The meteorologist on the television news tonight reported that this has been one of the warmest Novembers on record. Certainly, it was the sunniest.  I suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – and it keeps getting worse as we slouch toward the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice when, according to how far north you live, you - - not you, I – yearn for light.  It wasn’t too bad this year because there were so many sunny days.  Even as good as it was, by early evening I get antsy because it’s so dark and I think I’m late for something, not sure what.

            After the solstice, and when we enter the New Year, the minuscule lengthening of each day in January changes my perspective and I lighten up too. Oh dear, if I go on (and on and on, Safari willing) with this blog, you are going to know all my secrets, well, not secrets exactly, but foibles. As a few of you know, the precious few who read my blog, you know that I have been less voluble in the past week or so than is my wont. That’s because Safari has been cutting me off and erasing what I’ve written.  So I started writing in Word and transferring but even then I had trouble. I have a lot of writing to do these days, even more than usual, so other media have had my attention.

Oh, and I joined Twitter, thanks to a technologically advanced granddaughter.  One hundred and forty characters constitute a very brief blog. Years ago I had a radio “show”, if you can all it that, comprising 900 words, or a minute and a half, a thought for the day that I titled “Happy Homilies”, coming from your Big Sponsor in the Sky, aka the United Church of Canada. I used to write about two dozen of them and go into a studio and record them, allowing for ones that didn’t work, three weeks’ worth (15) at a time.  My producer preferred that I record in the afternoon. Then as now I swam every morning and he said my pipes gurgled too much if I tried to sustain level speech too soon after swimming. 

I used to say I had developed a 900-word mind. Now, I have to work toward a 140-character mind.  My blog is somewhere between. 

When it’s there.

quick, before it's gone

The World Is Too Much With Us


The world is too much with us; late and soon, 

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;— 

Little we see in Nature that is ours; 

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! 

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; 

The winds that will be howling at all hours, 

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; 

For this, for everything, we are out of tune; 

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be 

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; 

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, 

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; 

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; 

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.


That's how I feel.  Hang in there.

a favourite

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, 
Enwrought with golden and silver light, 
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half light, 
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 
I have spread my dreams under your feet; 
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


Grab it while you can. Have a good weekend.


Reading around themes to pick up characters' dialogue and thoughts for my screenplay. Yesterday I re-read the diary of Marie (Missy) Vassilitchikov.  Very moving. What's it like to live through air raids? (She lived through wartime Berlin.) 

I have to flee before Safari strikes again.

hang on to this one

Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?

Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?

At rich men's tables eaten bread and pulse?

Unarmed, faced danger with a heart of trust?

And loved so well a high behaviour,

In man or maid, that thou from speech refrained,

Nobility more nobly to repay?

O, be my friend, and teach me to be thine!

Ralph Waldo Emerson.


I'll save it before Safari eats it.


It happened again.  I thought I was clear, just winding down, or up as the case may be, when Safari erased my blog.

Try again tomorrow?


A layered (or "stacked") drink, sometimes called a pousse-café, is a kind of cocktail in which the slightly different densities of various liqueurs are used to create an array of colored layers, typically two to seven. The specific gravity of the liquid ingredients increases from top to bottom. Liqueurs with the most dissolved sugar and the least alcohol are densest and are put at the bottom. These include fruit juices and cream liqueurs. Those with the least water and the most alcohol, such as rum with 75% alcohol by volume, are floated on top.


Sandpainting is the art of pouring colored sands, and powdered pigments from minerals or crystals, or pigments from other natural or synthetic sources onto a surface to make a fixed, or unfixed sand painting. 


I began an explanation of my two definitions and I was cut off.  So I will say, simply that my mind is a pousse-café or a sand painting, with coloured disparate layers that I'm trying to sort out and keep separate and create something new. 


Disparate, also desperate (pronounced with a different stress).  I have more to say but Safari is hovering over me.

when is a blog not a blog?

