Saturday, 23 December 2017

blurry is as blurry does.

You know how we sometimes get a song stuck in the brain?  Today I have a tune that is one of my least favourite songs in the world, the name of which I don't know, but the words go like this:  Loving you is easy 'cause you're beautiful...

How insensitive and short-sighted the song-writer who gave us this!  For one thing, "beautiful" is so blurry a word.  I know that "blurry" isn't a great word either but I'm sticking with that description because in this case, it's exactly the right word for me.  , "Beautiful" for me so often reflects both my observation and my values, and as both my vision and my thought processes are deteriorating  with age, I know that what I would have called beautiful in my twenties is something I might just take for granted now, or maybe find devalued. 

I find it hard not to use "beautiful" when I see a baby, but it has less to do with beauty than with joy; also with joy, "beautiful" when I see the dark chocolate cake Dave makes for special occasions; "beautiful" when someone in the family tries a new hair colour; "beautiful" if the wind has taken the tall grasses in front of our window and blown them in a curve that's like the last move in a ballet.

Hmmm, obviously I'm feeling kind of blurry myself.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Guess what I found...

A simple enough thing---notice a box that is sitting near your reading chair, place it on the bed, open it up and realize that the rest of the night will be used to read and cry over letters  and photos from your parents, siblings, family, friends and lost friends. 

I knew as soon as I opened the box, looking for buttons, that I was not going to pass over a single photo, drawing, card or letter.  The experience was full of smiles, outright laughs, memories, lost stories, adorable crayon art and the kind of nostalgia that, in my case at least, leaves a person grateful for everyone who has crossed her path.

One letter was from a beloved sister-in-law who died days after writing, and whose death I wasn't aware of until after a while, realizing I hadn't answered her note, I called her home. 

Others were letters from my mother, after my dad's stroke had left him unable to speak, talking about how hopeful she was that he would recover, and always signed by both...the dad signature wobbly but there.

My daughters both lived out west for a while, and Dave lived in Victoria for two years while he studied for his master's degree, and many of the letters were from the three of them.  Looking back I  realized that although they lived in BC, each of them was there alone, or with their partner, and each had different experiences, but all wrote funny, sad, worried and joyful letters at different times.

My sisters and brothers only wrote clever and amusing letters, even though they were sometimes in the midst of studying, having uncomfortable experiences at work or coping with the kind of instances that we all run into during our lifetimes.

Most strangely, I had some letters from people I couldn't find in my memories.  I'll work on making those connections over the next few weeks.

Besides letters, there were wonderful and imaginative drawings and cards from my grandchildren, wishing us happy birthdays, Happy Easter, Happy Valentine's Day or just saying they loved us.

I really count myself so privileged, so nostalgic, so delighted, so moved and so full of love.

Saturday, 9 December 2017


Today is my mother's birthday.  She would be 98 years old, and were she still alive I bet she would still be entirely clear-headed, up-to-date and a joy to be with.

We didn't always agree on things in our lives (she shocked me by crossing the picket line when we both worked for National Defence in Camp Valcartier; I shocked her by being the first woman to wear slacks to the Sergeants' Mess Sunday dinner) but we respected each other and shared the same basic values. 

We wore each other's clothes when we lived near-by, which was only on and off after my parents settled in Barrie at a time when I was zipping around eastern Canada and Germany.  We also wore each other's shoes which did neither of us any good because we were both buyers and wearers of shoes that were almost too small.

She looked after my father for the seven years he lived after having a stroke.  She learned how a Hoyer lift worked, and how far she could push his wheelchair around the neighbourhood when the weather permitted.  And in all those years, she never changed being the best and most supportive mother and grandmother. 
from left, Julia, Emma, Sarah, Lorna with Mom in the middle

I miss her every day, I still file thoughts I'd like to share with her, I wish I could call her to remind her that figure-skating was on TV and know that we'd both be watching it.  I wish that she knew that her great-granddaughter Phoebe had the words from my parents' gravestone tattooed on her ankle.  Still, no regrets, just treasured memories.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Oh, just another list...

