Sunday, October 22, 2017


This morning (Sunday) is looking dreadful outside. Just like yesterday.
When I woke this morning, Leon did not come for cuddling — net even for a conversation so I was worried. That never happens. He’s always the one to wake me — but not this morning. Why? I found out when I came into my living room: At my bedroom door was a dead mouse. I know where it emerged from the cupboards because Leon is fixated on the spot.
Saturday was a classic cold and wet autumn day. Amy came early in the morning and we went to GIRO (the recycling centre) together. It felt great to get rid of all my packing material from the move. And I found a green bin for recycling my organics so all is a go now for my garbage. (I know how excited that may make you.)
I stacked a little wood and prepped the area for more but the weather made the work no fun so I Netflixed in the afternoon  And Annie called. She is going to clean the roof of all my buildings so that’s another thing done. With her and the plumber both booked all my essential tasks are done. My only remaining challenge now is insurance.  
I finally saw the local turkeys strutting about in the pouring rain. They’re huge, wonderfully chatty and gorgeous.
And at the end of the day I went to Jay’s for dinner. What a place and what a guy. He has delicious taste and his house is spectacular — absolutely stupendous. It's perhaps the loveliest place I've seen and he designed it. He has a greenhouse a huge garage with a loft (where my pool table will go) and three hundred hazelnut trees.
And as I was leaving, my friendly Stellar’s Jay demanded food again just like he did yesterday. I could not be happier that I have such a handsome friend.
Tonight: The Durrells on Corfu. Yay.

I found the wig bin at GIRO.

Jay's man den (above and below).

His grand room. Boy is it grand!

Check out that fireplace!
His nut cracker collection. Jay has a hazelnut farm.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I Feed (the) Jay; Jay Feeds Me

It’s a really nasty day today butt yesterday was fabulous.  
Yeseterday began with a sorting and culling of all my business tchotchkes: My staples, zillions of pens, markers and pencils, clips, bands, sticky things, labels, my paper — everything. I organized and compartmentalized everything.
I had three drawers in my office area — one quite big — into which I’d dumped all my office supplies and other miscellaneous stuff — everything I didn’t know what to do with when I moved in. Sorting everything and establishing order was a delight to do; part of the process was clearing one drawer out so it could house the “paid bills” I’ve yet to find.
I went to the store for some baking supplies and when I came back a Stellar Jay was squawking like mad at me — and not from far away. He kept it up until I filled my bird and suet feeders and he flew over to watch me as I did it. I loved the whole thing.
I made sugar cookies (with large grained sugar and gold flakes) for Amy who came to help me stack wood (bless her). And then, because it’s so bloody easy, I barbequed my lunch; using the BBQ and the woodstove for heat means my electrical bills won’t be too high.
The wood arrived late so Amy and I sorted all my plastic wrap, bubble wrap and Styrofoam from the move into distinct bags and then we loaded them into Amy’s truck. She’s coming back in the morning to help me stack some wood and then we’re going to take the sorted plastics to the recycling centre together.
Amy is such a treat. I’m so lucky to have met her. Like everyone here, she’s been remarkably helpful and such great company.
The wood is beautiful dry Fir. I ordered two more cords as soon as I saw it and then barbequed my dinner.
Have I mentioned that I’m in heaven here? Although I had a 700 Sq. ft. condo, I really lived in a tiny space because my hallway, office, bedroom and my ladies took up so much space. My cabin here on Gabriola feels like a castle in comparison. I keep the guest rooms cool. Why heat them? So I moved my wine cooler into one of them. It will use less energy there.
Bruce and Caryn come to visit this week and it seems likely that Dwight and family will come here to celebrate my 70th birthday with me. I’m really excited about that. And last night Jay called to ask me to dinner tonight. I’m certainly not lonely on Gabriola.

