Wednesday, August 31, 2022

One Man Band

I love this guy! What drives a person to do as he has done, I wonder. He’s designed quite the contraption so that he becomes an entire band. And he makes good music! I’ve seen other performances of his, and he amazes me. 

There’s still no rain at all in the weather forecast, and the next few days are predicted to be quite hot. Usually at this time of year, there is periodic rain and cooler temperatures, but our Summer was very late in arriving this year, so perhaps it will stretch into December. It means my endless hours of watering the garden will not be ending soon.

I felt mighty, mighty good about my computer yesterday morning. I turned it on optimistically and it boots up better and quicker than it has in months. I’m so glad that I was able to get it back into working order. I’m so glad not to have to spend two grand on a new one and deal with all the hassle of getting to the big smoke and arranging for care for Sheba.

I began on a major task yesterday. I got started on cleaning the eaves troughs where they are spilling water over onto my deck and garden, but at 3:00 it was 32° in the shade and I was working in the sun and sometimes feeling rather faint, so I quit and put the ladder away. And as I did so, I saw that Ursula was outside the trailer felting wool, so I went over to check out her work. I really like Dave and Ursula, so I invited them to come for dinner on Saturday and they accepted. I have the best neighbours. Next week is Issa’s second birthday. I got her a great little gift. It’s a projector that projects different coloured stars onto the walls and ceiling of her bedroom, and they move around. I hope she likes it.

For the late afternoon, I got onto the chaise with Bruno in the coolness of the house. It was smothering hot outside, and it felt great to chill in the coolness of the house.

Today will be another hot day and there’s still no rain forecast in the foreseeable future. I have a ton of watering to do and then I’ll be back to cleaning the eves troughs and cutting up some of the remaining big branches from the felling of the trees earlier this year. I’ll be christening my little chain saw.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Techno Hell

What a shite day Monday was.

One of the first things I do every morning is booting up my computer, and yesterday morning it didn’t work. I tried again and it failed again, so I booted it up with my command and R keys depressed and ran a first aid program. It said there was no problem, but when I tried rebooting normally again, it failed again.

With Apple’s help, I re-installed my operating system, which took a very long time, and then I tried it again. It failed again, and so the last thing to try was erasing the entire hard drive, reinstalling the operating system again, and then importing all my files from by backup drive. 

It took forever to erase the drive, but it was done while I went to walk Sheba with my friends. Then, when I got home, I started the re-installation of all my applications and data, but well into that process, the power went out and, at that point, I was ready to fall deeply into despair. There was naught to do but wait, which is what I did, and when the power returned, I started the process again.

That process took from 11:00 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. I was reading when I heard the deep boom of the computer starting up. I was holding my breath as it led me through all kinds of permissions and verifications. I was on tender hooks. And then, a miracle happened. There was my desktop and all my files. As I write this, I’m waiting for all my old emails to be imported from the backup drive. It will take another 45 minutes.

As I type this, I’m giddy with delight. It feels wonderful to be typing in Word and reconnected with the world. I’ll cancel the flights I have reserved for tomorrow to go to Vancouver to get a new machine.

What a day! What a trying worrisome day! But it ended wonderfully. I’m relieved I don’t have to go to Vancouver and to arrange for Sheba’s care. I’m so glad to be back to normal. Once the emails are imported, I will try shutting down and booting up again. I’m scared of more trouble, but rebooting will give me confidence in my machine again.

Anxious as Hell, I shut down my computer when all the emails had been imported, and then I pushed the power button and came as close to praying as I have ever been. And it worked. Everything is hunky dory and I’m both relieved and overjoyed.

Once it was fixed, I got myself a big glass of Diet Coke, got on the chaise and opened Bruno. But I couldn’t focus. I felt like I might after having been in a ‘not too serious’ car accident. I feel like I’ve run a marathon, and I was wrestles after the race. I did dishes and other chores, just to be active. As I settled down, I felt pretty good about Apple and about my response to bring without a computer.

My Vancouver relationships are maintained by this blog, email and video calls. I speak, not well, but well enough, with island friends whom I see face-to-face. I didn’t like being detached from the blog, email, and my voice generator. My iPad was out of power and very slow to recharge, but once done, I had to get help from Shaw to access my email on the web because to do it from my iPad required a code that they wanted to text to me. (This has become quite a problem for me and anyone else who does not have cell service or phone.)

