Thursday, November 30, 2023

Buffy Again; Hell in Nanaimo

 I believe it’s because I emerged into consciousness with no backstory that I’m so emotionally involved in the Buffy Sainte-Marie story. This is some text from a recent news item on CNN:

Canada’s Indigenous Women’s Collective is calling on the Junos Awards Committee to rescind her (Buffy’s) 2018 honour for Indigenous album of the year.

“We understand that traditional adoption comes with great responsibilities, it does not provide anyone permission to falsely claim Indigenous origin identity,” the collective said in a statement. “Being adopted into an Indigenous family and community does not authorize anyone to speak on behalf of all our people.”

The Indigenous Women’s Collective also condemned Sainte-Marie for what they called her appropriation of the trauma that many Indigenous people have experienced.

A 2022 report by Métis lawyer Jean Teillet for the University of Saskatchewan suggests that tens of thousands of people in Canada are pretending to be Indigenous, and that the number is growing.

TallBear* said she hopes that the CBC’s investigation into Sainte-Marie and similar cases in recent years will prompt institutions to more thoroughly vet claims of Indigeneity, rather than taking people at their word.

“Now what we really need to do is at universities, different professional organizations, go beyond self-identification. You can’t just check a box. You have to provide some sort of testimony or documentary proof that you have citizenship in or kinship relations with a First Nation or a tribe,” she said.

·       Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Society, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta.

Wednesday was brutal. I left here at 8:30 am to walk Sheba before lining up for the 9:20 ferry. It was dismally dark, damp and cool. Once on the big island, I went to Budget Glass to buy my second piece of ceramic glass for five hundred bucks. Fixing my fireplace has cost me a thousand dollars, but now, I’m confident, it is fixed and will last. Plus, I have a template to keep should the glass break again. 

Then we went to Wallmart for more pet supplies before heading back into the city to first walk Sheba again, and then to meet Bev for lunch at a new restaurant I had discovered online called Melange. I was not confident that Bev would be there or that the restaurant would be open. Plus, it was a bitch to find parking. I was stressed to the max as I hurried to the place. But it was open, and she was there.

Lunch together was wonderful. The restaurant is lovely, slightly hip, and quiet. Quiet is essential for me if I am going to be able to talk. We had a great time; we loved our server, and the food was wonderful. Then I was off to the eye doctor. My appointment was for 2:35. I saw him at 3:50 and I was stressed to the max from the waiting. Sheba had been alone in the car too much by then.

Finally, it was over, we made a bee line to the ferry and just missed one, so we went for a walk and caught the next one, getting home at 5:15. It has been a long day. I had to feed all the pets and then I put the glass into the door. It was an excellent fit, and so then I built a roarer of a fire to heat my cold house. 

In the evening, I wrote my essay for Dr. Shoja, whom I see on Monday via Zoom. I’m really pleased with what I have written, but I have time to refine it before our appointment.

Today will be spent enjoying every second of being home and not having to do anything but what I want. I absolutely crashed last night when I got home. It was classic me. I get myself through all that I need to do, and then I go to pieces once all the demands are met. I felt like I was going to explode last night. I wanted to sell this place and move to where I don’t need wood for heat, a generator, a splitter and where a strata council handles all repairs. I felt completely overwhelmed by life last night. So, today is about rest and relaxation. I’ll also attend to little things around the house needing doing.

But most of all: R&R!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Broken Glass

Well…I’m terribly impressed with myself because I hauled my butt outside and split wood for an hour yesterday afternoon. It was cool and overcast, but there was no rain again all day, and it wasn’t bad, doing the work, at all. But it hurts my back bending over to place the wood on the splitter and holding it there as it is split.

I can. However, sustain doing it for an hour and in my hour yesterday, I split enough wood to take me to David’s visit, and when he’s here, I hope to get his help in splitting more wood. It’s an entirely different thing, going outside my comfort zone when I have company to help me. But I’m really chuffed I got as much done as I did.

