30 Jul 2009, 7:57pm


the blues
Eyes to the blues, in the prettier sense of the term.

Poetry Link: Penn U resource on “new poetries

Quote: “Why should we be cowed by the name of Action?”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

28 Jul 2009, 9:20am
Link Dump

Canes and Able

I’m running in time deficit again. There’s a sweetness to being busy, but a certain scratch to it.
The blackberry canes are producing as are the raspberries.

It’s been full days of conveying mom around and doing thank you cards.

This dying business is complex. We needed 10 copies of the certificate of death.

Each department runs independently. For those out of province, I’ll explain, the health card can’t be used as proof of identification. It looks identical to the driver’s license which can be used as i.d. Same layout, also has a photo but is a different color of card. The health card has to be cut in pieces and mailed back to the health department but the driver’s license is allowed to be kept. Odd.

One does what one can with hours, paced against energies. No more, and if wise, sometimes less. Because decompressing is a good practice.

Elsewhere: I made a block of time (4 hours or so) to update my last 7 months of writing stats running up against midnight.

Comic: don’t panic

Charting Link: a focal structure of worksheet of counting blessings

Lit Link: The new issue of essays in Open Letter revolve around feminism in Canadian literature today.

Quote: “There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.” – Carson Mccullers

24 Jul 2009, 10:15am

Family Time

It’s been an “interesting” week as you might imagine. Compressed time of living a month per day.

funeral There were somewhere over 300 people who attended dad’s wakes and funeral on Tuesday and Wednesday. I only took a few dozen photos as the wake and funeral. People were well pleased with the service by Rev. Christine Piper. My uncle’s eulogy gave voice to the character people knew and with ripples of chuckles of recognition. There’s an online tribute page set up that will only be up until the 27th. Here was the poem I read as part of the service.

Keith was a steward, helped where he could

“I’m a jack of all trades, master of none” —
how dad described himself, often enough.

He’d worked at Findlay’s,
hauled ice, coal, wood
heights, hay mows, shingled roofs,
trucked to or from
most of the yards in the county at one
time or another, whether cattle, stuff
from auctions, or a pony that he loved.

And he loved all horses. He had great fun
training, hitching to sleighs.
He healed some; slow
words and hands for wild, gaunt,
curved hooves, abused.

He’d take mares in, nurture,… let his girls go,
sold at a loss to folks, “if they would use
her right, give her a better life”. He owed
the world the gifts of his skills to be used.

memorial candle Brian and I have been staying over at my mom’s since Monday.

We got back late yesterday afternoon and I or we will go back today to be with mom again and for the after funeral paperwork.

There have been a lot of hours of social, reunions.

There’s a unity in a shared loss that’s heartening. It’s the positive side of herd behavior. Rather than mindless ganging on ideas, it’s like cows encircling the vulnerable calves. People are closing ranks around mom and me.

Seeing people has been a bit of a head trip. People have aged at different rates regardless of stage of life. It’s remarkable how many people I knew by the eyes if not the rest at all. Infants are entering university. Teens flip to their 40s. One I knew in primary school couldn’t come but her mom did, so it was like her aging from age 12 to her 60s in the next blink.

aunt and uncle
This is my dad’s sister Linda and Uncle Jack. At our wedding we gave the wedding bouquet to the longest married couple and it was them. They’re a delightful couple and have been married 63 years. How does she do it? A day at a time and then do it again, she said.

Mom has been talking up a storm. When we went to eat in Almonte at the Superior Restaurant, the lady at the next table knew her and greeted, hey darling, how’ve you been doing?. She and her mom greeted mine with a hug. This was the grocery clerk from a few years ago. They talked for the better part of an hour. As a Stuart remarked at the wake, both of my parents were known far in wide in part because of their habit of talking with people, remembering everyone they met in way that makes a person feel like they matter. People from stores, banks, retired veterinarians, horse traders, neighbours, cousins, all manner of people came out.

Almonte vintage clothing store Funny how timing worked out. A whole chain of events (comedy of mistiming errors) to bring us to that restaurant then. A flow is there to go with. And if we’d gone to the cute little touristy cafe, mom wouldn’t have seen who she knows. The restaurant ended up being beside a vintage clothing shop, a serendipitous mother lode of clothes. The item pictured is made of cross-stitched table linens recut into a pant suit. (Didn’t quite fit.)

