Cathi’s Comments for December 31, 2015

As 2015 winds to an end I find it’s been quite a strange year all in all.  Personally, the year started with saying goodbye to Erin and Alex who continue on with their life journey in Toronto.  Then was the loss of my cat Domino, who passed away at age 14.  We now are down to one dog and one cat.

It’s been a year of decisions.  My jeep that has been sitting waiting for money to get the brakes fixed since November 2014 now has a dead battery and at last look either a dead battery cable or dead starter or both.  I put it up for sale in August but people either want it for almost free or they want it running and certified, which, sadly so do I.  If it were I’d be driving it.  I could have used the money if it sold but as the year ends it still sits there in my driveway.

It’s been a year of discovering my own truth.  I discovered that there really is a bias that happens at 50 and you will get denied opportunity.  I won’t go into detail but it was said to my face so I have to believe it.  It makes me sad that once again I’m forced to see that no matter how good you are or how much knowledge or experience you have it’s all about agendas and where you fit into it.  And I don’t.  So.  That leads me back to decisions.  I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to pay off everything we owe and bank enough to pay the bills for a year but that’s my plan.  Whenever I do leave this next time it will definitely be my last.  I will not go back to work where I’m not appreciated again.  Unfortunately it’s going to take a long time because I’ll never get a real promotion again I don’t think.  At least that’s the way it looks to me right now.

I say that I need a year’s worth of bill paying ability because as of this date we are still waiting for Jim’s not so great Old Age Security, one year and three months after he turned 65.  CPP by the way is pocket change, not a real retirement sum so if you do have any chance to have input on upping the CPP payout, please agree to it.  Someday you’ll thank yourself and the people already retired who are getting a pittance will thank you.  I also think that the Guaranteed Income Supplement should be based on individual income, not family income.  It isn’t fair to dual income families who suddenly wind up with one person making pocket change and waiting forever for marginally better OAS while the other has to carry the load. Not many middle income earners have planned for one year or more of nothing coming in.

Carleton Park at Dusk But on the bright side, I finally started painting again. I have one painting that is now donated to The Ville, and I have the canvas for 3 more that I’ll be starting shortly. It’s been a good year for me creatively.

Off-Air is finally published in paperback and as a Kindle edition, I Ching Jukebox finally made it as a Kindle edition, my poetry book as well became a Kindle edition.  I also posted my very first novel and am in process of posting my second novel that I wrote in my 20s.  I am also in the middle of writing a novel that started with Nanowrimo 2014.  I did try Nano again this year but ran out of time.  I’ve been very busy but I’m glad I did attempt it.  So you see, me and Genève Blue have been working away.  I also submitted an entry into the CBC short story contest for the first time in forever.

So – looking forward, 2016 should be an interesting year.  There is a wedding to attend in September (yay!!) and aside from my paintings to do I plan to finish the two novels in progress.  I will also take my Troll of Barondale children’s story and create the drawings for it so I can publish that one too.  I actually woke up on morning seeing it as an animated short but unfortunately, like the other ideas I have for animation I’m not sure how to do that without some pretty decent software.  I need to take another animation course I think, but probably not this year.  Time and lack of money forbids it.

Beyond that, who knows what 2016 has in store for me.  So on that note I will say, please people follow your heart and treat others with compassion.  Don’t let the darkness steal your light away, the world needs it.

In love and light, à la prochaine,

Cathi

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2016 Predictions

It’s that time again.  I’ll leave it to you to decide how well I did with 2015 but bear in mind that what I see is sometimes symbolic.  I’m still puzzling over Harper and a hole in a plane on the passenger side near the door.  Was that when the downward slide really started?  I think it had to do with the plane that was shot down over the Ukraine but I’m still not sure how that ties in with Harper.  So you see.  My picture of Rob Ford on the floor, ostensibly shot, that was more figurative but the timing was right for his cancer, sad as it was.  So like I’ve said before this for me is something I’ve always done, it’s up to you to decide how right I am, understanding that sometimes I’m off by a year or more.

