Sunday, April 30, 2023


I was outside at 8:00 am, using the weedwhacker to clear the cracks between the paving stones in the courtyard, and then I got busy pruning all the old fronds of the biggest Sword Ferns in the backyard garden. It is a wonderful time of day to be working outside when it is cool and fresh. I had an absolutely spectacular day working outside all day with Sheba at my side.

There is so, so very much to be done, but I love having such fulfilling work to do. At 9:30, I took Her Highness for a really lovely morning walk, and then I came home to plant all the plants that Ali and Peter gave me on Saturday. Normally, I clean up the lawns before I tackle the gardens, but not this year. It was lovely to see my gardens regain a look of being cared for. As each year passes, my gardens look better and better. But my goodness, I tire easily. Progress is slow, but steady, and the reward to my eyes is heavenly. 

This sudden change to Summer-like weather is shocking. I got so hot yesterday, I had to set up my fan by my desk to cool me down when I had lunch and took my breaks. My 10:30, it was already a lovely 18°—an ideal temperature for a day of working in the garden.

I was dying to mow the lawn, but my mower is shot. Luckily, I know the guy to call. At 12:30, when I reached a pretty deep level of fatigue, I took the mower to Doug’s place to leave it there to be fixed. How many times to I say to myself: “It’s always something!”

When I got back from Doug’s, I was truly impressed by how much I accomplished in the morning. It was very satisfying to see all the progress. Yes, I have days of work ahead, but I know that I’ll feel the same sense of pride and pleasure in my yard when my work is done. And Ali and Peter have offered me more plants, so I’ll be getting lots more for my gardens.

By 2:00 it was 22° and I was in heaven. I took Sheba for some ball playing at Rollo Park, and then got back to work on the yard. I worked until 4:00 and then I quit. I don’t know if it’s due to FND or not, it probably is, but my leat arm gets very trembly/twitchy and is kind of useless for working when I get tired. But what a day! I got lots done and I loved doing all the work.

And then … the spa. Yay! How I love getting into that nice warm water. My spa seats 8, so I have tons of room to spread out. I can lie down very comfortably, and I enjoy being totally submerged except for my face. It’s the ultimate way to relax. Then it was happy hour—for me a Diet Coke—then, dinner, more of The Diplomat, and bed.

I’ll be having another day like yesterday today. All this coming week is predicted to be nice, so I’ll get lots more work done during the week. Yay!

I got my tax return. And I may not go to Victoria. Money saved. I’m going shopping for plants. My gardens are starting to look mighty good. They’re about four years old now, so there’s more breadth and more altitude—and varied altitudes. I need some ground cover. Peter gave me a lot and I want a lot more, so I’m going shopping. 

Each year, my gardens look better. Each year at this time, I fall in love with Pinecone Park.  I have made a stunning private mini-park for myself where I love having people over for dinners or barbeques. And a place where I can swing in my hammock or read on my lounge chairs.

I feel blessed to be living here. I feel like the king of the world having such an expansive home and yard. I have trees. I own trees. The best thing about Pinecone Park is that it is jointly created by nature and me. Native Salal, Sword Ferns and Ocean Spray are resplendent in the park. The highlight of the season is when the massive bank of Ocean Spray blooms; the bank becomes covered in blossoms and the park is extremely and deliciously fragrant from their perfume.

It amazes me to recall that one day, looking at real estate online, I saw this house for sale. I loved looking at rural properties that I could afford to live in, but I had zero interest in moving. But when I saw this house, I went into action. A month and three days after seeing the ad, I moved in.

It feels like magic to me, my being here. As I said, I had absolutely no intent to move when I saw this house. I’d always looked at real estate and I’d daydream. FND made me take action. I could not support the noise and life downtown. I was living a miserable existence, When I saw the house, it was a way out of all the triggers of the city. It was an intuitive move, and I love myself for making that decision. I live in a fucking park.

When I did my monologue at the library, I could not show my video. I had to introduce my work. It was painful, but everyone was attentive, bless them all. I was really struggling to speak. No surprise there. And then I did my monologue. Then when they asked me questions, I was, of course, struggling again. I could genuine respect/affection on their faces—every one of them. After I answered their questions, they gave me another round of applause. There were about eight of them. We were in the lunchroom of the library.

