Thursday, December 31, 2020

More Shrooms

Yesterday’s dog walk was cancelled. It was just too, too nasty outside. The only good about a day like yesterday, is the sound of the rain on the roof and the glorious feeling of coziness I get when I come in from walking Sheba and after fetching wood for the fire.

I went to my postal box, and still no books. There’s full staff here in our office, so I reckon the problem is in the distribution centres that are located in large cities, and with Amazon itself. Covid has brought millions more to online shopping, so I’m not at all surprised that during the holiday season, both organizations are overwhelmed.

My God, the rain—the wetness and the sound of it on the roof—deters Her Highness. She is more than content to curl up on the sofa. As for me, my new reading corner is a hit with my back. 

After a little reading, I decided to try my hand at making meringue Chanterelle mushrooms. I was satisfied with the results, but I wish I had a steadier hand. I was trembling the entire time I was piping them onto the parchment. Once done, I thought I’d try my hand at some Amanitas. That didn’t go so well. I ran out of red food colouring, so they’re pink not red. And the stems are too short because I was running out of meringue. But you get the idea. Next time, I’ll do better.

I called about my free Covid relief payment, and I am really glad I did. I hadn’t received a confirmation number and was justifiably suspicious. I called the government help line, waited on hold forever and reapplied—this time getting a confirmation number. Hooray! Five hundred free dollars are on their way to me.

Tonight, I’m going to Eoin and François’ place with Jay to celebrate Senior’s NYE. We’re having our Champagne at nine, not midnight. I haven’t seen midnight for a decade.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

More Shrooms

Tuesday was spent indoors except for one decent dog walk and a second short ball-throw in the afternoon because it was wet, wet, wet and dark, dark, dark. And today is worse!

When I was pretty young and before I was “out of the closet” as a gay man, I went to see The Boys in the Band. It was a daring thing for me to do; I was terrified of being seen by someone I knew, especially inside the theatre, so I waited until after the film began to go inside. I lasted, perhaps, fifteen minutes. The horror of what I saw, the bitchiness and flamboyance, drove me quickly back outside.

Well, yesterday I watched it on Netflix. It was less frightening at seventy-three than it was when I was twenty. But what a horror of a story, it remains. Like so very many portrayals of gay men, it chooses to reveal an ugly or sad side of gay life, as lived by a certain percentage of our community. I couldn’t watch it. I tried twice, but it’s just too dreadful. 

Instead of watching horrid gay men, I decided to make another batch of my surprisingly popular meringue mushrooms to take to Eoin and François tomorrow night. The stems and caps are glued together with melted and delicious Pralus chocolate that I get from France. 

Today, I’m going to try to make meringue Chanterelles to add to the mix for colour. I’ve some Hazelnut praline for flavour and some orange food dye, so I’ll see how it goes. Here I go with no recipe.

I've ordered candy bags and ribbon from Amazon and found my candy molds, so I'm going to make some chocolates and more meringue confections that I can bag and give as gifts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Helping STAMMA

The routine of every day, the constant grey and being alone week in and week out—except for three hours a week of dog walking with friends—is taking its toll. I love reading, but it’s still very hard to sit still. Not only that, I’m sick of television, no matter the program. I hate being sedentary; I find that time passes very slowly. 

For a change in routine, I decided to bake myself a Garlic and Spinach pie. It’s a dish I love, and I can eat it for both lunch and dinner for a few days. Baking dishes that take time to prepare is one way to make time pass more quickly, plus, I’m rewarded for my effort with absolutely delicious food.

And… I rearranged the living room. The sofa used to be in front of my window and my chaise longue was by the fire so that the user could be warm and look out the window (but the sofa blocked much of the view). The rearrangement makes watching TV on the sofa far more comfortable for me and having the chaise by the window creates an idea reading spot for me that gives me lots of natural light coming over my shoulder and an easy view of the street.

I have a new passion: It’s for Claudia Jessie, and English actor. She plays Eloise in Bridgerton, Amelia in Vanity Fair and now I’m watching her play a cop in Line of Duty. I’m deeply impressed by her immersion into every character she plays; she’s brilliant!

So is my Garlic and Spinach pie. I’ve eaten a quarter of it already.

I got a proposal from Eoin and François to get together on New Year’s Eve for a meal. They’ve also invited Jay, but he’s been MIA for a while. I hope he emerges and that, in fact, we get together. I think it’d be great for my mental wellbeing. I’m having quite a bit of trouble with phone calls and would value any experience that might lighten my load.

On the plus side of my speech dilemma, I’ve been invited to participate in the planning of a support group for late-onset stutterers by STAMMA, the British Stammering Association. They asked for study points to consider and I wrote them quite an essay, mustering all my long-dormant technical writing skills. I’ll be part of a team of four people: A STAMMA program director, a speech language pathologist, an English late-onset stutterer and me.

I got involved with STAMMA because I wrote to them having heard, at the Zoom conference of the Canadian Stuttering Association that STAMMA was considering forming such a group.