So what do I see for 2016?  I’m actually a nervous thinking about 2016.  It’s just that there are so many different ways that the current state of affairs in the world is going that I am very hesitant to even look.  Some things I do see anyway without focussing are:

  1.  Eastern Canada is going to be the new focus of migration in Canada.  Alberta is out (for now, migration will return) but there is an appeal that has people returning and others coming for financial reasons but it may be more that the cost of living is somewhat cheaper and there is opportunity to start businesses without the competition you get in places like Ontario or Alberta.
  2. Speaking of migration, I’m seeing large groups of people leaving – kind of like the Syria lines of people trying to get to Europe, but that’s not what I’m seeing.  I’m seeing people you don’t expect migrating on foot because they have to.  Like the dustbowl of the 1930s, these are people walking in North America trying to get somewhere else because they just can’t stay where they are.  I think this has something to do with an earthquake or similar scope of natural disaster.
  3. Money – 2015 was not a financially good year for Canada with the drop in oil prices, OPEC saying the hell with it and doing their own thing, the fall in the Canadian dollar – it’s big to us but in the grand scheme of things we’re really small.  We’re feeling the fallout and it isn’t kind but I do see us using our resources in a better way and picking ourselves up and moving on.  We’re a resource rich nation and we will find a way to sell what people in the rest of the world need.  We’ll be back to where we were before 2008 around 2030 I think.  Understanding of course that a lot is going to happen in the next 14 years or so that will make oil based fuels not commonplace at all anymore.  We can take comfort that the rest of the world is in pretty much the same shape we are or worse off.
  4. Banks – there’s a big shake up coming, and I am still seeing something with credit where people get something back.  It’s a legal decision but on a world scale.  In the longer view our current financial systems are on the way out.
  5. What has started with the sharing economy (Uber, Airbnb, etc.) is continuing.  People are stretched to the limit, sucked dry with huge interest rates and the cost of heat, fuel, electricity.  This secondary economy is going to expand so that people can have a little more in their lives.  It does come to the detriment of banks and credit companies, which quite frankly is fine by me.
  6. There’s something very dark about 2016 that starts off simmering around February and continues until mid-summer or so when it becomes obvious that this darkness is there.  No, I don’t know what it is and I’m a little leery of paying any more attention to it.  Just be careful in late July or August.
  7. We’re going to be seeing a lot of losses of people who mean something to us; elderly statesmen, artists, actors.  It will in some ways seem like a year of loss, I’m sorry to say.  I hope I’m wrong in this.
  8. One actress I got a sense was going to have a very good year is Olivia Munn.  Not sure why I clued into her exactly but that’s what I saw – I think she gets a part that truly shows how talented she is, and I think she gets married?  Anyway, good for her if this is true.
  9. Donald Trump – I have a bad feeling about him, I don’t think he’s safe.  He definitely won’t be President, even if there’s no harm coming to him.
  10. I want to say something positive to balance out all the not so pleasant things I’m seeing so I will say that truth and compassion are continuing to become the way that people want the world to be.  For that I am grateful, it’s been a long time coming.  But harbingers of truth need also to be careful, the people who prefer to be selfish and mean aren’t giving up easily.
  11. To everyone:  please just be careful, and lead with your heart.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2016.

 

 

Grandpeople

My parents' wedding 1959

My parents’ wedding 1959

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never knew my grandparents. Now, that’s not entirely true because I did meet my paternal grandfather a few months before he died when I was eleven or so. At the time I thought, wow, he is a smaller version of my dad with a bigger nose and who is that lady he lives with?

Like I said, I was about 11 or so. He died not long after. What I really regretted about that is that I grew up thinking he was dead like my other grandparents. I found out he wasn’t when my dad was told he was dying and it was now or never in terms of reconciliation. The first time I saw him was at his small apartment somewhere in downtown Ottawa; he was okay I thought and my sister and I were there and I was totally intrigued by this smaller version of my dad, he seemed so…well, nice. Why didn’t we know he was there? I still don’t know and I’m 53 now.  Some secrets live longer than the people that kept them.  My dad died in 1995, before my son was born.  To this day, I miss my dad.

