Saturday, April 30, 2022

Entertaining is Draining

Friday dawned with clear bright skies, but, of course, cool temperatures. I am so sick of being cool or cold outside! We went walking with our friends and then I went into the village for some groceries for tonight’s dinner. When I got home, I did some preparatory work for the dishes I’ll assemble tomorrow.

My heart is not into hosting dinners anymore. All I wanted to do all day yesterday, was sleep. I know that I’ll enjoy seeing Nancy, Bryce and Stacy tonight, but I’m just not into all the work that it takes. I am too, too fond of doing little-to-nothing all day. It’s a huge change from the guy I used to be.

It seems like yesterday that I was in my condo in Vancouver where, for over a year, I was getting up at 4:00 am and working until late at night on my paper dresses—all day, every day, and with endless energy and enthusiasm. As soon as I finished one dress, I began another, each one taking hundreds of hours of work. That was then….

Once this dinner is done, I can relax again. My next big thing is going to Nanaimo on Thursday to have some pulmonary tests and to see a doctor about my difficulty with swallowing. I get lung testing every two years and it always makes me nervous because sometimes it leads to having do a biopsy of my lung tissue and I’m not a fan of the procedure.

The following Monday, I go back to see if a biopsy is required and to have my pacemaker checked and adjusted, and then I’m done with all my medical obligations—at least for a while. As soon as I get an ‘all clear’ from the pulmonary lab, I plan to go to Vancouver to lunch with Nicola and dine with John and Bunny.

And speaking of medical things: I hear that the clinic has secured the services of two locums for one year and that I’ll be lined up with one of them.

The Kitchen, an island restaurant felled by the pandemic, is undergoing major construction work. Rumour has it that it will become a wine tasting (and selling) facility. And Robert’s, another island restaurant, is closed for good, but soon new owners will be opening a breakfast and lunch service. When that will be is unknown. 

And The Surf, my favourite place to eat on the island, is closed. They can’t find a cook and so the facility has closed temporarily. Sigh. Only Woodfire restaurant is operating, and it only operates four days a week due to staffing issues—all the more reason to get to Vancouver and binge on good food.

Today will be busy with cleaning and getting ready for my guests. It’s pissing rain. Stacy and Bryce got here at 7:30 this morning to walk their dogs with Sheba and I, then they went home, and I came in to get out the vacuum and sponge mop to do some serious cleaning. Dinner’s at 6:00.

I’m rather glad it’s raining because it’ll allow me to chill part of the day, and not want to be outside mowing the back lawns. Despite of my shite cake, I expect the evening will go just fine. It’s being together that matters, and there’s lots of food.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Baking Exhaustion

Baking something for the first time is nerve wracking for me—especially if I am making something for guests! At one point, while baking the Princess Cake, I found some corn starch in one of my little containers I fill in advance of baking so that I can quickly and comfortably mix and prepare all the ingredients.

I’d left it out of the custard cream or the cake, I wasn’t sure which. But since the custard cream seemed fine, I re-made the cakes—three of them. There are three layers to a Princess cake, and raspberry coulis is spread between the bottom two layers, and custard cream fills the two top layers.

But by far my worst work on the cake was the last step—putting a marzipan fondant on the cake. When I laid the fondant on the dome, it collapsed. The cream dome wasn’t thick enough; next time I may add some gelatin. I think it looks positively dreadful, but it’ll taste great, I’m sure.

In the late afternoon, we walked, getting home just before the showers that came late in the day. Sigh. I was exhausted when I got home from all the tension of the bake and all the work it involved—so exhausted, that I got into bed at 8:30, read for just a few minutes, and then went quickly and easily to sleep.

And today, I do more prep for my dinner, preparing all the vegetables and other ingredients to that my cooking is quick and easy tomorrow. And I’ll do some tidying and cleaning as well.

No word yet from the medical clinic.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

This is my kind of movie: British, couture theme, Leslie Manville, Paris, period, romance, class conflict. I can  hardly wait!

Wednesday dawned cool but bright, so I took her highness for a walk and then came home to spend the day working in the yard all day. It was really lovely, both to be outdoors in decent weather, and to see the yard slowly looking acceptable.

News from the shallow end: Last Summer, I saw the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. I’m so shallow, I actually walked around the aisle to see him again. His skin, his hair, his body; I was absolutely dumbstruck by his beauty. 

A week or so later, I saw him again, walking with his daughter in our neighbourhood, and I’ve seen him periodically ever since. Soon, I learned where he lived and that he is the son of a lovely neighbour, Diane. And he’s very friendly! I started waving to him as I passed him on the street in my car and he always smiled and waved back. 

