This Blog is a creation of the Confederation Park 55 + Activity Centre's Writing Club, No Dead Horses.  All Views expressed in this blog are strictly views of the writing club and not the Confederation Park 55 + Activity Centre. If you have any questions about the blog or would like to be a guest writer, please email

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  • 5 Nov 2021 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    On Turning 80

    by McTwachle  

    “ Oh Mom - Its your big Eight Oh ! We need to celebrate !” “ NO THANKS “ I have one  reason to be thankful for the pandemic. It took care of that. I had arrived at 80, but I did  nothing to help or hinder that occasion. From where I was sitting this looked like the down  portion of the roller coaster - the one where you scream… really… really… loudly.  There have been very few bullets I have had to dodge. As an infant in Scotland, my life was  saved by a Canadian baby formula - Sister Laura’s… I wonder if I read the outside of the package in my infant state? Our city was never bombed, although my mother did drag us  through to the north shore of the Clyde so she could watch the German bombers blowing up Clydebank… do you think she wanted rid of us ? In the intervening years I was cared for by  the god who looks after children and drunks in that order.  

    Since then it's been Healthcare all the way. It rescued me from Chronic Asthma and years  later from going Insane in a Psychiatric hospital - the previous remedy to immuno Therapy for  my malady (a rare seizure disorder). Super efficient Orthopedic and Physiotherapy shot me back to normal when I cracked rather than broke my hip. ( that one used to be a death sentence). Aside from acquiring glasses - I’ve been good to go, muttering all the way “When I’m OLD I’ll need to do “- such  and such - like purge my house , simplify my chaotic self-created Garden, hire snow removal and so on. Nagging bairns told me I was going deaf.. So Hearing Aids… Then I suspected my stentorian unwitnessed snoring might be an issue. Word on the emails ( no street anymore )  was CPAP. So now I sleep silently looking like an Elephant but only awakening x1 per night -  ….aah.  

    Did I mention my mouth? Don’t forget that Scottish upbringing, munching our sweetie ration while riding the tram into town. This syndrome was aided by teenaged dentists who must have been found in the same sweet shop - great for removing vital molars !  There’s an entire city in there now - 2 bridges (or underpasses), a couple of townhouse  complexes, a larder in case I get hungry and the highlight is the hi rise. The dentist here offered  to add a lighthouse light for an extra $3K in case I got lost at night. I reluctantly declined this option.  

    So, if I ever do get around to a celebration - it will have to be a celebration of amazing 21st  century Healthcare delivered almost free of charge in a benign and tranquil country of friendly  folks. It is nothing I have done to arrive at Four Score. It is true we are as old as we feel. I think I have rocketed through many of the stages in all the wrong order. Speechless at the  top of Burstall Pass I felt older than the 75 yr old who had shepherded me up and ever up the  trail. I wasn’t yet 65. Health is an extraordinary matter of luck and genetics. So It isn’t Age we  celebrate, it is Stage. Celebrate whichever stage is meaningful to you and celebrate daily. The  numbers don’t mean a thing.

  • 29 Oct 2021 8:48 AM | Anonymous


    By Anita Mann 

    ‘New normal’. That’s a phrase I hear quite often these days as people deal with living in a  pandemic. There was a time when if I were dressed in a toque, sunglasses and a face mask I  would have been stopped by the police and questioned. Now its ‘normal’. In fact, people  without face masks stick out. But that’s not where I am going with this. That’s an argument for  a different crowd.  

    People act like little heat seekers trying to find the elusive normal but what is it really? Perhaps  we are such creatures of habit that normal becomes whatever we do regularly without  mindfulness. Pay attention to all the little things you do in a day. Many of them are done  without any thought at all because we have done them so often. I golf and curl. In watching  others get ready to hit the ball or throw the rock often enough, their routine becomes evident.  Watch yourself in slow motion as can be recorded on the nifty cell phones. Little movements  done mindlessly which result in a good shot…or not. It’s mental efficiency supposedly allowing  to move about your day not having to deliberate over everything.  

    These behaviours are ingrained and when something interrupts them we experience  discomfort. Body aches and pains can do it for sports. A sore knee changes how you sit in the  curling hack. Or a bum shoulder modifies your golf swing. Angst! You are complete aware that  this is not normal.  

    Physical habits are constantly adapting to our bodies as they age. We get out of chairs  differently or climb stairs in a modified way. But what about our minds? Unlike physical habits  we can’t necessarily see how our thinking is changing and adapting to new realities. But  change may show up in not remembering a name or direction to turn. Others often see it first.  Like your physical movements, challenge yourself to observe your mental habits. What mental  habits have become calcified, done without any due consideration and so habitual we are not  aware of the benefits or damage they may cause?  

    All is not lost. Just as exercise, stretching and therapy such as massage can help with those  physical adaptations, we can practice mental steps to break us out of seeking normal and help  us embrace change and, key word, adapt.  

