway....It isn’t even a thought for the day, it’s a mere and minor irritant. 

Why do they keep making larger rolls of toilet paper? They’re bulky and difficult to carry, even if you have a car, which I no longer do, so I must rely on grocery delivery.  But some older bathrooms, like mine, have built-in porcelain niches to hold the toilet paper roll and they were designed to hold a standard size roll, whatever standard is.  Double size was hard enough: you had to slip the paper along carefully so as not to tear off a length too soon.  But last night I saw a TV commercial proclaiming the convenience of a new triple-sized roll, saving you three times the effort of replacing it.  Really?  Where am I going to put it?

New and improved!  I wish they would stop doing that. Look what happened to Coca Cola.


Another lurking deadline blindsided me yesterday (well, the day before) and I spent so much effort on it and, ultimately, emotion, that I was a lump for the remainder of the day and passed blog-time well before bed-time.  My fault.

I had put off a reply to a biography project for playwrights for far too long, always too busy to go into the detail required to fill in the gaps in the information required for the completion of a program documenting the details of the plays of Canadian playwrights.  I was away I was busy I was lazy I was daunted, to tell the truth, not so much by the details the memories I would encounter as by the feelings that would overtake me.  Yes, indeed.

Overtaken by nostalgia and total recall and a combination of pride and ruefulness, I filled in the gaps, to be sure, but as I looked back I marveled at the energy and optimism I generated.  How many times can you be pushed in the face and rise again with hope for the next time?  I guess more than I can count.  That’s when I started saying failure goes to my head. And I’m not even a complete failure.  But of course my reach exceeds my grasp.

Well, as someone once said, tomorrow is another day.

Happy April First!

April is the cruellest month...

She was very young when she left home (Vancouver), petite and talented, a ballerina.  She danced at TUTS (Theatre under the Stars) in Vancouver and I don’t know whether a talent scout saw her there or whether she auditioned but she was hired by a New York company and she danced the role of Laurie in the Dream Ballet in “Oklahoma”, in one of the first, if not the first, touring company of the musical, travelling all over the United States and getting as far as Berlin.  She was nineteen years old and young for her age. She learned how to get along with older, professional people and to live out of a trunk, how to put clothes together and to mend them, how to take care of her feet and to sleep anywhere, and how to live on a tight budget. 

When she returned to Vancouver, Arnold Spohr (Canadian ballet dancer, choreographer, artistic director, 1923-2010) spotted her and hired her as a corps dancer in the Winnipeg Ballet Company (not Royal then).

[The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is one of the world's premier dance companies. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, it is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.] (Wikipedia)

 That’s how she came to Winnipeg and married a Winnipeg man, one of my husbands’ oldest friends, also named Bill.

 We were all young married couples together, having our babies, taking our holidays, partying, trying to make ends meet as the ends got farther and farther apart.  Her husband was sent by his company to Vancouver and that was it.  Jo was a pathological Vancouverite, happy to be restored to her hometown. When her husband was asked to go elsewhere he stayed on.  Later, we moved to Stratford. So we were miles apart.  But my Bill died suddenly and though I couldn’t move (except to Toronto where the work was, for me), I clung to my old friends, and there were other former Winnipeggers I made the effort to see as frequently as I could manage it. Most often I stayed with Jo and Will.

 She lacked confidence in her homemaking abilities because of her early career when she had spent no time at all in a kitchen, or a home for that matter. . She told me she learned a number of tips from me, who was no role model.  Apparently I told her that the best time to clean the house was Friday so it was presentable for the weekend and possible guests. She thought she couldn’t cook but her meals were delicious – also painstaking. 

I watched her make oatmeal porridge for breakfast (I was her frequent house guest, remember).  She picked over the raisins for the porridge, examining each one for the odd desiccated stem that might cling to a few of them.  It took her a long time. The same with blueberries, wild or cultivated, fresh or frozen.  No stem unturned.  She kept apologizing for her dinners when there was no need to apologize.

 Elsewhere, she was more confident.  I noticed, for example, that she had complete authority when she drove a car.  And she had exquisite taste when it came to choosing her wardrobe; her clothes were attractive, chosen for style and economy.  In spite of their financial setbacks, Jo and Bill lived comfortably, managing to provide excellent opportunities and education for their children but also to travel well in later years.  They took the time for what was important to them and they never missed a ballet performance.

 Jo had always wanted a home with a view of the water.  About a year before Bill died (Alzheimer’s) they sold their North Vancouver home that they had lived in ever since they left Winnipeg for well over a million dollars and moved into a beautiful apartment building overlooking the ocean. She used to turn her chair to the windows and gaze.  When I visited her there last she took us out to dinner to an upscale fish restaurant.  I still sprang for take-out Chinese as my affordable treat. 

