Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The grace of the world

Atlin Lake BC in 2000
From my Panhala poetry feed:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.  

~ Wendell Berry ~

I like the phrase "forethought of grief". It's about not grieving tragedy in advance, about not letting despair around environmental destruction destroy you.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 1998, and a play

Middle-aged Yohan, in Ottawa
Not only is this month the fiftieth anniversary of les événements de Mai  it is also the twentieth anniversary of a personal sort. In 1998 I went on a four-month road trip across Canada, managing to visit every territory and province except Nunavut. I travelled in my 1991 Chevy S10 truck with my 16 year old dog Yohan. He died a few months after we returned from that trip. He was a good companion for road tripping and I knew he probably wouldn't survive the year, being so old. It was my fiftieth year and I felt I needed to do something to mark it. I managed to convince my employer to give me a four month sabbatical and took off toward the end of May. I kept a journal, I wrote emails and I took a lot of photos. When I got home again I packed it all away and focussed on my dog's last days. Then I moved on in my life.

I always intended to do something with all that material but it seemed like a daunting task so nothing happened. Yesterday I revisited that idea and hauled out the photo album and journal. I went through my saved emails and transcribed them to Word documents. At the time I was using a now-defunct email program, Eudora, so transcribing was a bit finicky. But it's done now. Then I went through the photos. At the time I thought labels were not necessary, my memory would suffice. Hah! In the journal I at first noted whenever I took photos so that looked promising, but apparently I soon dropped the practice due no doubt to unwarranted trust in my memory. Some of them are obvious but a lot are not.

Youthful Yohan, in Wolfville
Anyway, what I hope to do is post some of this material on the days that correspond to the journal entries. I don't know how far I will get, it's a lot of transcribing and scanning of photos. I may end up doing some of it retroactively. The most memorable part of the trip was from Port Hardy at the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Inuvik near the Arctic Ocean and back to Whitehorse in the Yukon. During that time I came close to losing Yohan which was traumatic. I would have cancelled the whole trip and headed back to New Westminster where I lived if that had happened. One veterinarian I took him to recommended that I let him go and I simply couldn't do it. But he survived and in some ways the rest of the trip was a postscript to that moment.

Old Yohan, in Toronto
What got to me yesterday was looking at photos of Yohan. For some reason I had consigned all the photos of Yohan to this album so for years I wondered why I didn't have any pictures of him, I forgot that they were in the 1998 Road Trip album. But there they were, especially a favourite taken when he was still a mature but healthy beauty. After he died I missed him a lot, I used to dream of his return for years after. In fact those dreams did not stop until I got Hapi, my current doggy companion.  When I looked at these old photos of Yohan I felt very sad. Not because I missed him but because I didn't. I had forgotten him. I looked at those photos and felt nothing, and that made me sad; that it was so easy to forget someone.

The feeling of sadness stuck with me for the day. In the evening I was ushering for a Stage Prophets musical, The Children of Eden. It was a joyful musical but I had a hard time feeling joyful. A friend of mine was responsible for costume design and the costumes were truly imaginative and amazing. the first act was about Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, the second act about Noah and the Flood. In both acts a host of animals participated, from mice to elephants, alligators to ostriches. The giraffes in particular were applauded. I do have to say though that the musical did not portray God ("Father") in a particularly positive light. he seemed a tad vindictive, who justified his actions as the exigencies of fatherhood. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but it was definitely an enjoyable performance. Not exactly a cast of hundreds, but pretty darn close.

FYI, the photos of Yohan here are clips from other photos which I did because I had apparently "lost" all my photos of him. I'll try to scan some of the better photos of him from that old 1998 road trip photo album.

Friday, May 11, 2018

May 1968

In 1966 I started my first year of university, I was 18. I had won a couple of scholarships that enabled me to live in residence and still have enough money to pay tuition and books, I had worked a summer job that also helped financially. It was my first time living away from home.

