Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday with Beth

The sunshine and warm temperatures mean so much more to me now than ever before. Gardening is different; I feel personally rewarded by each bud and shoot I see on my plantings. There was nothing here when I moved in except less than a dozen Daffodils and one Rhodo; now there is a bit of colour everywhere and over time there will be lotsmore.
Beth has gone to Nanaimo with Patsy for part of the day today so I plan to go to the nursery to get more plants for the backyard. I’d like to plant scores of plants, to be honest. But I’m not in a hurry.
The glorious weather yesterday gave our day and our spirits a nice boost. Beth went for a walk in the morning and played in the sunshine with Sheba before all three of us embarked on a circle tour — with stops — of the island. 
I’ve seen little of my island. Amy took me to the caves and Patsy took me on an introductory tour but I’ve done nothing on my own. But now, thanks to the impetus of guests and good weather, I’m starting to see more of paradise.
When we got home Beth made us lunch and then I actually managed to light the propane deck heater and Beth sat out in the sunshine while I tidied up. Later in the afternoon it warmed up and the deck was comfortable without the heater.
Happy Hour was fabulous. I love the sun coming through my west-facing windows and the feeling I get as a good day winds down. Beth tried riding my new bike and discovered we need a longer stem for the seat. 
Beth made ratatouille for dinner and I made a chocolate cake. We ate just after sunset and then watched God’s Own Country. It was a great day and evening.

I’m terribly excited about developments with my speech. It’s really good. I barely stutter at all with Beth (as with all my trusted friends) and it is so nice to spend my day conversing like a normal person. I’ve had two extremely mild “episodes” that pass quickly and very discreetly.
As I live here longer, I know my speech is going to get better. I may stutter forever but not at home and not with friends and that’s all I need. 
Fred (left; eight months) & Ethel (one year old).

Today I put up my CollidEscapetape. It’s a tape I can put on my office windows that are close to where the birds feed so that birds will not see a reflection of the forest and fly into the glass. Sixty bucks, thank you very much!
While Beth’s in Nanaimo, I’ll practice some of the things Sheba and I have been learning at puppy training, do some gardening, make some rice for dinner and go to the bike store to try to get a seat that better serves the wide variety of sizes of my guests.
Patsy is coming over for supper tonight with Beth and I and then the women are going to a jazz concert so tonight I’ll be alone.

Friday, March 30, 2018


Hallelujah: There ain’t a cloud in the sky and the weather forecast has been revised. The next five days are expected to be decent; Beth and I will not be noting the locations of the sharps.
Wednesday morning Beth woke five hours after me. She had breakfast and then I took her on my #1 walk. We came home, I washed Sheba’s filthy feet, showered and then we went into the village to meet Patsy for lunch.
After lunch, Beth went shopping with Patsy and I went to the local bike store and met Wiley, from whom I bought a used 21-gear bike for my guests to use to get away from me.
Late in the afternoon Beth and I had a hot tub. I discovered, in response to a request, that I have a no nudity policy (except when solitary) in the Spa.
Then came the time of the day I like best. I watched two episodes of Escape to the Countrywhile Beth got under some blankets on the deck. Then I made dinner, we ate, we talked and then went to bed.
On Sunday, a dear and long-time friend died. I found out Wednesday. Harry was my grade nine English teacher; when we met, I was fourteen and he was twenty-five. It was when I returned to my high school to be a teacher, like Harry, that we became friends.
He was tiny, he was second generation Chinese Canadian, he had an unbridled and unlimited passion for the arts, he giggled a lot and he was one of the most influential people in my life. We became friends and stayed friends until it felt too onerous to visit him as he declined. I spent this morning crying and writing to mutual friends and Harry’s nephew. He was ninety-one.
I sat in the second to the last seat of the row closest to the doors into my English 9 classroom and one afternoon as I sat in class, I started going white blind. Slowly bright white shimmering light was all I could see. I was scared to death but afraid to put my hand up and ask for help because I wouldn’t be able to see if it were me that he was looking as he said. “Yes?”
Suddenly I felt a hand on my back and the soft voice of Mr. Lock in my ear: “Is everything okay?” 
That was my first contact with the man (and the beginning of years of migraine headaches).
Thursday, I worked on my script in the morning and some work for the Arts Council while Beth worked on her computer in my studio. We had lunch at Robert’s, got some supplies and came home to nap and do more work before I went to puppy training class and Beth made dinner.
We had a delicious salad Beth had made for dinner and washed it down with pie from the Pie Lady here. And then we watched Manchester— well, James Norton — before going to bed.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

'More T Vicar?'

Acomb Parish Church, in York, UK, ordered four banners saying 'Christ is Risen' but the 'T' was missed off the finished article. Assistant Curate Ned Lunn said, "The pastor at the church is actually called Chris and he's got to get up for a sunrise service at 6.30am on Easter Sunday.”

(My name is Chris)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Beth Arrives

My plane to Vancouver departed at 7:20 so I arrived in Vancouver super early for my breakfast date with Cathy. Then I went to see Sue, my respiratory therapist, the chocolate chop and then to see Dr. Shoja. It was a super emotional session that ended in a double hand clasping at the end.
She said: “Some effective working relationships are more so when the parties involved ‘click.’ I think we ‘clicked,’ don’t you?” I could not agree more but I sincerely appreciated hearing her express a certain enthusiasm for our sessions so I booked a visit for September.
I did the best job I could to express my gratitude. I finished by saying: “I feel like I have a beautiful garden growing in my head that would not be there were it not for you and the atmosphere of safe you create.” And she thanked me for that.
I explained the intent of my metaphor: The flowers in my garden come from seeds of memory and insight, they sprout and grow through my effort but she is the master gardener whose education facilitated my botanical success.
I lucked out with that woman.
Beth and Bruce were waiting for me when I came out and we had lunch together — three long-time friends who’ve had lots of adventures together. Then Beth and I said goodbye to Bruce and off we went to the seaplane and the skies had cleared.
When we arrived Patsy welcomed us and then Beth and I came home. She installed herself and then we got in the hot tub and I opened a bottle of Veuve that we finished with Patsy and Paula when they arrived with our supper.
We had a great night together.
The most unusual moment was when a man pulled into my yard in a car, got out and came to my front door. I’d left my keys in my postal box and this lovely man somehow determined they were mine and where I lived. (They have a “Chris” key ring that Beth gave me, so that helped.)
Just before four this morning, the cats woke me. They make a lot of noise trying to tear the walls down to get the mice out of their hiding places.
I’m up way too early and I’m bagged but it’s expected to be a decent day and soon I’ll learn how Beth wants to fill it.
And so … the adventure begins.