Tuesday, January 26, 2021

It’s A Sin

This, above, is a form of gardening I’d love to be involved with. How I wish my island were located in tropical waters! Instead, yesterday, I walked Sheba with my friends in dark, wet, cold weather. Thankfully, I’ve the proper clothes and I could come home to a toasty warm home.

The short days seem long. I’m feeling cabin feverish as Winter progresses, and it’s not even February yet—the month that always feels hardest to endure. Spring seems far, far away right now. Thank God for books. Now, I’m in Korea. Pachinkohas engaged me.

I realize that reading functions as an escape for me. Perhaps that’s why I no longer want to read non-fiction because it presents reality—that of which I am so tired. Two things I wanted never to read about, The American West and the world wars, have yielded me my favourite reads. The Nightingale and Beyond the Scarlet Sky are novels I hope to never forget, and Angle of Repose is one of my all-time favourite reads. Beware your prejudices!

In the afternoon, yesterday, on the recommendation of my friend, Tim, I watched It’s A Sin on Flixtor (free streaming service) and was immediately immersed and committed to it. The writing, acting and the arc of the story was riveting. I bawled all afternoon because it’s a horrific accounting of the AIDS crisis. 

Everyone’s acting is wonderful! Everyone, including Neil Patrick Harris and Kitty Hawes in small roles is pitch perfect. It’s debuting soon on HBO, if you’re a subscriber. I cried for the characters in the film and for all the friends I lost back in the day. And I cried with guilt/shame/relief that I lived—that I got the cocktail.

I tried the CBD oil the other night, as I relayed on this blog, and regretted it. So, yesterday I tried it again, but this time in the afternoon after first trying my hardest to speak aloud without success. Later in the afternoon, I was talking better. I will try it again another time or two before I conclude anything about its efficacy, but I feel it may have benefited me.

Mr. Sissy-Pants, Esq. has a new toy. Rather, he is taking full advantage of a feature of his van that he accidently discovered by pressing the wrong buttons on his fob. There’s a button on the fob that, if pressed twice, starts his car remotely, turns on the heater in his driver’s seat and also starts the forced-air heater. And now that the weather has turned cooler, Mr. Sissy-Pants uses it all the time and is very, very warm and happy. He’ll use it today when he goes to the post and to the grocer for supplies with which to make himself a big batch of curry soup.

I love church architecture but this
one looks like a chicken.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Now It's Winter

Mr. Self-Reliant chose not to rely on help from my neighbour, Kevin, and instead to buy a cot and mattress from Amazon with which to outfit my van with a bed. Soon I’ll be ready to start going on adventures with Her Highness visiting parks and friends in Vancouver and Victoria. I’m really excited about how much larger my world is going to be, come better weather.

In spite of the darkness of the day, yesterday, the sleet and my dreadful speech, I felt wonderful to be so cozy and warm and rich with books, pet friends and lots of delicious risotto. And … the birds! I load my feeders at dawn and an hour or two before dusk when the birds are hungry. There were dozens and dozens of them yesterday morning—Juncos, Sparrows, Thrushes and Towhees—fluttering about, adding mightily to my happiness.

After our morning walk in the woods, I came home to read Anxious People. I stopped after two paragraphs. It’s a comedic novel I may enjoy come summer. It’s by Frederik Backman, the author of A Man Called Ove that I truly enjoyed, but after The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky so full of human heroics and so, so moving, I couldn’t take something so light. Instead, I’ve started reading Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. The reviews are outstanding.

I realize I get overly harsh about Mr. Trudeau. I understand that the real villain today is a political system dreadfully compromised by capitalist economics. The real rulers are those whose hands are on the money and that reality sickens me. I appreciate that his party is in power. For me, conservatives are, to use a word made famous by the runt of the litter, the “deplorables.”

So, this is Winter. Whereas during our first month of the season temperatures hovered around ten degrees, the night temperatures now are very low and daytime temperatures are only four-to-five degrees and it’s making Springtime feel farther away. 

It’s sleeting again this morning, and the forecast ahead is for more of the same. Pooey! Regardless, I carry on. I have something to look forward to: Donald and Melania, the pigs, have arrived at Fran├žois’s and Eoin’s, so when we have a decent day, I’ll go for a visit.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Bullet Dodged

We dodged the bullet: There’s no snow this morning, and it’s warmer—not like before, closer to ten degrees, but I’m happy. There’s supposedly a chance of snow tonight or tomorrow, but I don’t think, with the present blanket of clouds, that it can get cold enough. Phew!

Saturday began so cold. The house was so cold when I got up, it took a long while for the fire to make it warm enough that my hands stayed warm when I was typing at my desk. Making things worse was my need to remove the shells from the partially frozen Prawns so that I could make Prawn risotto after taking Her Highness for a morning walkabout—in more cold.

