Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Best Day Ever (Again)

Today began with the miracle described in the preceding post.  It got better.

I left home at 9:00 am and was immediately blessed out by being on foot. Plus it was t-shirt mild even so early in the morning and the air was rich with birdsong. Truly, it is the best time of the day—not too hot, no people, little traffic and clean fresh air smelling of the energy of Spring. I felt blessed.

I walked through the park and along Marine Drive and it was so lovely walking facing into the sun but it being so early, the sun was not a problem and I stopped for a muffin on the terrace of a cafe. Bliss.

Then I got to Presentation House (10.5 K) and walked all around it. It was wonderful. I had not seen the whole thing, inside and out, since leaving in 1983 when I was intimate with it. I was a principal founder of the centre. Kim welcomed me and introduced me to everyone including the current gallery staff. I felt really proud and fulfilled and grateful to everyone there who was honouring my long-past input.

Then Kim and I went for coffee and to talk about me doing a show there. I felt that he was thrilled to hear that I preferred to construct a new site-specific show for his space instead of re-doing Knock-Knock. He is not only willing to dramaturge my work, he is keen and experienced.

I also think he was rather taken with my idea for the show. I felt we connected in every way and I am very excited about developing another show. I feel so incredibly lucky/proud/happy/amazed/fulfilled and did I say, PROUD.

Was it something I ate? Was it God?

Last night I went out for dinner in a restaurant close by. I had nothing to eat in the house. And when I ordered, I noticed a rather clear voice so I found myself practicing speaking out on the way home. Imagine that, I was one of those crazies on the street, but my voice seemed stronger.

I came home and talking to Leon was almost like normal, but talking with Leon has always been easy because he sits on my chest and I talk in a low, low voice—almost a whisper. Then, this morning, I got an email from Bruce in Mallorca asking me to go on Skype so that we could talk, and when I started talking it was clear my voice is back. It still cracks in the upper register, but my normal speaking voice is 95% back.

Teaching is on this summer after all. My meeting today with Presentation House about performing there in 2015 will not involve a talk about my voice—maybe just a sentence. So now this episode becomes part of a long history. This has been happening for at almost 40 years but in the  past, the episodes were shorter. I would say the episodes are getting farther apart and much, much longer in duration when they occur.

This is the worst allergy season in Vancouver in decades; I wonder if this isn't an allergic response. Regardless, today feels like a new life and a new season because it is supposed to reach 23°-26° today. Hooray!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Seawall on Sun Run Day

I remain a very active walker. I just have stopped blogging about it. However, yesterday was remarkable for walking and I want to remember that walking the seawall during the Sun Run is a fabulous experience. I have rarely been on so empty a seawall except on a rainy day or on late Friday afternoons. My bliss is no people, sad to say.

And one reason for that last sentence is this: I was walking along, lost in my thoughts, when I thought I heard something behind me so I stopped to turn around and a man in his seventies on a bicycle very slightly bumped into my heel. He apologized I think (he had a thick accent) and so I pointed out where the bike lane was (perhaps one meter south of the sidewalk) but he continued on the pedestrian path with his wife apologizing and pretending their lack of English skills was the problem.

Fifteen minutes later, there they were again, and again ignoring the bike lane and preferring instead to shout at people to get out of the way. So I went up to him and told him to get on the bike lane. He kept repeating something to me in an angry voice in another language but I and a couple with a stroller blocked his way so he went onto the bike lane and his wife followed.

I saw him again at the second beach pool swerve off the bike lane to ride on the pedestrian lane around the outside of the pool. He was completely indifferent to the protests of pedestrians but eventually his wife got off her bike and walked it back to get on the right path.

And here I sit at home too chicken to pester my doctor about my appointment with the ENT doctor. Worse, I went for blood tests this morning and the technician asked about my voice. I said I didn't know what was wrong and that I was waiting to see and ENT. She said: "Oh my God. I hope they give you preference because ENTs have the longest waiting lines times in medicine."

