Sunday, October 21, 2018

TV Sunday

Sunrise this morning was spectacular. It was a lovely antidote to the diarrhea in the dining room and the soiled bed linen to which I awoke. Poor H.H. has been a struck for several days.
We’re going on the community dog walk this morning. When we come back, I’m going to rake the new driveway to smooth it out a little. Then I’m going to harvest my first and pathetic marijuana crop. This afternoon, we’ll walk the new trail I found.
It’s a spectacular day again. The colours of Autumn are rich; the parks and the forest floor are looking spectacular. And so are the mushrooms. I’ve never seen so many and so many different kinds of shrooms. I saw one yesterday that was the most beautiful pale yellow with white lacy filament growing all around the edge of the cap. 
A favourite thing about the new trail I’ve found is that we pass under enormous Maples that have shed so many (incredibly large) leaves that the ground is entirely covered with a thick layer of them. They make a great fuss as I walk through them,
Sheba absolutely goes mad in the leaves. She races around in them and looks beautiful against the mosaic of browns and yellows. The fun part for me is finding the trail under the blanket of leaves. I have to tread carefully.
Last night I watched my first episode of the fabulous Rowan Atkinson as Maigret. What a delicious treat that was! He is wonderful; everyone is wonderful and the writing and the sets are wonderful. But today is Sunday so it’s gluttony night: Anne with an E., The Durrells in Corfuand Endeavor. Plus, a new series, The Woman in White, starts on Masterpiece Theatre
An English friend wrote to say that the owner of Ryan Air or some very senior person went into a pub and the server realized who he was, so when the fellow asked for a been, the server said, “That’ll be one Euro.”
Mr. Ryan Air said, “Wow. That’s cheap.” Just as the server hoped he would.
“If you want it in a glass, that’ll be an extra two Euros. And if you want a seat, that’ll be another two. So what’s it going to be?”
Sweet revenge!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Driveway: DONE!

The driveway is done. I had just over three cubic yards of gravel to spread today—and I got to do it without any noise from next door because it was Saturday and voting day. 
As with yesterday, I enjoyed doing the work. It’s very satisfying because it is so instantly rewarding. It’s made the yard look—at least to my single working eye—much better. 
When I moved here, I loved how my cabin home “floated” in the forest. There was no fence, no gardens… nothing—except one big scrawny Rhododendron. I loved how my place blended into the forest.
But then I wanted a dog.
And that led to a fence.
And the fence opened up the possibility of gardening because it kept the deer out of the backyard. So in came the gardens. And the gardens got me to thinking about a fountain and a courtyard, so then came those projects and since then I’ve been transforming the entire half-acre, first creating a large front lawn, then building a raised bed vegetable garden and now the driveway.
I’ve totally annihilated the “floating” cabin look I loved. But I have loved doing the work and I’m happy with this new look—my look; my imprint on the land that’s given me a powerful sense of this being my home.
This is the view now, out my front window.

After the exertion of spreading the gravel, it was time to relax. I had a very well-deserved spa and somehow pushed the wrong button combination and changed the “mode” of operation of the spa and it started cooling down. It quickly lost 5°. I dreaded dealing with the spa company again to fix it so I thought I’d try to do what had always eluded me: understanding the manual. But I did it! I fixed it! I’m in shock!
I celebrated with toast and then Her Highness and I went forest bathing and we found a new trail. It’s now my favourite path because there is so much there in the mornings. The forest was like a symphony: The birds the flutes, piccolos and clarinets, the frogs burping like damaged cymbals, the thump of my feet the percussion and the fog-muffled whistles of the freighters sounding like sustained organ chords.
I did some shopping and then just chilled for the rest of the day—glancing frequently out the front window to admire all my work on the driveway. And I had another spa, this time a lovely hot one because I fixed the controls. And I bought the latest Christine and the Queens album. I’ve lost my mojo for pop music but not for her.

Fred and Ethel napping this afternoon.

