Friday, December 15, 2017

My Wet Foot

I was in deep sleep when Sheba woke me this morning. I got dressed and took her out at 4:10 am and she did nothing. I knew what that meant: Somewhere in my house there was a puddle so we came back inside. Before I started looking for it, I went into my bathroom and when I stepped on the mat my foot sank into soaking wet wool … end of search.
Once fed and watered the animals started their morning play and I sat down to write this post and everyone was happy at Pinecone Park. Ella was singing some of my favourite songs and the fire was roaring. Then I heard Fred crying.
He was sitting at the foot of a bamboo screen I have in the kitchen and over which I’d hung a piece of rope with which we’d played last night. As I got close, he took off up the screen and pulled at the rope but it was caught. I freed it and Freddie took off with the rope in his mouth and as soon as Sheba saw moving rope, she was off too. Then Ethel joined in and then so did I because they sounded like a stampede and Paula was still sleeping. I wanted to get and hide the rope but it was hopeless. Freddie is fast.
Thursday did not go as planned.
Paula was due at 10:20 am but fog delayed her departure until noon and when her plane got to Gabriola it just kept going. I watched it continue past Silva Bay. It landed in Nanaimo because of fog here and Paula had to catch a ferry from Nanaimo so she didn’t get here until 1:30.
We went into the village to get some food and spent the afternoon just lounging around, making dinner and watching movies.
Darrell did finicky work. He put all the covers on the electrical so there wasn’t much in the way of change to see. And I ordered the tiles for the floor that won’t be here for five-to-nine days. Darrell will finish the Cedar detail on the walls, he’ll build the hearth and lay the electrics for the floor heating and then we’ll have to wait for the tiles so we might have a bit of hiatus unless he builds the table, counters and shelves while we wait.
This morning we’re going to Jay’s to check out my Arbutus tree. He cut down a blighted tree that I’m going to install it in my kitchen for the kitties so that they can use it to climb up into the loft. If they’re going to be indoor cats I want their environment to be stimulating and the loft is going to be quite empty once I move into the studio so I’m going to build a sturdy multi-leveled maze for them out of cardboard up there. The maze, my ladies, the fence: I’m in creator’s heaven here.
The warm weather and sunshine is ending, sad to say. It’s supposed to rain now for five days and then get cold for the Solstice when Jay and Robin are coming for dinner. I’d love for it to snow. I’d love to see this place all white — and to have a hot tub in the white stuff.
I moved to France in 1974 almost immediately after the death of Connie Tyrell and I started a job that I desperately needed but I lied to get it. I said I was bilingual and I could barely speak a word of French. But I wanted to; it was the reason I’d moved there and I remember the absolute joy of my first dream in which I spoke French. It was about six months later.
I just tried to speak out loud. All that happens is the harder I try, the more spastic I get. My face becomes distorted, all the muscles tensing, my arms rise and fall and jerk back and forth with my fingers rigid and stabbing the air. But not a sound comes out.
It’s been almost two years of this but I never dream about me stuttering. I am a normally functioning person in my dreams — always and still; maybe because I don’t want to stutter whereas I wanted to speak French. But always dreaming of being a speaker makes it depressing to rediscover my malady every morning. Sigh.
Paula should be up soon and she’ll drive our day’s agenda. The weather forecast ain’t great but we’ll cope. Cold weather is coming and maybe snow. I’d love to see a good snowfall here at a time when I’ve pie in the fridge and still haven’t seen season two of The Crown.


















Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fence Project Starts to Show



I’m underway — it’s humble but it’s a beginning. I’m winging it like I do with everything, figuring things out as I go, but I’m happy with what’s emerging. I mean… it’s a fence.
I’m working right by the bird feeders and the birds take no notice of me. They may recognize the feeder filler’s bald head. I can see my work from my office window, which is kind of nice. 
Paula arrives tomorrow morning to stay for two days. I’m thrilled; I’m Frick to her Frack. She loves to do things so I’m going to ask her to help me get my studio furniture out of the house and into the shed, plus take up the rubber floor in the studio and put it in the garage where I park the car.
I’m going to take her to Surf Lodge for dinner after (or the next night) and we’ll hot tub every day.
Today began with a thorough cleaning of the house because of Paula ‘s impending arrival. Darrell discovered some cupboards above the water room in my studio that are large enough for my papers so now paper storage has no footprint in my studio space and my paper will not be exposed to light.  
He’s going to build me a counter to work on where I can stand. It’ll look out the new window into Pinecone Park. And shelves will line the walls on either side of the window, so the storage area of my studio is defined and I have a prep or support surface now too.
The stove is in and it’s cute as stink. It’ll be attached to the chimney next week after the hearth is built. We’ve settled on the flooring and I’m thrilled with the decision. It’s practical with a touch of luxury: I’ve decided on tile. (I hate laminate, real wood is too thick (with a sub floor) and I don’t want linoleum). So I gave Darrell some nice tile choices and we’re going to lay heating pads underneath it — Yes! A heated floor in my studio!
The day I moved here, Todd was here to perform miracles for three days. Soon after he left I had a series of “let’s go see where he lives” guests and right after that I hired Darrell who started coming every day, Monday to Friday. I’ve rarely been alone for any length of time.
It’s going to be different when Darrell finishes working here. It’s still a long way off; he has the sunroom to do after the studio is finished., but he’ll have been here about four months by the time he’s done. Once he’s gone I’m likely to pass weeks without speaking to anyone — well except for thank you when I check out food at the market.
I have friends who visit, however, and in the summer I think this will be a delightful place for them to come. And I will have my studio — both a wonderful place to work and a nice private place for guests to stay. Plus, every two weeks I’m in Vancouver and a pattern is emerging of meeting friends in the morning before I see Dr. Shoja — and Steve and Dwight Skype me each week.
One thing: When the sunroom is done, I’ll be able to step outside and into the hot tub very quickly and that’s rather nice in winter. I’m a pussy. Also, I’m thinking heated tiles for the sunroom now.


















