Thursday, March 23, 2023


Holy fuck, have I been through the wringer.

Tuesday morning, we had our Communication, Membership and Fundraising Committee (CMFC) meeting that made me the chair of the committee. I did not want to be chair, so I did not speak up to object because I knew no one else did either. When I got home from the meeting, Don, the most important member of our committee, the man with the billion dollar Rolodex, wrote to say how angry he was about the meeting and that he was considering quitting the board. I panicked. 

All the rest of the day and until late into the night (1:00 am), I worked on a plan to keep him onboard. I finished writing it up last night at 12:30 and sent it to the members of the CMFC for comment. I also told our president that we were on the verge of losing Don and sent her my plan. My plan was a path to securing the funds for the new website we need, and that Don is passionate about. It was our decision not to prioritise the website that contributed to Don's frustration.

Wednesday morning we had a 9:00 am board meeting. I got an email from Dyan at 7:00 asking to talk to me. She wanted to talk to me about not taking action on my plan. BUT … she also revealed that she was ready to commit to spending some of our cash reserves if the grant for which we’ve applied for funds to finance our new website is rejected. 

I rejected her appeal to talk.  I told her that the plan she was critical of was not an action plan and I asked her to have faith in the committee and to wait and see how they reacted to my plan. But when she announced her plan to use cash reserves in the meeting, my plan became moot.

As part of my plan, I had reached out to Marc, our Foundation Vice President. I wanted to involve him in our fundraising planning because he has such a clear understanding of our financial needs that none of us on the committee have. So, we arranged to talk after the board meeting, early yesterday afternoon.

When we got together on Zoom, I told him how inadequate I felt. And I told him why I felt so inadequate:  the ever-expanding inconsistencies in how we handle different initiatives, and how the Foundation was becoming competitive with our doctor recruitment and retention campaign. It operates outside board policies in many ways.

Marc was, I can honestly say, horrified by what I told him. He took extensive notes and promised to talk to Dyan about how to remedy them. I was stunned. And then I got a bonus. He obliterated my sense of inadequacy. He said the nicest things. His responses have me the courage and strength to stay on in my role as chair of the committee, especially knowing that I had his support and easy access to him.

The intensity of the two days exhausted me. This clinic work is no walk in the park. It is hard work for me. My condition, and my nature as someone whose emotions can overwhelm me, makes it hard. But all this drama has come remarkable outcomes, action on the website and action on fixing the disconnect with the R&R campaign.

After my meeting with Marc, I wrote several emails about clinic business and disbursed them, then I took Sheba for a ball chasing session in the park before coming home to collapse from fatigue. But no sooner had I become comfortable on the couch when the phone rang. It was Nancy and more clinic thinking and typing. Finally, at 4:30 I was able to crash.

This morning, Marc and I talked some more. He clearly understands the problems we have between the board and the doctor recruitment campaign. I don't feel inadequate any more, I feel chuffed that we're working to bring the recruitment campaign back into line. During the two years of the campaign, not one ad, not one handbill, and not a single social media post has borne the logo or name of our Foundation!

And today, I'm writing about the Foundation's future as a fundraising organization. There has been no need for fundraising in the past, and now it is to become our most important activity for the foreseeable future. Big changes are ahead.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Chairman Chris

Tuesday began with a quick walk by the clinic, then I consigned Her Highness to the car whilst I went into the clinic for an important Communications, Membership and Fundraising (CMF) Committee meeting. We are about to get far more serious about fundraising, and naming a chairperson was on the agenda. 

I am now officially the chair of our CMF committee. It is a role I did not want, so when we reached that point in the agenda, I decided to remain silent. Dyan has been chairing our committee at my request because I told her I didn’t want to be chair. She chaired this meeting, and she made it very clear that she would not be continuing. Then she asked for a volunteer, and Don immediately said he thought I should chair it, and everyone agreed. I believe their enthusiasm for me to be chair was about them not wanting the responsibility.

However, I have a new member on the committee, Lu, and she is also working on R&R with me and she seems to be very easy to work with, very capable, and she seems to think about things as I do. She volunteered to draft a beginning fundraising plan, and she recognizes problems we have with the R&R committee we’re both part of. I think that she’ll be an asset to our committee.

Once out of the meeting, I came home to work on the blocks of my monologue, and to chill. I took some time to begin a new Donna Leon novel. I haven’t done any reading for almost a week. I’ve been far too busy, so it was very nice to relax by the fire with my book and the pets all around.