Friday, April 25, 2014

Name of the Year

I couldn't resist this:
So without further ado, our pick for the 2014 Name of the Year is... also Shamus Beaglehole! By a landslide, actually, which is really going to cheese off his detractors among the commentariat, but there's really nothing more you can ask of that name. Our full scoreboard is below.
  1.  Shamus Beaglehole 33 points (3 first-place votes)
  2. Dr. Eve Gruntfest 21 (1)
  3. Alkapone Cruz-Balles 20 (2)
  4. Chubacca Hung 18 (2)
  5. Dr. Loki Skylizard 15 (1)
  6. Karhonda Porcha 14 (1)
  7. Curvaceous Bass 13 (1)
  8. Genghis Cohen 11 (1)
  9. Chillie Poon 9 (1)
  10. Shitavious Cook 9
  11. Fazwaz Wazwaz 8 (1)
That concludes this year's silliness. It's been fun. Thanks to everyone for reading, voting, nominating and commenting. Keep the nominations coming at so we can keep this train rolling.

Me and Miss Julie

Julie had the most glorious voice in the world.
I am a talker so having a broken voice has been a curse. Tomorrow is the last day of my eighth week with a broken voice. My current status with the medical community is that I am waiting to hear from "the system" for an appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist.

I first went to my GP and he was certain that the problem was my inhaler and so I went off my inhaler and started on anti-fungals. My voice came back immediately but my breathing went from 600 (on a 700 scale) to under 400 and it was still declining when I saw my lung doctor. He put me back on the inhaler and added anti-fungal pills that are stronger than the liquid I got from my GP.  As soon as I went back on my inhaler, my voice left.

Until yesterday, testing my voice was part of my morning routine. On Wednesday last, when the same horrid noise came out of my mouth, I burst into tears. It was my first bout of self-pity about my voice and I knew I was really sad because I wanted my mommy or my daddy to make me feel better. I am 66 years old!

But I guess that had to happen. It paved the way for my "conversion."

I had a sad lunch with Dwight on Wednesday so he called me at noon yesterday to see how I was feeling and, on impulse, I dropped everything and joined him for another lunch. We went to s small and busy restaurant but we were at a small table. We talked and we laughed just like always and we agreed that as long as we could to that, everything was okay.

I still hope to be fixed of course, but I am over sitting at home waiting for the ENT to call and I can think about other things now. I have adapted. I accept and am I am moving on. I feel great about that.

I have cancelled every scheduled workshop and alerted Emily Carr that my summer term may tank. I have an appointment with my lung doctor on May 6th. If I haven't heard from the ENT by then, I get another crack at asking for an appointment and I may have to wait for weeks to get in.

It's been two months now and I face at least another month of this I think. Maybe more. I wonder what is ahead and I think about how Julie Andrews must have felt when she lost her ability to sing after an operation. These sudden imposed adaptations test us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Voice, The Play, The Book

Seniors are only allowed to talk briefly about their health; this must be brief.

The rather embarrassing pills are not working. It is time to see the Ear Nose and Throat specialist and I am worried about how long it is going to take because I can't speak without really pushing my breath and that exhausts me. If I talk to much or too long, I get spasms in my diaphragm that make breathing impossible. The diaphragm spasms were scary at first.

I walk when it is not raining. Alone, of course. And I have cancelled every workshop, lunch, dinner and coffee date ahead. I have nothing on my plate and depending on what I hear about the appointment with the ENT, I may not even be teaching this summer.

No word from Presentation House about my play after being stood up at the meeting PH initiated.

I do continue to hear from my friend at McGraw Hill about my book, but no word yet on his/their opinion.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Well, this is embarrassing.

My latest medicine. Women need one pill. I need 14.

Can you read the small print? Click to enlarge.
With my voice gone again and the cause assumed to be my asthma medication, I am on stronger medications to kill the fungus on my vocal cords.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Emotional High

The video above is Pharrell Williams' Academy Award performance. 
The official video is here.