My Gold and Sugar Cookies

Friday, October 20, 2017

Insurance Hell

Thursday was a great day!
First of all, I found my favourite pen. It was in the most unexpected place — in a box full of cat food. I’d reconciled myself to losing it but now I have it — and all my Xacto knives! Now I have to find all my bill receipts for this past year. I’ve no idea where they are: One step forward: another back.
However, I finished putting my second guest bed and bedroom together and I assembled the curtain rods for the living and dining room curtains that are on their way.
Then, at 11:00 am, Amy came to fetch me to go for a walk on the Yogi circuit with Clarence, a huge white poodle, and Ginger, a tiny, hairy cutie-pie. It was a gorgeous walk through wet forest (but it wasn’t raining) to the beach — the beach where the sandstone caves are. And then we went to Surf Lodge for lunch.
And WOW! Surf Lodge! I stayed there in in the fifties with the Tyrells. It’s former magnificent living room that once was full of comfy couches and oversized chairs where people played card games and Crokinole is now a live performance venue —totally devoid of furniture.
But it’s a superlative place for a meal — not for the food, but for the view and the atmosphere. (See the photos below.) People gather on their patio for sunsets in summer. I think it’s the perfect place for me to take guests for dinner.
It was a truly lovely afternoon.
When I got home I got an email about my home insurance. I’m required to have a WETT certified inspector assess my woodstove and its installation. To make the inspection, I have to quote a serial number and installation date off the firebox label that no noe can find — not me, not Todd and not the building inspector.
The WETT inspector I spoke with suggested taking down the chimney. I thought he was kidding but he wasn’t. “You can’t get insurance without that information.” I cannot face that right now so I may choose to live without insurance. What would you do?
On the good news front: My wood is coming today. Two cords. And… I’ve got mail! I opened my mailbox for the first time yesterday. And … I got a New Yorker addressed to my Gabriola address! Yay! Plus: I’ve got a date with a plumber here to get my guest bathroom fixed and my fluoride filter installed.
Finally, yesterday, Leon discovered the fireplace. He now has a favourite place to sleep and I’m happy to say that it’s safe because I cleaned it and figured out how to work its flue.
There’s not a single traffic light on this whole island.

Ginger (small), Clarence and Amy.
I want some of this shiny lovely plant in my garden. It
Grows everywhere and I want a garden of local plants.
Arbutus (Madrona) bark
There are many little grassy pastures along the trail and
I find them to be stunning. The soft low moss cover make
them so welcoming to the eye.
Sandstone is everywhere.
My favourite sculptural fence form.

Rock acne.

Arbutus/Madrona bark. Arbutus grows everywhere.
Surf Lodge main room — the former living room.
The Surf Lodge dining room.
This was my view at lunch. I love this place.
Leon, post discovery of fire heat.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Vancouver Visit

Wednesday was awful. It was a horrible day to go to Vancouver — wet, dark and wetter. The rain was hitting my car like drumsticks. Plus, I had a long list of duties do.  
I left at 5:15 to catch the 6:15 ferry; I needn’t have gone so early.  I went to Lowes to exchange my curtain rods and then I caught the 8:30 am ferry to Vancouver (I had a reservation in spite of being very early and there being hardly any cars).
I got to and cleaned my old condo, had lunch with Dwight and then beetled over to get my bed footboard and a drawer set from the furniture store. Then … back home after an exhausting and stressful day.  I caught the 6:10 ferry to Gabriola and was home and cozy by 6:45.
That’s the end of my and my Vancouver condo — the place I loved so much and the place that got me so much praise for my decorating. It was very strange to be inside it with nary a thing of my own. I felt nothing and have not missed it for a second since leaving.
The nice thing about yesterday was getting an email from Amy proposing that we meet today for a walk and/or a coffee. She’s coming to pick me up just before noon. I think I’ve made a lovely connection with her and her man, Todd.
My only tie to the city now is Dr. Shoja. And guess what: I get a medical pass now for every trip to the city to see her; I get 30% off flights between Nanaimo and Vancouver or my ferry fare is waived.
Today I’m putting my second guest bedroom together. I’ll likely never run out of things to do.
By the end of the month Jay and Kelly will remove the pool table and then I can start work on the studio. I can hardly wait. I’m planning on installing a small wood stove, a new practical floor, lots and lots of shelving, a sink and a huge worktable. Then my ladies, a daybed/sofa, coffee table and a few chairs will finish it off.
Setting up my medical and dental network, buying so many supplies and equipment, dealing with the postal office staff to establish service at a long-vacant address and all the lawyers and bankers have involved “speaking” to many strangers. It’s been brutal but, as always, superlative; I provoke only compassion and patience.
But people do tend to speak to me slowly, loudly and with lots of gestures. I have to say that the dominant impression I get is of kindness but I also wonder if some of them think I’m cognitively damaged. That’s the impression their speech gives me. I don’t mind. As I say, it’s subtext to kindness.