Even though I detested French in high school I had ended up going to a college that required all first year students to take French, and so was enrolled in a small class taught by an Englishwoman who happened to be fluent in French. Miss Dawes. She was a likeable sort and several of us used to hang about her office and she started encouraging us to go to Europe as students. She said we were at the age to truly appreciate it, and there were all sorts of savings and discounts if one was a registered student. A few of us were convinced and she helped us do it. We each picked a French university to enrol in and she guided us through the complicated and extensive paperwork to get ourselves registered. She cautioned us that the universities would try to enrol us as foreign students and we should insist on being regular students. In those days that was possible and tuition in France was ridiculously low, but the universities would prefer us to be foreign students because they made more money that way.

Long story short, I got myself enrolled as a regular student at l'Université de Rouen, which is half way between Le Havre at the mouth of the Seine and Paris. I worked my butt off that summer to make money to pay for this. My father was dead against it because he had been in France in the war and considered it an awful place. And in the meantime my personal life went all to hell and I very nearly did not go to France or anywhere else at all, but when I tried to explain to Miss Dawes why I couldn't go, she said that if I really wanted to go she would make it happen. And she did. I am indebted to her, my life would have turned out very differently were it not for her.

So I went to France in September of 1967. In spite of 5 years of lousy high school French and one year of very good college-level French, I was almost completely unable to speak the language and totally terrified when I arrived in Dieppe. But Miss Dawes spent her summer getting married to the Harbour Master of Dieppe, and I was able to spend my first few days with her and her new husband before setting off for Rouen. I never saw her again after that.

Of course there were a lot of adventures and scary moments and the year I spent living in France was probably one of the most intense of my life. But that is not why I am writing this. Well it is, but it's not why I am writing it now.

Last weekend I was browsing around on Youtube and came across a video documentary (in French) about 'les événements de Mai' in Paris France, 1968. I realized that it was the fiftieth anniversary. My French is pretty rusty now and I only understood half the dialog, but I certainly understood what it was about because I was there. I recognized Dany le Rouge even before they said his name.

Last night CBC Ideas did an hour-long radio documentary on the same subject, interviewing some of the players and witnesses at the time. I listened to it and it bothered me. In the broad strokes it was accurate and certainly I cannot argue with witness accounts, but I felt like the creators of the documentary really didn't understand, they weren't there. For one thing they kept harping on this idea that it all started from students in Nanterre wanting to sleep with their girlfriends in the university residences. There was a tape of Dany Cohn-Bendit saying that apparently, although I think he was just being cheeky. I'm sure it was said but to trivialize the whole thing that way was offensive.

I lived in residence at Rouen. The university was not actually in Rouen but in Mont-Saint-Aignan, a suburb on one of the hills surrounding the city. It was a new university like Nanterre, built to serve the huge numbers of young people going to college then. And men weren't allowed in the women's dormitory or vice versa, but it was done. Besides, most of the French girls I met in residence had zero interest in letting a man into their rooms. I think it must have been the same at Nanterre. Over the course of the winter I made friends with a group of people who met regularly in one of the guys' dorm rooms, Romain's, during the daytime. When Romain and I became close friends I spent the occasional night at his place, but we weren't sleeping together. We also did volunteer work together, fixing up homes for people who couldn't afford it otherwise. Some of the students in the group belonged to an organization called Jeunesse Communiste Revolutionnaire (JCR). I didn't think anything of it, they were my friends. Then the revolution happened.

It started in Nanterre and very quickly, almost immediately, moved to la Sorbonne in Paris. Le quartier latin became a battlefield between students and police ('les flics'), and we at all the provincial universities wanted to be part of it. So when the students in Paris occupied la Sorbonne, we occupied le Faculté des Arts. That meant we had to guard it against rightwing (fascist) students so we took turns occupying the building around the clock. When we occupied le Fac we mostly spent the night sitting around in the hallways, drinking coffee and listening to music. Mostly French pop music of course, but I remember Bob Dylan being played a lot.

When the Paris students occupied l'Odéon in Paris we were going to take le Théatre des Arts in Rouen. We marched en masse down the mountain and down rue Jeanne d'Arc (Rouen's main street) almost to the river and gathered shouting slogans in front of the theatre. All able-bodied policemen in the provinces had been sent to Paris, all that was left in Rouen were older men with batons. They formed a line in front of the theatre and smiled at us, all they had were those batons hanging from their belts. There was some shouting and some fiery speeches, but in the end no one wanted to beat up some old men. The crowd dispersed.