 I could go on and on, about her recipe for muesli, for example, or her way with roasted onions. I was going to see her again at the end of this month. 

doggone blog gone

This has been a strange week.  When isn’t it?  Strange.  Yes, I was having trouble recovering from my oxymoronic Easter mortality, reliving the past life and death of a suddenly absent friend whom I had intended to visit as part of my milestone-year pilgrimage.  Of course, it was more than that.  It always is.  I’m on a countdown. (Everyone is.)


I leave for Pape’ete and parts east in 11 days.  I’m trying to clear my food, cooking a lot, cooking for guests every night for over a week, this week, including another dear friend from Newfoundland who came early on business to spend a night and a day with me, bless her. 


I have gift coupons to use and a wish list, and now a backlog of reading to catch up on, after an intensive research and writing time spent on my embryonic screenplay.  Not quite embryonic, past the foetus stage, it’s out in the air now but in an incubator; it still needs time and attention.

Note: I looked up foetus to check my spelling and learned something:

usage: The spelling foetus has no etymological basis but is recorded from the 16th century and until recently was the standard British spelling in both technical and nontechnical use. In technical usage, fetus is now the standard spelling throughout the English-speaking world.

 Lo, how the world changes!  Every day.  Where was I?  On a countdown…


Not only for books but also for things I need for my trip.  I went to Rexall on 20%-off-for-Seniors-Day to stock my little First Aid kit(Polysporin, Immodium) and toiletries bag (toothpaste, Nivea cream), and travel needs (Wet Ones, antiseptic spritz).  You will notice no sleeping pills.  I might need another shirt, maybe a new wheelie, one more bottle of wine, and a few tchotchkes (gifts). 

See, I am walking again, a little.  My Community Care nurse (every other day) is on the brink of discharging me and I don’t have to have my leg up all day.  I have a new Fitbit, a birthday present I have been anxious to test, that is to test my body with, and I am up to 7000 steps a day now, as opposed to about 300 during my invalid time.


Not only for the cruise clothes but also for a week in Vancouver and four days on the train back to Toronto.  Can I do it all with one bag? Including my writing needs: laptop, iPad mini, journal, pens, and notebooks? 

Stop it!  This is not what I intended to write.  I still have to write Jo’s obit.  I will, soon.

after shock

I began to write a memoir of my late friend's life and it got entwined with an account of  our early days in Winnipeg as young wives and mothers and ended up with an account of my marriage ending with  Bill's death in 1973.  He died on Easter Sunday so I guess it was inevitable that i should end up there.  It was too long to go in here and I didn't want to burden my readers (all three of you), so I left it at that. Now I can't find it, can't remember my title. 

I'm still thinking of Jo and her life and career.  She really had one. I'll get to it.


A dear, long-term friend has died, one of the special ones I planned to visit during my milestone year.  I thought she would be one of the last ones to go. She was slim and active, not vital, though.  And when her husband died about two years (?) ago, I think she lost her will to live. I am so sorry - for my loss.

I am going to write an obit, but I have to do some thinking...


talk about addiction

Years ago I grew up (I told you it was years) in a house that was a slightly larger duplicate of a house three doors away.  From the landing at the top of the stairs, where three more steps on the left led to the bedrooms, the loveliest room in the house lay over the garage.  It featured built-in bookcases on either side of the (electric) fireplace and our neighbours added more shelves on the opposite wall of the room where they stored their massive, decades-long collection of the National Geographic magazine. One day the den left the house.

  As I told you, the room was over the garage, without foundation, that is, there was no basement under the garage. The weight of the magazines bowed down the room and forced it to separate from the more securely anchored part of the house.  That affected my feelings for National Geographic for the rest of my life.

I buy and read the occasional issue that interests me and have even kept one (on the Vikings) but I have avoided buying a subscription, fearing the outcome.  Too dangerous.

Yes, well, if only I could apply that caution to other collections. 

For years I loved the Sunday New York Times. Friends who knew me knew better than to disturb me for most of the day on Sundays because I was committed to the NYT.  When I went on my huge cruise last year, finally I had to change my ways. I realized that the paper could not be delivered to my stateroom on board a ship, so I signed up for it online – daily. Now I can’t quit.  Another addiction has snuck up on me.  It has wrecked my mornings, I mean every morning.  And not being able to swim for two months on account of my injured leg hasn’t helped.  This is worse than a room pulling away from a house.  This is me, pulling away from my self. 

This is addiction.