The Beeswax Screen

Darn it, I missed the prompt “Screen” the other day and it fits so well with the story I’ve been thinking about putting down in print, before it’s lost forever. Maybe I did see the prompt but didn’t think of it, at first. It must have percolated: through to my subconscious, picking through the memory files, working it’s way out a day later.

Back when I was a bee-keepers wife and worked at a Farmer’s Market, there was an older Italian lady who would pick up a beeswax bar, smell it and smile.  It was only a dollar but she never bought one. She didn’t speak English so when she came, smelled it and smiled, we would just smile and nod at each other.

One day she came with her daughter who said, “My mom wants to tell you why she loves the smell of beeswax so much.”

She was from a small town in Italy. When a young married couple moved into their new home the local ladies would get together with cotton thread and beeswax. They cut the thread into strands the length and width of their doorway. Two on a thread, they ran all the strands back and forth through beeswax until they were thickly covered then working all together they wove a screen for their doorway to keep out flies. It was a happy time: they sang and gossiped.

They hung it in the kitchen door like a curtain and it lasted for years and years.  In the summer a breeze would flow through it and you could smell the beeswax. Whenever she came to the market she would pick up the beeswax bar and the smell would take her back to those happy times.

I was so touched my this story and so happy she took the time to get her daughter to tell me, I insisted she take a bar of beeswax. At first she wouldn’t but I said it was well worth such a great story.  Now I have that beautiful memory.




Rarely Bored

Yawn. What Bores You?”  This was yesterday’s prompt but I left the computer early yesterday and like this better than todays: “What’s the longest time you’ve ever been away from your favourite person”   Ha!

I rarely ever get bored but I did yell out “This is boring!” trying to watch a movie called “A Most Wanted Man”. I kept running it back because I wasn’t paying attention to the dialogue then realized, it’s not me….. this is boring.

That happened again when I was watching Billions. Every time they started talking about stocks and numbers my mind would go elsewhere. But  I stuck with it because I like Paul Giamatti.  I found you don’t really have to pay attention to the numbers so it’s OK, the story line looks good.

Chit Chat bores the hell out of me. I don’t like small talk or chatting on the phone. (At least on the phone I can roll my eyes.) The answering machine gets anything important. Texting is so much better than talking. Say what you’ve got to say and no more than necessary, please.

I have a part-time job and with it being January I’m only getting 2 or 3 shifts a week but that’s perfect. I always have things to do here; things I have to do and things I want to do.  I do housework for a couple of hours then relax and/or walk (if I’m not working of course) in the afternoon.

My ex-husband used to say “You sure can entertain yourself”.  So true! My mom used to say, “Learn to enjoy your own company”.   Hmmm. May be some mixed messages there but it still worked out well for me.  I live alone and enjoy doing whatever I want… within my work schedule and budget.

I maintain and add to my landscaping in the spring and summer. In the Fall I put away firewood that I have delivered in September. January to March I work on jigsaw puzzles to get the afternoon sun as it comes back up. Getting that sun is crucial to mental health, I’m taking Vit. D now and trying to catch any afternoon rays which have been few and weak.

Today is sunny and I’m working 3:00 to 9:00. I’ll do some vacuuming (now that I can see how bad it is), tidy up, bring in firewood and maybe do a few pieces of the puzzle before going into work.

Tomorrow is going to be sunny and I’m not working. Oh, boy! Walk on the trail behind my house, work on the puzzle in the afternoon…… ah, life is good.

its all in the organization
its all in the organization

I’m Done!

Aahhh! That’s the sound of me breathing easy. I’m done. The long run of night shifts and busy days is over.

We had our family Christmas on Monday.  It was wonderful, warm and happy……  because there are kids!  Without them we’d be looking at each other,  trying to think of things to talk about.

Yesterday my ex visited me, I hadn’t seen him in a year. He talked a blue streak about the business that used to be mine, too, and going to places in the USA that I liked to go to.  Then he gave me some money and a hug and said he would visit in the summer and clean my chimney. It was stressful but I’m glad I’m not still with him.

I went into work at 5:00 praying I wouldn’t be met with a list of work to do but, lo and behold! My boss had everything done and told me I don’t have to work Christmas Eve Day! Business has been slow, (I think because the weather is so warm with no snow, it’s not ‘Christmassy’) we are well stocked up and the students are working.   I did a happy dance right there!

AND he hugged me, Merry Christmas, before he left!  That was very surprising! I went in so tired but joy got me through the evening.