When I grew older dad was my very best friend.  This was after the big split between mom and dad, and after he and I had that blow up where I gave him the teenaged choice of being a friend or nothing at all since I considered him a not so great father.  He chose friend.  I am eternally grateful for that choice, and I wish there had been such a successful choice between him and his dad.  Maybe I would have known my grandpa Harris.

I do remember there was this biggish lady around. I don’t know who she was but I guess she was his girlfriend. Whatever she was, I don’t really care. My grandmother died sometime after she held me in her arms as an infant shortly after my family arrived back from a posting in Europe. I was a baby, she was 50 and she didn’t live long after that. I do know she was happy she got to see me, especially because apparently I look exactly like her. I wish I knew. I have one photo of her and she’s looking at the floor. She was adopted and there were a whack of weird possible parentages for her, including an American actor from Vaudeville and something about part French or Indian or possibly Italian and her adopted mother was even weirder with her very loud parrot in the living room that scared the bejesus out of my dad and all anyone knew was something about a visit to Cornwall and that great-grandmother was married several times but there was no denying how Irish she was, given her accent and superstitions.  There was even speculation she was really the mom.  Regardless –

I am Irish, that much I know. From my mother’s side and my dad’s side the most of it is Irish. Yes, I’m Irish, I’m the best of the Orange and Green coming from both Protestant (Anglican) and Roman Catholic lineage. My dad was Roman Catholic, my mom is high Anglican which in reality is as close to Catholic as you can get without the Pope. My own upbringing involved a bunch of both, though I was baptized Anglican I did attend a Catholic school once and went to church depending on which way the ecclesiastical wind blew on whatever Sunday. Church for me meant choir (which I admit I loved, I love singing) and I abandoned the lot after I was denied being a soloist after I was asked to be by the choir master because their usual soloist complained vociferously once she found out. It was my first lesson on artistic ego and the last of those church battles I was interested in fighting.

Regardless, church has nothing to do with my grandparents except that I attended my grandfather’s funeral in St. Patrick’s cathedral in Ottawa when I was something like 12. My grandfather was a trolley driver who lived in lowertown Ottawa until that whole area was expropriated by the government and wound up in some small apartment near Dalhousie and…I really wish I had known him.  When he died, the OTC (Ottawa Transit Commission, now OC Transpo) sent him a really nice floral arrangement that probably cost the equivalent of his first few months salary. He died at aged 70 or so, long after the trolley tracks had been dug up and the very old houses of Lebreton Flats, home of the Catholic Irish, French, Italians, Indians and mixtures thereof had been bulldozed.

I spent a couple of years on  bus routes that run through empty grass filled lots with indentations where foundations were and strips of broken down weed-laden road going nowhere reminisced a different world and every day I wondered: dad is this where you grew up?  He did, but I have no idea what overgrown street was what, and no pictures at all of before he was my dad, except for an odd photo album that resided in a desk I cleaned out after he died.  Nothing showed his life in the Ottawa that is barely remembered now.

My other grandparents are somewhat simpler to fathom.  My mom’s dad was an Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Customs during WWII.  His brother was an editor for Hansard.  That grandfather never got a university degree, which limited his progress in the civil service but, that’s the highest you can go in the civil service without being obviously political so maybe that’s as high as he wanted to go. Great-grandfather was a school teacher in PEI who died in his mid-nineties.  He is still remembered for whacking cars with his walking stick when they turned in front of him.   My mother’s father died 3 years before I born.  His wife, my maternal grandmother died young of a brain tumor on VE day.

There’s a few interesting mysteries in our family history that has led me to explore it more, including whether my grandmother really was adopted (she was) and if possible who her mother was (I may have found that but I’m not sure); there’s another mystery of one of my great-grandparents who went to the US and never came back – that one is sweet in that she remarried and stayed married for nearly thirty years and lied about her age when married.  I’m finding all sorts of tidbits farther back that are fascinating – one fellow was a judge in New York who survived the Cherry Hill massacre as a child.  He settled in Cherry Hill PEI (now part of Charlottetown I think).  My guess is that’s where Cherry Hill got its name.