Well … this morning I met him in the woods as we both walked our dogs. Now I know his name is Robert and I could not have been more thrilled to meet someone. How I envy his wife to have such warmth and beauty at her side. Oh my!

Late yesterday morning, I had a lovely Zoom chat with Nicola. We talked for just over two hours! It was heavenly. Otherwise, all I did was work on the yard and go for walks with Her Highness—no second sighting of, Robert, the most beautiful man on earth.

The back lawn is really nasty. One section of it is all weeds. There’s hardly any grass left at all. But it’s not part of the yard I use. I do all my entertaining on the deck. People will walk down to look at the garden, but they come back to the deck. And from the deck, the weeds at least provide greenery.

I’ve got a huge yard. It seems so to me because I come from hot having a yard for most of my life. And the one I once had, had a very large garage on it, so the land seemed small. The backyard is longitudinally bisected by a wooden walkway that leads to the gate giving onto the forest. And there’s a path from the southern end of my deck to the walkway, and these distinctions yield three small lawns and one big one.

I’ve cleaned up two of them. One is still grass, if rather balding. The big moment, for me, will be when I am done, and I come back to the deck to look out over the yard. What I see is what I will have to live with. I am not re-seeding. I’m going to cope with what happens. Soon it’s likely to all be dead when the hot and dry season comes.

Today, I bake a Princess Cake for Nancy’s birthday. We’re celebrating her birthday here on Saturday night. I’ve never made a Princess Cake; neither have I ever made a marzipan fondant, and it is what you see when the cake is presented. It’s a really beautiful cake when well done, but it takes skill with a baker’s wheel. I hope I do okay!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A Fright!

I had a serious scare. 

I’ve been having some trouble swallowing for a while, but last night at one point, I couldn’t swallow or get air. It terrified me. In the few seconds I could not get my throat working, I thought I’d wind up passing out and, perhaps, dying. It scared the bejesus out of me. I dashed to the sink and drank some water and that opened things up, thank God. Now I’m scared of it happening again.

I Googled trouble swallowing and looked at a few sites and all mentioned that people with neurological conditions, especially Parkinson’s, have trouble swallowing. I’m going to wait and see how things go. If it happens again, I’m going to the doctor.

Well, the reviews for the new Funny Girl show on Broadway are out and they are not at all good. Beanie Feldstein is pretty much panned in the reviews I read. I feel for her. I don’t know how performers carry on after bad reviews. It would kill my spirit.

So, I was out in the garden planting bulbs and moving bucked wood yesterday, even though the weather was uninspiring. It felt good to be slowly making progress on getting Pinecone Park back into shape. However, I’ve still got a long, long way to go.

I planted 50 Iris bulbs which should fill in my garden, add colour and provide some height. When I go to the hospital next Thursday, I’ll be getting myself some more bulbs and, perhaps, some trees that will add colour to my landscape. I have one Laburnum, but I want another. And I want a Lilac as well.

After planting the bulbs, I got back to clearing up the twigs and branches from the felled trees. There’s a lot of mess to clean up and I must get my chain saw going to reduce the biggest branches to burnable sizes. I worked until the rains came at 2:00, and then I came in to shower and change my clothes that stank of smoke from the incinerator.

I really feel good about all I did yesterday, and about the slow emergence of order to the yard. However, one large patch of former lawn is now all weeds. I’m going to go over it with the mower and leave it to stay raw, but I’ll remove the large and gnarly weeds.

Then I went into the village to shop. I’ve been going daily of late because so many things are in short supply. Plus, their choice to pay minimal wages has them struggling to do any baking and to stay open late. No one wants to work for Nesters. It’s a shame, because they’ve just renovated the store and it’s really nice to shop there—except for the shotages. 

Susan Pesklevitz married a BC boy, Terry Jacks. They formed a group called The Poppy Family and had some major hits. She married Terry and then left him in 1973. I adored her. I first saw her on CBC television before she and Terry formed The Poppy Family, and then, when she moved to Nashville. I stopped hearing or seeing anything about her.

But then, late in life, I met her through the work I was doing for PAL Vancouver. I totally fanned out on her, but she is such a gloriously wonderful person, she didn’t mind. We stayed in touch for a while, and then FND hit me, and I moved here, and I haven’t been in touch for six years. She died yesterday, and I am beyond sad. She was such a truly lovely human being, and so, so talented as both a singer and a song writer. The worst part of being old is losing so many friends.

RIP Susan, you did a magnificent job of living your life.