When? he asked. When does middle age end and old age begin?

"When" he asked, " when does middle age end and old age begin?"

It took awhile to recover from his question.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Year

Today I AM older and still no wiser. In fact just this last little while I feel less sure of myself , not in a dotty oldster sort of way but questioning what I  have always held to be true, those basic beliefs about who I am and what I know. I have questioned my view of past happenings and assumptions that have shaped my life. I always thought that old folks were rigid in their thoughts and beliefs-either I'm not there yet  or this is one of my realizations.

This year has been remarkable, probably one of the most significant of my life. I have repeatedly  been present at the most powerful of moments  one can ever experience. I have witnessed the first breath  of  nine new lives.The spark of energy that ignites in the room when a child is born is palpable. It charges the room and reflects in the faces of everyone there. I feel it in my being. I could never have imagined the gift I would be given when I first chose to be a birth companion three years ago. I only saw what I could give not what I would receive. I am so thankful to the families that choose me to accompany them on their journey.

In this year, my youngest son has left home. He was late to leave and truly I had begun to see him as always living here . I could not imagine life without him living with us, but not living with us; here but separate. It's been over 6 months now and I miss him, but I don't . We talk and text from time to time and I try to turn off the worry switch. When those thoughts begin to rise, I try not to let them settle on me. I remind myself of how capable he is and remember back to when I was that age and it helps to quell the concerns. I have let him go and with his departure the responsibility that I have held onto, or so I tell myself and truly it is better every week he is on his own.

My elder son is away-way away. He has left his job and is travelling in Southeast Asia. I have been very proud of him. He has had a very responsible position and a strong successful career. I am even prouder of him for giving it all up and allowing himself to be the man he needs to be. His travel is not open ended. He will return at the end of the year. He is often in danger, his life is frequently imperiled and yet I am little more than anxious when he hasn't called for a few weeks. Even the call to say he was recovering from dengue fever did little to my calm. I look forward to his return and the new adventure he will undertake as a husband and my new role as a mother- in- law.

I can't reflect on my relationship too long or too deeply. We dance around each other politely and relish in the space between us physically and emotionally but then we become very close and it's almost as if the 35 years of parenthood never happened and we are sweet lovers, once again.

It's been quite a year, this 60th year of my life. I look forward to the unfolding future.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adrift; mind, blogs and bottles

I'm ever so busy doing what I do, and even more so,  NOT doing what I do. When I am out and about topics and ideas pop into my mind and then Poof- like a puff of smoke from a prop gun -> gone or I have conversations with myself and promise to do a little research when time allows and then like a puff of smoke from a prop gun -> gone! Perhaps this an adjunct to the other tortures of  being in my 60's.

 I hate it when I surf the blogs out there and people apologize for their absence and the apologies are  a year or more old- detritus,  just like the plastic left behind  by people who won't clean up after themselves. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100819141915.htm

and THAT reminded me of one of my bug-a-boos, plastic bottles! For the most part I speak of plastic water bottles but it applies to other plastic bottles as well,

It has been an exceptionally long hot spell of summer weather here in Ontario with virtually no rain until last week. Hot, hot , hot  make no mistake about that! Perhaps on another summer the  frequent  thunder showers might have swept the trash down the gutters  where perhaps the diligent homeowners, and tenants, have picked up the droppings  outside their homes and secreted the empties into the  blue bins. This year however is isn't possible to walk a block without finding an abandoned water bottle  tossed to the roadside crushed and empty leaching their toxic components into the  waterstream. Run off goes into the river, untreated, and at the other end of the system we take drinking water - treated for bacterial and key contaminants back out of the river. It is the same river !

 Now I have a thing against bottled water. I think it is the basic right of every individual in a  wealthy  country such as our own to have access to free clean drinking water. It is what we strive to help to provide to developing countries around the world.  It is a manufactured need to have people buying bottled water
( slated to reach 65.9 billion dollars world wide in 2012) and I object to  the cost of processing those bottles that are thoughtfully recycled and I resent the cost of cleaning up  after those that do not recycle . On line sources vary in presenting the facts about the percentage of bottles recycled from the Council of Canadians 50% to the 70% cited elsewhere. I have a personal memory of reading somewhere that in my community which has a high compliance with curbside recycling only 35% of plastic water bottles are recycled though I have no time right now to track down the source. This whole scenario of bottled water  plays out wrong on so many levels.