So that’s it for grandparents for me.  In effect, I had none that were a real presence in my life.  So when you’re raised without them it is easy to imagine what grandparents are like.  You know – the cottage owning good time Charlies who take their grandchildren on fun outings and keep them for short and long periods of time and are an endless source of cookies and hugs.  The reality is probably a lot less exciting, though I do know children who have grandparents like that.  Nowadays grandparents are often still working, still as busy as they were before they were grandparents.  Which makes me think:  how much are we losing by our constant work and activities filling every single hour of every single day?  It seems we all do it, parents, kids, grandparents.  The problem is that time passes us by so quickly these days, in the blink of an eye those ever-waking babies turn into teenagers then adults themselves.  I know this because that’s exactly what has happened to my children, and there are many days I’d like to turn back the clock and have more time with them.  And I wonder what kind of grandmother I’ll eventually be, because we’re a lot poorer than when we were children, and to be the fun grandmom I’d need money I just don’t have.

My children thankfully were much more fortunate.  When my daughter was born, she was the only grandchild on my husband’s side, and the only granddaughter for my parents.  My father was still alive when she small, as was her great-grandmother.  Grammie-great as she was called, just adored her little great-granddaughter.  Grandpa regaled her with stories in his lovely voice and I have video of them having a bit of a tea party.  When he died, daughter said, “we’ve only got old ladies now!” which was funny and heart-breakingly true.  Grammie-great passed away a year or so later, and one night after I had settled our tiny new son into his crib and checked in on daughter as she slept, I heard a voice clearly say to me, “My how she’s grown!” in a New England accent.  Husband was out of town that night, and all I could do was say to the voice, “Why yes, she has.”  He, and I, were convinced that Grammie-great was paying a visit.

Son wasn’t here yet when his grandpa died, and not quite born when grammie-great left us.  He didn’t suffer for grandmothers though, because he did have those and eventually a step-grandma too.  I wish he’d have known my father; I see shades of dad in him, and in some pictures he looks like him too.  I love that.

Not having grandparents in the same city for one, and province for the other meant that the usual day-to-day grandma times couldn’t happen for my children.  That dad traveled extensively and worked long hours when he wasn’t, and mom worked full time and traveled sometimes too made childcare a nightmare to contemplate.  If I had to do it over, I would have put my foot down when after having son I realized after expenses I’d be working for $100 a month but husband thought it better I go back anyway.  Had I really thought it through the savings on taxes would have more than covered that.  So, live and learn, and I hope people reading this who may be in that position themselves really do the full calculations.  As I said before, time passes so quickly, before you know it they are grown.  And it’s occurred to me that as much as I thought I was making a difference in my work, at the end of the day I don’t think I did.  I was just another cog in the wheel.

After a couple of not quite perfect babysitters for daughter, we happened across a woman and her family who did babysitting in our building.  What started out as a nice arrangement turned into as close to family as you can get, and in many ways that family stood in for the far flung grandparents my children missed.  It was the beginning of a relationship that started with daughter and continued with son also.  They were made a part of their lives and I will be forever grateful for the overnight babysitting when I was traveling and the emotional support I got when I took the step to be on my own.  They helped find me a place and with the move, and most importantly with the picking up of the pieces.  They were the daily family we just didn’t have, and I am very happy we still keep in the touch and that daughter has been able to see them once in a while.  I believe that people closest to us are part of a soul family that travels through lifetimes, and you know, I’d say Sandra and her family would fit that.  So too does Cyndi and her family; they fit the bill for aunt and uncle and cousins and again, so much a part of our lives with our backyard parties, visits to their family cottage, and later, as nearby mom when Ottawa called and I answered.

Now, not having blood relatives on our doorstep doesn’t mean that my children grew up without them.  Quite the opposite.  Grandma would visit, sometimes alone, most often with my sister and her family.  So would grammie and Ann, her best friend.  When the children got old enough they traveled to New Brunswick to spend the summers with grammie at the cottage.  Son later moved in with dad at Grammie’s when her health became a 24 hour a day issue and son wanted a change of scene.

For my family we travelled to Ottawa when we could as a family until I actually was there.  If there was one thing I realized it’s that when you are working and dealing with day to day stuff, it’s almost easier to stay close when you live far away because you have to make time to visit.  Thank heavens for telephones and now email and other fun ways to stay in touch.  In many ways the world is so much smaller than when I was growing up, and for that I am grateful.