When it's erased.  I'm afraid to write this morning. Safari may cut me off at any moment. I'll switch to Word and come back.

Have a nice day.



A blog-reader has advised me to write my blog in Word and then transfer and paste it to cobwebblog. (Thank  you, Myra.) I can do that. I’ve had to make the print large to read in on my Little Mac screen and I may forget to shrink it.


Well, by now I’ve thought of a lot of things and then they get erased, not just from the computer but from my mind.  Do you know the expression TOT?  Of course you do; it’s in almost every language, or the equivalent thereof,  except Icelandic,  so I read. Is that because Icelanders have a good memory, or pay  attention to what they’re talking about, or have so little to say, there’s not muchTongue.)


I discussed TOT in my book on aging which so far I can’t persuade the young codgers at a couple of publishing houses to publish.  In the meantime, seconds are ticking and some of the up-to-the-minute stuff I was writing about is becoming obsolete.. I'm not obsolete but my material might be as others catch up with me.  Very annoying.


Well, we learn something every day.  And every day, I must have said this before, is an obstacle course, some days harder than others, some obstacles more daunting than others.  And I’m not always dauntless


I love that word. I looked it up to see if I could find the root.. NO, but I found a list of synonyms, all of which are useful and delightful: fearless, determined, resolute, indomitable, intrepid, doughty, plucky, spirited, mettlesome; undaunted, undismayed, unflinching, unshrinking, bold, audacious, valiant, brave, courageous, daring; informal gutsy, gutty, spunky, feisty, skookum.


Yup, that’s me, all except skookum.

Guess what?  Safari just quit again,and again and again.




it happened again

Ask me what I think of Safari.  It just "quit unexpectedly" obliterating yet another blog.  This time it was almost complete, and it's gone. Not meant to be. 

I remember when I got my own car, I mean when I was married. Ah, the second car! Supposed to be the symbol of leisure and lots of freed-up time.  Yeah, well, it turned into a plough. All the scut work, the errands, the pick-ups, the kids' appointments, all became the activities of that car. Leisure turned into work.  Often in history it has been the opposite.  Horses were for transportation and work but then, after the combustion engine, they became the sport of kings and the indulgent leisure of people who could afford them.  Candles (tallow, whale oil, rushes, whatever) were necessary for light but after electricity became luxury items, decorative but not useful.

Marshall McLuhan described light as information. And he said that people wore their cars.

I guess I lean on my computer and when it gives way under me, I'm not only cut off, I'm silent.

I don't believe it

I was well into a repeat performance of some thoughts and tips about food and food preparation when Safari did it to me again: quit and destroyed what I had written.  I don't think I am meant to write that column.

Well, the day is mine, but obviously not yours.

Anon, anon.

tomorrow is another day

-and it's a good thing because there's no time left today.  I  had to do my Icelandic homework for my class tonight. And I had to Express Post some important documents as part of a submission for a grant I'm applying for. And I had an appointment for my annual medical checkup. And I put in an order for groceries (to be delivered- no car, more than I can push in a cart). And there goes the day, with time intelligently spent but nothing  accomplished. 

Isn't it amazing? I've been thinking all day; the inner dialogue never stops. This morning I was trying to remember the married name of a writer friend of mine and I read her obituary this afternoon in the Writers' Union newsletter. Do you have any theories about this?  

About my vagrant blog yesterday, it was about recipes and cooking and whether or not you cut the gills off a portobello mushroom, and other such considerations.  I'll get back to it one day. 

too late

I had a good blog going, several paragraphs deep, and Safari quit on me unexpectedly. No back up. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

man's inhumanity to man

Man was Made to Mourn: A Dirge, by Robert Burns)  

When chill November's surly blast

Made fields and forests bare,

One ev'ning, as I wander'd forth

Along the banks of Ayr,

I spied a man, whose aged step

Seem'd weary, worn with care;

His face furrow'd o'er with years,

And hoary was his hair.