I feel like I’m perhaps an hour from being perfect. I can rip through my monologue now, but I still have blocks—none of them, though, are in the first 1500 words. They are all in the newest material I memorized. So all is very, very good.

 No photos today. I am too rushed. I'll explain why in tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Oh no, Mr. Bill: Equity Language Guides

Monday had me walk Sheba with my friends, go to the dentist, do some runs of my lines and housework. It was just another typical day at Pinecone Park. A day like every other, except for the delight I felt about the warm temperatures.

I have a clinic meeting this morning at 9:00. It’ll be short, I think, but tomorrow, a day that’s likely to be gorgeous, I have a 3-hour board meeting on Zoom. Damn. I’d rather be outside tidying up the front yard. Little by little, I am keen to bring order back to my yard and gardens. And soon, I have to order wood for Winter, and stack it.

Being woke is going too far now: The Sierra club’s Equity Language Guide discourages using the words stand, Americans, blind, and crazy. The first two fail at inclusion, because not everyone can stand and not everyone living in this country is a citizen. The third and fourth, even as figures of speech (“legislators are blind to climate change”), are insulting to the disabled. The guide also rejects ‘the disabled’ in favor of ‘people living with disabilities,’ for the same reason that ‘enslaved person’ has generally replaced ‘slave.’ The goal is to affirm, by the tenets of what’s called “people-first language,” that “everyone is first and foremost a person, not their disability or other identity.”

The guide’s purpose is not just to make sure that the Sierra Club avoids obviously derogatory terms, such as welfare queen. It seeks to cleanse language of any trace of privilege, hierarchy, bias, or exclusion. In its zeal, the Sierra Club has banned an awful lot of words: ‘Urban,’ ‘vibrant,’ ‘hardworking,’ and ‘brown bag’ are all condemned for subtle racism. ‘Y’all’ supplants the patriarchal ‘you guys,’ and ‘elevate voices’ replaces ‘empower,’ which used to be uplifting but is now condescending. ‘The poor’ is classist;’ battle’ and ‘mine field’ disrespect veterans;’ depressing’ appropriates a disability; ‘migrant’—no explanation, it just has to go.

Most of the guides draw on the same: A Progressive’s Style Guide, the Racial Equity Tools glossary. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Geeking Out

Sunday was another lovely day. It wasn’t bright and sunny, as was Saturday, but it was warm and walking Sheba was an absolute delight. 

The day began with Zooming with my BC stuttering group, and then Her Highness and I went walking. And after that, I came home to review my monologue a few times, and to just chill. After all, it was Sunday, my ‘do whatever I want’ day.

Watching Call the Midwife, Sanditon and Marie Antoinette, all on PBS, was a lovely way to end the day on the couch, by the fire and with all three pets around me.

I still hit blocks, but they are disappearing. All the words are solid, so over the next week, I expect the blocks to disappear. I have not rehearsed the last few hundred words nearly as often as I have the first 1,300. I never block in the first 1,300, so I am confident that I will be perfect when the time comes. 

But I’m wondering if they’ll even do the festival. I have heard nothing and the last time I spoke to the two directors, they were kind of worried about the other monologues. They were working with the authors to get them to performance quality, and they may not make muster. If it doesn’t happen, I won’t care. I wrote it, I was accepted and learned it. I’m chuffed by that.

The science geek within is having fun on Facebook. 

I had absolutely no interest in FB, but I had to join for my work with the clinic. And since I joined, I thought I might as well do some posts, but I did not want to say anything personal at all, so instead, I started posting science geeky things. I took several science courses at UBC, but I was an arts faculty member. I’ve always loved astronomy and geology, and so my posts are largely from those fields. And I’m getting a lot of likes and notes of appreciation. What fun!

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Day of Rest

I had an exhilarating day yesterday! I was high on the sense of surety I have about the monologue, and I spent lots of time outdoors cleaning up the courtyard that I see out my glass back doors from my desk, and it is. Just so, so uplifting to look out and see a tidy yard.

It was sunny and warm (15°!), and the air felt so fresh and fragrant. My neighbours on the north side were gone for the weekend and, of course, Merrill and Leo’s house is now empty, so I had no one overlooking me as I worked. I feel better when the yard looks healthy and cared for. What a great, great day! But man-oh-man, do I tire and overheat easily. I slept 9.5 hrs. last night.

And now it’s Sunday again, my day of rest. I’m not going on the big dog walk today because I have a Zoom meeting with my BC stuttering group. And the remainder of the day will be spent rehearsing my lines aloud, tidying the back deck and reading.