During this visit to the little house in the city, I have had, for the first time in a very long time, the opportunity to explore some interesting social groupings in my immediate surroundings. The little house is located near two larger cities, both about a thirty minute drive from the house, on good roads. That means that exploration is affordable and accessible, at least while I have a car at my disposal. It is not the same as being in a city like Toronto, with a public transit system, which allows people mobility without a vehicle, and which I consider to be an ideal and unattainable place to exist.

Yesterday I attended a religious meeting, where tolerance of all beliefs is professed. It was interesting. People were friendly. There were happy children present. I was welcomed warmly and asked if I would introduce myself, to which I agreed, wrongly assuming that the leader would mention my presence. To my surprise, as the meeting got started, I was handed a microphone with which to introduce myself, which I did, as gracefully as I could. There was a speaker who outlined many of his achievements with great pride, and considerable detail in outlining his personal successes. He said that he had made a positive difference in many people’s lives. There was a reasonably priced, very healthy meal offered at the end of the meeting, to be followed by a discussion.

My experience was generally good. There were a few things that made me uncomfortable, and they are things that I find significant.

One was the speaker, who had accomplished much, and spoke of nothing else. During the question period he offered close-ended answers to questions from the assembly, and to my question about the structure of the organization, after the meeting by his pamphlet display table. I always hope for genuine engagement, in those who advocate for others.

I was asked three times, by different people, “What do you do”? I tried different answers with each person (I have held many positions in my life), and did not feel good about any of the interactions. Perhaps I was being exposed to a particular element in the assembly, I don’t know. It is a minus in my book, to be asked, “what do you do”? It is a question I do not ask of others, because I would like to get to know them without the clutter of outer world achievements.

The meal ended up being another awkward experience for me, which was not unique to this group. I was invited to join in the meal by many smiling people. Breaking bread together is a wonderful community activity. It is not something I can participate in, with my disability, anaphylaxis. People seem to be taken aback by the condition. This is always an awkward issue when amongst strangers; which wears away with time and exposure.

Last but not least, I was approached for a donation, the basket held out in front of me, held by a man with an unsmiling face, many eyes upon me, until I gently shook my head no. Had I been discreetly asked, upon entry, for a fee to attend the meeting, I probably would have complied.

The leader of the group told me that every meeting is different, so several visits would help me to get a feel for the group. When I found her, to say goodbye and thank her for welcoming me, she gave me a hug.

Just Hanging Out: Branches on the tree in the back yard on a rainy October day.
DSCF3634 branches ash

corporate landfill

used cardboard
the air-filled gleaming display
when my contents
had value
to the process

no shiny sparkle diamond
tiara gone
just me
not the process


can you see me?

by Maggie Turner, 2013

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:24 AM EDT Monday 7 October 2013
Condition: Light Rain shower
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 15.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: WSW 16 km/h


“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”
Thomas Jefferson
1743 – 1826

Retired to the County Gaol

After much investigation, I found GGG Grandaunt Bella’s Death Registration record. The record was obscured by a faulty transcription: a misspelling of her surname. She lived to be 88 years old, and spent the last years of her life at the County Gaol. She is listed as a vagrant, although that seems a bit harsh, as a description of someone who cared for her father till he died, and then supported herself as a seamstress, eventually buying a small plot of land that I assume she lived on. She is buried on her father’s farm. She was probably institutionalized because she was old and needed care herself, and not because she was shiftless or had committed any crime. It seems sad, but who knows what kind of a place it was. Surely there were other honest, hard working people there, who faced similar circumstances, allowing people to at least offer each other some understanding and perhaps even camaraderie.

Things have changed. But I am not convinced they have changed for the better. Older women make up a significant proportion of those living in poverty in Canada, and they are also well represented in the homeless population. I don’t trust professional Feminist appraisals of the quality of life for Canadian women. Professional Feminists make a career out of advocacy. I have trouble with the need for advocates. The advocates get to have a career helping others, are usually well paid and middle class, and although they do help a few people, they seldom, if ever, make any significant change to the issues causing the disparity, which are structural and institutionalized.

Yesterday the blood test did not take as long as I had feared. There were only about ten people in line before me. At this lab you have to take a number when you come in the door. I carefully hang on to that little tab of paper, as it represents a place in the queue. Lose it and you will have to go to the back of the line again. I am sporting a beauty of a bruise, but there is not pain.

I also managed to do all the trip-to-town errands that were on my list yesterday. Shopping is a dangerous activity. There are always bright and shiny things that, in the wonder of the moment, I think I might need. But if I keep walking around the store, by the time I cycle back to those appealing items, I realize I do not need them, nor do I really want them.

My Mom has a birthday this weekend, 82 years young. And young she is, what a spirit! Her father, my Grandpa, was a fine fellow, and he was active his whole life through, all 89 years, an example to all of his children and grandchildren. That is where my Mom gets her gumption, which she has in spades. Happy Birthday Mom, and wishing you many, many more!

Attila has been spending a few hours stacking fire wood every evening. I think that by the end of May he will have all of it stacked. Then we will be able to recover the lawn, which has been buried under the dumped load of fire wood. Of course, once this fire wood is stacked, Attila will be bringing in wood from the bush out back, from trees culled by the wind and weather.

We are having an all day rain! The landscape needed it, and since the floods have subsided, no harm done.

One of the lovely things about the leafy season is movement. The slightest breeze animates the world. It is difficult to resist becoming lost in reverie, watching the lilt and sway of newly unfurled greenery.

In reading various news reports this morning, I was struck by a contrast, which I will describe. I read quotes from two people who experienced the power of mother nature this spring. The first person quoted, I found admirable. The second person quoted, not so much.

The first quotation is from an interview with a man who had experienced serious property damage, done when ice blew off the lake next to his waterfront property. Ice was driven ashore with unusual force, by wind. The man lives in Alberta, and his comment is:
“Nature’s pretty powerful,” says Morrison. “I’m actually quite fortunate that that’s all it did.”

The second, which I didn’t like nearly so much, quotes a letter from a Mayor, a seasonal resident in the Ontario area she represents; an area that experienced flooding in the spring of this year.

The flooding was caused by a combination of factors. The ground was saturated since last fall, and was still frozen when the area experienced heavy rain. The frozen ground was unable to mediate the effects of the unusually heavy rain, resulting in heavy run off, and thence flooding.

This is clearly an act of nature. It is something that scientists would regard as an infrequent, but not unexpected, occurrence.

“Murphy claims there was a “…lack of advance warning from the MNR to the municipalities.” This statement contradicts the MNR’s assertion that its first Flood Outlook warning was sent to all municipalities on April 16 (to identified emergency management coordinators including the Township’s Richard Hayes) and followed up the Flood Outlook with a Flood Watch (reported on Moose FM April 18) that was then upgraded to a Flood Warning (followed by more Flood Warnings specifying areas that could expect flooding). You can read the full letter that was sent by the Mayor to the Premier, various provincial cabinet ministers, the District…”

What a contrast in attitudes!

There were floods where we live. I did not hear the Flood Outlook warnings, and I take responsibility for that. I don’t listen to the radio station that announced the warnings, although I could have, if I had been concerned. I live on higher ground and am not as concerned about flooding as I would be if I had waterfront property. I am not holding public office; I am not morally or legally obligated to monitor conditions for the general population of the area I live in, nor do I have the resources to do that.

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Heavy Rain
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: 7.0°C
Dewpoint: 6.0°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: ENE 11 km/h


“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”
Umberto Eco
1932 –