  When we recycle the bottles,  IF we recycle the bottles,  there is the cost - monetary and ecologically to do so  and if the bottles are recycled, is it done locally or shipped overseas for processing?  and if it is shipped overseas for processing (using more resources) is it done responsibly there? OR just dumped in  a third world country to  contaminate their  soil or burned to contaminate both soil and air?

 And what of those that are not recycled and end up in the land fills here - leaching  contaminants into the local water table, filling  what is often scarce agricultural land with residue that takes decades to degrade  and those are the ones disposed of what of those on the pathways, trails, tracks and roadsides left to degrade at their own pace creating hazards for wildlife and birds and creating breeding grounds for  mosquitoes?

My meandering mind only takes this one direction for now but  I have tried from time to time to create a flow chart going the other direction from the store counter top to the source  and I simply can't the implications are simply too widespread the steps to great. Not so with tap water it's all pretty straight forward. So  my final thought is - Really  are you that thirsty ? Can you not wait  until you can turn on the tap and get yourself a glass of fresh water? it's the right thing to do.

Other thoughts on bottled water:


 AND just imagine what the money going to  bottled water could be used for . .  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Sunset.

The sky tonight looks like a watercolour with a pink wash over it . A little too bright in some spots, barely there in others. Positively exquisite. It was a lovely weekend

Friday, June 8, 2012


Earlier this week I stood idly  waiting for a bus at a riverside stop. My mind wandered. The sun was warm, the sky clear blue, and then with a sudden breeze clouds of fluff dancing around me.

Fairies! my delighted inner child exclaimed as blizzard like, I was engulfed in mists of fluff.

Dandelion (1967)

Saturday, June 2, 2012


People 45-64 years of age account for 25% of the Canadian population. Women 55-59 6.2% in 2005

In 2008 someone in America turned 62 every 7 seconds

I found these stats in my draft folder. I'm not sure if I ever published them but they are still true. There was a time, a few years back, when I was yet again unemployed when I asked myself "where the people like me," were. Eventually I decided not to care as there really are no people like me just stats.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Small Things

I don't really want to get into the whole  Boomerang Kids  discussion or debate. This is just how it is  today, this week, this  month; for now .
I have two kids, men actually. One has been  out on his own for close to 10 years and the other has not. I love my guys and more than that, I like my guys. I think they are wonderful men. I admire the people they have become. They are generous and helpful and funny. Recently they have both left town-literally.  The younger one has bounced in and out of our home for the last 3 years working in other communities and then returning home as the season geared down, travelling,  returning home, and setting off to work out of town again.  The last time he arrived home he said,

" This is the last time I am doing this. When I leave next time, I leave for good"

As the season for him to leave approached there was a flurry of activity as he sorted, filed, packed and disposed of a decade of the un-disposed detritus of life. I was pressed into service. It was bittersweet because while there was almost a decade when my mantra was "I will miss him when he's gone" the fact hit me squarely in the face. I no longer felt that way. We had moved on from that parent-child gulley of tension to an easy rhythm of respect. Still I am no fool, and  it was past time for him to be gone.

Interspersed with his preparation was his older brother's preparation to relocate after a "world tour."  We went to his soccer games -"this could be the last time" we said to each other. His Dad shared sports with him on the little screen at home and the big screen in the bar. (Small mercies- *I* am NOT a sports fan!) We shared breakfast, lunch, and dinner with him -

"Who knows when we'll do this again?" we said to each other.

Life has been a whirlwind of activity-not chosen activity but truly a whirlwind where you are picked up and swept along in our case by the energy of two whirlwinds.

Before the scheduled date, a call came and our younger son was on a plane heading out . Left behind were partially filled boxes, full hangers, unfiled taxes, tools, records and a car. Mom - that's me stepped in. I am delighted to say the taxes are filed , the car is sold and a very few of the boxes have been closed.

Elder son left a few weeks after his brother. His father and I helped him get his home ready to rent, sell his car and we ate, reminised and just plain hung out together. "We may never do this again" we said to each other.

It's been three weeks since the last plane left. My husband has taken to leaving the laundry basket right outside  our son's door when he comes up from our basement laundry room.

"I know no one is going to come barrelling through there"  he said to me one day by way of an explanation  I hadn't asked for. I nodded. I notice he has taken to parking his truck in the middle of the drive way. It is the only vehicle.  None of our friends  would expect to park on the  rear driveway. As I leave the house I grab my purse and go I notice. There is no shuffling of coats to find where my things have been buried. From time to time I find myself glancing towards the back of the house surprised to find there are no large shoes askew on the floor by the door.