The strangest thing in all of this is that now I realize that at my age I could be a grandmother and if fortune and good health smiles on me, I’ll not only be around and maybe, just maybe be a great-grandmother too.  Who knows, my own mother who is a grandmother six times over is in her 90s now and while not a great-grandmother yet some day she may be.  Regardless, my mother was so glad she had us then lived to see grandchildren that anything beyond that for her is icing on the cake.

My family is like many others, where people lose touch and rifts happen, people say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing and what do you know, it’s thirty years later and you don’t know if so and so is even still alive.  It’s sad when that happens and I will admit I’m not an angel myself when it comes to keeping my distance but one thing I always will do is make sure that they are in my thoughts and keep the door a crack open, if only to say hi once in a while.

Catherine M. Harris, (c) 2015

Resolutions

I did something last night that I haven’t done in many years.  I wrote some New Years resolutions.  As I wrote them the memory of previous resolutions bubbled up:  the inevitable quit smoking (I did, 13 years ago), the exercise more (I have a love-hate relationship with exercise), the basic flogging myself for not doing as much of a talent like writing or painting or music, the “get thee to a university” one which I did start 13 years ago and gave up on 3 years ago after about 1 year’s worth of courses.  Most of those previous resolutions (and a few I won’t name) are either done or a moot point now.

What could I possible resolve to do now that so much water has passed under my bridge?  Well, there is the small matter of needing to get back down to at least the weight I was when I moved to New Brunswick.  I have been exercising for half an hour a day on the eliptical but recently upped that to an hour after realizing I haven’t lost anything, I just look more toned.  The real truth of the weight that isn’t normally on me has to do with stopping my night time cleaning (1 hour a night for 4 nights then 4 hours on the weekend – worked out to about 10 km of walking every week). Add to that the fact that I had to stop chewing my beloved nicorette (I have an off and on again love affair with that gum) because I simply didn’t have money to buy it any more since last February and has meant that little bags of candy replaced the gum.  Not that wise a choice I think.

So one resolution is really two; watch what I eat and cool it with the candy for snacks.  I need to go back to feeling like myself again.  For someone who has spent most of her life on the almost underweight side of things, these past few years of peri- and post-menopause weight gain is a little alarming really.  Annoying most certainly.  Jim says I’m not fat.  Bless his heart.  I’m not obese, true, but still more than the upper limit of healthy for my height.

The others are more specific and boring so I won’t put them here, except for one.  I will start to write in a journal again.  I feel this urge to put pen to paper and say what’s inside in a place that isn’t in the ether.  I used to write a journal; my first one I got when I was quite young:  7? 8? It was purple and had a gold lock.  I still have it and I have the series of journals I wrote ever since.

There’s the one I wrote all in code because my sister had prying eyes and was happily telling whoever would listen all the awful (in her mind) things I did.  I wish I had the code for that one, I have no idea what I said for about a year or two when I was around 9.  I have one from my teenage years that is pink and is really a long and thin lined notepad that I folded over and tied up with a pink wavy ribbon from a sewing project I did.  I have the ones from a time in my teenaged years that was pretty dark, and the slightly less dark ones when I was alone and single but on my own and hopeful.  I have the ones from my mid- to late teens where I fell in love and my friends were closer to me than any relative could ever be.  That is until they disappeared or pulled a nasty.  I think we’re equal numbers on those two events.

Then there’s the broken hearted one where for years I fended off well meaning people in my life trying to tell me to get back together with my high school sweetheart.  They never could understand why I broke up with him and rather than being supportive and sympathetic I got chastized for doing that.  This was the beginning of what has been a long history of that kind of “help” in my life.  So.  I did what was the best thing:  don’t give them the ammunition to use against me because the more I tried to explain the more it became all me.  Can I, in the interest of honesty and the passage of time now say why, lo these 34 years later?  Why not?

Here goes dear well meaning people.  The truth on my first love of my life:  He fooled around on me with one of my best friends.  They thought I was clueless enough not to catch jokes between them when we were all riding in a car one summer day.  Boyfriend did not realize that women recognize another’s scent.  I didn’t want to believe until I did and blasted that friend with angry words.  I have said there’s only two or three people I would rather never speak to again in my life.  She’s one.  As for boyfriend, so in love was I, I forgave him.  It was difficult but we were “The Couple”.

