Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Pollen is Here!!!

It’s pollen season, and you ain’t seen pollen season until you’ve seen it here. Here are some photos I took this morning. In a few more days, my entire courtyard will be bright yellow.

all that yellow is drifting pollen grains.

The cover of the spa.

Di left mid-afternoon on Thursday. On Friday, I didn’t touch the vacuum, the dishes or put anything that I used away until yesterday morning when, full of energy, I applied myself to restoring order to the lodge at Pinecone Park. After a roaring good night sleep, I was feeling back to normal and energized, and I was keen to address all the work needing done.

And oh, how great home looked when I was done! I worked diligently for 3 hours to get the place back to looking good, and then I was ready to take Her Highness for a walk before heading off to the village to visit the nursery, post office (to mail my taxes! Yes!) and to pick up some groceries. 

It was cool in the morning (3°), but it was lovely and clear and bright. However, by the time we got home from the village, the sky had become overcast and my desire to spend the day in the garden died. Consequently, after lunch I read until it was time for our second walk. We went to my favourite trail and as we walked, the sky cleared and so we had our golden hours, and it was beautiful to walk around the gardens. I’m particularly chuffed with the edible garden. It has never looked as good as it does this year.

When we got home, I was looking forward to seeing lots of activity around my bird feeders because I’d filled them all in the afternoon, and I’d put suet out, but I could see only one bird: a huge Cooper’s Hawk who was awaiting dinner. He left as I pulled into the driveway, and my small cheery winged friends birds returned–but not for long. When they all disappear, I know Mr. Cooper is around.

I did a minor in linguistics. I found it fascinating, but one course threw me. The teacher was a fellow named Irwin Shaw; he was weird and I, to this day, cannot fathom how he justified what he taught under the banner of linguistics. This was in the late 60s. He had overindulged on marijuana, hippie culture and pop psychology and vocabulary. I could muster no respect. I could not do much of what he did with us that year today; he’d be arrested. However, there was one thing he taught me that was a very practical tool for living, and for that, I am very, very grateful.

He placed two stacking chairs facing each other, and two meters apart. He’d ask for a volunteer to come forward who is troubled about some aspect of their life, and someone always came forth. He’d have the person sit on one of the chairs and say: “Ask your other self, who’s on the other chair, what’s wrong.” Then he’d have her switch to the other chair and answer the question, and that would continue, and we’d watch the person go back and forth about their problem. Often, after a while, the volunteer stops moving back and forth between the chairs. She stays on one chair but continues the dialogue out loud.

I have used this technique regularly through my life, and I’ve taught it to others because it has been so incredibly effective for me. A highlight of my experiences with this technique was when I asked myself why I was allowing myself to be addicted to marijuana.

First though, let me say that this is like everything else: it takes practice, but it’s easy if you are honest with yourself–and why wouldn’t you be, you’re alone when you do it–and if you ask the hard questions, because that’s how it works: one of you asks, and the other of your answers. You split yourself; you become the interrogator and the informant.

That night, after pushing myself to search within and questions that might impress a crown counsellor, I said: “I feel like I’m not alone.” I would never ever have thought of that on my own. Irwin’s technique is wholly responsible for dragging information from my subconscious mind. That’s what it seemed to me to be. Another time, out of nowhere, just like the marijuana session, I said: “I just want someone to love me.”

These are simple little statements that resonated profoundly with me. Each one taught me a significant aspect of my subconscious motivation. When Steve left me, this way of procession my concerns was a life saver. A mantra for me from Dr. Shoja is this: Frontal lobes Chris, frontal lobes!” And by that, she means for me to use the rational part of my brain to find my way through a crisis, because in a crisis, our emotional state compromises out rational capabilities. Also, being a single person most of my life, using the technique was bouncing things off myself because there was family member or close friend to consult.

Today, My Day, is brilliant and sunny. We’ll go on the big community dog walk, and then I’ll do garden work. It’s cool, but it’s going to be a wonderful day. And, except for Tuesday, we’re in for a week of good weather–not, however, with the high temperatures of a week ago.

Saturday, March 30, 2024


 I went to fitness yesterday and it overwhelmed me. I spent the rest of the entire day sleeping. And resting.  I was exhausted after Di’s visit and the class. Now, speaking of Dianne ….

I met her when we were both in UBC’s one-year teacher training program. I was overseeing the set construction being made for a student performing arts project that I put together. She was in the space where we’d later be performing, and she asked the people who she was with, pointing at me, “Who is that asshole?” She told me that while she was here. I’m going to ask her what I was doing to label me so.

We started ‘dating.’ I kept trying to not be gay. Our relationship was not sexual. Duh. She was my last try. A few years later I came out. She is about to hire a contractor to design and construct a major renovation to the basement of her house. She arrived flush with anxiety about the engagement process with the various companies vying for her money. She told me, soon after she arrived, that she’d be talking to Jane (who was coming to visit) and me, about her concerns.

And that’s what we did. Jane and I listened to her concerns, and as soon as we decided to have the talk, she brought out her notebook for the project. When I saw that notebook, I thought: She doesn’t have to worry! She gets A+++ for due diligence.  However, our talk together yielded results. She was feeling less anxious, and I really felt good about helping a friend.

The next day, we talked some more about the project, and again, she found value in the discussion. I know, because when something of value happens in the discussion, Dianne makes a note in her book. A+++ When we were talking before dinner, we talked about the value of conversations with trusted friends as single people. And when she left she referenced the value of the weekend for her anxiety about her project.

And I love her company, just like I did at UBC.  And I made an apple galette. I am conscious of how much I value visits from friends, so I want to reward and acknowledge their kindness with good food and conversation (she is deaf to my impairment), and walks, spas, and visits to local restaurants. 

Her proposal to visit more often, to be honest, deeply moved me. I felt wanted—loved even. Friends. Family.

Last night I watched Shogun. I wasn’t inclined, although I’d read rave reviews, because I don’t want to see fighting and conflict. But someone I know was watching it and said that they were on episode 6 and there’d been no fighting. WRONG! There was tons of fighting and horror, so I quit watching it.

We’ve stunning Spring weather for the next 4 days, so I’ll be doing yard work or whatever else I feel like doing. I think I’ll be going to the nursery and getting more soil and plants. It’s going to be great to be outside all day today.

Jade Vine

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Di's Departure Day

Wednesday was a delight! Sheba and I walked when the rain changed from heavy to light, and while I walked, I made a plan for our day.

When I got home, I proposed my plan to Dianne and she was up for it, so I went into the village to get some groceries, and then I came home to get busy making classic French Canadian split pea soup. That was what we had for lunch, plus we each had a yummy grilled cheese sandwich.

The Di went into the village to have a coffee with Mog, and I did laundry and then got comfy on the chaise. She came home with our pizza for dinner and so, after some chilling time, we ate it with a nice salad and then sat down to watch 3 Body Problem; she liked it, I thought it was a stupid waste of time. I’m not at all a fan of science fiction.

Di goes home today. I shall miss her company, but she has resolved to come and visit more often, and I couldn’t be happier about that because we are so wonderfully compatible. We'll improvise our day, it's not a day that invites us outside, but we'll enjoy being together today until it's time for her to catch the ferries back to Vancouver.

We’ve had a great, great visit!!