I did some shopping on my break so I won’t have to go to any more stores until after the 25th.  People get into such a frenzy, its crazy.  Relax, people,  it’s only a day, not the end of time, for Pete’s sake!

The weather is still warm, it does look bleak and snow would be prettier….. but I don’t care! No scary drives to work. When I get the wood stove going I can open the kitchen window. Today it’s raining; perfect weather for a Netflix day.

The person I’ve been helping out hasn’t called for a few days so I’m keeping my fingers crossed she has found another helper but I’m not going to call to find out.

Tomorrow is going to be 10 C and sunny; I might just go for a walk on the beach!

Aaaaahhhhhh!  I hear the chorus…… Hallaalleeeelluuuujaaaah!





SoCS; miss


I miss Laura L. There is a group of bloggers out there that followed WTFAIOA by Laura L. through her trials and tribulations. When I first came upon her blog she was living in a trailer in Kentucky then moved to a basement of a person she didn’t know to look for a job in Vermont. We were all so happy when she got a job then an apartment but soon it all turned bad. Recently she wrote her last post with “my life has gotten so much worse. I’m closing the blog”

What happened? Where is she? I worry about her! Are you reading  this Laura- I know that’s not your name? We miss you!

How many Lauras are out there leading lives of quiet desperation?

I have a friend down the road who is living  in a trailer with no plumbing. She left her abusive mate and was offered the place by friends who own the trailer park. They’ve been grumbling about her water use and daily shower from their house so she’s been coming here for a shower and fill a water container every couple of days to buffer her water usage there.

Yesterday she left me fifty cents.

She has a very old dog; a boxer. He drools a lot and wants to get on my couch. She cooks him dinner, which is the main reason I don’t want her to stay here, plus she smokes cigarettes.  Don’t worry; she doesn’t want to stay here either.  They needs her own space.

I remember how crazy I was when my marriage broke up and I had no place, no job, no life.  The fear, anxiety and grief are debilitating.

It’s too bad other people’s misfortunes are the best reminders that our lives are good. I don’t feel so bad about going into work tonight, tomorrow and Monday. Of course there are moments of anxiety and the little inner groan of ‘I don’t wanna go to work’ but all in all, I’m lucky to have this job and home and the health to keep it all together.

And I live in peace.

My heart goes out to all the people who struggle this holiday season. When you see them, smile at them, show them they matter. That can mean so much to a person who is down and hurt.


I hear those sleigh bells jingling….

I light up

It’s that time of year, time to clear away the clutter in front of those red and green storage tubs and bring out the decorations.  I’ll call it Christmas, that’s my tradition.  It starts with Diwali, Festival of Lights. There was a Celtic/ pagan tradition at Solstice but the Christians used that to represent that Light that came into the Dark.  (You can’t take away a good holiday). And Hanukkah, with the Menorah,  call it whatever you like….. every religion and society had a way of getting together to light up the darkest and most dismal days and ward off deep, dark depression and isolation.

The sun is taking the low road and can’t make it above a row of cedars lining my driveway. My deck is in the shade all day now so my string of solar lights is too weak to find my key at night. The porch light looks bleak, especially with no snow yet. It’s been warm for November, the grass is still green.

Way back when I was young and trying to get pregnant, I didn’t do any Christmas decorating. I had it in my mind it would be for the kids, when I had them.  After eight years of trying, I started to let go and consider life without children. Did that mean I was never going to ‘do’ Christmas and have a tree because I didn’t have kids?

The first year I decided to have a Christmas tree my husband reacted in the usual way; grumpy and calling it stupid, he cut a skinny Charlie Brown tree from our property with a “here’s your tree”.  I bought some cheap bulbs and lights from Zellers and decorated it. He liked it.

The next few years he did a complete about-face and got into it. He paid $60 for a tree because it was Balsam Fir. We started buying decorations after Christmas on sale and got excited the next year with our ‘new’ and forgotten decorations. We bought fake pine boughs, strings of lights and a big red and green storage tub for it all.  A few years later bought another big storage tub just for the lights.

When we broke up he brought me both tubs and said, “you might as well have these”. I offered to split everything but he said, “no” in a way that said, “no, I’d rather be miserable”

I’d rather be happy. Bring any bit of light and joy that I possibly can into the world, my world at least. It makes me happy to do it and to come home to it. You can’t see my house from the road and people rarely come here; I do it for myself.