The unions went out on strike, many of the unionists came to the university. Classes had been cancelled and instead there were forums of students, professors and unionists, talking about how France could be changed to be a better place. It was very exciting. In the news the unions and the students were turning everything upside down, de Gaulle had left town and it really looked like change was happening.

I wanted to go to Paris to see what was happening there, the epi-centre of the revolution. I hitchhiked and got a ride with some other students going to Paris for the same reason. During the winter I had discovered this wonderful hostel on the edge of Paris that I knew I would be able to stay at, a very sympat place. All along the highway to Paris there were abandoned cars on the shoulders. Because of the general strike there was no gasoline, when you ran out there was nothing to do. The city itself was topsy turvy. People in business suits were walking into the middle of traffic trying to cadge a lift to where ever they had to go. And the army was there. We were standing on a sidewalk when a big army truck with canvas over the back pulled up and two soldiers with automatics over their shoulders got out and waved us to the back of the truck. We lifted the edge of the canvas and the truck was full of people. We squeezed in. The truck drove away and people would lift the edge of the canvas to peak out, when you saw the place you wanted to get off you shouted to the soldiers who shouted to the driver and the truck pulled over and let you off. We arrived at le quartier latin in that way.

The cafés were open and full of people. There were big oil drums here and there with fires in them and police standing around them. Lots of police, but no one doing anything, it was business as usual, shopping, lounging in cafés, nothing out of the ordinary except of course all the police standing around barrels of fire. We walked to la Sorbonne. As we got closer we saw the barricades and the torn up streets (students pulled up paving stones to throw at les flics). The entrance to la Sorbonne was guarded by a group of students, you had to have a student card to get in. Thank you Miss Dawes!!! I went in.

The main courtyard was lined with huge banners and signs with many students milling around. Everywhere were political discussions and signs to various forums being conducted in the lecture halls. It was a Communist Revolutionary's dream come true! I remember that one of the large banners hanging in that courtyard was a recipe and instructions for making a Molotov Cocktail. I went to one forum and listened. There were heated discussions about what the outcome to all of this was going to be. People were planning for a future in a whole new world, it was going to be a revolutionary society. The excitement and exhilaration of being instrumental in a huge change to the country was so thick you could taste it.

Later, outside, I was sitting at a café and people were getting ready to leave. It was almost 5pm and the unspoken agreement was that if you were on the street before 5 it was just a normal day but after 5 it was a war zone. If you didn't want to be in the war it was time to leave. I left.

I stayed at the hostel on the edge of the city that night and everyone there shared stories of what they had seen and heard. The next day I returned to Rouen. While I was away, the rightwing fascist students had attacked le Fac and taken it from the leftists. They burned all the student records in the registrar's office. Romain was in his last year and was devastated, he would not be able to graduate. We had become close but he left in the night without telling anyone. That upset me because he was my best friend, but I felt bad for him. Soon after I decided I needed to leave too. I went to England for a couple of weeks to get away from the intensity. I hitchhiked around, staying at hostels, and telling stories of what was happening in France. English students thought it was hilarious and told stories of how intense French students were about politics. In a way I was shocked by their cavalier attitude because I had been taking it all very seriously. After two weeks I returned to Rouen.

The revolution was over. There is a big sandstone cliff overlooking the city of Rouen, someone had carved la croix de Lorraine (looks like a cross with two horizontal arms instead of one) on it. To me, it was like seeing a swastika, it was the symbol of de Gaulle. The mood was glum. I saw a few friends briefly to say goodbye and then went to Paris to meet a Canadian friend who was coming to spend a few weeks of the summer travelling with me. I was glad to see her and tried to explain les événements de Mai to her but I could not convey what it really meant. She could not possibly understand. We had fun and I don't regret it but in my heart I was devastated. At the end of the summer I came home knowing that revolution doesn't work, it can't be done. Every revolution carries within it the seeds of its own demise.

I wrote a few letters to my great aunt Dora about my trip and she wrote to me. After I returned home she gave me all of my letters, saying I should keep them for my records. But I did not. I never took a camera so no pictures. I did buy a couple of books published later in the summer full of photos of les événements de Mai, particularly some of the many wonderful slogans and posters, but I never hung onto those either. A couple of friends in Rouen wrote to me of the aftermath, it was not good. The radio documentary on CBC tried to say that it changed the world but they did not specify how that was and my friends there did not think things changed for the better. Because of the timing most students lost their year, Romain lost four years because of the student records being burnt.