Also, I got the bed out of the car, tidied the car, and installed the extra seats I need for when Paula and David are here. That, too, is work outside my comfort zone. Yesterday was a productive day, and once I was done, I took Her Highness walking before grabbing my book and hitting the chaise for a recovery read.

In the evening, I was pooped. I went to bed and 9:00 and slept soundly until 5:00 this morning, when I got up to face a busy day in Nanaimo meeting my friend Bev for lunch, dealing with the glass door of the fireplace insert, and getting supplies for David and Paula’s visit in the big box stores.

That meant removing the glass from the door and it wouldn’t budge. I sprayed WD40 all around the edges and tried again and I broke the glass. However, it didn’t shatter, so I was able to use the broken pieces to make a new smaller template. Sigh. The glass I broke was less than two weeks old and it cost five hundred bucks! Damn.

But I reckon this new template will sustain the expansion and contraction of the frame of the metal door. I’m hoping for a case of second time lucky.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

FND and Neglect; Buffy Again

This is an experimental grove of trees, deep in the foothills of the Sierras, that was planted long ago by people at UC Berkeley. My understanding was that it was to study tree growth in relation to planted distance. And while it goes unnoticed from ground level, from the air it becomes one of the most unique sights in the forests of California.

'Being "Indian" has little do with sperm tracking and colonial record keeping,' says Buffy Sainte-Marie. This woman, whom I once revered, is nothing to me now, but her music is still, and will always be, her music, and some of it is brilliant. However, our current movement is called “truth and reconciliation.” The first word is truth. One’s truth is not universal truth; her truth is BS to me. 

Here's a comment from Indigenous actor Joel D. Montgrand: “It’s not our fault—those feelings we had of pride and joy when we celebrated these people were legitimate. We love to see our people succeed. After all, we’re just trying to find our paths and flourish in our own careers. But we keep being overshadowed by people who have a strange fetish for our cultures…. We’re resilient, intelligent, hilarious people. We have to be in order to survive. Our voices can and should raise above the noise.”

Monday was bright and sunny. It was a great day. I did lots of house cleaning and tidying and I got a start on cleaning the car—inside and out. The car gets so untidy, so easily. Every time I and Sheba get in, we both bring tons of crap into the car in my shoes and in her hair. Plus, I must take the bed out and put in two chairs to that when Paula and David are here, there is a seat for everyone.

And I read through mid-day. It felt good to get back to my book and in the reclining position. I expect I’ll be up to more today. There are things needing doing. I need another hour on the splitter to get through the next few weeks. Using the splitter or the generator are both things I don’t like doing. I’m not a machinery guy.

In the evening I watched The Seagull, a contemporary and wonderfully, magical version by National Theatre. It was breathtaking and one of the cleverest staging I can recall seeing in decades. How I love National Theatre at Home.


Oxford University publishes a journal called Brain. In their November 2022 edition, there was an article written by six researchers titled: Identification of biopsychological trait markers in functional neurological disorders. I read these studies like this one because it is so unquestionably authoritative, and in this one, I came on this sentence: “Additionally, emotional neglect was identified to be much stronger associated with the symptom development, and thus weakened the dominating role of sexual abuse in the suspected aetiology of FND.”

Just one sentence in a complex article that was challenging to read, meant a great, great deal to me. This sentence reinforces the diagnosis I was given by Dr. Shoja and it affirms my faith in her. This sentence makes sense of my condition and I am very grateful to the writers and publisher for making it accessible to patients. Knowledge is power. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Busy Days


Saturday was another gorgeous day! Stacey and I walked our dogs together, starting at 7:30 in the dawn of morning.  So, the day was long. I did not do any yard work. Instead, I went shopping and came home to make some chowder. It’s acceptable, but not great, and then, at noon, I napped. Oh, how I love napping when I am tired. Ethel was on my lap; I was beyond contented.

I read in the afternoon, took Her Highness to the park to play fetch, and kept the fire reasonably high throughout the day. I was made for retirement, but not a moment of life prior to the onset of my condition, betrayed that capacity that I now value so highly. I was a workaholic and for much of my adult life I was also a marijuana addict. Now I have some marijuana in capsules periodically, and reading on the chaise is my preferred state. It's been a big turnaround. 