That experience is why I don’t care about the Victoria festival. I got as big as a thrill as I want in the library, with my people, my fellow Gabriolans.

I wrote words I’m still proud of, and I memorized and recited them. I’ve said many times: for me, it’s the process, not the outcome. Doing a project like the monologue or the dresses take hundreds of hours or work to get to the outcome. The outcome a blip.

I searched my memories for the greatest excitements of my life. It was funny to think back of things and feel absolutely flat emotionally as I recall things that I know impressed me, but those impressions fade. It’s so disappointing. I remember spontaneously bursting into tears when I got my first glimpse, through the surrounding wall, of the Tal Mahal. Was it exciting? It doesn’t seem exciting to me. Emotional, definitely; but the emotion was awe.

Finding my birth mother? Scary, not exciting. 

Exciting experiences were these: opening night of a play I co-authored and produced (that later went on a national tour); winning a scholarship (for an essay I’d written) to study and work for a year in France; and going on safari for 15 days in Tanzania.

I thought of these things because I wanted to see if I would feel joy remembering them, but no. It’s very nice to remember them, but I don’t have an emotional bang.

But when I remember painful past experiences, I still feel my sadness and pain very strongly. I consider this a design flaw our species lives with. We are bilateral creatures. We need balance. This design flaw must be fixed. Who’s with me? 

Saturday, April 29, 2023


The ‘performance’ of my monologue at the library went extremely well. I did a shorter version, leaving some out to stay within the time limit set by the organizers. People had lots of questions when I was done, and no questions followed the other presentations. It was a fun event.

Yesterday was a day to remember. It was a glorious 21°—gorgeous and sunny but not so hot as to make working uncomfortable. It was a spectacular day. In the afternoon, after the library talk, I went over to Pete and Ali’s to get some plants from them. They were thinning their garden, and man-oh-man did they ever give me a lot of plants. I’ll be planting them all today and vastly improving the look of my garden. Woo hoo.

When I was four, my parents moved us to West Vancouver. That year, I met Marilyn and Doug Downey. Doug was my age; Marilyn was a year younger than us. They were a gift from God. Me, the untouchable child found family in Doug and Marilyn. I called their mother Auntie Jean, but rarely spoke with their father. It was Auntie Jean who told me what being adopted meant.

I’ve often wondered what Auntie Jean thought of me. I practically lived in their backyard, always waiting for Doug and Marilyn to come outside to play. I wonder if she realized what wasn’t happening and what was going on in our home. I was the feral child, always outdoors seeking company. I always was at their house; they never came to my house. None of my friends came to my home. I didn’t want them to see what we were and weren’t.

I grew up thinking that we’d be friends for life, but Doug and I were placed in different streams in junior high school. We had no classes together that year or any other of our six years at West Van High. That year, my mother had her first stroke and my beloved cat died. Worse, I started having to go to UBC two days a week for math; it felt like punishment to me. I hated being at UBC. One day, I walked out of my Social Studies class and went to the Vice Principal’s office. I begged to be able to stop the math classes and he let me stop. It was a hell of a year, but the worst part was losing the intimacy of my friendships with Doug and Marilyn.

As I searched and pined for a best friend, I discovered everyone was interested in sex and boyfriends or girlfriends, their studies or finding jobs, and then everyone was getting married and having kids. I despaired of ever having a friend like Doug and Marilyn again. It hurt to think that. Doug and Marilyn really were my family; I am not using a metaphor.

Perhaps you can imagine the overwhelming joy I felt yesterday when there, in my inbox, was an email from Marilyn. I wrote to her via a website I found many, many months ago, but I never heard back from her and I assumed I wouldn't. So yesterday I was in tears reading her warm and welcoming email. We've been furiously emailing back and forth and catching up. I couldn't be happier.

I’m surprised to find myself likely not performing my monologue. It isn’t a dead project for me yet, but I’m almost hoping that it is now that I know how rinky dink an event it will be. I love amateur theatre people, but I’m not keen to be one. Just as I did when I quit the clinic, I feel free with the prospect of performing waning. I have a ton of gardening and wood work to do and I’ll enjoy doing it slowly today and all of next week during the good weather.

