Category Archives: Catching Up

Has It Really Been Six Months?

Six months since I updated this site? Whatever is wrong with me! So now it’s February 9th, 2020. My weather app shows that at this moment, 3:15 pm, it’s “Cold, dark, overcast, and super lame.” Oh, and 35°. Each day around this time, one of my camera apps sends me an encouraging message that it’s time to go outside and take a picture.

As if!

As if I’m going to put on my coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and boots just so I can make some stupid app happy. It’s  so much easier to turn off notifications from that pesky bugger.

Our house is heated with steam heat via radiators, and that means it’s very dry inside. I know the old trick of putting bowls full or water on top or the radiators to increase the humidity, but then the windows (1) fog up with condensation and then (20) freeze over at night. Then on top of everything else, my room is the warmest room in the house—so much so that even in the winter I leave my window open a couple of inches so I don’t roast.

Wintertime Blues, SAD, and Chronic Depression

I’m dealing with all three. So far I’m handling it quite well, but there are occasional days when one or more of them get to me. Interestingly, the worst days are the ones that all but force me to my writing desk. They’re the days when writing ceases to be an activity and instead becomes a necessity, and urgency, a need. And so in order to keep my sanity, I obey.

That’s why I’m writing this entry. Well, that and my guilt about not having done sooner.  And you know what? It works! I’m smiling, and the fact that we’ve been inundated by a snowstorm doesn’t bother me.

For the first time in days I’ve accomplished something other than doing laundry, shopping for groceries, and cleaning the bathroom.

And I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow, knowing that this mood will hold at least until then, and I know that I’ll be writing here again tomorrow as well—even if its just to prove to myself that I can do it!

See you then!

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Filed under Catching Up, depression, Despair, Hope, Writing

Some Shockin’ Good!

St. Paul's Anglican Church, Harbour Grace

St. Paul’s Anglican Church

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland

The Internet is a Strange and Wondrous Thing

Especially for people with Attention Deficit Disorder, like me. I woke up this morning wanting to text my daughter, to share a memory. Some background is in order:

My family’s ancestral home is in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Several years ago—decades, really—my father, his mother, a sister and a brother, visited the town. One of the souvenirs he brought back was a vinyl recording of Newfoundland songs.

One of our favorites was Dick Nolan singing “Aunt Martha’s Sheep.” It was that song I wanted to share with my daughter. So I fired up Google and entered the song title.

One of the hits was the link above, which will take you to YouTube so you can watch it. Another one takes you to Wikipedia, and I hope you’ll read the entry there, especially the part under “The Rest Of The Story,” where you’ll learn of the song’s connection to Harbour Grace.

Anyway, after the “Aunt Martha” video finished, it went on to the next song, “Some Shockin’ Good.”

Naturally, I Googled that phrase as well, which took me to the newest blog I’m following, Some Shockin’ Good.

And that, in a nutshell, is how the Internet works to bring the world together.

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Filed under Catching Up, Communication, family, History, memories

The 999 Market and Super Deli

The Best Chicken in Town?

Chicken Wings & Drumsticks

I reluctantly left the house for a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. Reluctantly, because my depression has kept me housebound for most of the past two months. But I couldn’t put it off any longer, and Ed was kind enough to drive me to the clinic. I’d catch a bus home afterward.

The appointment resulted in my antidepressant prescription being increased, and I had an hour to kill before the next bus. The bus stop was across the street from the 999 Market and Super Deli, and their sign proclaimed “The Best Chicken in Town!”

I had curiosity, hunger, and time to kill. $7.50 got me 6 wings, 4 drumsticks, and a cold drink. Sitting down on the curb, I started eating.

First, everything had just come from the fryer, so it was nice and hot. Second, everything was crispy and perfectly seasoned. Third, even though I had asked for 3 drumsticks, I got 4 for the same price. This has always been the case each time I’ve eaten there.

Yes, I confess: this was not my first time eating their chicken. But it was the first time since I quit smoking, and it tasted even better.

I’ve written of the joys of dark meat when it comes to poultry; the same is true today. If anything, this afternoon’s repast has only strengthened my beliefs.

And their claim to the best chicken in town? Let me put it this way: KFC could learn something from these folks!