"Young stranger, whither wand'rest thou?"

Began the rev'rend sage;

"Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,

Or youthful pleasure's rage?

Or haply, prest with cares and woes,

Too soon thou hast began

To wander forth, with me to mourn

The miseries of man.


"The sun that overhangs yon moors,

Out-spreading far and wide,

Where hundreds labour to support

A haughty lordling's pride;-

I've seen yon weary winter-sun

Twice forty times return;

And ev'ry time has added proofs,

That man was made to mourn.


"O man! while in thy early years,

How prodigal of time!

Mis-spending all thy precious hours-

Thy glorious, youthful prime!

Alternate follies take the sway;

Licentious passions burn;

Which tenfold force gives Nature's law.

That man was made to mourn.


"Look not alone on youthful prime,

Or manhood's active might;

Man then is useful to his kind,

Supported in his right:

But see him on the edge of life,

With cares and sorrows worn;

Then Age and Want-oh! ill-match'd pair-

Shew man was made to mourn.


"A few seem favourites of fate,

In pleasure's lap carest;

Yet, think not all the rich and great

Are likewise truly blest:

But oh! what crowds in ev'ry land,

All wretched and forlorn,

Thro' weary life this lesson learn,

That man was made to mourn.


"Many and sharp the num'rous ills

Inwoven with our frame!

More pointed still we make ourselves,

Regret, remorse, and shame!

And man, whose heav'n-erected face

The smiles of love adorn, -

Man's inhumanity to man

Makes countless thousands mourn!


"See yonder poor, o'erlabour'd wight,

So abject, mean, and vile,

Who begs a brother of the earth

To give him leave to toil;

And see his lordly fellow-worm

The poor petition spurn,

Unmindful, tho' a weeping wife

And helpless offspring mourn.


"If I'm design'd yon lordling's slave,

By Nature's law design'd,

Why was an independent wish

E'er planted in my mind?

If not, why am I subject to

His cruelty, or scorn?

Or why has man the will and pow'r

To make his fellow mourn?


"Yet, let not this too much, my son,

Disturb thy youthful breast:

This partial view of human-kind

Is surely not the last!

The poor, oppressed, honest man

Had never, sure, been born,

Had there not been some recompense

To comfort those that mourn!


"O Death! the poor man's dearest friend,

The kindest and the best!

Welcome the hour my aged limbs

Are laid with thee at rest!

The great, the wealthy fear thy blow

From pomp and pleasure torn;

But, oh! a blest relief for those

That weary-laden mourn!"


Ai me.




happy day

I told Twitter that I like Friday-the-13th because we had two birthdays on the 13th of a month: my late husband's and my daughter Kate's. So I considered it a lucky date. I found some nice words you'll never use but might like to know about the thirteenth.

"The word for fear of Friday the 13th is "paraskavedekatriaphobia." The word for fear of the number 13 is "triskaidekaphobia." Located near Philadelphia is the Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Center, an organization that hosts parties centered on confronting common phobias like walking under a ladder and opening an umbrella indoors."

I found that online under 13 Fun Facts about Friday the Thirteenth.  (Who does those things?  What is their job description?)

I'm not doing well today, though, a bit jumpy and restless. If I do better,I'll try again. Perhaps it's a good time to write my generic. (one size fits all)



the day after


I missed being thoughtful (about remembering) yesterday. I meant to do it last night but my picky, favourite dinner guest called and asked to share dinner with me and we talked till 11 o’clock.  I always clean up before I go to bed; it makes the morning easier to leap (crawl?) into.  So here we are: I emptied the dishwasher and I’m checking in before I swim at 6. You don’t have to know all that but I have to settle myself .

 When did the habit begin of writing a letter to accompany a Christmas card?  I’m not sure whether it continues in such large proportions now as it used to. What with email and a dearth of time, communications are not as generous as they used to be.  I wonder if in the future there will be entire books devoted to an e-correspondence between two articulate people. I wonder if people will be as articulate.