The Cone Fondler


That (above) is the inside south wall of my studio. That nice thick cork is for my notes and drawings and stuff. The unfinished ceiling you see is the last of the Pine planking to be done. It’ll be finished today and Darrell will move onto the installation of the hearth, stove and floor.


And this is a view of the exterior south wall of my house. It’s the wall that’ll host the sunroom Darrell’s going to build for me in January. I got the snowshoes at the recycling centre. I love having them on the wall. And see the Amaryllis in my kitchen window! Doesn’t it look nice and cozy in yesterday’s sunlight?
Thank God that creepy (pseudo) “Christian” pedophile lost in Alabama.
My studio has a big shiny chimney now. It’s really tall and on the inside, the way it goes through the roof is really tidy. Everything in the studio is perfect —all new and straight and unblemished. I can hardly wait to move in. My rug for the bed end arrived today.
The Azaleas I planted in containers already have noticeably larger buds. That excites me.
The Genus name of the Fir tree is “Abies;” the Family name is Pinaceae, so Fir cones are Pine cones after all.
My space heater is drying the living room carpet. Can you guess why? I’m really glad I settled on Pinecone Park for the name for this place. Were I to be deciding today it might be Feces Folly or Urinetown.
“Stop and smell the roses,” the saying goes.
When I first encountered them I didn’t think of pinecones as roses. Quite the contrary: I thought of them as God’s little brown and tapered turds. But now I have them drying in my living room. I protect them from the cats and I turn them like incubating eggs.
I pick them up one at a time; that’s how it began. Then I picked them up, again one at a time, to lay them out to dry on the tables. Then I turned them and got them all onto racks to get them more thoroughly dry and yesterday I started picking up each one and gently squeezing it. I could tell from the temperature if it was dry or wet.
It’s led to a connection with them that verges on the profound. They’re seeds; each one is scores of potential trees. They’ve become my babies; talismans of life yet fulfilled.
I treat them as if there were precious. I spent hours working on them today. I’m putting the dry ones into large cardboard boxes that I’ll keep in the house. I’ll be handling them individually again when I sort them by length and degree of germination (width) before I start handing them again to glue them to the fence.
My home has Pine floors and the studio is all in Pine too and now the fence is becoming a monument to Fir cones. Pinecone Park really is the perfect name for this place (because Fircone Folly, although more accurate, is heinous).
On Monday I went to the vet’s to arrange to have Ethel’s stitches removed (they were removed yesterday). While I was there I asked about Fred’s cough.
I’ve been there often already. Karen, the receptionist, is perfection: She’s warm, efficient and knowledgeable. She was so kind to me when I was so overwhelmed by Leon’s passing. Still, on Monday I could not speak at all. I had to mime everything.
Karen was fabulous. She was awesome at interpreting my Charades. Still, it seems odd to me to be unable to speak because I feel so over-the-moon happy here but I could not get a single sound out. The good news: She told me not to worry about Fred’s cough but to watch him.
The bleached pinecone is novel. I don’t like the idea of using bleach because I don’t know how to safely dispose of it. I’m on a septic system. But I may do a few more to use in special places. It looks good but the process is harsh.
At ten o’clock there was a knock at my front door. It startled me because I wasn’t expecting anyone. It was Ryan the (spectacularly handsome) man who came to install the chimney in my studio. He really took to the studio. Handsome is so nice, especially with good manners. Sigh.
I hated taking Ethel in to have her stiches out. I’m so scared she’ll hate me forever. She’s so slight and timid. I’m really glad that’s over with. Sheba’s turn is coming and I don’t have anything like the anxiety I’ve had over Ethel’s spaying about her surgery. She’s so big and earthy and solid.
I ended my day in the disco hot tub on a fine clear night looking at the stars just before pie. Excellent.
And today’s another sunny warm (for winter) day.