Sadly that forgiveness and trust was misplaced because he thought forgiving meant it was okay.  There were others.  One called me on the telephone saying, “I know you’re not going out anymore but you’re still friends so can I ask you to tell him to stop calling me?  Tell him I’m not interested?”  I just said, “Actually we are still going out.”  And hung up.

Another time a friend I had when I was about 6 and hadn’t seen since then came up to me in a parking lot and said hi.  After a few minutes of chatting and isn’t it nice to see you again (from me) he told me, “You’re going out with that XXXX XXXX person right?”  I said I was.  He told me to tell him to stop bothering his girlfriend who works at Brown’s Cleaners, she’s really not happy with that.  A heart sinking moment.  I mumbled thanks and watched my very young childhood buddy’s grown up back walk away.  He didn’t want to know how I was.  He just wanted my person to leave his person alone.

It wasn’t long after that that I said enough already.  A relationship can slip away in moments or they can explode in one bright flash.  The end was more like a death to me.  One morning I woke up and realized that I simply didn’t love him anymore.  I’d had enough.

I honestly wish I hadn’t had to defend my decision.  I did, without telling the whole truth because a part of me didn’t want to dim their idea of this friendly fellow they liked, but mostly because I knew that it had been decided that I was what? Flighty?  A slut?  Who knows and what could I have said that would have made anyone say that I was right when they’d already decided I was wrong?

My journals kept on until the time my son was a toddler.  Then I worried more about what I wrote because some things that had bothered me for about nine years were wearing on my soul.  I couldn’t write the words for fear they’d be read.  And besides, I had already written them when I was single and when on one of those weeks my husband was out of town I decided to read them I realized how very little had changed since that time.  I was foolish to think I could change someone, and foolish to think I wouldn’t change.

I did, and like my first love, there did come a time when all those words didn’t matter any more and I simply gave up trying.  I had no more love to give for love is a vessel that needs to be replenished once in a while by its source.  My love was for my children and when I could I said good bye because I also knew from experience that children learn from what they see and I didn’t want them to think that relationships are all about anger and the silence in between.

It’s been fourteen years since then and oh, I’ve made a stab at a written diary but found that blogs and my web site filled the gap nicely.  But it kind of doesn’t.  There’s things I’m not allowed to say, things that I shouldn’t say. There’s no continuity.  There’s no way to download one of my blogs for instance, and I really want to port those posts to somewhere else so even if it’s on a memory stick I can go back to them and read them.  Perhaps it will become a day or two cut and paste project for me.

I keep my diaries in a locked box, have done for years.  All my teenaged angst, all my childhood frustrations and wondering.  My hatred for “shepherd’s cack” that they served oh so often when I was ten or so and going to Elmwood School.  My elation at winning awards or happiness at making a new friend.  It’s all there.

So now that I’m in the autumn of my life, I do feel the desire to continue on with that.  Because you see, the more life appears to change, the more it stays the same.  I know there’s nothing I can do to stop some not-so-well meaning things that have been said about me but at least my children are now old enough to ask what is the truth.  No, I didn’t cuckhold my husband (and no, the person who relayed this doesn’t speak Victorian English but I know people who do), and yes, I can cook.  Pretty well actually.  I just don’t invite people over to prove it that often.  My plate is full with life and living it. These are thoughts I am saying outloud today.

My little daily thoughts and angst that can’t be shared with the world at large (at least for now) deserve a place.  And the stuff that can?

It becomes an essay.  Like this one.    To quote Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men,   “The truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”  Well, maybe you can and maybe some truths arrive in small doses on blank pages late at night.

So with firm resolution, I will begin 2016 by turning over an old leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five More Shopping Days ’til Christmas

Over the past few years what was an orgy of Christmas shopping and gift giving has whittled down to what we have this year, which quite simply put is nothing.  We are literally not Christmassing this year.  Even my little table top tree remains in its plastic bag.

