chapter lx

More traveling today, but much more interesting. Took a long bus ride to the Gokcen airport, a newer airport in the suburbs which is used by more budget and local airlines. It is huge and modern and relatively empty. Had my ticket for Dalaman, theory being that from Dalaman airport I could get some sort of bus or shuttle to Marmaris to get a ferry to Rhodes, the last one being at 6 pm. Landed at around three, so should work, right? Ha

Dalaman airport is even emptier than Gokcen. My suitcase was in fact there, but at the international terminal, for which there at no shuttles, but a 15 minute walk. Took awhile to retrieve it, had to locate the right office and get clear with the customs officer. Just a note on differences in flying in Europe. First of all, they actually give you food on flights. Even the short flight from Istanbul to Dalaman, they came around with sandwiches and drinks. They don’t worry about water going through security, don’t have to take off shoes, or remove liquids and gels, very casual about it all. You do, however, pass through security to enter the airports. Not rigourous, putting bags through an x-ray and walking through a metal detector, like going into a government building. I can remember in Paris, 20 years ago, passing through security to enter even a department store, museums, any large public building. Anyway, because of the time it took to retrieve the bag, I missed the shuttle from Dalaman to Marmaris, and the next one wouldn’t come for another two hours. Well, that meant I probably wouldn’t make a ferry today. There was one other person trying to get to Marmaris, Mohammed from London who’s wife and children are with her parents about a half hour past Marmaris. He phoned her to tell her about the delay and she said they would come to pick him up, about an hour and a half for them to get there. So we sat and talked, very interesting and lively conversation. He said if they came before the shuttle and if there was room, they could probably drop me in Marmaris. So I got to spend the next several hours with a family, lovely Mohammed and his wife, her Turkish father who doesn’t speak English and their two children. We stopped at the father’s favourite baklava shop, where I bought some to share in Rhodes, then at an orange juice stand, where they squeezed fresh oranges, so refreshing, and then at a little spot off the highway where we had flat bread with cheese, and a yogurt drink with salt, and fresh tomatoes. They were lovely and by the time we got to Marmaris it was clear that I was not getting a ferry tonight, so the father found me a cheap room, and they were on their way.
Everyone here is so helpful and generous. A wonan on the plane gave me a bracelet after I shared some chocolate with her and her son after lunch. The owner of the pension last night bought me a beer at the cafe next door after I checked in. That family was so hospitable and generous today. The owner of this little hotel asked my plans for getting a ferry tomorrow, and phoned his friend who books the ferry to come over so I could buy my ticket tonight, and avoid a panic in the morning.
So I get up to my room, and can’t figure out how to get the lights on – you put your room key in a slot. When you leave the room, the lights go out. There are many ways that they have figured out how to conserve energy that just make sense. So, I get up to the room, which has a little balcony, and hear music from the town square out front – martial brass and drums, and a large choir. I had to go down to see, it is some national holiday, not sure what. the whole town was on the square, it seems, and the fountain in the middle had a film showing on it, depicting some battles or something. All very patriotic. But when the film ended, the fountains were like fireworks, a light and water show that was truly amazing. I love fireworks a this was just about as good. Who needs Bellagio? 

The best laid plans, etc. but all in all, it was a day I couldn’t have planned.


Well, this should now be Chapter lxiv as another birthday has passed. Everyone still loves me! I had an open house, and so enjoyed everyone who came by, and hope to catch up with all those who couldn’t make it. Life is good, and I am sitting in a small hotel in Istanbul right now, waiting for a bus to take me to yet another airport where I will fly to Dalaman, take a ferry to Rhodes and meet Joan and Amina for six days on the island of Chalki. The airline lost my bag on the way over, but it is waiting for me at Dalaman airport, good news.