    I am not a psychologist but I have come to believe in a few ‘tips’ I have learned along the way. I  humbly offer them to you, the reader: 

    - Drive or walk a new way home 

    - Read a book or watch a tv program you would not usually consider 

    - Meet a new person and really listen to a different perspective 

    - Reconsider automatic opinions and responses 

    - Try a new hobby or craft.  

    - Cook or bake a new recipe that calls for unfamiliar ingredients. 

    - Play a challenging board game 

    - Organize your closet differently 

    - Try a new style of clothes or hair style 

    That’s just a few things but you get the idea. Yes, normal is your routine and it is very  comfortable. But normal does not always serve you well. Adaptability does. Making little  changes in your life helps prepare you for the inevitable big changes we must make as we age.  “New normal” happens every day when you challenge your brain to be flexible and open to  new ideas. Consider it Pilates for the mind.

  • 22 Oct 2021 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    Macintosh HD:Users:beverleycumming:Desktop:images.jpgI woke up this morning, 80+ years old, feeling like Wonder Woman, maybe not invincible, but ready to meet the day.   Over many years I have had two knee replacements, cataract surgery, partial dentures, and breast cancer surgery (twice). I am TRIPLE Vacced and have had my Flu shot so I don’t need golden bracelets to deflect the bombardment of viruses.  All of this I can attribute to my luck to be living in Canada  

    I have been educated, worked for 30 years, and now I am enjoying the benefits of monthly pensions that keep me comfortably.  There are many organizations (like Confederation Park) to provide opportunities to enhance my life through entertainment, socialization, recreation and travel.  I appreciate the role played by technology. Over the years there was telephone, radio, and television and now I have a cell phone, laptop computer, along with the Internet which keep me informed.  They provide the facts and opinions  I need to help me be an informed citizen.   All these things again are possible because of my luck to be living in Canada.

    Around the world Canada is viewed as one of the most desirable places for people who are searching for a better life. Some wait years and face many obstacles until they are welcomed here.  No matter their culture, race, or religion, Canada prides itself on the mosaic created by our diversity.  Unfortunately, there is a danger of some groups putting their own agendas ahead of the common good.  This self-serving approach is picking away at our multicultural “quilt”. We all deserve comfort, respect and dignity as we promote our similarities and appreciate our diversity. These ideals seem possible to me because of my luck to be living in Canada. 

    I am not Wonder Woman, Princess Warrior.  My tiara is tarnished, my super senses are fading, and I don’t have a “ Lasso of Truth”. I managed to arrive at old age with some worry about the tattering of our multicultural identity, but with optimism about the future.  We don’t have a Wonder Woman or any Super Heroes to help us. We must work together to set aside our differences and promote our sameness. I believe this is possible because of my luck to be living in Canada.                                   

    Macintosh HD:Users:beverleycumming:Desktop:th-2.jpg
  • 15 Oct 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Advantages of Being 70 Plus

    Yes, there are advantages. No, really.

    As we made our way through our life, there were all sorts of things that we thought were important, imperative, rules that had to be followed, injunctions the breaking of which would lead to eternal unhappiness.  We worried about pimples, our hair, our weight, the cute boy we had a crush on but seemed oblivious to our presence.

    As we grew older the worries grew in number and weight. What if nobody asks me to the grad dance? What if that geeky, spotted kid with the thick glasses and braying laugh asks me? Should I have sex? What if I get pregnant? What am I going to do after grade 12? What if the university doesn’t accept my application? What if I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up? What if I never grow up?

    And did the worries cease once you became a working woman? Hah! Should I get my own apartment? Do I fit in with the rest of the people in the office? Do they like me? Am I doing a good job, or will I get fired? What can I do about the creepy boss who is so touchy-feely? How can I find a nice guy? Will I ever get married?

    If our years between 12 and 70+ were properly misspent then at 70, most, if not all, of those worries will have dissipated like a mild mist when the sun rises. We had sex, or we didn’t; we became pregnant, or we didn’t; we found a job that we loved, or that we hated. When we were twenty, we worried about what others thought of us; by 70 we realize that they weren’t thinking of us at all.

    “Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator”. Confucius.

    Most people at 70 plus are grateful. They are grateful that they wake up in the morning; they are grateful for the friends who are still living; they are grateful that they have a good reason to not have to join protest movements; they are grateful that young relatives are willing to do tech repairs for them and they are not expected to figure it out themselves.

    When they are 70 plus nobody criticizes their choice in clothes or tells them to get a hair cut or a perm. After 70, people pick YOU up, and you get to sit in the front seat without having to yell “shotgun”. People don’t try to change your political views, pressure you to upgrade your education, or learn a new hobby.  Everyone is super complimentary about any artwork that you have produced (even if you believe they are being just a tad patronizing, praise is always more welcome than criticism).

    Visitors come and go after a reasonable amount of time, and your grandkids pick up all their toys and take them all with them. Expectations (our own and those of others) dimmish and are replaced by astonishment and awe. “My god, she’s 75 and she can out hike us all!” “80 and she still volunteers at the Food Bank”. “Can you believe? She’s 90 and still driving herself and her friends to Church on Sundays.”

    No, best to remember the observation of Frances Bacon: “I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”

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