There were so many obstacles to getting everything going. Aside from the iPad and iMac technical challenges, I was fighting technical insecurity as well as having doubt about the computer. The Apple consultant called my iMac a ‘vintage’ machine. I bought it in 2015. And when it came to erasing the hard drive, she advised me that I might lose data. And I really struggled with speech. 

But I persevered and I didn’t freak out. I secured reservations to Vancouver for Wednesday, and the closest Apple store, and Dwight volunteered to drive me to Richmond for the return flight in case my machine was a burner. But I did what to me, was a mighty amazing thing by following instructions provided over the phone from an Apple technical assistant. I reckon Apple is the big winner here. They design mighty clever machines and software that enable monkeys like be to behave like Einstein. 

I am still nervous about the machine, but I wrote all evening for the clinic. And I wrote this post. It felt so good to feel my fingers on the keyboard. It felt good about how far my writing has brought me at the clinic. I’ve earned my place on the board if, in fact, what Nancy said comes to pass. A bad day ended well. (See below.)

I ended the night writing a much more detailed outline of Plan B for Nancy and our committee. What I love about what I’m doing with Nancy, is that I feel that I am rescuing a burn victim. The fellow who did the first campaign had her feeling dreadful. 

It was awful to see the impact of the campaign’s failure on Nancy. She felt dreadful about the lack of response and her loss of control. She felt like she’s let the Foundation down, but it wasn’t her fault. The contractor who was hired to execute the campaign did not do what he was asked to do. The experience badly affected her.

She terminated the contract with the consultant whom she’d hired. We’re seriously off on Plan B now, so I know that getting back to her quickly as I did last night, suggesting agenda items for our upcoming committee meeting that will bring all the members into the decisions that will drive Plan B, will tell her that she’s not alone, that help has arrived. I was really pleased with what I sent her.


On Sunday there were interesting developments in my work with the clinic. The fellow who was leading the campaign for new doctors is being (very deservedly) terminated, and I’m joining the committee that hired him and together we will undertake a new campaign. We’re going to do all the things I suggested we do to Nancy, the chair of the committee. I really like Nancy. She is wonderful to work with and she’s extremely knowledgeable about clinic and physician payment models (which is anathema to me).

It was awful to see the impact of the first campaign’s failure on Nancy. She felt dreadful about the first campaign. She felt like she’s let the Foundation down, but it wasn’t her fault. The contractor who was hired to execute the campaign did not do what he was asked to do. 

Instead of despairing, Nancy reached out to me and two other people to join her committee and it was wonderful to see how happy she was to have me join her team. She loves my plan, and we have confidence in our team to make a success of my plan B.

I’m still working for Dyan and her committee as well, and Nancy told me that I’ll be becoming a board member at the next AGM. I’m very happy about how things have worked out; I’m proud to be part of this community and to serve on the board of the clinic.

Yesterday the last 6 Donna Leon books arrived. I have the first 28 books, the last two are not yet available in softcover. And my 11 Mick Herron books are in transit. I got an email from the vendor.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday Again; My Day Again

Saturday became a glorious day, but it is now much cooler and that’s just fine with me. Her Highness and I walked with Stacy and then I went into the village and to the farmers’ market. I really enjoy going to the market even though I don’t buy a lot. I enjoy seeing all the people and dogs and enjoying the atmosphere. Then it was home to water all the gardens, but before I did that, I ordered Mick Herron’s entire Slow Horses series. 

Half-way through my watering, I came in for lunch to find an email from Nancy, the woman with whom I am meeting this afternoon to talk about the clinic’s doctor recruitment drive. She is highly enthusiastic about my suggestion for a plan B. She was impressed by my critique of plan A. I was immensely relieved because I’d been regretting being so negative about plan A in my emails to her. I’ve found working with the clinic slightly nerve wracking, but each time I work up a sweat of anxiety over my actions, it turns out okay. 

So … I got involved with the clinic so I could know more about the campaign to get new doctors for the island, and now it seems, I’ll be at the centre of the effort. How great is that? How scary is that? I was so nervous about getting involved, due to my speech and insecurities about my capacity, but things seem to be going very well. Stacy, who’s a UBC medical school grad, has offered to help me reach students, residents, and alumni of the UBC family practice program. And away we go ….

The thermometer said 22° mid-afternoon, but I was chilly in the shade. Perhaps it was the breeze keeping me cool. But in the sunshine, I was toasty warm. I spent all afternoon worrying about a little bird that was sitting on the ground when I came home from the village. At 2:00 it was still there, so I gave it some grain and hoped it would take off, but it didn’t, and I started to lose faith in its future, the poor thing. 

