Thursday, April 30, 2020

Akhnaten: YES!!

The lovely yellow flowers of Oregon Grape are turning
the forest yellow right now.
This is a plant I don't know, but it has absolutely spectacular
Fuschia-like blossoms that are very tiny. (See below.)
This is my attempt at a close-up of the beautiful little blossoms
that cover these shrubs in the forest. I had no idea how many
and how beautiful plants we had growing in our forests.

The sun came out yesterday afternoon, just before I went to meet Anna and Gunther, so I went into the garden and did my first bit of weeding. I got many of the weeds out of the vegetable garden and it was actually fun. (The vegetable garden is raised, so it’s easy on the back.)
I look forward to doing more weeding soon because it’s so incredibly and quickly rewarding. I get a huge emotional lift when I see how clean the garden is when I am done. Plus, there’ll be no competition for water for my plants. But I only weed when the sun in out. 
I can see a zillions of teeny light green Strawberries emerging. There are oodles of buds on my Grape vines and the Blueberry bushes are lush with blossoms and little emerging berries. I won’t get a huge harvest of anything, but I’ll have lots of fruit to accompany ice cream and for breakfast.
My joy is over a joke of a garden. You should see how some people garden around here! But I’ve got a bad dose of lethargy this year. But I’m fine with it because last year, my second summer in a row of endless physical work, I decided to just take it easy this year.
My plan is to take lots of road trips to Victoria and up the east coast of the big island and limit my work here to mowing the lawns and gardens. I’ll go on some riverside and beach walks on my own or do so safely with friends who live on the big island.
Besides the berries and grapes, I’ve got a whopping crop of Garlic and nine herbs growing, and I’ll be getting more herbs. I’ll likely add to the veggie garden too, over time, because it’s where the most sunlight hits my yard and it’s fenced. 
Last night, joy of joys, I watched Akhnaten. I’m not, as I have said, an opera fan, per se, but I love theatre, music and design so every once in a while, an opera comes along that lures me into its hall. House of the Dead (Janáček), Nixon in China (Adams) and Akhnaten (Glass) have all thrilled me. They are my faves!
Akhnaten was absolutely fabulous. It's a festival of spectacular images and extraordinary choreography. I'm so, so glad that I was finally able to see it. (One thing though: When we meet Akhnaten, he descends a staircase—in this filmed performance he wears a kind of diaper but in the regular performances he was naked. (Nixon in China is currently up on the Met Website ( 

Below are some shots of the MET production of Akhnaten. 

Anthony Roth Costanzo plays the title pharaoh role. 
He plays the revolutionary ruler who made Egypt 
the first monotheistic empire. I adore Mr. Constanzo, 
a counter tenor) is the most charming of opera stars.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Something was wrong with my spirit yesterday. I did no work, no reading, no anything. And when it was time to go to bed, I was both relieved and concerned about how my spirit is going to get through endless social distancing. I’m rather reclusive, yes, but I also really enjoyed periodic visits with friends before this crisis.
I think this endless living alone is getting to me. I do see Anna and Gunther, but they and the periodic other dog owners who come to the park when we are there are endlessly taking about the virus. What they say is full of speculation and I just am not into it, so I drift away from them and occupy myself with the dogs.
It’s been ages since I had a decent conversation, However, my speech remains fluent; it’s been almost a week!
Sunday night, I watched the Canadian charity concert and loved it. Well, let me be clear: I loved seeing and hearing the performers singing, but their “lectures” on “Staying well,” “to practice social distancing” etcetera, bored me to tears. Even the endless cliché of praising “front line workers” got to me. I don’t need to hear any advice from celebrities, thank you.
But even better, for this avid fan of musical theatre, was the birthday celebration for Stephen Sondheim with unbelievablygreat singers. Everyone was in top form. It was breathtaking in how close I felt to them, too. It was like they were singing to me, all of them performing to cameras in their homes and without an audience. You can see it here.
Yesterday morning was very frustrating.
Suddenly, one of my email accounts (thankfully not my primary one) went “inactive.” I spent hours on the phone with Apple and they helped me discover that my problem was with Shaw. I called Shaw and waited forever for their return call. Long after they said they would call, I left to take Her Highness for a walk. 
When I got back, of course, there was a message from them. So, I may try again today. But today I have things to do: I have to go shopping because I didn’t go into the village yesterday, and then, at eleven, I’m getting a call from Cathy, the mental health nurse, and then, at five, I am hosting a Zoom call with some friends.
The new divide is not left versus right; it’s the advancement of economic versus public health policies.
I wonder by what methods our governments will recover the money they’ve paid out due to Covid-19. Higher taxes? Cuts to programs and ministries?

