Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Man in the Woods

It’s another cold clear bright morning. However, this spell of cold and sunshine ends tomorrow and we start a long spell of cool cloudy weather with, most likely, lots of rain showers.
Last night I went to the panto but it wasn’t easy to take because of my Sciatic nerve. My leg started hurting with the referral pain of Sciatica a few weeks ago. Usually it’s hardest to sustain in the mornings, but last night it was really making me uncomfortable. I could not straighten my leg and the pain was distracting.
As a term, “aging,” at least in my experience, is the slow amassing of minor pains and losses. The spa is spectacularly successful at rendering them briefly and wonderfully forgotten.
So this is what happened yesterday: I was walking Sheba in the 707 Park and as I turned a corner I saw a man and woman walking ahead of me. He had his hand on the small of her back as he disappeared around another corner and I found it touching.
When I rounded the second corner I suddenly saw the man on the side of the trail crouched over with his pants down whist his wife stood in the trail. Sheba was barking at them, so I grabbed a stick from the ground, called her and threw the stick in the direction from which we’d come. And I slowly followed her.
Within a few moments, I heard a man’s voice yell, “All clear.”
I turned and Sheba followed. And this is where, for me, it got weird. The man and woman were standing in the trail waiting for me and we fell into an immediate and comfortable discussion about the heart-melting five-week old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy in his arms. 
It was a one-minute walk to the trailhead where we said goodbye and got into our respective cars. And it’s the proximity to the road and parking that had me decide this old gent should’ve made more of an effort to be invisible. And why wait for me to catch up to them? Although he was the one with his pants down, I was the one who was cripplingly embarrassed. 
Country life!
The Queen offered her “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the man who stabbed and killed people on London Bridge yesterday. One of the richest, most privileged people on earth offers up a hackneyed cliché. Instead, I reckon a monarch should follow God’s example and offer up a son to atone for our sins. (And not Andrew.)
This morning, the pastures on either side of Buttercup Road where I turn onto North Road, were glorious. They were once working pastures, but wild shrubs and grasses have taken over and this morning there was a thick white frost on everything, radiantly shining in the morning sun. It was breathtaking. 
And a nearby home had smoke coming out of their chimney; the smoke trapped close to the ground by the cold air, hovering over the glistening fields of frost-covered flora, giving the landscape an antique Christmas card look. What a way to start my day.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Panto Tonight

It’s F’en freezing still, but bright and sunny. I wore pajama bottoms under my pants on the dog walk, as well as my polar down jacket and down hood.
Tonight is the pantomime. I’m going with Jay. One of the leads and one bit player are people with whom I walk Sheba regularly. They are lovely people with great heart and I like them both very much, so seeing them will be fun.
They think I’ll hate it because of my background in professional theatre, but they are wrong. I deeply love the art form and have since I was four years old when we moved to West Vancouver and I saw our new garage., I knew right away how well it would serve as a theatre—its draw-down door, a unique curtain.
My first professional work was the inaugural season at the Arts Club Theatre  (in Vancouver). That season we snuck a play called Creeps  between two season offerings for a brief run; it was a hard-hitting play and our boss didn’t want to offend subscribers. The actors portrayed institutionalized people living with severe symptoms of Cerebral Palsy (CP). It was set in a men’s washroom and there was a lot of swearing; this was in 1975. 
Creeps  was a monster hit; it showed me the social power that a piece of theatre can have. It was overwhelming. People with CP came from as far away as Alberta to see it and we did it, and them, proud. 
Later in my life, I helped a man with severe symptoms of CP go to the bathroom in a place where there were insufficient services for people in wheelchairs. I had to open a complete strangers fly and hold his penis to help him pee into a waxed paper coffee cup I found nearby. I believe I handled myself well; his gratitude was palpable. I believe he did not see my anxiety and embarrassment. My composure and all I did. I learned from working on Creeps.
So when I go to the panto tonight, I’m going for what I experience at everything I do here: I feel more a part of my community and to see so many members of my community working together to make life fun for all of us islanders. I’m not going for Broadway or to be critical. I’m going to see my favourite creative medium bring people together to laugh and feel good together.

Thursday, November 28, 2019


I’m a cold pussy. I absolutely hate being cold, so on the dog walk yesterday I wore my polar down jacket. It’s made for hikers idiots who sleep outdoors in a hammock. I can imagine the headlines in this week’s paper: Sleeping Bag Seen Walking in Elder Cedars.
I finished watching the four-part mini series called Retribution  on Netflix. It’s a fabulous cast of British actors telling a great murder mystery story with lots of twists and turns. I loved it. And of course, I got another good hit of Alice Munro.
I also went shopping after the dog-walking group, did some baking, laundry and, of course, kept up the fire. The cookies I baked were amazing. And so they should be! I make a batch every two weeks and always the same kind. Yesterday, when I opened the oven to remove the first badge, the smell was incredible.
I was instantly a kid again, smelling Aunt Audrey’s baking. I could see her apron and wide hips, her gorgeous grey hair and the first smile to reach all the way inside my heart. I could hear her soothing motherly voice sharing her excitement about the magic of baking. She was my best friend.
Thank God for my exquisite sense of smell and wonderful memories!
Anne with an E  has deliciously sappy, first-rate Canadian entertainment. As gawd-awfully sentimental as it was, I loved it. I particularly loved seeing R. H. Thompson, Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James and Corrine Koslo each episode. But it’s been cancelled and I’m pissed. 
I feel sexism is at work. Anne  has a distinctly feminine, feminist and inclusive liberal plot and I find the medium of television far, far  too male. There’s too much macho violence in crime dramas and way too much sports. There’s too little of intellectual and cultural merit; there’s too little programming for thinkers.
Anne  is a great show advancing a healthy morality—without any Christian/biblical babble. I’m thrilled to hear there’s social media campaign underway to save it. I signed an onine petition. Other shows have been saved; I really hope this one is!
My emotional fog lifted. When the sun shines, it’s impossible for me to feel anything negative at all. The wondrous uplifting smell of fresh baking, yesterday, didn’t hurt either.
It’s -5° this morning. I will not stay long outdoors, even with my polar fleece. And for the first time since I’ve lived here, I am using my curtains on all my large windows (except the one where I work and through which I watch my avian friends). I reckon it helps keep my home warmer at nights and during the mornings. I open them for light once the place is heated.