Questions that come up to retirees in the 75plus sector of humanity:

  • Is it to be considered waste to take time to put on make-up and earrings even if  I know I'm not leaving the house?
  • Should I continue to crunch all my library books in a bag because most of them were found in the Adolescence section?
  • Do I really deserve the amount of wine and chocolate I provide for myself?
  • Is it actually a law that I can no longer wear high heels?
  • Is it wrong to hope that the bus driver is going to ask for proof on seniors-free day?
  • Should I give away my sparkly nail polish?
  • How much time should I spend playing Old Maid with Maddy on the floor?
  • Should I wear dark glasses while I'm picking over the clothes at Forever 21?
  • Is it really repugnant to others that Dave and I kiss goodbye at the airport?
  • Is this tattoo really considered to be edgy or brave, as I've been told on many occasions?

Actually, I find myself pissed off that many of these questions are not my own.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Have I lost it?

Does anybody but me watch "The Orville"?

I am a serious Star Trek follower, even though I have some issues with two of the series, so falling in love with "The Orville" is counter to all my former faithful fanship, and in total disagreement with every TV critic. I don't quite understand this, I don't intend to beat myself up and I don't imagine I'll be in a large crowd of other fans. Having said that, some of the things I love:

This guy

  • The ship itself---it doesn't look like it could roll down a hill, let alone zoom through space
  • Every character in Orville is recognizable as a slightly-aberrant Star Trek character
  • Each actor is just that slightly pulling your leg
  • Episodes are either unwatchable or so watchable that you want to watch twice.
  • Seth MacFarlane is so earnest, and he waits for the laugh with an expression that makes you know he's going to hang in until you do laugh

  • the crew is so diverse
  • Rob Lowe, a visitor with a problem
  • the doctor character actually made love with the sponge character in one episode, and it was arousing
I'm actually kind of pleased with myself, and with "The Orville" now that I've reread this.

Friday, 1 September 2017

The World Has It In for You

Some things I discovered while waiting for 9 a.m., when I would check the temperature before I got dressed.  I continue to learn about coping with this tricky world.

  • always check the laundry if, when you shove all the sheets in the washer, your phone bravely makes a bonking noise
  • if you're going to wash your hair while you're in the bath, don't bring a book and wear your glasses
  • after 3 days of the same mistake, I'm promising not to make coffee and leave it in the kitchen while I read a book in the bedroom or in the tub
  • try to figure out how you're going to tell your daughters that the bathtub that you scrubbed with a new gadget (and boasted about its absolute whiteness) is looking sort of yellow this morning.  And no, it's not the sun as we have no windows in that part of the house.  And yes, I rescind my recommendation to buy that device. 
  • there's nothing worse than answering the door to the mailman while you've hastily put your bathrobe on inside-out
  • well, one thing that might be worse than that is to leave your tv remote on the bed before you run your bath...there's definitely a clunk in the washer

Friday, 21 July 2017

Nice to be retired

The other day, I was strolling around a Dollar-ish store and noticed a bin with slippers in it.  I'd been without summer slippers for a while and got closer to see what was there.  "OOOOOOH," I said (I hope it was to myself)  "I've been looking for just this kind of slipper, and they're 2 pairs in a package for $10!"

Bought them, got home and bent down to put the new gray fabric slippers in the place I thought looked appropriate for slippers. There, lying quietly on the floor of my cupboard was a package of 2 pairs of gray fabric slippers.

I beat myself up for a bit but decided that it wasn't such an awful thing and I'd just start wearing them the next day.

They wouldn't stay on my feet.  I'm thinking of making two big fabric dolls on whose four feet I could glue four gray fabric slippers.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Europe 2017 Part 6: Oppède-le-Vieux: an interlude between the rouge of Rustrel & Roussillon and the Roman of Vaison & Orange

By contrast to the tourist-developed towns of Gordes and Roussillon, Oppède-le-Vieux has more the feel of a place back in time, a smaller town almost off the radar, with an approach to visitors that reflects less the tourism drive than a modest pride in preserving ‘le Vieux’. Except for residents and services and deliveries, you can’t drive into Oppède (I’ll use the abbreviated town name although there is a town just called Oppède nearby, so when you visit, don’t confuse the two; it is Oppède-le-Vieux you are looking for). You pay 3 euros to park just below the town, then you follow a simple self-guiding path through old gardens and enter the town through its narrow streets. 