 That’s another discussion.  Right now  I bring up Christmas letters because I have to figure out what to do about them.  I had extended  my seasonal group letters to other times of the year. I called them generic letters because they were aimed (rather than focused) at a number of people and were neither gender nor seasonal specific.   Then I began to send my generic letters online, although I had to print and mail some to friends who were not computer-friendly or literate - computer-literate, that is.

Now I write daily (almost) blogs and I have just added Twitter and I still keep a diary, though I fear it has descended to a Nag Book. So what happens to my generic letters ?  Should I mail copies of a relevant blog to people who enjoy receiving something other than a fund-raising pitch?  Should I revert to writing a summary of The Year That Was? Or should I quit? 

I have to swim now....

here I am

And I guess I have a lot to explain and a lot to say.  

I left it at that while I made and ate my dinner, and I received one "like" in my absence.  Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead?

Anyway, things happened over the weekend.  First, I should explain why I was sort of down in my last blog (November 5).  I had just received a second rejection of my book, ENDINGS, telling me in effect, that I'm too old to write a book about aging!  I have no  media presence. It's true: I've been around too long to be around any more. I've said it before: I've lost my family, friends, furniture, doctors and agents.  Most of them have retired or died. I've also said it before, that I feel like a duck in a shooting gallery with all the ducks around me being shot down. So , yes,  I was discouraged.  Well, then, the reason I was too busy to blog: my daughter and her oldest daughter came for a visit and I was very (happily) busy with them.  

And they with me.  My granddaughter listened to the story of my invisibility and set about to set me  up with TWITTER.  I find it ironic, actually, that I have to try to establish a presence with people who I am sure are so much younger than I am that they do not comprise an audience for my aging memoir. Well, thank you, Janice, we'll see how it goes.  Even with your help, I had to get my computer guru to help me get established.  My son used to say I was computer illiterate and I still am.  But I get along with a little help from my friends. 

Down and up. What next?  It's called being tired.  I cleaned up and tidied  and changed and washed the sheets and towels and made soup and caught up with email. Lots of thing to follow up on. So this morning I made a master list of things I have to do, and when I finished that, I had a nap. Only thing to do.  You have to allow for my age and my laziness. 

But I'm here.


the world is too much with us

Actually, in Wordsworth's day, maybe the world was with him, skating alongside, maybe,and crowding him.  Now, here, well, not here but soon, I hope, the world will be with me, not  too much.  Right now it's way ahead of me and I'm running like mad trying to catch up. 

The world is too much with us; late and soon, 

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;— 

Little we see in Nature that is ours; 

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.

-- And then he gets all classical on us, with references to mythology and Greek stuff ("old ?Triton"), but I like one line: "For this, for everything, we are out of tune". Yup, out of tune all right. Remember Ophelia's lament about Hamlet's noble mind, "like sweet bells jangled and out of tune.".  Trouble is, I don't have a noble mind to start with, just a pedestrian psyche struggling to get along, or to catch up. Have I given my heart away?  It depends on how you look at it:

1)  What part of my heart have I given away?  

2) How much heart do I have left to give away? 

And 3) What kind of a sordid boon is a give-away heart?  

Boon is supposed to be a gift, a blessing, I get that, and sordid isn't nice. Like, we were maybe forced into giving it away?  I guess. Well, whatever.  My powers are wasted, that's for sure, and it's my fault, my choice.  Remember that parable about the man who put his ladder against the wall of a very large house and started climbing?  He climbed and he climbed (getting and spending, laying waste his powers?)  and when he was almost at the top, he paused and looked around and realized that he had set his ladder against the wrong house.  Ay, there's the rub.  

I look back now, from the dizzy height of my advanced age, and wonder if I have set my ladder against the wrong house. Too late.  I haven't quite made my bed yet so I'm not quite ready to lie in it, but it's too late to move it now, or any other furniture. 