Brian’s been driving us around, making arrangements, picking up dad’s things. And doing a lot of handholding. The loss is his as well since he’s known dad nearly 20 years now.

There were lots of time for stories and food and fellowship. Cousins were telling about this woman who got turned around in the bush last year and was lost for a couple days. “I sat between these two rocks and I looked up and there was a wolf looking at me. I kind of swore at him and told him to get out of there, and he run. Away he went,” Bush said.

By time they found her, a kilometer from my cousin’s rented cottage, the senior woman had lost her glasses in an accidental swim, had her underwear as a tension bandage around her knee, and her bra used as a basket to collect berries. Mom was retelling how this lady, when she got out of the woods, was just *covered* in sapsuckers.

There was a pause, mom blinked trying to parse what was wrong. Then she said Sapsuckers? No. That’s a bird. (pause) Bloodsuckers! She was loaded with bloodsuckers. (What mental images. I wish I could do animation of that sequence, beard of birds, fabric, leeches waving like prayer flags off the silhouette.)

News: Kookums (grandmothers in the Cree language) and Moosims (grandfathers) did a 13 day grandparents walk to Parliament Hill for a grandparent’s right to be given custody and access.

Quote: “Experience has two things to teach. The first is that we must correct a great deal and the second, that we must not correct too much.” – Eugene Delacroix

20 Jul 2009, 9:05pm
Pearl's Life Photos

He’s Gone

Some of you were around a couple years ago when I posted the slideshow of dad as he talked, seriptiously photographed thru my chair rungs and set to a soundtrack of the Farmer’s Back. Oddly this series of pictures while out there to the public have had 1,452 sets of eyes across them.

Dad’s chair, hat, and gum rubbers greet dawn.
dawn coming daylight
It’s been a 2-day long day. Dad passed away early this morning of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complicated by various conditions in his 82nd year.

The first wake is the tradition of neighbours and family not allowing to be alone in first grief. Today was arrangements for ceremonies and my phoning family, neighbours and so on. The formal wake comes tomorrow.

with parents 2005 His death notice reads,

In loving memory of Keith Eldon who passed away at Almonte Country Haven, after a lengthy illness, on July 20, 2009. Keith will be sadly missed by, Joan (nee Brown), his beloved wife of 38 yrs, his loving daughter Pearl Pirie and her husband Brian, his brothers; John and York, his sisters; Florence Barclay, Linda (Jack) Soward and Ida Johnson, all his nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Keith was predeceased by his sister Olive Topps, step-brothers; Percy and Owen, his step-sisters; Marjorie Curtis and Maude Scott.

Friends may pay their respects at the Blair & Son Funeral Home, 15 Gore St. W., Perth Tuesday July 21st, 2009 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 P.M.

Funeral service will be at the Blair & Son Funeral Home, Perth Wednesday at 10:00 A.M. Interment, Elmwood Cemetery.

Aug 31 03 both sets of In-laws In remembrance, contributions to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated.

The upper photo is from 2005 and the lower photo is from 2003 with each of our parents at old home. [That’d be 6 homes ago now.]

The quote is from the Common Book of Prayer. Earlier this year dad noted 5 hymns on paper slip within, including this:

Quote: “Let not sorrow dim your eye,
soon shall every tear be dry;
let not fears your course impede,
great your strength, if great your need.”
411, Oft’ in Danger,

Outdoors and Gladding About Memories

I seem to get half-started at a post and then move off. If you see this,…why you are, aren’t you? Days and nights are full and fast. In a short-hand of photos, here’s some of that…

Rooftop of parking garage gives the access to sky.

Come night, the built environment falls away.
shadows stay

Chris Jennings In the evening saw a man walking his bike using the tension of his bike shorts in lieu of pockets to tuck his phone, his cigarette pack, his wallet…he pulled package of gum out of one square on his thigh. I thought it clever use. I don’t know if things would slide…On a sidestreet, a man stood educating people with his rescued parrots. One he’d had 18 years but still whenever the parrot sees someone resembling his old owner, the bird would take defensive posture and declare “You need therapy”.

There was a mentally handicapped group with helpers was walking through the market. One woman lit up to see 5 dogs gathered in one spot by chance. She asked to pat a few. She decided to pick up a little white dog. Her hands clasped under its belly she tried to carry it away, grinning. The dog was growling and snapping and aids come, started to tell her no. She started to look confused. An aide wrapped around her and tried to detach her from the dog. Still, as Chris Jennings (pictured) put it in his eloquent poem, “oh, what a beautiful city”.

flaming heart
The heart of the fire.