I’ve really been looking forward to today. I have the day off, it’s sunny and going to be reasonably warm….. again!  I’m going to pull out those tubs and string up some white lights outside. Closer to Christmas I add a big star above the door and a light-up candy-cane.

Soon I’ll get my real, balsam Christmas tree, and yes, it IS worth the hassle. I laugh driving home with it stuffed into my hatchback. I cut the bottom with a saw and remember my Dad doing it. It takes me days to decorate it; a day for the branches to drop, a day for the lights then slowly the decorations go up in my spare time finding just the right spot. There is a whole box of icicles that have to hang just right.

(Here I am writing about it, procrastinating because of the clutter in front of the green and red tubs.)

This season is an opportunity for joy. Light up the gloom!

Christmas car





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With Sails Unfurled


This prompt from ‘theywalkthenight’  is a good description of how I’ve been feeling about my life this week. I have a sturdy ship but I’m holding on to the rudder, bobbing up and down, trying to steer through life’s storms by myself. Direction; unknown. Let the winds blow me to new shores.

Some good, some bad and the whole world in between. “Between our dreams and actions, lies this world” — Tom Waits.

I had the whole week off again (working weekends)  as we are slowed down in the bakery and they hired 4 new cashiers so don’t need me for a while. That’s been OK with me….. I socked away enough to get through this down time. Now I’m in hunker-down mode; if I stay home I don’t spend any money or use any gas. I eat what I have on hand and get a little more creative.  Actually make lentils and quinoa, squashes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.  Got a big bunch of leeks on sale that made 3 meals even better; used that wild rice in the fancy jar.

On top of that we’ve had amazing weather for November. Tuesday was so nice I went for a walk on the beach. I admit I was feeling lonely and doing that stupid thing where I imagine my ex being someone he is not ever going to be. Sometimes I miss him and hate myself for it. We were best friends for 28 years, after all. There I was, walking on the beach on a beautiful day, feeling sorry for myself for being poor and alone.

There was only one other person on the beach with her dog, walking slowly, then sat down on the sand. As I got closer I realized it was a friend, and I use that term loosely, a co-worker who had quit without notice a few months ago. She had just left her abusive husband.

She was staying in a friend’s trailer with her dog so I drove them both back to my house.  When she walked in,  she gushed, “It’s beautiful! It’s huge!”  which is not the usual reaction by a long shot but compared with where she was living; a warm, bright mansion.

We talked all afternoon and she ranted about the crap he’d put her through. She brought back the memories of being yelled at everyday, called names and constant fighting, fighting, fighting. Living in a crappy, cold cottage and having no control of your finances.

What a timely reality check on how my life is going.  I have a house that I keep up, pay bills and property taxes. I can walk on the beach on a beautiful day and not have to feel the anxiety of wondering, “What am I going to do?” “What’s going to happen to me?”

My friend said she missed the old gang at work. Yesterday we were all there as the big bosses are coming and Health and Safety so we were stocking up, cleaning and getting our Christmas products ready. It felt good being part of the gang. Trained on both sides now, breads and cakes,  I started the morning getting freshly-baked breads out and finished the shift making banana cream pies and icing birthday cakes. For that I make enough money to get by and live in this house.

It wasn’t always that way.  It took at least six months before I didn’t go home crying because my boss was so mean to me. I had crushing anxiety when I started as a cashier but didn’t give up and stuck it out. Now I feel valued as an employee and have friends at work.

I have weathered some terrible storms in the last ten years. How many years did I spend being miserable because I couldn’t see a way out?  I’ve found strength in myself I didn’t believe I had.

There are more storms in the forecast , I’m sure, but hopefully my ship is strong and my sails unfurled.

Polishing My Knuckles

Daily Prompt; Tell us about something you have done recently that has made you really, unabashedly proud.

003This may look funny to some but I’m proud of my new walk-way. I needed something there and don’t have much money so I was so happy to be given these. They are thick and heavy, not like the flimsy little ones I was thinking of buying that were still too much money for me to spend.

My new neighbour is a nice young man, respectful of an older woman like myself and put down the slabs for me. He admonished me, “Let me know if you want to move them around, don’t move them yourself!”

I just smiled. No way was I going to get him back to shuffle them around. They are heavy and hard to move, even for him, but I knew I wanted to move them around and make something more visually appealing. I had a lot of broken pieces to work with.

I sat on a garden stool and dug out the grass to make it wider.

004 I only did two stones a day but while this project was going on, I did it every day off I had. It was the main thing on my mind.