Carolyn & Michael Caine

When I took Robin to the plane to fly home, I met Carolyn in the terminal. She didn’t recognize me at first, but when I asked if I remembered her from Emily Carr University, she instantly remembered me: “Are you the fellow who wore lots of coloured plants and wrote a marketing book for visual artists?”
We hugged, exchanged info, and are set to have dinner together soon. She moved to Gabriola four years ago.
Then Sheba and I went to Drumbeg and we met Phil and his dog Skallywag. Phil and I have many people in common in our pasts; we both grew up in West Vancouver and are the same age.
I drove home with the top down listening to Gustavo Dudamel absolutely floor an audience who erupted in cheers and whistles at the conclusion of the piece. It brought tears to my eyes.
Then, with the sounds of a bulldozer covering the septic field and a well-driller imitating the apocalypse, I spread the gravel on my driveway. It felt so, so incredibly good to be working on—and in—my yard in the warm Autumn sunshine. 
I would up buying nine cubic yards of gravel (not six). They’re all here and I spread six of them yesterday. It was really tiring; gravel is heavy in the shovel. Bend; shove; lift and heave. Repeat and repeat and repeat until exhausted. I loved it. I’ll do the last three yards today.
Dwight had to work in Nanaimo last night, so we couldn’t have a second dinner together. I was exhausted from shoveling gravel anyway, so I was content to assume the rotting position with the most wonderful (and dirty) dog in the world. 
And no nightmare, thank God!
Thanks to Dana, I watched an episode of The Graham Norton Showwith guests Sally Field (whom I adore), Chris Pine (who looked ravishingly handsome) and Rami Malek (who is impossibly good in the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody). Half-way through the program, Norton brought out Sir Michael Caine.
love Michael Caine. He is so witty and wonderful and he was absolutely hilarious. He told a story that had me roaring with laughter for a long, long time: He met John Wayne in his early days in Hollywood. Wayne had seen Alfie, so he introduced himself.
He gave Cain some advice and then added, “And never wear suede shoes.” (Chris Pine was wearing suede shoes, by the way.) Cain asked why, and John Wayne said, “You’ll be at a urinal one day standing beside a stranger who’ll turn to ask if you’re Michael Caine.”

Friday, October 19, 2018

Dwight, Robin and a Nightmare

I was active the entire day on Wednesday. 
When I was in college and desperate for a summer job, I got a job waiting tables for Pedersen’s Caterers who’d secured a contract to serve three meals a day to two thousand Shriner’s and their wives. We served the meals on long tables in a sports arena.
The very stern Ms. Pedersen told the scores of us new hires that one of us would be offered a permanent full-time job and they’d decide on whom based on the work ethic they saw in us during the four days of the conference.
We worked twelve hours a day for four days. The only gap in the day was between when the tables were set for dinner and the serving of dinner. We had about fourty-five minutes to relax and I used that time to go ‘round to every one of the four thousand settings to ensure that all the knives were facing in and that the cutlery was aligned.
I got the job without saying a word.
That’s how strategic and diligent I can be. That’s the kind of diligence I muster without effort for things like my ladies, stacking six cords of wood or the work I did on Wednesday. I wanted this place to shine for my friends and I wanted to make something simple but good to eat. 
Dwight is as a twin to me. I met Robin through him and liked her a lot, immediately. We have visual art in our veins and we hadn’t been alone together for a long time until late yesterday afternoon.
It was another stunning Fall day. I picked Robin up after her first flight in a seaplane and Sheba and I took her for a stroll at Drumbeg. Then we came home to a cabin that looked and smelled like Good Housekeepinghad just shot a spread. (The only sad thing is I can’t have fresh flowers as I always did, or even natural greens from the forest or Fred will flip the vase.)
At this time of year, late in the day, the sun is low enough to shine deep into my home. The forest canopy dapples the light and it really makes my place look magical. And the smell of my squash soup added warmth to Robin’s first impression.
Robin loves animals, so I left her by the fire with my three when I went to fetch Dwight and the two pizzas I’d ordered. I opened the Veuvefor her before I left.
Dwight arrived in the best of moods. The sea was flat calm, the sun golden bright and the ferry was on time. We had an ideal evening together, the tree of us.
Then, last night I had a nightmare. When I woke, I feared going back to sleep and having another one.
I dreamt I was out and about with Dwight. I was following him when he went through a door that closed behind him and that, when I opened it to follow him, revealed no Dwight and a room of four doors, one facing east, one west, etc. When I opened one door, it went into another room of four doors and that went on forever until, suddenly I opened a door to an outside a thick with Bamboo. I could barely walkthrough the Bamboo that was growing tall and dense between a high fence just two meters away and the building I’d been in. 
But I got out and suddenly I was in a very funky neighbourhood full of bistros and parties spilling out into the street. I wandered the neighbourhood searching for a familiar street or sight but every turn led to more confusion and greater panic. I wanted to go home. Then I saw Dwight talking with people and eating at a table but I didn’t want to join him; I wanted to be home. So I kept going.
There were parties going on everywhere and outrageous people engaged with me but they were in a parallel universe. It was like they were on hallucinogens and they wouldn’t help me.
I trudged onward and came to a house that was full of performance artists posing and moving in the windows as birds. Their body makeup and physical transformations were absolutely fabulous, as were the sounds they were making. But I was on a home bound and kept going. Then I woke up.
I’ve been lost in my dreams my entire life. Even in daylight, when I walk alone I am plagued with visions of my death or drastic injury when I step off a curb or turn a corner.
That’s what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder. The irony is that my official diagnosis is “exquisite” anxiety. (It means “severe;” I didn’t know that.) It ain’t just seizures and bad speech and it’s getting worse as I age. Pooey!
But today is a beautiful day. Robin and I had breakfast in the village and now I’m taking her to Silva Bay for her flight home. Then I will spread the first load of gravel that arrived yesterday on my driveway.