Sunday, July 30, 2023

Lovin' my Governments

Saturday was glorious. I had no pain, few tinglies and the weather was ideal. Her Highness and I went for a walk together before checking out the farmers’ market, got some plants from the nursery, and picked up 12 more pavers. And I did a load of laundry. I love hanging up the clean laundry on the line!

I was still high on Friday’s CAYA experience. I kept thinking about it during the day, but this time without tears. 

I finished the footpath. I’d work for about 10 minutes and then have a good long rest—like half an hour of resting—before doing another 10 minutes of work. That’s how I got the pavers from the car to the site, and then into place. Filling in the soil in the cracks and along each side of the path was easy with my knee pad and working on my hands and knees. I’m very happy that the project is finished. Now I wait for all the moss I planted to spread over the soil between all the cracks. It should look pretty good in a few months.

Ron came by to walk Sheba. He’s been walking her every day and I think they both love their time together. Ron has always walked his dogs, but as the aged (they are 14 and now Sitka is gone) he had to walk just short distances and very, very slowly. Now he enjoys walking at a healthy pace and having a younger dog to walk with. It’s win for all three of us. Nancy happened by later in the day and said walking with Sheba is helping Ron cope with the loss of Sitka. After Ron and Sheba came home, Ron left, and I got to watering gardens.

In the evening, I went outside to admire the new footpath and to place the new plants I got where I want to plant them tomorrow. And I want to buy more plants. I’m addicted to gardening, and I couldn’t be happier.

I love going outside into the backyard at night. Pinecone Park has never ever looked as good as it does now. Clean roofs, a renewed deck, many more plantings this year and a new garden where the deck steps once were, all these things, plus the new dining set, make the yard look inviting and comfortable. My fellow islanders who visit like it for its comfortable coolness. Our Summers are hot and dry. The yard is mostly in shade because I have about 30 huge Fir trees on my property.

I’m relieved to be comfortable, if slightly lame, again. I want to stay here as long as I can. Everything growing here (except one Rhodo and 8 Ferns) was planted by me. Watching everything grow is thrilling for me. This year was significant. Things are maturing and it motivated me to do a lot more planting, to fill in holes. I’m going to do more of that next year and then the gardens will be full.

My new hoses are fabulous. They make watering much, much easier for me. Each of them is 100 feet long, so I can water everywhere very easily. There’s a lot to water here.

I wrote the thank you letter of a lifetime last night. I wrote it to Rheanne, who is my caseworker with CAYA. I am still overwhelmed by her warmth, and Nic’s, and the largess of the program. Rheanne pulled out of her bag, a device that did exactly, I mean exactly, what I wanted. And then there were more things. An iPad mini loaded with the most incredibly awesome speech generator I’ve ever seen. And a ‘buggy board.’ It’s a writing pad with a memory. Imagine a government agent knocking on your door and handing you the best gifts you’ve ever received.

Since losing my speech, the federal government has dropped the percentage I pay when I pay income tax, and the applied the discount retroactively from the onset of my condition and gave me a cheque for $10,000 in tax refunding. And the provincial government has sent me Rheanne and all her toys. What overwhelms me is not the money or the devices, it’s the kindness. I am deeply moved to be recognized and aided by my governments. It’s deeply affected me.

I was an outspoken arts worker when I was young. I picketed cultural institutions that hired non-Canadian artistic directors, and I picketed personal appearances of politicians who had bad or no arts policies. But I also volunteered with the NDP and worked, for a while, for the federal government. Then I became cynical, and I’ve remained as distant from politics as I can.

So, this experience with CAYA has been a nice bookend to my life, as concerns government relations. 

On my travels, I went many places and met many people. And my favourite thing to tell them about Canada was that I, a nobody, had met 5 Canadian prime ministers. I met Diefenbaker and traveled with him on a plane. I met Joe Clark and was enormously impressed by him even though he was with the wrong party for me. I met John Turner because I lived in his riding, and he came to my door. I met Trudeau because he came to officially open the theatre I’d designed and built in North Vancouver. And I met Kim Campbell and I’ve also once stepped in manure.

I think telling people that says something wonderful about Canada—that accessibility. Kim Campbell made a promise to me and then broke it. Then she called to ask me to help her stage a meeting. My experience with her was just one of zillions that made me cynical.

Today I will walk Her Highness, go to Silva Bay for a lunch of fish tacos from the food truck in the little park by the sea. There will be dogs, kids playing and several booths with artists and craft persons selling from booths on the lawn. Then, at 4:00, more prosecco, this time with Kris and Nancy. Then we go to Woodfire for dinner.

This is my second little party in the garden this week. And there will be more when Steve is here. Everyone says nice things about the garden. It makes me feel great to hear their compliments, even though I pooh-pooh them. I’ve really taken to gardening, and it just happened. As I’ve often written, there’s never been a plan. Things just happened. 

I thought I’d need the fence to contain Sheba when I got her. But it wasn’t necessary. Sheba never leaves the yard and never has. But it did mean I could have a garden because the fence kept the deer out. And here we are: Gardening during the warm months; reading during the cold and wet.

Some ancient painted this! 

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