They were very heavy. Before I started the project I did this and numbered the slabs with soap.


That wasn’t how it turned out exactly but it helped a lot. I wrote about the problems before;


While I have the opportunity to brag, I’m always very proud of my firewood. I do it myself.

(Wait a sec:  I buy it cut and split. I certainly do not split all this wood, I wheelbarrow it from my driveway and stack it myself.)


Darn, I wish I had moved that tarp before I took the photo.  Here’s what it looks like right now;

002 Yeah, Mother Nature has given us a preview of things to come. I drove to work in a freezing, slushy mess getting freezing pellets going and driving home.  Today doesn’t look much better and I’m working 2:00 to 9:00. Bummer.

I guess that’s bragging about how tough I am, too.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Right to Brag.”


I’m finished in more ways than one.  I finished my walkway last Monday;


Its not exactly like the template because I found one of the ‘permanent’ slabs had a little shaved off the side so they wouldn’t fit together right. I had to drag the shaved one to the outside and move some around.  The whole ones are extremely heavy; I had to ‘walk’ them into place.

It looks rough now but it will get ‘grown in’. I’m going to plant Hens ‘n Chickens in those cut out spots. That area gets baked in the sun in the afternoons so they will thrive and fill in the harsh angles. Creeping Thyme is already planted near the front step so that will grow over the corner. I’m not a fan of ninety degree angles; it’s so unnatural.


I’m just posting this today because I had to work three days in a row!  Yeah, you can scoff and snort, younger people, but three days of getting up and going to work, working as fast as I can for 5 hours (yeah, five hours, OK, but I’m almost 63) with one 15 minute break, irritating music, harsh lighting and a grouchy boss is damned exhausting at this age.

My boss, who is famous for being grouchy and mean, was in an extra bad mood because so many things had gone wrong when he took the weekend off. One thing affected my job.

We used to get our cakes in a huge slab ( I’ll have to do a special post of all the slabs in my life) approximately 24″ X 18″, that’s two feet wide and possibly two or three inches high…. at best. We had to slice them in half, length wise, and fill them with icing. This is quite the skill to be mastered. There are a lot of fat tops and skinny bottoms before you get it right.

Back in the winter we switched to pre-filled triple layer cakes in smaller sizes. They are wonderful. They come in the larger size birthday cake so all we have to do it is plop it on a board and ice it. For the smaller cakes, we just cut in in half or quarters.  For special large orders….. stick two together. It saved us so much time, work and mess.

But last week the assistant manager did the ordering and ordered us the old cakes. Not only did I have to cut and fill slabs again, they had to be triple layer and cut differently to match the new sizes. All the time my boss is glaring and rolling his eyes because I’m not fast enough.

Any question I have to ask him, (oh, I do dread having to ask him something) he answers with something snarky implying how stupid you are….. not just me…. customers, too! It actually doesn’t bother me much anymore; I almost find him entertaining. There’s no way he’s going to fire me, I know too much!

Here’s a fun example: this happened yesterday. A woman came in and said she special ordered Savoury Turkey stuffing. We have bags and bags of stuffing bread cut into pieces , waiting in racks for Thanksgiving. We make tons of it with our stale bread. We slice the bread, then turn the slices on their sides and slice it into pieces, then they’re baked lightly on sheets and bagged up.

I’m looking around for the order and don’t see it. My boss is filling the commercial bread shelves when I ask him about the order. “It’s sitting right out on the counter” he says as if I’m blind and stupid. I look and only see sliced bread, I look all around again.  I sigh a sigh of dread and go back to him, “I can’t find it”   He’s so pissed off as he points to it and says, “Read the label!”  The sliced bread has a label reading “Savoury Turkey Stuffing”     Oh, silly me, I was looking for stuffing, like the three racks of stuffing waiting in our wings.

My customer is listening, wide eyed at his tone,  I start to put the six loaves in her cart just as my boss was walking by, “oh” she says, “I thought it would be cut into pieces.”

“You have to cut it up yourself” he says so rudely, I couldn’t help it, I had to laugh.

“Phew!” she says, “Is he always that way?”

“No, you should see him when he’s in a bad mood!” I said and laughed.

She shook her head and said, “I sure couldn’t work here.”

That actually buoyed me up for the rest of the day. I needed a lift…..

The day before I went to visit my aging aunt in the nursing home after work. I got home only a short time before Zumba but I decided to go even though I was tired: I need it for my mental health.

