Tuesday, January 30, 2024


Warm but wet; yesterday’s morning walk was undertaken in full rain dress. I had my rubber pants on as well as my wellies and hooded raincoat. It looks so uninviting when I’m all dressed in my clean clothes after a nice warm shower, but once I’m out there, I love being in the trails on so lovely and mild a day. 

After the walk, HH and I went into the village for groceries before coming back to Pinecone Park and the comfort of home by the fire. Sadly, I finished my latest book. It’s always disappointing to finish a book I’ve enjoyed reading. On the other hand, I get to start another. My elder solitary life with books is a bookend to my childhood, which was also solitary and filled with books. How many kids have read the entirety of Charles Dickens while I was in elementary school; the Tyrel’s were not readers. One of them must have inherited the Dickens set.

Last night was dreadful. A powerful windstorm came in and there are branches down everywhere. Our North Road is covered in branches this morning. Drivers had to frequently stop to mush large branches off the road, and my garden got badly hit. It was the first storm of this season, and it was a doozy! But last night was also the warmest night so far of this Winter. It was 11° this morning at 5:30.

Steve called in the afternoon. He was, as expected, laid off. He’s had the weekend to ponder things, present and future, so he was prepared and had questions and a post-employment plan. I’m thrilled for myself. I can call whenever I want, and he can stay longer when he comes in the Summer.

He has sufficient resources to retire. I’d move out of LA If it was me. He, however, has his partner living just down the street, and a bazillion distractions to help him pass time and enrich his life. Perhaps his partner, Tim, will retire as well. One day he will, and Steve’s adventure might change again.

In the afternoon, it was 13°!

My poor speech gets a lot of ink on this blog. Seizures would be my second most talked about subject. Physical involuntary movements are my third most common complaint. Which is to say, my condition is my obsession. But I’ve just realized I have not lamented some things: The loss of my drive, my ability to concentrate, and my love of creating. It’s such a shame that I’ve lost these things, and just as I move into a home with a detached large studio.

I have so much time to fill. But …. When I was around 12 years old, I saw a comedian named Shelly Berman appear on television on the Ed Sullivan Show. In his act, a punch line was: “My get up and go, got up and went.” It really made an impression on me. I thought it was terribly clever. It has been in my mind ever since. And here I am, happily living that joke. 

I think my spirit has died. But as I say, I enjoy my life. It’s just a different kind of life. It’s very slow and solitary in the Winter. And I really like this life. I need calmness; it’s part of my FND management strategy. And I have it.

I always said that I felt like a bubble on a river to explain my relationship with life and fate. Later, I was to say I felt like a pin ball. It was the same idea, but faster and more dangerous. Now, I feel like the bubble again, but I’m caught by a twig bending low and flat over the water. Now, the water rushes by, but I stay still and wait to burst. This is how it goes.

I was shocked when I discovered the different care practices between “innocent” babies and we “other” ones. We were the bastards, unintelligent and “deformed.” All of us born into a Catholic home for unwed mothers and their unwanted children. We were the rejects. We were housed out of sight. I found all this out when I was 25 years old when I returned to the facility. The practice offended me; the Catholic care workers undertook appalling practices, yet their public face was pious.

As I aged, I came to question some of my memories. I could remember the story, but I’d lost any sense of the actual experience. I’m careful now. I say, ‘this is what I remember’ when I am telling stories. But since the revelations of the horror of residential schools and the bodies found in their land, I have confidence in my memories my visit so long ago.

For decades, decades, after that visit, I often told the story of that day, and when I did, there was one part of it that I never forgot to include: while I was meeting with the woman representing the Caltholic Charities, she excused herself to go to the washroom, and left my file on her desk. And I sat there and never touched it. I just sat there waiting for her to come back, and got angry that everything I wanted was so close and yet unavailable to me.

The woman had begun by saying how wonderful it was the God got me into a loving family. Uh, NO! But I stayed neutral so as not to offend her in any way, hoping my politeness might reveal something valuable about my birth parents. However, her opening remarks made her the part of the institution that failed me.

But then, one day while I was telling this story, I suddenly realized that that wonderful woman had probably excused herself, leaving that file there for me to open, on purpose. I hope that’s true because it has calmed me, somewhat, lessening my loathing of the Catholic church and all churches. Oh, how I wish I could thank that woman.

This morning, late, I meet with Dr. Shoja, then I go to Nanaimo to shop and to pick up Dwight to bring him back here to visit until tomorrow afternoon.

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