A good friend and fellow dog-walker mentioned a Netflix series called Diplomat. I’m really enjoying it. It’s a rocket of talk, but the acting is great. It’s a clever script. The dialogue is amazing, but so is the game of power in they are playing. It’s good storytelling. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

Summer is Here

Last night I watched a 2-hour movie wherein every single actor was deaf—plus, none of them were vocalizing in any way, even groans. It was a bit of a gruesome story, but it was amazing to watch. They were all extraordinarily fast at signing. They finger-signed nothing. Amazing. Not one word is spoken in the entire film.

I spent the Monday moving very slowly, but I had an appetite and no longer felt nauseous. I seem to have made myself sick from over exertion. Normally, when I work, I take a rest as often as I need to, but on Wednesday, I had to try to keep up with Joe—rather, I felt I did. My hands hurt, my legs hurt, and my forearms really hurt; doing anything yesterday was mildly painful. Today will be much, much better. I already feel much more myself.

There is so incredibly much to do around the yard. I hope to do lots of yard work today, but I will not spend my day toting wood. I may do an hour or so of stacking, but that’s all. One-to-two hours a day is my plan, until it’s all in the shed. Besides, I have a date at the library to do my monologue.

And speaking of my monologue, it may not happen in Victoria. The producers are thinking of changing the dates, so Dianne and I must cancel our VRBO house by Monday if we don’t plan to go. This is amateur producing at its worst. And it looks like Cultivate, our Summer festival here on Gabriola, is fully programmed already for next year. So, all my writing and memorizing may not lead to a performance. The good thing is, I don’t care.

It's predicted to be in the mid-twenties today and tomorrow. I’m thrilled. The other thing that thrills me, is that I bought a maul. A maul is a really heavy axe with a wide back that forces the wood apart when you use it. It is absolutely amazing how easy it is to split the large pieces of wood that Joe created from the bucked pieces. I wish I’d known more about axes when I bought the axe that I’ve been using for the past six years.

Today is stunning. It’s already 18° and Her Highness and I had a fabulous morning walk with our friends. Now I’m home and I’m not going to do yard work because I am going to do my monologue in the library at 1:00. My friend Cynthia is coming to be with me. It’s going to be a great, great day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Wood Stacking

Tuesday’s weather was more of the same in the morning. I futzed through the early morning hours, then Her Highness and I went for a walk and to the store for some baking supplies. I came home to bake a cake for Allie’s birthday celebration last night. I made an apple cake. And what a lovely surprise: The sun came out in full glory at noon.

Dinner with Alli and Pete was fun. We played Scrabble after dinner and I was home and in bed by 10:00. 

Now, Wednesday. What a day I had!! Joe, the sexiest and most handsome man ever, was here when Her Highness and I came home from our walk. He got right to work, and I can’t say how horrified and impressed I was by his work. He made the 200-pound pieces of felled tree into split pieces. And while he chopped the immense sections of tree, I hauled the pieces into the shed and stacked them.

Dave, from next door, helped. He is such a wonderful man! Once I started working, I had two seizures and then, when Joe went into the village for lunch, I came indoors and lay down on the couch and had a 4-5 minute seizure. That hardly ever happens. When I returned to work, I was half the person I’d been in the morning.

I made it to 3:00 o’clock though, but by then I was so tired I couldn’t lift the pieces of wood. So, I came inside, cleaned myself up and lay down on the couch. I felt sick to my stomach; I had no appetite. I ate no lunch and by dinner time, I found the prospect of eating anything entirely off putting. I craved a toasted cheese sandwich but had no cheddar cheese.

At 7:30, I managed to eat a slice of bread and I felt better after eating it with some beans. However, I could not imagine watching a movie. I just lay on the couch, absolutely dead to everything, waiting for 8:00 o’clock to come when I went to bed.

This morning (Thursday) I am moving at normal speed but my arms are sore from all yesterday’s lifting and toting. I have wood to move today, but there’s no pressure now that Joe is gone. I can go at a slow, easy pace. I happened to weigh myself on Tuesday evening, and so I weighed myself again this morning. All that work yesterday had me lose 3 pounds in one day.

Today will be slow, but it will also be good. It’s likely to be 18° today, and 25° tomorrow. I’ll be doing the usual things, but also stacking some wood. It feels good to feel normal again. Honestly, I’ve never felt so exhausted as I did yesterday. I was a zombie.

Here are some images of work by Josh Gluckstein. He works largely with cardboard (and other found materials). I quite love his work, even though I wouldn’t really want one of his sculptures in my home.