Yesterday, Thursday, I was so tired. When I got home I laid down, just to close my eyes for a bit, and slept for two hours. I woke up at 6:45 p.m., very hungry.

Today I am off. My place is a mess, my lawn needs mowing and my aunt needs new nightgowns. Good thing I have two days off…..

I’m finished.

The Walkway Project

There are some good things about living alone and doing whatever you choose. I can get lost in a whim and have no one to say, “What the hell are you doing?”

I was given a bunch of concrete slabs, two feet by two feet, for a walk way in front of my house. The old ones were used in my wood shed and I never replaced them. Grass and weeds had grown into the gravel: it was wet and dewey in the morning, hard to shovel in the winter. A few weeks ago a pile of older, thick concrete slabs appeared at my neighbours. I asked if he was going to use them and he said he would give me what was left over. On Wednesday evening he brought and put down these;

006This is what has been on my mind for a few days now. I know I can shuffle these around, and make something more pleasing. There are enough broken pieces and it goes too far into my driveway this way.

I had to work Friday night but I got two pieces started by my step in the morning. I sat on a stool, dug the grass and weeds out from the gravel with hand tools and added two halves to get right width.  I want to encourage the Creeping Thyme room to grow over the sharp corners. Two broken pieces helped to make the step-down a little better.


Yesterday I went to my sister’s birthday party and had a great time with the kids and family but I really wanted to work on this. The weather is perfect and I have 3 days off. One problem is that that they are very heavy, of course, so it’s hard to shuffle them around to see which way they fit together best.

When I got home I decided to make a template of them all and put it together like a puzzle. I cut out squares of paper 11 cm by 11 cm then stood out over every slab and cut out it’s shape or split. I numbered the slabs with a piece of soap and numbered the little pieces of paper. Then I got an empty pop can box and cut out one side to make the bottom template. I counted 5 slabs but the box wasn’t 55 cm long so I cut out another piece and taped it on. I went outside and realized I actually had 6 slabs permanently so I cut out another piece and added it on. I marked off 11 cm. increments and worked on placing the shapes together.

See? Now here is where another person would question my sanity and how much time was going into this. My point is; who cares?  This is what I want to do and I have the time and inclination to do it.


What’s even funnier, (well, to me) is that I’m not doing it….. I’m writing about doing it. I have other, more pressing jobs to do than this but I really want to move pieces of concrete……  just #8 and #2 for today.

I mowed my very long lawn as my lawn mower had been in repair for over a month. Now I have to rake bales of long grass before it rains and gets too heavy.

Damn, this is where that other sane person would come in real handy.

LIfe Goes On …. and on and on….


Today You Will Write

Yes, today I will write and this gives me a platform. I haven’t written much lately simply because I have nothing to say. I’m not much of a talker, either, I dislike chitchat.

My life is going on boringly but bearable. My mind fluctuates between ‘why do I have to work (hard) in grocery store for minimum wage, at this age (62) and be alone?’ to ‘thank God I have a not bad part-time job and house of my own. I can do whatever the hell I want.’   That job gives me feeling of security; I can do this. In moments of anxiety I can remind myself I have a job and my bills are paid.

My lawn mower is still being fixed. He said it might be done today. It’s been gone over a month. My grass is so long its laying over. The Queen Ann’s Lace was pretty but its finishing now. Its depressing looking at the lawn and gardens so neglected. Last week was too hot to work outside anyway; I can wait until better weather. I’m so looking forward to fall and cutting my grass.

Today its raining and I’m glad. I worked last night (4:00-9:00) and I’m working again tonight so a quiet rainy day is just what I need to re-boot for another round of cleaning frenzy.

I could write about the mop problems and how I would have been done early if I didn’t have to wait for the deli girl to finish with the only mop but I think I’ve bored you enough by now. That’s my point, that’s why I haven’t written. Between working I do housework, inside and out, make food, clean up after making food, do laundry, wash my work apron, (sometimes I just sponge the icing off my pants), read blogs, watch TV.

My aging aunt recently was moved to a nursing home near us so I can visit her after work easily. I’m sure most of you know how depressing a nursing home is. Last time I went she had ‘an accident’….. I won’t go into detail but I almost threw up.

Thank God Zumba is starting back up on Monday. I need it so bad. Not just the exercise but the dancing and laughing part.

So, Prompt, thanks for reminding me that this is it. This is my life and I better be damn grateful for what I have!  As far as I know, it will just go on like this until I’m in that nursing home grossing out my nephew.

this is it