Thursday, August 16, 2018

RIP Aretha

The only word: Respect!

Tim Departs

I was really happy to have help bundling the books and assembling the doghouse for the raffle. Doing it with Tim was fun and took no time at all.   
I got the wheelbarrow, some lunch and the pet treats in the morning then Tim and I took Sheba and lunch to Drumbeg. It was one of the loveliest days yet for me on Gabriola because I went bathing in the ocean. It was quite warm and wonderful; Sheba would not come very far into the water but for me, it was like being a kid again. 
We sat and ate in the sun because it was lovely and warm; the forest fire smoke kept us from burning or being too hot. Sheba had an absolute ball and came home completely exhausted.
In the afternoon, Tim and I went into the village to get food for a dinner barbeque and to get the last of the plants for the auction. We ate dinner outdoors, watched The Great British Baking Show  and then went to bed quite early.
Tim leaves this morning and this afternoon a truck comes to pick up all the raffle prizes. Tomorrow I’m in Nanaimo all morning at the eye surgeon’s and when I get back the first two of the billets arrive; the third arrives at 11:00 pm. It’s going to be mighty strange having strangers in my house Saturday morning.
Once they leave, I have no guests and no medical appointments scheduled at all. I have unlimited time alone so I’ll be getting a break from Dingo—and thank God for that.
I’ve been speaking Dingo all day every day with Tim and with all the people with whom I have to interact for the raffle and I’m bloody sick of that voice. This morning, for the first time in ages I’m talking in my own voice with Tim and it feels great.
And finally, my Gardenias are flush with blossoms and the first one bloomed large and beautiful this morning filling the air with a beautiful tropical fragrance. I’m in heaven in paradise.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

BUSY! Week

Our Medical Services Plan  pays my way back and forth to any specialist appointments prescribed by my GP here. It’s a remarkable service. Yesterday I got an “important notice (“Your action is required”) from Pharmacare.  They instigated the correspondence and have decided that Spiriva, my new asthma medication, will be entirely free for the rest of my life. What a great country my paradise is in!
Tim arrived around 3:30. We went for a long trail walk with Sheba, then we had a spa together and then we went to The Surf  for dinner but it was packed and there was a 45-minute wait for meals so we went into the village and ate at The Kitchen. Then it was home for some TV and early to bed.
Tim showed me an amazing website that hosts lots of movies and TV shows and I taught myself how to send what I choose to watch to my TV. I can watch whatever I call up on my computer on my TV in my living room now. I love it.
I met with Michelle yesterday; she has officially taken over the management of the raffle ticket vendors—thank goodness! Today I have to get the last of the donations (all the plants, the wheelbarrow and the pet treats) and finish assembling the prizes. Tim’s going to help me assemble the doghouse.
We’ll do my errands and then go to Drumbeg for a picnic lunch and maybe a swim and we’ll take Her Highness. 
It’s going to be very strange ahead. This week Tim is here, there is considerable raffle work to do every day, Friday I go to Nanaimo to see the eye surgeon and Friday night and all the nights of the weekend I have billets here. But come Monday and forever after, I have zilch on my calendar. I’ve no more scheduled guests come Monday, no more raffle work and no more appointments with Dr. Shoja in Vancouver. Nothing!
Once the rains start, however, I will create my new front lawn. That’ll be my last yard project for this season. I’ll make me happy to have a nice look to the front of the house and to have a place to play Croquet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


I’m done. (Again.) But the door remains open.
Dr. S. and I had a great talk and we both feel it’s right to taper off Clonidine and stop the sessions. More therapy is not going to make a shit of difference in my symptoms and I feel my understanding of my condition allows me to live a life more comfortably now that I’m using my Dingo voice.
More than anything, I want to lose the patient mindset; I want to “carry on,” and feel like just a person and Dr. S. believes I’m capable of it. I go forward with caution, wary of crowds and noise and extremely vulnerable to my environment and the people in it—but very happy with my paradise in which to retreat.
Flying home into the sunset was spectacularly relaxing. Thinking, “I don’t have to do this any more.” No more VGH lobby snacks, no more sitting in the psychiatric waiting room; henceforth when I go to the city it will be to see friends and to go to some of the fine dining restaurants I miss. Chris.2 on his own with Dingo.
I also wrote to Michelle at the Arts Council to say I cannot handle management of the raffle ticket sellers. It’s too much for me; to manage the volunteers effectively is too much like a job with them bailing, changing their minds, needing to leave early, etc. I don’t want all the pressure of managing all that—especially given how much I still have to do on the prizes, for the billets and so that I can be a decent host during Tim’s visit.
She’s okay with my decision. I’m going in to meet her this morning to go over everything that isn’t done. Before I go in, I’ll finish the last few things I want to do on the palace and bundle the books. Tim will help me assemble the doghouse and tomorrow I get the plants for the wheelbarrow. Thursday it all gets picked up here and I am done.
Tim might make it around 3:00 or he might be on the ferry after that. I haven’t had company for a while so I’m glad he’s coming. 
I wonder if Dingo is going to take over. I wonder if one day I just start talking in his voice without making the choice to do it.
Learning to live with Dingo is kind of like learning French. At first any speech required massive forethought and then slowly over time the French became easier and easier and I started dreaming and thinking in French. A couple of times already, when I’ve been talking Dingo all day, I’ve already had thoughts in Dingo.
I am almost at the end of my first year here; I’m in a new home in a new climate, an urban ex-patriot in a rural dreamland, and now I’m taking on a new voice. It’s something I did not want to do. I’ve struggled with identity all my life—that’s been a huge theme of my talks with the good doctor—so I’ve been resistant to speaking Dingo but the truth is it’s terribly practical.
If turn on Photo Booth on my compute I see myself. It’s like looking at a mirror and so, if I want to make a phone call or receive one, I can turn on Photo Booth and look at myself and speak on the phone without stuttering and in my own voice.
And of course, here, with trusted friends, I will always be able to speak as myself.
This is how it goes.

I understand The Queen of Soul is passing away due to cancer.
Sometimes the death of a celebrity hits me hard; 

I idolize this remarkably classy woman.