Istanbul. Arrived late yesterday afternoon after a grueling thirty hours of travel, tired but best to stay up until bedtime and get on new time schedule. So I went out walking to find some clean clothes to put on today. A man at a little shop invited me in for tea, and took me upstairs to a balcony where we could look out over the city, the Bosphorous, the Blue Mosque. Very beautiful view. Had my tea and decided that it was unwise to stay longer so went on my way. Busy streets, many little tourist shops, mild evening nice for walking. Got lost trying to find my hotel again, winding narrow old streets. Found a public toilet and paid .75 Tl to pee! This morning met two Japanese students, who were robbed last night at a night club, and now have very little money to continue their trip. one of them gave me a t-shirt because my bagage was lost. Japanese Mickey Mouse. Very cute. Walked around the Grand Bazaar this morning and saw some really stunning contemporary Turkish art, traditional designs updated and re-interrupted. Can’t wait to come back and do more exploring in this large and vibrant city.

Summer tomorrow, and today it felt like it, finally. Beautiful and warm, sunny. The house stays pretty cool though. A lot has been happening since my last post, which was …when? I have finished the certification program for Creative Grief Coach, and have begun designing a brochure and cards so I can get out and introduce myself to people who may refer – funeral homes, care homes, palliative care unit and pastors at all the churches in the area. I am looking forward to working with clients – not too many at once, but doing the practicum was good, and I know that I have a lot to bring to grief situations. I have also completed training for Palliative Care Volunteer, and am looking forward to that as well.

Still freelance writing, steady contract each month, some odds and ends here and there. I am doing some taxes, too. Enumerated for the municipal election in the fall, and that was fun. Only two nasty dogs, many friendly people inviting me in, offering lemonade, beer, water, talk, conversation, gossip. I hope to be a returning officer for the election, too. Community involvement – am treasurer for the South Shore Chapter of Council of Canadians, and raised my hand at a meeting last week to sit on the board of a group working to get public transit established on the South Shore. I do think it’s important, and they seem to be well-organized and moving forward with it.

Last weekend I sang with a chorus in The Magic Flute production right here in Lunenburg. It was thrilling. There were eight members of the Nova Scotia Symphony playing strings, wind and of course, flute; five absolutely top-notch principals from all over Canada, and the chorus with about forty voices. I was a little out of my comfort zone, singing parts, trying not to get distracted by the basses behind me. What was more challenging, though, is that I only have one good eye, so reading German and seeing the notes was crazy. I had a cataract removed early May, and am waiting for the second surgery – hopefully in the next few weeks, but it doesn’t look like before I go to Florida for the anniversary. What an amazing surgery, though. Simple, in a day or two you hardly know anything happened, but when they replace the cloudy lens, they put in a corrective lens, so I can see out of my right eye like I haven’t since I was ten years old. So glasses are no good, one eye is great, the other still cloudy and blurry, which makes a very odd in-between place to be. I can drive ok during the day, but no way at night – the bad eye just sees glare and halos around all the lights. I can read the computer screen until my eyes get tired, then I start to see double. I can read in bright light, magazine are difficult. I can’t wait to have the other one removed, and get on with seeing out of both eyes.

Yes, Florida in a few weeks. Below is a link to the book which I have put together for Mom and Dad’s anniversary – photos and stories. What a lot of work – what order, which pictures, who did I leave out, do we want ex’s, ??? I think it has turned out pretty well. Give me some feedback, but it won’t matter because it is already on order, and too late to change anything.

I was talking to my friend Joanne back in Bancroft a couple weeks ago, and she has a friend who is selling her little house in Maynooth, right in the village, on a corner lot, for $30,000. It needs a roof and electrical work, but is a sturdy story-and-a-half, 16 x 20 with a 16 x 16 addition at the back. I can almost see it, know exactly where it is. It is so tempting to try to rustle up the cash, to be able to have a place that could be paid off in a few years, and then live in fixed income without shelling out half or more on rent. Nice to have a garden, my own little house. Moving back there would not be like moving here where I didn’t know anyone, and really was starting from scratch. At least I have some network there, and there is a need for grief coaching and palliative care no matter where I am. Blackflies and mosquitoes….Hmmmmm. Snowy winters…Hmmmm. I guess that at this point, I am feeling like if things come together, it is meant to be. If not, I am happy here.