Now before I get a flurry of “you grinch” comments and “don’t worry you still have 5 shopping days until Christmas!” ones helpfully and cheerfully urging me on to do something I really can’t, it’s not because I don’t want a pretty little tree buried beneath colourfully wrapped paper.  Shouldn’t is more the reality.

The thing is that we no longer have children in the house and this year maybe only one now-adult visiting.  There are bills to pay and a car inspection to be done before December 31st.  The car inspection scares me, it’s never just the $25 for the inspection, there’s always something else.  And it’s that inspection last year caused me to park my Jeep and pray for money.

This year the Jeep no longer has valid plates and has been for sale since August.  It’s actually in fairly good shape except that the brakes are rusted, and the battery is dead.  And from the last viewer (a mechanic), it needs either a new battery cable or starter or both.  It has really good mileage and two tiny spots of rust that hasn’t gone all the way through.  It has a couple of stains on the back seat from children.  So basically, about $1800 worth of work, much less if you are mechanically inclined and can get parts cheap.  So I priced the car for the going rate (between $4k and $5k and confirmed by another of the knowledgeable viewers) less the cost of repair.  The price has gone down from $3500 to $3000 with room for negotiation, within reason.  (And I did say that).  I also said $2500 plus two cords of dry firewood delivered would do.

So there’s been a lot of interest, but nobody wants to pay me what it’s worth.  I’ve been offered $1500.  I’ve been offered $2000 and then insulted by someone who didn’t bother to view the car (but neither did the $1500 person).  I’ve been offered a trade for a motor home.  That one kind of intregued me but if I can’t afford repairs for the Jeep I can’t afford repairs for a motor home.  It’s depressing.  I’m selling because it shouldn’t just be sitting, and I need the money.  The winters here, a Jeep is a good thing that sadly I just can’t keep on the road anymore.

That’s the irony.  I need the Jeep where I live, but can’t keep up with the upkeep.  I’ve been living a lot of irony this year.  I come back to work and paid back money that I got when I left before and it caused my income to go up so much that one year (even though the money was taken back) that CRA is after me for the taxes on that money I paid back (that incidently was taxed at the beginning and paid back in gross amount).

Then there’s Jim still waiting for his old age pension more than a year after he turned 65.  So far he’s found out it’s not worth that much anyway and that hurts.  He has land in Quebec he has to sell and can’t because he doesn’t have the money to pay for the title change (and they’re getting angry) though we could probably arrange something if somebody wanted to buy it but like the Jeep, no one wants it.  So he waits for his back pay from the OAS to pay for the title.

There’s been revelations this year, like the realization that being over 50 means you don’t necessary get the job you think you’re perfect for and there’s nothing you can do about it.  That all the experience and knowledge I have means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  At this point I regret going back to work because I see that I won’t get the job I need that would help me get out of the financial mess I got in by going back.  I’m an idiot.  I know.  Twice I found the situation so serious I left but I came back.  This is the last time for that; the next time I leave that’s it.

I am out on the East Coast though, so that dream is fulfilled and so far we’re both happy to be here.  Life really is nice here.

Today as I sit by my fire lit by broken up wooden pallets cut to stove size by Jim, I remember how frantic and expensive Christmas was when the kids where small, and before they were born when I was a nice aunt that bought those toys that gradually reduced to nothing as my own children were born and the cost of living got higher than what we were bringing in, and then single mother I had enough for us to have an okay Christmas.  Back then it meant something.  Christmas is for children.  None of us are that now.

So this morning I said to Jim, “Do you mind we have nothing but a turkey this year?”  Not at all, he says, we’ll have Christmas whenever he gets the money he’s owed or I sell the Jeep.  We’re not holding our breath on that.  I’m betting it’s Christmas in July.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not sad.  I’m not anything really.  I’m just looking forward to a few days off to write and paint, maybe play the guitar and to look back on the year that was and do my looking ahead.  I am hopeful at least for me in my place in the world.  I still dream that someday a publisher will like my writing and pick it up.  Or maybe the public at large will find something special in one of my books and make it a best seller.  Maybe there’s a Lotto Max in my future.  See?  There’s always hope.