Photos may speak a thousand words, but they can never equate to being there in person. We hope at least some of this atmosphere comes through in the following photos. Finally, if you have a big enough screen, I think you can left click on any photo and then scroll through a slide show of the photos in larger format but without the commentary, for a better visual impact. Enjoy:

1. In retrospect, this driveway just outside of town seemed to set the right perspective for the visit to Oppède.

2. On arrival, the weather threatened rain, but the small scale of the place, and the immaculate gardens below the town, hinted of a different experience than those of previous days.

3. An artful orientation map as you enter the footpath from the parking to the town.

4. The relative locations of Gordes, Roussillon, and Oppède are shown at top right, with Mont Ventoux (i.e. “Windy Mountain”), the highest peak in the mountains to the north of our first ‘pied-à-terre’ on this trip, in the centre background. P.S. For anyone who watches the 20+ day Tour de France bicycle race each July, it was the beautiful countryside settings of this race that led us to our first visit to France, and Mont Ventoux is one of the mountains that has been featured in the race on several occasions.

5. The visitor’s approach.


7. The main town square: At the far left is one of only two café patios visible from the square,

8. This is the other.

9. Where some of the locals park.

10. And a peek at someone’s inner courtyard.

11. Heading up to the inevitable hilltop church or chateau.

12. How easy to step back a few centuries into this picture.

13. Stone masonry must have been a trade in high demand.


15. This time it’s a church. A chateau may have meant a significantly different past, present, and future for the special town of Oppéde-le-Vieux.  We can only speculate.

Until next, Lorna and Dave from France the fantastic.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Europe 2017 Part 5: A 3-star trio - Gordes, Rustrel, & Roussillon

It's been a while since our last post, but we've been busy playing tourist. And trying to solve technical glitches to make it quick and easy to do these posts was, we trust you'll understand, lower on a TO DO list which we vowed not even to bring on such a trip. On the technical side, we've decided to post the pictures in the "large" format this blog allows, so you can see the whole picture at once if you are viewing on a smaller screen laptop, but if you have access to a larger screen, and if as a viewer on this "Blogger" site you can left click on the photo and change it to "X-large" format we encourage you to do so. So here we go - Lorna and Dave Europe 2017 - Part 5:

First, a little Lorna-and-Dave-do-Europe tradition, if you can call two trips in eight years a tradition:

1. Every trip to France must include a favourite Citroen “Deux Chevaux” pic. So far this is it. If we capture one we like better, we’ll let you know. Now on to the other 3 stars:

2. Just below the beautiful hilltop town of Gordes, a 3-star hotel and restaurant beckons,

3. hinting ever so gently of fine dining and accommodation.

4. Gordes the gorgeous, wrapped around a Luberon hillside,

5. home to the wealthy – this one an architect of homes.

6. You could stay here,

7. or here,

8. where this would be the view out your window,

And these, as you walked out for your morning croissant and espresso:



Or afternoon wine and cheese or patisserie – oh hell, why not both?





And if you worked for those rich folks,

15. this might be your window view.

But we're in tourist mode, so let's leave the political commentary aside for now, and move on to our 2nd star, Rustrel, and delights of a different nature:

16. A small hint of things to come,

17. just up around this bend.

18. A shocking burst of colour, and I promise, no filters on the camera. That’s what you’ll see when you come here.

19. A source of ochre powder and colour,

20. promoted and marketed in Rustrel and Roussillon, both as tourist attraction, and as a pigment for industrial and artistic uses.

21. Speaking of shocking . . .???

22. Is he speaking to the water creatures?

23. Or practicing for a Superman gig? Or just championing the cause of free-thinking artistic expression? We’ll buy that. You?

24. And while we're free-thinking, you can’t pass up a dramatic penis shot when it’s standing right there in front of you.

And with that, let’s move on to

25. the third star of tonight’s show:

26. A setting not far from Rustrel,

27. but a totally different vibe.

Let’s let the pictures do the talking for this one:






34. And one last glimpse at Roussillon before calling it a day.

‘Til next, we hope these pix have brought a little extra pleasure into your life, having brought a whole whack of it into ours.