Looking forward to the trip to Florida – see everyone in one place, I always love that. I used to have a dream that I had a huge party, I think it was on a large bed, but everyone I knew was there. I loved throwing large parties, bringing together people who otherwise wouldn’t be together, introducing interesting people to each other. I think I will have an open house on my birthday this year, and just invite every single person that I know here to come by. I am in a girl band now, and have put them on notice that I would like them to play then. I play keyboards – tried clarinet, but just can’t get the fingers on the right hand to cover the notes on the bottom enough to make good sound. So I’ll stick with the keyboard, and if I want mouth, take up harmonica. At any rate, it is just fun, just playing.

Here is the link to the book. Will be back soon.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create a gorgeous, high quality wedding photo album at

It is a beautiful spring day – sun bright, apple tree beginning to bud, birds busy. I have moved the desk to a side window, and look out on my neighbour’s garden, with an arbor and daffodils blooming now. Image

Time to get the snow tires off, I guess.

Music, music, music. Went to a performance of Missa Gaia last weekend at St. John’s. It was thrilling, with a massed choir – three came together, a gospel singer, Theresa Thomasen, whale and wolf song, and top-notch musicians. I have been a fan of Paul Winter for a long time, and hearing the piece performed live was wonderful. I have just come back from a session with a new girl band. A group of women have decided that we always wanted to be in a band – no one is expert on any instrument, but we are playing together, trying out, jamming and having so much fun. Last time I didn’t bring an instrument, so was handed a fiddle. I have never played violin, not one note, but by the end of the afternoon was rocking on that thing! Today I brought my keyboard, and had a lot of fun, but am more than ever motivated to get the ombrochure back on the clarinet – what is better than making music with people? I am joining the South Shore Opera Company this week to learn The Magic Flute for performance in June. I am excited about that – I love singing in a large choir, and have never done opera at all.

Finished the grief coaching course, still have to do a practicum and a few other pieces to become certified. I’m also doing training for palliative care volunteer, so it looks like I’m heading for end-of-life work. It feels right.

Here are pictures of the caned chair, before and after.Image


I laugh when I look at it, it’s like the first scarf you knit, a little wonky with holes here and there, but I learned so much doing this one, learning the material, how to handle it and you can see at the last corner that I finally got it. I can’t wait to do another one. It will just get better. And the chair is certainly usable, I am using it and it’s sturdy. When I get good, I could be doing canoe seats, and even take the whole thing on the road. There are not many doing chair caning anymore, and lots of chairs out there that need seats. I could post notices in towns as I approach, and make money to keep moving on! Speaking about travel, I just found out that you can get a round the world air ticket for less than $2000!!! Depending on the ticket, you have a year to use it, as long as you keep moving in one direction. Imagine. It is my latest dream. Sio maybe I go around caning chairs until I have enough for a plane ticket, and then hit the skies.

Things are going well all in all. I am picking up work here and there, and enjoying being able to structure my own time. I may have an opportunity to present the non-violence program at Tatamagouche Centre in the fall, maybe the women’s spirituality, too. That would be great, to have a venue like that. I will be enumerating for the municipal elections coming up in October, and have signed on to be a poll supervisor. There is a film being shot here in the next few weeks, and I may have a role as an extra in that. Could be fun. Freelance writing continues to be steady, and one thing leads to another.

Here is a photo that I just want to share, it strikes me so funny. Can’t you see Jack Nicholson lurking outside one of the windows?Image

Pleasant Rest Home. There is a cemetery called Sunny Valley. I’ll try to get a photo of that.

I went to a talk on Friday about Smart Grid. It is an awesome idea. Lunenburg Electric is a publicly owned utility, and there are two more small publicly owned utilities close by. The man who gave the presentation proposed that if the three could cooperate, and bring in fibre-optics on a grid, we could rule the world. Just kidding, but high speed grid is the way to go, rather than increase generating capacity. Smart grid would connect each user to a central monitor, which could control usage and demand – lowering usage during peak times, deferring usage to off-peak times. Each house could control when the water heater fires up, when the dishwasher starts, etc. in response to feedback from the central monitor. It would mean that industry that requires high usage could locate here, everything would be more efficient. Chattanooga, Tennessee has installed smart grid, and has attracted some large industry, and saved a ton of money, never mind not having to build new generating plants. We need to get off coal – the whole continent has to get off coal. Driving through West Virginia on the way to Florida at Christmas was depressing – grey, grey, grey. It all looks about ready to collapse. The challenge here is to encourage the three councils to talk to each other, and inspire the vision. Very interesting and exciting. There are some great ideas coming up here. There is the Prometheus Project, which has one of the largest solar collectors in the world, and is hoping to market it globally. It collects enough energy to melt iron. It can generate steam for power at no cost after the initial collector. Inspiring and exciting