Stacy is off to Mexico. Kevin is off to Panama and Costa Rica. Bruce is going to Italy in the Spring and he’s just returned from TO and NYC. Eoin, François and Jay all just returned from Japan. Yesterday morning, after I got up and fed the family, jet Her Highness out and lit the fire, I went back to bed—not to sleep, just to rest in my favourite place on earth. Traveling is easy to resist. Travelling—not being in your destination(s), taking public transportation has become something to endure. It was once thrilling and very easy and enjoyable to do.

I loved travelling. Taking trips was my ultimate pleasure. And I have done just about all of it alone. Friends came to visit when I was in France, India and Africa because I went to these places for extended stays. They became favourite memories, but I’ve had enough adventures to satisfy me. Now, living in Pinecone Park with three (animal) children on, an island in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island and the most moderate climate in our country, I am thrilled to have my bed on infinite pleasures to go to at the end of every day. 

PS: Whenever I am in my bed, I am never ever alone.

I’ve loved animals my entire life. Ignored by the Tyrells, I found comfort in our pets—especially, Alec. My first love. It is such a story! He was born across the street from us, and given to their next door neighbour. Our huge dining room windows looked directly at the exposed yard of those neighbours, and I watched that poor cat scratch and the windows, asking to get inside, for years. I ached for Alec being left outdoors.

But outdoors was a big part of my world. When I was at home, I was alone in a room, but was a free-range child. It suited them, so I was almost always outside or at my friends, the Downeys, whenever I wasn’t sleeping or at school. I’d visit Alec often. And then, those neighbours moved to California, and they gave Alec to me. And we bonded, me and my first and deep, deep love. And adopted, like me. No parents (custodians), no siblings, and then Alec. When I met Alec, I knew how empty were my feelings for the Tyrells.

He's been present my whole life. When I look at Fred, also male, I consider him loved to Alec level. That is my term for a true and deep bond. And I have that, three times over, with my three lovelies. They anchor me here, as does the garden in Summer, to the park, to my bed.


Sunday was cool and overcast. There was neither sunshine nor rain. We began our day with the big community dog walk and I enjoyed myself because I spent much of my time walking with Lars, a fellow I met on the walk two weeks ago. He’s a warm and friendly fellow, a forester, and his partner, Mary, is also a lovely person. However, I have only really talked with Lars as Mary always leaves pretty quickly to join her soccer team practice.

I came home to a phone out of order. It took forever to fix it, and to fix it I had to move the fridge out of its home and into the kitchen so I could access the phone jack where it emerges from withing the framing of the house interior walls. And the floor where the fridge had been, was just disgusting. So, a thorough cleaning of the floor was in order.

Then I got to making the desserts I wanted to bake to take to Ali and Pete’s where I was invited for dinner. I decided to make pastries like I’d seen and loved in Italy. To make them involves making puff pastry (which akin to turning coal into diamonds). And to make the cones, I discovered something genius. I wrapped strips of puff pastry around a sugar cone that I covered with tin foil. 

I coated the raw dough with egg wash and a good sprinkling of powdered sugar. I let them cool once they were baked (standing up for even baking!) and then filled them with whipping cream and I sprinkled chopped up caramelized pecans on the top. Then, I lay them on their side and drizzled strings of melted chocolate over them, and I was pleased with them. They looked just like the pastries I’d seen in Florence.

Pete and Ali were impressed with my dessert, and we all liked eating them. Then we watched Waiting for Guffman, a favourite movie from years ago. And I was home by 9:00, and I did something I’ve never done before. I lit the fire, closed the damper quite a bit, loaded some wood onto the hearth and went to bed. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I added one more piece of wood to the fire and went back to bed. When I got up this morning, the house was toasty warm and there was wood to add to the fire.

Today, I rest. I’m pooped from socializing on the weekend, and the baking. I’ll be walking with my friends and then reading on the chaise. No yard work, no baking, nada; it’s a day of rest, because on Wednesday I go back to Nanaimo and the eye clinic.