Merry ba humbug unChristmas this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here in the Winter of Our Discomfort

The last three weeks have been weird.  I say that knowing in the back of my mind that since mid-October really the winds of history have changed and many things are pointing to one of those universal wtf times.

I can say this.  I know stuff.  I’ve been around the block, hell, the whole neighbourhood more than once.  What I find interesting is all the parallels in assorted times of my life.  That’s where this period is uniquely interesting.

First I guess is finding out that the wish for change politically was so strong and as the provincial elections happen we’re seeing that too.

Second but definitely not least is Paris.  It has a 9-11 feel about it, but it isn’t that.  Between one and two hundred people dead isn’t three thousand, no matter how horrific and sad it is.  And to bring the point home, how many mass shootings have happened in the US have happened since then?  It doesn’t matter to me.

What matters is innocent people have been gunned down for whatever stupid reason people do this.  Do I care the reasons why?  Actually, only remotely.  I am more concerned that weapons of war are freely available in the open market in certain places  which makes them available on the black market everywhere else.  To me I don’t care what kind of crazy you are, you still had access to stuff that can kill a whole bunch of people when you shouldn’t have.  I don’t care what religion you are.  No religion if they truly are holy should be advocating mass murder.  Pointe finale.

One thing that was interesting was out of the blue I read a post from an online acquaintance talking about landing the planes in Gander on 9/11. Now people who say that the recent events in Paris is their 9/11 is (a) wholely dismissing WWII and the hideous things the Nazis did, and (b) forgetting that 9/11 was kind of a bit bigger.  People are forgetting history, which isn’t new at all.  What was new was presenting the Gander story to people in a social media format that made people who didn’t know go wow, thanks.  Some of us lived that.  So I smiled and posted links to things that told the story from a different viewpoint.

But then I was in a phone call recently where I explained the history behind an old method of doing something related to my work that made me believe, yeah, maybe there’s worth in me yet work wise at a time when I was seriously wondering what posessed me to go back and….

An evening of chatting with a relative clearing the air.  It was an all night thing and I’m glad we did that.  Time moves on.  There’s one thing  that I will be able to better explain concerning a life issue someday but that issue we can talk about some other time, they need to just know that everything that happened and everything that was done and fought for by me was because I very much believed in them and wanted to very best for them.  Who they are today is in large part because of stuff they just don’t remember, and that’s okay.  It means maybe I kind of did something right, amid a whole bunch of people who on the sidelines where quick to disagree.  It is interesting that when they weren’t on the sidelines but actively involved they came to see what I had known all along, and no, there were no apologies.  At this point that is water under the bridge that’s so old it’s dried up.

I removed stuff online that I could as had requested, understanding that as a writer my soul is everywhere for the world to see.  That’s who I am.  That what I do.  Darkness breeds in the silence so that’s not me.  However, where I could put the cloak on and not dismiss my own story, I did so we’re good.

Nanowrimo ended with me not finishing this year which is okay; what I was writing is not my usual fiction and it took a lot more considered thought than one month could provide.  That happens sometimes.

I submitted to the CBC Short Story contest for the first time in a few years so while I never have high hopes for that one, I’ll take it as an accomplishment.

The world is changing.  Massively.  As we pretend this isn’t world war three and while people are decrying their fears against refugees and others are claiming that financially the world is just about a-okay if you forget about oil, um….

I like change.  It’s needed.  But change for change’s sake isn’t always good either.  As we live through the growing pains into the next era, all I ask of anybody is this:  compassion is paramount.  The world desperately needs this.  At home, in the workplace, in general.  Please care because if nobody else does in the world we’re lost.

I’ve said this before about religion but I’m going to say it again.  Religious communities can do absolutely wonderful things, but the thing is this:  if your religion pits you against everyone else in the world, if it asks you to do unspeakable things that you wouldn’t have before you joined, if you feel that compassion and love is second place to hate and anger is that godly?  Really?  Think.  That’s all I ask.  Please think.  And if where you are isn’t suiting your heart, go elsewhere.

Avoir le coeur, aie amour entre nous, aie le voix de parler de tes veriters, aie de la joie et de la belle humeur, être soix-mêmes premièrement entre tous.

Cathi.