Finally, at 4:00, I was finished with watering, walking Sheba, and cleaning up the kitchen and I got onto the chaise with Bruno. I gazed out the window at my yellow/grey lawn and with everything looking so parched. Everything I see, the thinning of the plants, the leaves on the ground, the angle of the light. And my little bird friend on its side.

I went to the front yard and saw that I needed to pick up a small pile of broken branches that were left from the felling of the two dead trees. When I got close to the pile, I saw that it was alive with the little fucking red ants that bite me all the time. I got the hose, turned it to high and focused on a driving hard tight stream of water, and blasted the pile apart. There were as many fucking little fucking red ant eggs as there are people in India. It looked like a basket had broken that had been full of rice. 

I then ran. I don’t want those vampires on my body. But I must undertake round two soon, when the fire ban is lifted. It’s time for the plague of fire. I’m a pro at that. I got the strap in grade eight for (accidently) lighting the artwork hanging on wires in the art room on fire. I could have killed scores of school children. My autobiography will be titled This Close to Infamy.

After the plague of water, I came in and read online about pruning Raspberries and Lavender. My lavender is hideous because I’ve let it run wild. I have some serious pruning to do soon.

A friend wrote proposing a visit. I deferred. It’s easier for me when two people, even three, come. They can talk together, and I can listen and pop short sentences in. Sometimes I can do well, even very well. But I single person puts a lot of pressure on me to speak and to do things together, and right now it’s too much for me. Until the onset of severe symptoms recedes, I’m taking precautions. I don’t like seizures, and I particularly don’t like seizures in public.

In the evening, I lit a small fire to warm up the house. I’m so used to being warm, the cool nights have me uncomfortable in the house, so I indulged myself last night. I did a walkabout in the park. In the light of a bright orange sunset gave the yard a beautiful cinematic look.

Today has dawned bright and clear. I’ll go on the big community dog walk at 10:00 and at 2:00 I go to meet with Nancy to discuss the doctor search campaign. Best of all will be my time spent with Bruno today because it's Sunday, my day, no guilt day. Hurray!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Clinic Work

Friday morning was glorious. The mornings are so fresh and cool. It’s a delightful time to walk Sheba with our friends. And, as is so often the case, the forest fragrances give me such a wonderful high. After walking, Her Highness and I went into the village for supplies and then I came home to do some sporadic watering, reading, and chilling. Again, I’m in terrific spirits. I think I really learned a lesson from last Sunday’s crash of my speech. I just don’t care what shape my speech is in anymore. And it’s a good thing that I don’t because it’s bad. I can’t speak much at all to strangers, and speech is difficult with even my dog walking friends with whom I normally speak fluently.

By the time I got home from the village, the sky had clouded over. Big, dark clouds were filling the sky. There were still patches of blue, but the day darkened and it felt like rain was coming, so I brought in all the cushions and rolled up the car windows and settled onto the chaise with Bruno.

A good part of the afternoon was spent on clinic work because I got an email from Nancy, the board member who asked to meet with me. She told me the recent campaign conducted by the Foundation to secure a new doctor didn’t produce a single inquiry. Not one! She sent me the report by the executor of the campaign about his view of its success. He thought it was very successful. A typical marketer in my opinion!  He was justifying his work.

But a campaign that provokes not a single enquiry is a failure. There’s no way around it. So, I spent the afternoon explaining why, exactly, I thought the campaign the Foundation commissioned was a total failure. And then I spent most of my time explaining what I would have done were it up to me. Nancy said she was interested to know what ‘next steps’ I’d take. My suggestions for what I would have done was my answer.

If she likes what I have recommended, and if the board likes my proposal, I might find myself at the centre of the campaign to get us new doctors. And that puts me dead centre of the most urgent concern of the people of this island. Talk about community involvement!

One actor I admire greatly is Jim Broadbent, so when I saw The Duke on Prime, starring Mr. Broadbent and Helen Mirren, I said Yes! And what a charming story, all based on a true event. It’s a well written telling of a story of a thoroughly endearing man. I loved every frame.

This morning it’s only 13°. There’s blue sky, but lots of cloud and it feels like Summer is dying. I’m off to walk Her Highness with Stacy and then I’ll take in the farmers’ market because I must go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I take seven medications. None of them run out at the same time, so I feel like the pharmacy’s best customer. I am always there. 

Amazing iridescent piles cloud.

iridescent blue LadyBugs.