I DO miss them now they are gone, and so does he. We are though, alone together at last.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You Don't Have to Be stupid to Sit Here. .

but it helps.
 I had occasion to sit in the waiting room of and automotive repair shope today . I was waiting for a flat tire to be fixed on my sons car. The television was on . A movie was playing  on the 42" television. An odd movie, a very odd movie. I left and circulated the store as  the movie played on.I returned. I left and paced the floor outside the service desk.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Well Hello!

Blogger has this wonderful dashboard that lets me see what time you arrived , how long you stayed, what posts you looked at and, what country you accessed the blog from. It's a lot of information but really not very satisfying . I would be ever so grateful if you answered my poll or perhaps left me a comment. Of course if you don't want to I 'll be fine but it would be very nice to hear from you.

Come and play!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ugly Week

For days I have been thinking about ugly week. I was 23 before I knew there was such a thing. Growing up on the wonderful Wet Coast I was oblivious to this blight. My first real winter was in the Interior but far, far out in the country so again - I didn't have a clue about ugly week.

One winter in the city in Ontario and I awakend to ugly week. To me it seemed like a month but it couldn't have been. All that lovely fluffy white snow accumulates over the winter. Grit is sprinkled on the roadways, litter is dropped, trash is spilled, garbage buried, pets eliminate and the streets elucidate tales of misdemeanors of a public and personal nature. It lays in wait layered on the roadsides and walks. Nasty, nasty, nasty! Sometimes a timely rain shifts the dust into shoals and leaves beds of sand in the gutters and at the road sides but other years it is fetid and dank and it lingers, slippery and sticky, to cling to rubber boots and grease the path of pedestrians.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy anniversary , happy anniversary

Just by serendipity I happened to notice that I have been here for 3 years TODAY!
Happy anniversary to me ! I'm sorry it took so long for you to find me here. At an average of 20 posts a year it's not an onerous task for you to keep up. I hope you'll be back soon.

The intent of the blog was to log some of the triumphs and many of the frustrations on the road to old age. I didn't think I'd done that but already as I read back I can see a few things that have changed in my life.

Friday, March 9, 2012

International Women's Day

Was yesterday and I wanted to say something of significance but I didn't although thoughts raced through my head all week long.

There is an undercurrent out there just as dangerous to women as an undertow to a swimmer. Challenges to abortion legislation, the ugly diatribe against insurance provided birth control, the notion that femnism is passe and that feminism is against something rather than for something are swirling about us. If young women look to their elders; to the grandmothers and grey haired women of their communities they will find that the past is not so distant and the freedoms they see as their birthright not so firmly entrenched. Most of the rights and freedoms today's western women take for granted came about little more than a generation ago. It was George Santayana that said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Let's hope that this is not the case.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Waiting room

I stopped into a  walk-in clinic (shudder) earlier this week. I am very fortunate to have personal physician; a thoughtful, thorough and kind man but my problem was not one he was equipt to tackle and so he referred me to the facility that shares a waiting room with the walk-in clinic. Health care isn't what this post is about. This post is about change.

As I signed in for my scheduled appointment I noticed there were fourteen people in the room. Of those fourteen  people seven were connected to or interacting with smart phones of various types. I assume listening to music, surfing the net, playing games or texting. One person had a tablet, one a mini laptop, another an e-reader, and one a book. An LCD monitor high on the wall displayed a loop of advertising disguised as information.

Just one  tired looking, yellowed paperback  book read by a young woman sitting feet up, wedged sideways in the scruffy chair. Not a single magazine.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Speaking of Childish Delight

I spent some time with my favourite 15 month old yesterday. Last week we had been reading books together and I really hadn't paid too much  attention to his choice of books but yesterday. his mom was there and she mentioned that Baby Sign was his favourite book  and so he and I played "sign"as we went through the little book twice, and then again- repeat .

I was bored by that time and was hoping to have more adult conversation as this was not a one on one with the lad but had been  intended as a visit with Mom interspersed with periods of boy-time. He had other ideas and after we once again  very cutely signed our way through  drink, hot, finish, apple, bannana I tried to move onto other toys. The little man had other thoughts  and continued to sign more to me.  How could I not ! We worked our way through the book again several times.

Baby sign is not only incredibly cute it is very useful ! Allowing a non verbal child to convey his needs, desires and wants is a brilliant idea!  I can imagine the frustration that could have been avoided for my own sons had  I been aware if this system when they were small. Now if only I'd of had the presence of mind to sign finish back at him when he was insisting on more !

Here is a link I located if you are interested in knowing a little more about baby sign language.