Tuesday, March 31, 2020

More Sunshine and Shocking News

I’m absolutely shocked to see the photographs of downtown Vancouver. It’s like a war zone—not because the streets are empty of people, but because of all the stores being boarded up. Break-ins have been rampant in the “abandon” stores, so many stores have removed their stock and boarded up their windows. It’s a sad statement on human behavior.
I’m also astounded to see army stall building a field hospital in Central Park in New York. It really makes one realize the severity of the crisis. And yesterday it was announced that the convention centre in Vancouver is being re-purposed as an emergency hospital as well!

Last night I watched Dear Evan Hansen on YouTube. I’ve had the soundtrack of this Broadway Musical for a couple of years and listened to it a zillion times without knowing the story. There’s something about the story, the songs and the performances that make it compelling—at least for me.
I can’t believe the whole show is on YouTube. I’m sure it’s illegal. It’s presented by two dorks in six parts. The dorks put themselves on screen through the whole performance, but they are easy to ignore. I wrote to the Shubert Organization, the producers of Dear Evan Hansen, to tell them about the copyright infringement.
Ben Platt, who plays Evan, is absolutely extraordinary. 
For reliable medical science information on Covid-19, The New England Journal of Medicine has dropped its paywall for articles related to the pandemic. Here’s a link:
It’s sunny again and I have to move a lot of wood from one woodpile to another so that I have access to some seasoned wood for the balance of this year. Fresh, unseasoned, wood is coming later in the week and once it goes into my primary woodshed, the seasoned wood will be unreachable. I’ll be using my two semi-crippled hands and one crippled elbow, so tonight I’ll know what I’m in for when I start stacking the six cords that are coming.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sunshine and Pride

I absolutely love Pralus chocolate! I took a chocolate tasting course and learned a lot about it when I was taking classes in cooking school.
Pralus bought land in several countries around the world with a climate that supports the growing of Cocoa and they selected one plant that was productive and disease resistant, they cloned it and planted it in all their properties. The chocolate they produce is sold under the name of the country from which it is harvested.
The Pralus rep at our course gave us unnamed samples of all their chocolates and we recorded out choices by number, not name. Then we drank water, took a lesson, drank more water and then took the taste test again—again recording the numbers of our favourites. Both times, my first choice was Tanzanie (my second choice was Venezuela).
Yesterday I wrote to Steve in L.A. asking him to buy me a boatload of Pralus chocolate and ship it to me. I, of course, refund him. We did this two years ago so that I am never out of stock. Nothing, for me, beats Pralus. Sadly, I cannot buy it in Canada.
Because it’s been so clear this past Winter, it was cold—cold for BC is zero or slightly above or below. We had no storms, no power outages, no wind, just cold. And it’s still cold in the mornings; it’s usually around 5° and I’m tired of it. 
So, yesterday morning I waited until ten o’clock when the temperature had reached ten degrees, and went for a lovely long walk with Sheba. I put on my sweat shirt (but no coat), rolled up my sleeves and headed for the 707 Park where I felt euphoric in the warm sunshine, looking at the white skin of the Alders against the deep blue sky and with the scent of Spring oozing from the forest.
It was sublime. It was better than summer when one burns, sweats and tires so easily. And the trails were covered in grass—a light glowing green carpet covered the landscape. In the summer all is brown.
Yes, I live on Gabriola now, but I remain a city boy at heart. I still love the city in which I lived for sixty-nine years, Vancouver, and Saturday night at seven pm, the city made me very, very proud. To see (in a video) all the police cars and fire trucks joining the residents of the West End to honour the frontline health care workers made me cry with pride. And even the Park Board is onboard; they’re firing the nine o’clock gun at seven as well.
There was a downpour of rain last night; I heard it when I was awake at one point. So, I can enjoy the brilliant sunshine of today because my gardens have all had a good drink. Rain was predicted for today and tomorrow before another week of sunshine sets in, so I hope there’s more before another dry week.

Sunday, March 29, 2020


I have learned skills that I lacked most of my young life.
Dr. Bob, a former veterinarian, called me about wood for next winter. Last year he delivered the six cords (each at $300/cord), but they came with a lot of loose crap. I took photos of the crap with which to complain this year. But Anna told me about the Stupich brothers, so I contacted them. They charge $275 per cord.
Well, yesterday Bob called to talk about an order for this year. He was very friendly on the phone, so I told him how much I value his friendliness, but I mentioned the seventeen wheelbarrows of loose crap that I didn’t want. He apologized, explained why it had happened and assured me that it would not happen this year.
I said that was great and that I’d talked to the Stupich brothers who only charge $275/cord, so he agreed to match the price. That saves me $150! As each year goes by, it costs me less to live here. I am very happy except that starting next week I have to stack two cords of wood and I hate stacking wood.
For me, this is all very good news.
And speaking of wood, I chopped more kindling yesterday. With my right hand so out of order, it is hard for me to do more than fifteen minutes of chopping, but I’ve become so good at choosing the right wood, I can get a decent amount cut in the time I have until pain makes me stop.
Do I live in a good place? You betcha! Yesterday I got two offers from kindly folk to do shopping for me. One was from Hannah who lives two lots away and who works at the grocery store. I refuse all offers but that may change in the future. Still, the kindness of people here is worth noting.
I’m watching a documentary series on ancient Rome (I took Latin all through high school) and am really liking it. And I really enjoy the host, Mary Beard. She is a total joy to watch and to listen to. She is such a remarkably pleasant difference from the horrid self-absorbed, cold and embarrassing television presenter, Lucy Worsley. 
Having finished with Amor Towles, I’ve dived into All the Light We Cannot See, a Pulitzer Prize-winner by Anthony Doerr. I’m thoroughly engaged again, and I love that the novel unfolds in very short chapters. It’s a wonderful structure because you can always finish the chapter before stopping to eat, sleep or do errands. I love page-turners!
No rain at all yesterday (but I was surprised to see that Vancouver looked wet on the news) and today has dawned clear and bright. What a surprise! There’ll be a nice long dog walk this morning and then more reading before a second walk this afternoon and a spa. Life is good!