Thursday, May 31, 2018


Edwin Leaves

Salmon berries from my walk with Edwin.

Edwin’s visit was ideal in every way. I felt sad as I watched his plane take off into the late afternoon sun to take him back to Vancouver. He had a really wonderful time; his emails of thanks confirmed that. And I had a wonderful time hosting him.
Yesterday morning we left here on foot with Sheba and we walked down to Whalebone Beach. It was my first visit; it’s raw and beautiful so we walked along the beach to another beach where we could walk back up to the road. It was truly special walking alone but together early in the cool morning fragrant air and with the warm sun on our backs. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had so far on Gabriola.
I was alone but I wasn’t. I had a trusted long-time friend with me whose presence gave me complete confidence and a wonderful sense of security. It more than compensated for the horror of the day before that I didn’t tell you about.
When Fran and Sue came with their dogs, it freaked out my cats even though we kept the dogs outside, so Fred and/or Ethel (for the second time since I had them) shit and peed on my bed and it required a Herculean cleaning effort on my part to restore order.
After Edwin left, Her Highness and I went to Drumbeg (see photos above) for a walkabout before calling it a day. It was beautiful, of course, and quiet and calm. Heaven! And I live here. But after that, I was bagged — I had two seizures while Edwin was here and we were constantly doing something so I went to bed at 7:30!
Today, I’m taking things slowly. It’s cool but sunny. It’s a lovely day to chill at the spa. Tonight I dine with Sue, Fran and Patsy at The Surf.
Another issue of The Stuttering FoundationMagazinearrived. I love this magazine like nothing else. This time I learned something super: Trying to start a sentence with “I” is really hard. I often use the ungrammatical “me” instead. But 11-year old Johanna wrote into share how she aspirates before saying “I.” She almost says “hi” but the “h” is so soft and gentle her locaters don’t hear it.
I tried it right away. It works with many words so I’ve a new tool to help me speak.
There are no more visitors on the horizon. I am glad of that for a while as I get so much done at the Spa. I’m very keen to finish the fence and my spa sign but I have to get ready for Vanessa, She’s coming on Monday to haul away all my junk — junk that is in many places so I want to get some of the remoter stuff into the shed.
Once all the stuff is removed, I can start working on getting firewood. I plan to stack it all in the newly vacated places and build up a supply of six-to-eight cords. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Of Course Rain is Coming - It's June.

Tuesday was pretty great. First Edwin, Sheba and I went for a trail walk that really impressed Edwin. Then we dropped Sheba off at home and went into the village to get stuff for lunch, returning via the South Road so Edwin has a sense of the island.
Fran and her Cocker Spaniel, Jackson, arrived wish Sue and Sue’s Terrier, Sayde. We had a great visit, a delicious lunch and lot of laughs. Fran is hilarious! Then the ladies left and Edwin and I went to Drumbeg for a walkabout. Hen, just like the night before, I lay around while Edwin made dinner.
I was exhausted and so I went to bed before nine and so did Edwin.
I’ve no plans for today. We’ll wing it, but Edwin catches the 4:00 pm flight back to Vancouver.
I have put myself on a list of arborists. Business is so busy he likely won’t be here until the Fall, but at least I’m on his list. I’m hoping to thin the branches of as many trees as I can and is practical so that I get more sunshine in the backyard.
Yesterday, while we all sat outside, I had the patio heater on.
This afternoon or tomorrow I start pulling out all the crap in my shed, the construction detritus from behind the shed and mountains of old crap left by the previous owner from both of the woodsheds. Vanessa comes Monday afternoon to start hauling it all away.
Woo hoo! The next two days are supposed to be rainy. I’m already excited by the prospect of just hanging out indoors while the rain barrels fill, the garden gets a good soaking, the cistern fills to overflowing and the aquifer is somewhat renewed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Debating With Edwin

Edwin arrived on time on a truly glorious morning. We came home and picked up Sheba and went to Sandwell via Darrell and Elaine’s. D & E gave me some tomato and basil plants. Edwin was really impressed with the beach. He liked everything he saw about life on the island.
After the walk, we took Sheba home and went into the village for lunch and to pick up things for dinner. Then we had a nice time just sitting in the sun and getting caught up during our happy hour. Then we enjoyed a spa.
Edwin loves cooking so he barbequed dinner. I was thrilled he offered to do so. I did nothing except relax. Over dinner we fell into quite a discussion.
Edwin is a PhD in economics who did his thesis on equity distribution; we got into a discussion about inequity. It was one of the most demanding and interesting conversations I’ve had in many years. Edwin is a terribly bright man; he’s also highly invested in his opinions but thoroughly pleasant to debate with. He understands social issues through a lens of economic impact.
He is also as far right and I am left and by the time we were talking, he’d had a lot to drink. Still, I loved it. I was a mad and enthusiastic debater as a youngster and all my life I’ve valued how debating taught me to listen and argue and about the incredible power of questions. My debating skills and his alcoholic handicap kind of evened the field in our talk.
Income distribution is an economic problem; our degree of social commitment to the support of the disadvantaged is a moral issue. Where morality and economics meet is where we were in our conversation and it necessarily branched, at times, into a discussion of capitalism and democratic theory.
At one point in our conversation he said, “Well, if you believe that, there’s no point in our talking.” I countered with a conviction in the opposite sentiment. 
When I was in my very early twenties a woman was admitted to Lions gate Hospital who’s suffered the same consequences as a result of a stroke as had happened to Connie Tyrell (my custodian). The hospital asked my dad to meet with the family of the woman but I would up going instead.
While the husband made lunch, we talked over an open wall between the kitchen and the living room and as we talked I discovered through things left around that I was in the home of a right-wing extremist and a racist. He was also enormously wealthy.
I told several friends about meeting him and virtually all of them thought I should have left and had nothing to do with him. I disagreed. My primary feeling about the man was that he, too, had suffered a devastating loss. His wife was “a vegetable” like Connie and I was committed to helping him through planning for how she would be re-integrated into the home.
When he came into the kitchen to join me with food on a tray, I asked him about the things I’d seen. I don’t remember what I said, of course, but I told him that I felt there was considerable irony in the fact that I was there to help him out of my sense of moral duty to help people disadvantaged by fate. And yet he was invested in social and economic theory that disavowed any responsibility to “those without.”
That afternoon was a lot like last night. I love debating social/economic theory with someone philosophically opposed to me but whom I respect and reallylike. It’s positively thrilling. These people crank my brain like no one else. 
I find I never “go deep” with people with whom I agree or with people who are not “deep” social thinkers — not that I am a deep thinker, but as a gay man with HIV, as someone with a mental health challenge and as a former leader of AIDS Vancouver, I’ve spent a lot of time studying social policy and debating its principles with politicians and bureaucrats. 
With Edwin and Mr. Archer I debate with highly educated theorists and friends. I love every second of that kind of experience because there is absolutely no acrimony.
Today Sue and Fran come for lunch. We definitely won’t be discussing socioeconomic theory.