Sunday, April 26, 2020


Saturday was a gentle day. I did a dog walk with Her Highness in the morning and then did a very modest amount of yard work. In the afternoon, I met Anna and Gunther and our dogs had a great time whilst we sat in the sunshine and talked. 
Sunday’s been just as dull. I do nothing but dog walks, chores and reading. End of story. Of course, the weather has been uninspiring of late. I get my energy from the sun and without it, I’m rather lethargic.
So, when the sun came out this afternoon, it drew me outside, and I was thrilled when I looked into my backyard. The rain of late has given a real boost to the lawn I laid last year. 
My backyard was a barren wasteland. It was covered in building waste, old engine parts and lots of decaying wood—all left by the previous owner. I had to get rid of it all and then clear a decade or so of fallen Fir needles and cones to expose the rock surface. There is no soil here. Then I laid down fresh fertilized soil and the seed for the lawn. 
Last Fall, when the grass grew in, it was rather sparse. But now my yard is looking really lush. The gardens need attention, of course, I’ve not gotten to them yet, but the lawns look fabulous. Here are some photos:

This is the backyard close to my home. It's to the east of my deck and south
of my guest rooms.
This is the farther part of my backyard. That's Crown Land behind my fence;
it's raw forest and will never be developed.  I'm terribly proud of the pathway;
I made it from wood taken from abandoned industrial pallets.
I need to mow here. This is a small bit of yard on the west side of my land.
That huge bush obscuring the fence, is Ocean Spray. It will soon be a mass
of flowers that omit a sweet, tropical, heavenly sent for two-to-three weeks.
These are my very healthy Garlic plants. On the left, soon,
will be a row of Sweet Peas to grow up the lattice.
This shows you my beautiful Rhododendron that came with the house. This area
is open to Deer, so landscaping is less interesting here. The
 little cage to the
right is an emerging Paulownia. I created this lawn, two
 years ago. It, too, lies
on (expensively) purchased soil.
Sheba is outside the veggie garden. Everyone must be fenced from the Deer.
I've given up on veggies; I'm focusing on herbs and fruits. Plants requiring a
lot of water and lots of sun are not the best choice for my location.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Lethargic Friday

Friday, all day, I was lethargic after the long dog walk. 
The day was gloomy, but I didn’t at all care because I am fine indoors being lazy and reading. I’ve started Circe, by Madeline Miller. It’s a much-feted book about the famous daughter of Helios—siren and sorceress. 
When I was young, my cousin, Ann, married a Canadian Trade Commissioner and they were stationed in Athens. I was studying Latin and reading about Greeks as part of my education, and everything Greek interested me because Ann was there. I became fascinated with Greek columnar artistry, the pass at Thermopylae, everything about the Acropolis and I read a lot of Greek myths (but I couldn’t keep the names and lineage of all the gods, nymphs, demi-gods and all the other characters straight, in my head).
Circe, is a contemporary novel structured as the memoire of Circe, that gives us her take on a lifetime and style that made her famous for her libido and sorcery. 
I was so chuffed to discover that every plant, whose name I’ve searched out has turned out to be n Orchid. My unlearned capacity to notice rare plants is a blessing I value. It feels like finding friends in the forest. That grove in the photo I posted yesterday, will be a place I return to often this year and in future years. 
I’m going to ask Eoin to take me along when he goes hunting for mushrooms. I’d really like to harvest some with him and eat them—just a few. It’s something we can safely do together.
I’ve written here about my fondness for Gunther. I also described him as likely being in his mid-eighties. I was wrong! He’s actually younger than me—just by a few months.
He has hands very deformed by Rheumatoid Arthritis; the disease also makes it difficult for him to walk or to remain standing for long. He has COPD that makes him cough, few teeth, a very, very wrinkled face and thick, luxurious looking, white, white hair.
I look much younger … and fatter. (Pie awaits me as I type.)
I awoke this morning to the unmistakable sound of rain, so I got up and lit a fire, fed the pets and went back to bed. The second time I rose, was to take Her Highness for a walk and not the sky is almost clear and so I’ll be able to do some things in the garden today as well as read. And this afternoon in the park with Anna and Gunther should be lovely.