At least the day was sunny. And I love looking out at a much cleaner backyard. It improves my spirit to look out on a courtyard and backyard that’s free of forest fall. Friday, I removed bazillions of Fir cones, twigs and small branches from the yard. It felt good to be outdoors and moving around instead of constantly on my butt reading.

I burned a lot of what I collected in my incinerator. It was nice to smell the burning Fir and lovely to be able to warm my hands on the fire. The big job of the day yesterday, however, was making Prawn risotto. It’s a lot of work—especially making the stock by cooking the Prawn shells, veggies and spices. My kitchen smelled divine.

We went to the park in the afternoon and then I settled in for the rest of the day and evening by the fire, hoping that it wouldn’t snow. I went to bed, optimistic.

I read about the tweaks in the B.C. vaccination schedule. I am now a tier lower unless my asthma and HIV boosts me, so I don’t expect to be vaccinated until Summer. I’m fine with that, though, because I feel so safe on this island and, so far, I’m not suffering at all from cabin fever. I credit my forest walks for my sanity.

Trudeau held a press briefing on Friday, outside his Ottawa residence. He said that Julie Payette brought “enormous positives” to the job with her emphasis on science and service, and that Canadians deserve a “safe and healthy workplace.” What a turd!

He also said his government will consider making changes to the vetting process for high-level appointments in the wake of the controversy, but it was common knowledge at the time of her appointment that she’d faced similar accusations of humiliating and bullying subordinates during her positions at the Montreal Science Centre and the Canadian Olympic Committee. He’s an enabler.

He hates taking responsibility for his shortcomings: he maintained Payette’s vetting for the role was “rigorous,” adding that his government would “look at ways we can strengthen and improve the vetting process for high-level appointments.” 

Trump was deservedly vilified for his lying but Trudeau’s unwillingness to take responsibility is also modelling a compromised personality. Modelling this vulgar evasive behavior is reprehensible.

But I can’t end on such a nasty note, so instead I’ll mention all I have to look forward to today: I’m Zooming with a group of theatre friends this afternoon, Sheba and I will go for forest walks that are uplifting even in the rain and tonight, Prime Suspect and All Creatures Great & Small. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Loose Woman

I took in the glory of dawn on a day with pristinely clear sky in the splendor of my spa yesterday morning and then savoured a breakfast of the bread I recently baked. Never, with bought bread, do you get the heady thrilling scent I enjoy each morning when I open the bag in which I keep my fragrant treasure. 

And as I ate, the trees slowly went from green to gold, starting at the top and moving down. Birds filled my yard; they know I maintain their feeders with seed and suet and the hummingbirds know my nectar is always fresh and warm—I’ve a small light under the feeder that keeps it so.

And soon it was time to go for a walk with my fellow canine compatriots and, as it’s my third week as guide, I decided to take us all on a new route. I chose paths that maximized our exposure to the morning light, and I was thrilled that Judith mentioned noticing how much brighter our walks are now compared to the Elder Cedar walks we did every time for the past three years.

After the walk, Sheba and I went directly to the grocery store for Prawns. I’m going to make my favourite risotto yet again. Risotto is frequently consumed by the Pono Lella and as yesterday was my last day deep inside that novel, I’m going to celebrate with my favourite version. 

Jay came by and we successfully transplanted my Azaleas. I’m glad they have a better home and now I get to think about what kind of beauties I’ll put into the planters they vacated.

My friend Beth has written a memoire called Loose Woman. It’s available on Amazon. She’s received a great deal of praise from its readers, but, as happens to so very many books, it isn’t getting the readership it merits. 

I really enjoyed reading it, but then I know her. And it’s more, I reckon, a book that resonates very strongly with women; it’s more introspective than the high-risk action-packed war novels that shatter me. What I loved about it, was the section of the book wherein she takes a position working with a L’Arche community. It’s not a job for most people!

Founded by Jean Vanier, L’Arche villages give purpose and dignity to people with profound mental health issues—a community of people that present significant challenges to anyone wanting to get close. But she does it and it’s a joy to read about her success and it makes me terribly proud of her.

I encourage you to consider buying it, particularly all three of my blog readers who are women, and if you love it, please tell all your women friends.

I regret attacking Julie Payette and Adrienne Clarkson without acknowledging that in all probability many men were as atrocious in their conduct in the office of the Governor General over the history of the position. I know! I worked in Ottawa for a year and a friend worked in the GGs office.

The cold has arrived but (hooray) the weather forecast is predicting less snow now. If it snows tomorrow, it may turn to rain on Monday. That kind of short burst of Winter, I can take!

Jill Biden's inaugural coat.