Monday, August 31, 2020


 Sunday, I crashed and burned.

I tripped on something and fell down hard during the large community dog walk. And, as happens every time I fall, I had a bad meltdown that left me stiff. My muscles all stiffened, and so walking was odd. Everything was odd. Phil, a very nice man who’s come to my assistance before, helped me walk back to my car and he drove me home in my car.

At home, I did not feel well at all. I felt like I was living in Jello. Every move was slow and awkward, so I got onto a chaise and had a lie down in the sunshine for quite a while. Then I had a spa and, as the clouds rolled in, I lit a fire and took to the couch. I wanted to feel warm and cozy and stay horizontal. The meltdown fried me. I wrote off the rest of the day.

This morning, I feel fine. I knew I would. But I have that ‘hit by a truck yesterday’ feeling.

It rained last night, which is nice. I don’t have to water anything today. But the sky is clearing and sunshine is evidently our due today and it’s predicted to be sunny for the ensuing week. I’m going for a walk with just Regina this morning, and our dogs, and when I get home, I plan to start working on the front yard.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Floating Tacos

There was quite a wind yesterday, and it felt “cold” in the morning. It was thirteen degrees, when I took Sheba out early for her walk; the windchill made it feel very coldfor August. It was really windy! Nanaimo was without power.

I watered the gardens to pass time before leaving to catch the ferry and chopped a lot of kindling for the incoming season. I got to the terminal as the ferry arrived (eleven-thirty), parked right at the landing and enjoyed the windy choppy ride in nice warm sunshine.

I went to the store I wanted to visit and then went down onto the docks where there is a floating Mexican restaurant with a takeout window. I got two Halibut tacos and a lime drink and ate on the lawn by the ferry terminal. I had snacks for her Highness. We ate beside a lagoon with blooming Water Lilies. Sheba was very, very well behaved.

We caught the next ferry back, at one, and I was home with the cats by two. 

I had great fun. I’m going back next week on a weekday when its free for Seniors, and I’m going to stay longer to explore and we can go to the park for a while. I know nothing of Nanaimo, so exploring a little is a really nice pedestrian day trip for us.

Today has dawned spectacularly, yet again. We’ll go on the big community dog walk as our single excitement of the day and I’ll likely start working on the front yard. But gently. The cold temperatures and late sunrises tell me the season is over. I am very satisfied with all that I’ve done this year.

I’ll keep working until it gets too cold and wet, but on little things. I’m not starting another project. I can hardly wait for next Summer already. Each year, the plants come back to much stronger and fuller than the year before; I can see the maturing process vividly in my young gardens.

I told John and Bunny that Eoin and I had harvested two kilos of Chanterelles. Bunny wrote back to say: “Yesterday we bought a few chanterelles for our Friday night pizza and they were $23 a pound, so at 2.2 pounds per kilo, your foraging made $101.20 for you!” 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

To Nanaimo

 I could hardly wait to get started on the deck yesterday. It was another stunning day.

It began with the community dog walk and then all day yesterday was spent working on the deck. 

There was a lot more work to do than I foresaw; it seemed to take forever. But, I took several breaks to give my arms and shoulders some time to recover. I’ve been scraping and brushing for quite a few days in a row and they were sore. 

Around noon, I became aware of the constant cry of a Woodpecker. It went on and on. So, I stopped work to go indoors for a drink and discovered that the crier was a beautiful Pileated male sitting on the fence near the empty suet container. I got a refill, took it out and put in the feeder and, as soon as I stepped away from it, Mr. Woodpecker was pecking like mad at the suet. It was as though he was calling me to attend to him. They are truly magnificent birds.

When I stopped for lunch, I did not want to go back to work. However, I didn’t have much left to do so I managed to drag my (no longer fat) ass back out the door. It’s hard when I no longer can look forward to half a pie or some other such baked reward at the end of the day.

I finished the house deck. I’m not going to re-do the sections that aren’t up to par and I haven’t done the shed deck. They’ll get done next week. Instead, Sheba and I are going to go as foot passengers to Nanaimo for a walk about, and I’m going to have an ice cream cone. It’s a beautiful day.

Tomorrow is predicted to be cool and cloudy, so I’ll be indoors. But after that, a long stretch of sunny and toasty warm weather is coming. My plan is to start working on the part of the front yard that’s never been touched.

It’s going to be interesting for me to see how well I speak on this jaunt today. Here, on Gabriola, I am a fluent speaker. I can go for days without any speech difficulties, but I still have trouble with clerks in stores (who are strangers). 

I have, on average, one mini-meltdown a month. 

Today will give me a chance to assess my new normal a little further afield.

The absence of posts here about my speech speaks strongly to how comfortable I am with my condition. Just as each day makes Gabriola feel more and more like home, so does each day make me increasingly comfortable with having compromised mental health.

I have built myself a sanctuary on a silent island. I have created a park-like backyard that is private and filled my life with de-stressors—pets, hot tub, fountain, hammock, studio, fireplace, classical music and lots and lots of plants—where I can live and continue to heal.

Friday, August 28, 2020

All I See is Deck

Yesterday, working on the deck meant hefting a couple of hefty big planters as well as the eternal scraping and brushing. But what joy it brings me to be so comfortably productive! Although my arms get a mighty workout, I am kneeling on a foam pad as I work. And yesterday, I put the radio outside to keep me company. Sadly, having arrived back where I began, I can see the shortcomings of my skills when I started, so I’ll be re-doing the first section I did again.

Even where I’ve done great job, the deck still looks shitty—painted in faded Bergundy with large patches of paint missing on many planks and rot in one area (that no one uses). But there’s no splintery wood anymore to catch on toes and all the loose bits of flaking paint are gone. It looks shitty-tidy now, instead of shitty-messy.

I bought the wire brush and scraper when I moved here. I must have thought about cleaning up the deck back then, but I never thought about the deck again until last week when suddenly I “saw” how much it violated my garden aesthetic. Shitty-tidy is good enough! It’s clean, and when you can’t be beautiful, be pristine is what I say.

By four, I was done. I’d done five hours of work—all without any baked reward. I took Her Highness for a walk and got into the spa as soon as I got home. So much of me hurt from the work, I really loved my soak last night.

I truly love Summer life—including all the work I do. Today and tomorrow are predicted to be as fine as yesterday. I’ll be able to get more deck work done before the clouds roll in on Sunday, my sublime day of rest.