Okay, I love Pharrell Williams. I am late to the party. I have heard about him and seen him and have even bought a song by him, but I had no connection until I saw this video of him being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. The interview, and seeing his response to the world's embrace of his song "Happy," made me watch the official video. Talk about an uplifting bundle of joy! And does the guy wear clothes well or what! Like I said, I love Pharrell Williams.

Catching Up Again

The recent gap in communication is due, largely, to the end of the hibernation season. The warm sunshine pulls me like a magnet to the outdoors and I sometimes feel that I am at my happiest walking alone in sunshine. I say alone because I take in so much from my surroundings: I love the birdsong, in particular, the changes I see in buildings and gardens and the flowers. And I like watching (some) people. I also like walking with a friend, but when I do I take in little of my surroundings so it is quite different.

Yesterday was only .3° short of setting a record for warmth on April 14th.

In the past while I have walked the seawall a couple of times, from the sea bus terminal in North Vancouver to the West Vancouver library, from home to Aberdeen Mall in Richmond and from the Lynn Valley Mall to home via the sea bus. For the first time ever, I walked the pedestrian walkway underneath/beside the Canada Line bridge over the Fraser which is much, much nicer than walking over the Oak Street bridge.

Liberace, my lovely marine friend, died yesterday but there are about a dozen new fish in my tank. Someone had babies and so many of my Rams are gone now, that the babies survived. Costin (or Fish Boy, as I like to call him, or "staff") is going to have to figure out how to re-establish a birth controlling balance in my tank. The plants in my tank remain glorious. I really love my aquarium and still spend a lot of time just watching my little aquatic world.

I got stood-up by the artistic director at Presentation House who wrote to apologize. I said I was keen to meet again and await further word. The moment may have passed.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Zodiac Evolution

Zodiac Evolution created by Murat Sayginer!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yellow Sticky Notes

Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam is an animated short film directed, edited, and produced by Jeff Chiba Stearns featuring a series of drawings on 4 x 6 yellow sticky notes from a group of 15 Canadian animators.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I want his mind; I want his talent!

A Girl Named Elastica by Montreal filmmaker Guillaume Blanchet. It is made with office supplies—mostly tacks and elastics—and fabulous stop animation.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's New Chris?

  1. My voice is back, although I am still gargling four times a day with anti-fungal medication. My breathing sucks, of course, without the inhalers. And it's Springtime! I am storytelling at The Flame tomorrow night. It is my fifth time, which makes me feel like a true member of the company and I love that. I am truly proud of my appearances and history with them and I am very grateful for the opportunities Deborah and Joel have given me.
  2. I built Presentation House Theatre in the early 1970s. It was the greatest professional experience of my life, I think. The current artistic director there is Kim Selody and at a party this past Sunday, he invited me to a chat to talk about doing my show there sometime down the road.
  3. I am a gay, philanthropic, AIDS fighting person named Chris Tyrell and there is another one in Toronto. A black one. He is in the photo above with his partner, Jim Searle. There was an article about him in The Globe and Mail this weekend, so today I wrote to him….. just for fun.
  4. My aquatic beauty, Liberace, is in dire straights. I am so sad about it and I never thought for a moment when I got the fish and tank that I would become attached to them, but I have. Liberace go his name because he is a Betta. He has incredibly beautiful fins. He is magnificent. In fact, so magnificent, it tuckers him out to swim so he lies around all the time. I have to feed him specially so that he can reach the food. Poor guy. But he has a good appetite and that is good.  I just love him because he is brave, curious and beautiful.
  5. I went to see Le Weekend, written by Hanif Keureishi (whom I met once and who is the author of the film My Beautiful Launderette) and with the incomparable Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan—two seriously talented and wonderful actors. I had a fabulous time and still miss these two wonderful characters they play.