Taxes due tomorrow – I guess I should sit down now and fill out the forms. Aaaarghh. Until next time, be well and enjoy.

Holy cow, I can’t believe that it’s been more than a year since I’ve been here. Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not, as one of my favourite ME cards said. Well, I have been having fun and not having fun, and that is life.

I won’t even try to fill in a whole year, but the highlights are that Molly got married in October. I was mother of the bride for the first time, and the wedding was wonderful and beautiful and all those things a wedding should be. Molly and Dylan were so happy and so in love that we were all blessed by that happiness and love.

I left my job just after the new year. Had been there a little over a year, time spent trying to find ways to expand the job beyond boredom. I thought I could just hang on for a paycheque, felt trapped because I have to pay the rent and buy groceries, but learned again! that it is not all about the money. So I left. Spent the next day re-arranging all the furniture in the apartment – looking back, that seems to be a January thing for me. Very therapeutic, change the scene, move it around, get physical. Moved the computer/office into the large middle room where I look out on an arbour that has yummy berries and seeds for the birds. One of the joys is to be sitting here and look out at five or six FAT robins munching away.

So, I have been pretty busy with freelance writing, a short-term contract organizing an event for ACSBE, bringing together mature workers and employers, and have started an on-line course to become certified as a grief counselor. This has all just fallen into my lap. Leaving the job has released all kinds of energy to do other things. I am done with full-time work, prefer the multiple income stream. Am modeling Saturday for a class in drawing the clothed figure. Also just received a cane repair kit in the mail. I have a lovely cane chair with a broken seat, and decided if I can repair it, I will get my card out there, and make a business out of it. There is no one around who does, and dozens and dozens of cane chairs with broken seats.

So, life is good. I am committing to writing more frequently, and will upload some photos next time.

Hello and Happy New Year. I had wonderful holidays, and really feel new with the new year. I spent the time off settling in more here – yes, I am staying for a long time. I got home and noticed little piles of things on the floors – no closets, storage is a challenge. Went to Canadian Tire and bought a tall bookshelf, and one thing led to another. I feel like my place is transformed, rearranged, tidy and cozy. I even went back to C T today to get another one – if one is good, two is better and there are more things I could put up on shelves. They are sold out, it was such a good price, but I got a rain check so it will have to wait. I even bought a large plant, get some life in here. I’m not packing up and moving anywhere – don’t even have a van anymore. The only thing that isn’t working so well is where the computer is now – lots of glare from all the windows. I think maybe I’d like to get blind for the windows – not right away, there are lots of large windows. I never have really liked these drapes, but they were quick and easy, and the amount of fabric it would take to make drapes is way lots. For now, they work and are lined so help keep the cold out. A couple of the windows are only single pane – no storms! I got that film to put on again this year, but can’t find my hairdryer. Bought one last year to put up the film, and never use it for anything else. I think I put it away somewhere, but where? I don’t think I gave it away, but maybe.

New living room

It didn’t stop there – every room got a going over, and I finally bought under-counter lighting for the dark and poky kitchen – whoowee, and got a flusher handle for the toilet, which has been broken for some time so I lifted the lid a couple times a day to flush but was too lazy to replace. It just seems like time to pay more attention here. So it all feels good.

I went even farther – took the second-hand clarinet I bought a couple months ago to a man who is going to refurbish it. I knew it needed cork, as I could barely get a sound out of it, it leaked so much. He says the whole thing really needs rebuilding, pads and cleaning and everything, but it is worth it. After he’s finished it will be like new, sound good and play well. And as he says, I can always sell it and get my money back. I would rather play it. So I’m excited to get it back, and make some nice music.

