Monday, November 1, 2021

Home from Victoria

This is a photo I took of a drawing I did over 15 years ago. I was surprised to see it. I’d forgotten Todd and Jess had it. There’s window reflection causing glare in the glass of the frame, but you get the idea. I gilded the background to save all the work I’d have had to do, to complete a background. It’s all pencil crayon; my preferred medium. He’s my version of a figure by Michelangelo on the Sistine ceiling.

And this, of course, is my co-pilot for the trip to Victoria and back. My beloved and steadfast companion. She compels me for two or more walks a day, that need has introduced me to all the friends I have here on the island, and every night she curls up against me on the bed and tells me that I am not alone—not ever.

Above is a photo of Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon. I saw it online today, and it made me recall a past experience. A long, long, long time ago, the cultural centre serving two neighbouring municipalities asked me to run their art gallery. (I was already running the centre’s theatre.)

I knew nothing about running an art gallery, but I’d been solicited for the job because I was making their theatre a fiscal success. I took on the task as I would a business: what is the product, who is the audience, why has it failed so far?

In the end, I concluded it greatest hope for success is to specialize and not be a gallery that serves all in sundry, and so I chose the artistic medium that is the most accessible to the greatest number of people: photography. And as its original programmer, I sought out shows that would bring attention to our space, and one of them was an Avedon exhibition that contained the photo above.

Somehow, and I wish I could recall how, I bought two original Avedon photographs for payment of hosting the exhibition for a month in my gallery. The other was a portrait of Maria Agnelli, the wife of the owner of Porche corporation. I paid for them with a cheque from the cultural centre’s account.

I could have given the cultural centre a cheque for the same amount and bought the photos and kept the photos for myself. But I didn’t. I auctioned them and quintupled the value of the purchase price cash. The gallery, thanks to that show and to ‘glitzy exhibitions (two by Ansel Adams; Eugene Cunningham, Time/Life, Arthur Fellig), the gallery got off to a roaring start, both financially and in terms of public visits.

My visit with the Humphrey family in Victoria this weekend was glorious, but the drive there and back was also a delight. It was a cool but spectacularly clear and bright day, and the colours of Autumn on the deciduous trees was an inspiring sight.

After I arrived, Chris, Todd, Sheba and I went for a long walk to the U Vic campus and walked around it. It was a beautiful day for a walk. And when we got home, I read a bit and then we had dinner. There were ten of us.

The highlight of the evening, celebration Chris’ 75rh, was when I brought out the cake with all its candles lit. I’d made a Carrot Cake because I love them, but what I didn’t know was that Chris asked Frani for such a cake for his birthday, and she replied that I was making the cake. When he saw my cake was Carrot, the look on his face was worth a zillion words of joy.

Saturday and Sunday hosted both gorgeous sunny days and cloudless nights, so it got cool. When I came indoors Sunday afternoon, the place was mighty cold. I lit a roaring blaze; it took several hours to feel warm all over the house. By evening, it was cozy and warm because I kept the fire on high until bedtime and enjoyed the flickering lights on my bedroom walls before falling asleep.

I can honestly say it was a great weekend. Sill, I’d rather stay home all the time. I pay a price. I lay shaking on my couch for a while, and jerking; I haven’t had a seizure with ‘spasticity’ in probably four years. I force myself to socialize, but as I say, I pay a price that is no one’s fault. On the other hand, it is blissfully comfortable when I have guests here. Everything is better at home. And, my day spent in Nanaimo with Steve and Sheba, going to parks, having sushi, going to more parks, and then going for dinner at a fabulous restaurant was the highlight of my Summer. My ex gives me strength. I adore him.

Today I will dog walk, do some yard work and read more of my second Louise Penny book—the follow-up to the last, and first, of her novels that I’ve read. The home fire shall burn, too! I’m also considering making another Asian fish dish. I came to like the last one that, on first impression, disappointed. Its fire came from chilli powder and Turmeric; there was no curry.

This new one I want to try has curry in it. I’ve never been a big fan of fish, but so, so much has changed on my inner map since the onset of FND. I’m now craving fish, Asian style—and there are lots of them. The aromas kindle memories of adventures past in extraordinary and exotic places.

In December, it’ll be a year since I smoked pot. After my heart attack, my addiction to Diet Coke broke. I can now enjoy it periodically, but I’m not constantly consuming it and never will again, Now I’ve renounced sweets. Me, who lived for sugar, me, who wanted to make baking my meal of choice for every single meal, has vowed only to eat a sweet with guests—a small piece, and no leftover stays. I’m done. I’m eating with more variety and I’m loving life eating sensibly. 

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