Oops, I have to go and swim.


moving on

We all keep moving on, that is, if we're smart. I'm not that smart and I waste the time between one task and the next (I love that word, task).  I find transitions to be difficult.  I'm finished with something and i know what i have to do next, but I don't do it . I pause, for too long. I'm at my worst when it's time for bed.  I can't let go.  I putter or doze or gaze into space and I can't seem to be able to get up and leave the day. Very time-consuming. Very wasteful.Very annoying.

When I was reading women's diaries for my book about women's diaries, I found one woman with whom I identified completely in this respect. I remembered her name was Ethel and I remember making note of what she said, in the margin.  Did you know, an archivist told me, that they welcome margin notes, if they're by a writer? It's not defacing the book, it's enriching it.  Right now I am trying to retrieve the notes from a book I gave to the University of Manitoba archives because of the margin notes, which are very special. 

This is a tangent; I'll return to home base shortly. I loved Tillie Olsen and her book, Silences, about the silences imposed by society, husbands or self on women writers.  I made extensive marginal comments because it touched a chord.  Then I met her in the Banff Writing Studio and I asked her to autograph my copy of her book.  She didn't just sign it; she asked me for the book so she could read what I had written in it and when she returned it, she had written a dialogue: comments on my comments throughout the book, with an encouraging note at the end along with her signature.  Oh my. I need that book now, for something else I am working on and I asked the archivist for it and he said I could get the book from a library.  No, no, no.  I have another copy of the book, but I want that annotated copy.

That's enough of that tangent.

I remembered the book my Ethel was in and what side of the page. Her diary was never published, that I know of, although it is copyrighted (is that correct use of the past participle?). The excerpt is all I have, in the book, Private Pages: Diaries of American Women, 1830s-1970s, ed.  by Penelope Franklin, published by Ballantine Boooks in 1986 - the same year of the copyright in the names of Clara Whiting Bomboy and Carolyn Whiting Murman.  Since Ethel Robertson Whiting's diary was written between 1924 and 1930, I am assuming that these latter woman are her granddaughters, not then born,  to whom she addressed her diary.

Anyway, I found what I was looking for: it's number one in a list of her faults and I happily quote her:

"1. My evil habit of sitting up, by myself, until one or two o'clock at night.  Not without a struggle can I bring myself to surrender the day, with no assurance that another of equal happiness will follow..  To surrender the moment when ones (sic) brain begins to come alive and thoughts arouse themselves is asking too much!"

Surrender the day!

In the margin beside her words I wrote,"I love her!"  I haven't forgotten it after lo, these many years.  Now, if e-books had existed then, I might not have been able to track her words.  Another reason for print.

Moving on.

when is now?

I am so mixed up.  What with scrambling my brains working on this screenplay (well, the synopsis and treatment so far), and watching baseball at night, I forgot it was the World Series I was watching. I asked Siri this morning when the Series starts, and she/it told me that the KC Royals won the Series last night.  I knew that. I stayed awake through the extra innings. I tried to leave it but I couldn't.  Even so, I was in the pool at six. I have a lot to do and it's pushing me.

I used to think I'd be at leisure by the time I was 80, able to pursue dreams I had never realized.  Well, I'm not fast enough to pursue anything in the hope of catching it, but I also don't have any leisure. Oh yes I do.  I remind myself what a good life I am having and don't forget it. Much of what I do is my choice, like watching baseball till all hours. And even though I'm working hard, I still find time to read - as I pedal, every afternoon, as I eat breakfast, every morning (different books), and as I relax with my iPadMini, in the afternoon, with a high-class bodice ripper (The Outlander). I know I am not hard done by and I am not complaining.   

I read somewhere that people are living so much longer now that it's like adding five hours a day to their life span.  I've already lived longer and where are those five hours?  I could use them right now.

More anon - like tomorrow.