I have also renewed my body. Got an electric toothbrush, teeth feel so clean and smooth, and face serum – take care of this saggy skin, Kiehl’s shampoo from Alex at Christmas, lovely wonderful shampoo. Feel beautiful inside and out.

It has so far been a very easy winter. Today was a bit below zero, but really only a few days here and there have been cold, and no snow on the ground. It snowed a bit last night, but by morning was gone. I love the winter gardens here. So many plants have a wonderful look when they’re bare.

Winter garden

I’m waiting for an interview for another position here. It should be this week sometime. It is one of those win/win situations – if I get it, great, if not, I have a job that I’m happy with.

I have just discovered a singer named Paolo Conte – what a voice, full of life and knowledge, sort of an Italian blues singer but rich like Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen. Anyway, I’m sitting here listening to jazz and just feeling so mellow. Tomorrow back to work and routine. I read that a British study found that January 5 is the most stressful day of the year! People report that even the sound of their co-workers breathing is stressful. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that stressed. Watch out tomorrow, do something nice for yourself.

No pictures this time. I was in the Santa Claus parade a couple weeks ago here in Lunenburg, took the camera out to take pictures of the floats, our float and all the kids dressed up like presents and reindeer, and the battery was dead. What is it with batteries? Aaarghhh. The parade was a lot of fun though. There were about forty floats! and real crowds out to watch. We were like movie stars, people waving and taking pictures. Fun until it started to rain – the last fifteen minutes, and we were soaked to the bone, that cold sleety rain and nowhere to go but finish the parade and get home to a warm bath and dry clothes. That evening, there was another parade, with a donkey and Mary and Joseph and the shepherds, through the streets to the bandstand, where we all gathered and listened to the Nativity story and sang carols together, and then all the trees on the hill were lit all at once. It was so moving, almost as good as fireworks. Silent Night is the one that brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes – all of us singing together and the sweet voices of children. Afterward, Santa came to the church hall across the street, and there was cider and cocoa, and Lunenburg sausage and solomon gundy and cookies.

We are having another of those weird nor’easters. They are the strangest kind of storm – this is the third this fall. The wind howls for hours, nine or twelve or twenty hours straight. There is not any rain with this one yet, but the rain is coming, maybe 50 cm. The wind is fierce though, can almost give you a headache walking into it. It wakes all the ghosts in this old house, moaning and groaning and howling.

The harbour is so pretty. Some of the tall ships moored out there have lights on the masts and rigging, looking over that way is so festive. There are houses on the road to Bridgewater that are all done up like gingerbread houses. No snow yet – thank goodness we’re not in Ontario or the Midwest. Just wind. And rain coming.

Life is good. I love my new car – what a difference having good tires. Bonding with this one, and have the urge to paint a small flower on it somewhere – maybe just by the door handle. It’s funny, too because when I park in a parking lot, I’m not always sure what car is mine, although I am getting better at spotting it. Can’t even remember my license plate number! The job is good, working with nice people. There is a library at the Centre, and boxes of books that have been donated. It’s a nice little library, some real treasures there. I’m having fun sorting through the donated books and cataloging, deciding what goes in and what doesn’t, making some order there. There is enough variety to stay busy, and more sorting out to do at the Centre in general. Lots of junk in closets that could be moved on somewhere else.

I’ll be going to Florida for Christmas. Meg has so many points on Delta, she has booked a ticket for me to Atlanta, and she and I will drive down to Florida together. I’m looking forward to that, will be nice to have a little road trip with her, spend some time with Mom and Dad, and a little warm and sun. Hard to believe it’s almost another Christmas. Had dinner with some friends Saturday, and one couple will be going to the airport on the same days I’m traveling, so think I have a ride there and back. Otherwise, it’s a lot of money to park there, not counting the gas to get there and back. And unpredictable weather.

It’s lobster season. Think about this next time you enjoy your lobster – those fishermen are out there in the North Atlantic in the winter to gather those lobsters! What a tough job. And then they bring them in and hope to get $6/lb. They should be getting $20/lb. really. The North Atlantic in the dead of winter.

All for now. Will be back soon.