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Filed under Catching Up, Chicken, Eating, Food

Coffee, Tea, or …

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

“I like to look at ‘em, but I wouldn’t want to own one.” W. C. Fields, comparing women to elephants.

That’s how I feel about coffee: I love the aroma when it’s brewing, but I rarely drink it. To be sure, I never say no to a Starbucks when someone else is buying, but I don’t go out of my way for one. Especially when it would entail a 2-hour bus ride there and back.

No, just give me my tea, a decent book, and I’m good to go. Bring me constant refills and I’ll follow you to the gates of hell itself.

But coffee? Meh. I can take it or leave it.

This morning was different. I enjoyed a nice breakfast and had just sat down to peruse Medium when our house guest started brewing a pot of Sumatra Mandheling on our Mr. Coffee knock-off.

Remember what I said about the aroma of coffee when it’s brewing? Yeah. It got me up out of my chair and into the kitchen so I could smell it better.

Constant Reader, I confess: I yielded to temptation—which by the way is how Oscar Wilde said is the best way to avoid it—and am now enjoying a cup of strong coffee, tempered by the addition of real cream(!), sweetener, and a hint of flavoring (just a tiny splash of genuine New York State pure maple syrup).

It was the best cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time.

“How long, Robyn?”

Long enough that I can’t remember the last time I drank one.

And I find it interesting that each and every time I drink a cup of coffee, Gordon Lightfoot starts singing in my mind:

“I’m on my second cup of coffee and I still can’t face the day
I’m thinking of the lady who got lost along the way
And if I don’t stop this trembling hand from reaching for the phone
I’ll be reachin’ for the bottle, Lord, before this day is done.”

Thanks for taking a few precious minutes out of your day to read this.

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Filed under Catching Up, Eating, Ramblings, Tea

Growing Up and Getting Old Ain’t Necessarily the Same

There are some days when I wake up and my inner 19-year-old is in charge. I feel great, full of energy, and ready to take on the world.

Today isn’t one of those days.

Today I woke up feeling the weight of every one of my 68 and a half years. It’s cold and overcast, and my arthritis is responding with a flare-up in my thumb that makes it difficult to write.

As far as “It Gets Better” goes, it’s on these days that I ask, “When?”

They’re the days I think of my hopes and dreams. Some were shattered, some abandoned, some abandoned, and many came true.

One of the best came true when I was able to fulfill a promise my 17-year-old self made. It was when I first heard Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” I promised that if I ever had a daughter, that would be her name. When I was 25, I made true on that promise. Okay, so I added an extra letter; I thought “Suzzanne” was a better name for the little girl I knew would become a remarkable woman.

Which she has indeed become. Far more remarkable than I could have imagined.

Another dream was fulfilled when our second daughter was born, giving my parents their second grandchild.
She, alas, doesn’t remember her grandmother, who died when Steffani was 4. 36 years ago today, as a matter of fact.

My Annual Day of Mourning

Dec 12 of each year is when I sit down in my chair, sip my tea, and wonder. What would my life be like today had she lived? Would she still love the son who became her daughter?

She was a remarkable woman, my mother. The wife of a minister, she more than my father showed me what it meant to be a Christian.

Sadly, she also bequeathed to my brothers and I her life-long depression. My father once told me that she told him many times “If I didn’t have those children, I would kill myself.”

That, more than anything else, tells me just how much she loved us.

And maybe mourning isn’t the right word. Rather, call it wondering.

How would she react to me? Or her great grandchildren, one of whom is starting out on the same journey I am on?

Hope For the Next Generation

Chloe-now-Cole is developing into a fine young lad. He’s sure to face problems along the way, many of which I’ve already dealt with.

And while I can’t say I have a favorite grandchild, Cole is one of the reasons I no longer consider suicide. He needs me, as I need him. And while I do tell him from time to time that it does indeed get better, I also tell him that it often doesn’t happen as soon as it’s needed.

So Yes, it Does Get Better

Maybe not all at once, or easily. But on balance, my own life has gotten better because of my mother.
And that’s why I know that were she still here today, she would love and accept her daughter just as she once loved her son.

Helen Jane Sheppard (nee Stevens)

Thanks for reading.

 

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Filed under Catching Up, Childhood Memories, depression, gender equality, gender identity