It’s under a week until the Free NAC Orchestra in the Park. That’s a great venue. I appreciate any music or performance where I can move around freely, stretch my legs and back without disrupting people. Open air, even if it rains, with no roof is a treat.

children's container garden
Escape Lot is container gardening at Ottawa U. (I could show you the flowers her. The violas were a good choice. They’ve bloomed steadily expanding all season.)

[All the flower talk makes it strangely proportionally absent of people but people are key, but I don’t want to put camera in people’s faces so much and the animals and plants have no say in their portrayal. I tend to keep camera down more, even when I have the chance for a great shot because taking it would mean my exiting the moment.]

Johnny Long Legs
I haven’t identified this bush yet. The berries when unripe are orange. The Daddy Long Legs is stepping among them with all grace. [Never minding my puffing at him having cycled up the slope to arrive at him. Discomfort’s ok by times as McHugh points out.]

In among the sumac trees were these oddly lime-like things. They smell like sap-citrus. They’re unripe butter chestnuts. It may be a disastrous year for corn and soybeans, a weak year for hay but the chestnuts might have been waiting decades for their bumper crop year.

I hadn’t seen chestnuts for at least 20 years. Ridiculous how long these gaps can get. My fingers remembered the shape, and could pull back a memory of being shorter, with my dad “helping” him with a roofing job, but I dawdled and wandered off and got lost in the dappled light and watching ant hills. And found those curious nuts. Finger-memory could pull back some of the day.

It’s easier to feel grounded when you’re on the ground, with all its wonderful furry critters.
gypsy moth caterpillar
Like this gypsy moth caterpillar. The red dots and the blue dots are pretty and the hair makes a bird gag and only try to eat one of them once.

Reminds me of my cousin entranced by the softness of the fluffy wooly bear caterpillar, stroking it over his arms and face not knowing that fur is defensive and he gave himself a rash. He and his parents blamed the caterpillar as being dangerous, rather than inform him that was a fool thing to have done. It’s a funny defensive reaction on the human’s part. We don’t do that when say, a knife slips. We don’t want to smelt our own and rally to make them illegal, form petitions to inform people of the dangers of metal. Yet somehow with animals we get paranoid global suspicions or aversions. Or can.

hopping spider
Sort of a cabbage patch cute, Klingon adorableness? The hopping spider looks different eye to zoom lens.

Glad Game: A few years ago i attempted to give blood and passed out. I did penance for months of giving cookies and juice to people. I got blood taken for blood sugar and cholesterol. I saw the needle and didn’t not grow wary and did not faint. On the wings of eagles sort of jubilation. This nurse did not have a sucker to give me either. Fine, fine. The only useful rewards are internal anyway.

Glad to make headway on standing my ground. I can see a definite benefit to drawing boundaries, being non-equivocal about how much energy I can extend. I can hear out whatever and scan for the underlying. The surface level is so much white caps but what would it really be, basically. Address the water and not the splashing.

Gatineau side There’s a correlation between feeling human again, having a desire to get out of bed in the morning, the cog wheels of dread rolling off into the ditch, and setting boundaries on how much time I spend with the folks. I suppose work, relationships, projects, anything is the same. There is no natural end. Things don’t peter out. They will expand to fit whatever box we arbitrarily impose as a limit.

Glad to get out my head. There’s a lot to be said for forcing self to not just do something but sit there until the engine revs down. To sit and sit and wait self out until the monkey chatter quiets down. No self-distraction. Whatever rises, rises. But there’s a lot to be said for making the focus the body and moving. Whether cycling or laundry, doing something that needs no thought at all. Take leave of my sense and enter my senses. A total change of headspace.

Glad to have time with good people. Whether for a few minutes or a few hours, with or without ostensible instrumental purpose or target for the time, kicking about for the sake of enjoying each other’s company. It tilts life’s lampshade closer to straight.

Amusing that when eating an apple salad, an apple piece flipped back towards me and landed neatly in the cleavage. Of all the places…

Good food doesn’t hurt a whit.

Link: [The User] uses the sounds of a dot-matrix printer to make a musical composition.

Quote: “When a person acts without knowledge of what he thinks, feels, needs or wants, he does not yet have the option of choosing to act differently.” – Clark Moustakas

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