I particularly remember the great Gaulliste demo on les Champs Elysées, hundreds of thousands of de Gaulle supporters, a bigger demo than any the students mounted. the photo in the newspaper was so shocking, I could not believe that the people were that against the students.

But oh, it felt like we came so close! So close!


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Babies in a dangerous world

The goldfinches have been bringing their youngsters to my bird feeder. They are very cute. I watched a demo one day, the parent goldfinches showing the youngsters how to use the feeder. There were two or three young finches in the branches surrounding the feeder watching very closely as the parents flew in, grabbed a seed and flew back to the tree with it. Then one of the babies tried it out, flew to the feeder and sat there bobbing its head:

"Is this right? Have I got it right?"

Yesterday I looked out the door window onto my porch near the feeder and saw a chickadee sitting on the porch floor in the sun. It was kind of fluffed up, one wing hanging a bit loose and its head slowly drifting downwards. Then it would suddenly pull its head back up and the downward drift would begin again.

Was it falling asleep? Or was it injured? I started to open the door to take a closer look and the bird perked right up and flew away. I think it was trying to have a nap in the sun. Probably another youngster who has not yet learned the dangers of falling asleep in open view of potential predators.

After walking our dogs at the reservoir, a friend and I were sitting in the sun discussing the state of the world (and the joy of sitting in the sun doing nothing) and I mentioned that I had not seen a single junco this year and probably not the year before either. He said he hadn't seen any either.

"Or Red Polls," I said, "Haven't seen them either."

We contemplated the loss of birds. The ones who remain are precious.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sad story

Goldfinch at the bird feeder
The other day I heard a loud thud as a bird hit one of my living room windows. This happens occasionally as I have a bird feeder hanging in a tree nearby. I looked out the window but did not see any birds on the ground, so I thought maybe it just bounced and flew away.

But later I went outside and found the bird's body on the ground below one of the windows, it was dead. It was a Downy Woodpecker, black and white with a spot of red on the back of its head. They don't come often to the bird feeder but I do see one occasionally. Anyway, I left it where it was and went on to haul more dirt for the holes in the front yard. Later, I noticed that Hapi had been digging in my garden. I try to discourage that but she likes to bury bones and other edibles there. Since she hadn't been fed or given a bone in some time I wondered what she was burying so I poked my finger in the disturbed soil. It was the bird.

Proper thing, I thought, what I should have done.

Now, I wonder about that bird. Did it have a mate? Youngsters to feed? Did its mate wonder what happen to it? Did it mourn the loss? And if there were youngsters was the mate able to care for them alone? Or was she (or he) forced to abandon them for lack of a helpmate? An adult bird being killed at this time of year can have a ripple effect.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dirt Tales

In the ravine
I spent last weekend hauling dirt. The local Big Box building supply place had "topsoil" (it's a mix of stuff so not really topsoil) on sale at $0.98 a bag. I could only get 20 bags in the car at a time so it involved numerous trips as I required about 2 cubic yards of the stuff. I was going to order real topsoil which would have been delivered loose by truck, but I did the math and figured that the bagged stuff was comparable in price and way more handy to move around. Just so you know, it takes 30.6 25-litre bags to make one cubic yard (Yay internet!). Volume-wise I could have fit more than 20 bags into the car, but weight-wise I couldn't.

I took Hapi along for the ride(s). Just so happens that the building supply place is dog-friendly so she could go inside on-leash and wander around outside off-leash while I got my dirt loaded. Lots of dog treats involved. On Saturday there was a hotdog stand outside the store and Hapi snagged a couple of hotdogs, which she much prefers over dog treats.

From the parking lot you can get into the ravine where I used to take Hapi regularly for walks. So at one point we did that too. Still some ice on the ground there though, so it was a bit tricky. I don't go there very often any more.

When I was walking through the store a woman came up behind me and said, "Is this Hapi?" I turned and looked at her, she looked vaguely familiar but I couldn't quite place her. "Bodhi," she said. Oh of course, she's the owner of the big black Great Dane named Bodhi! I used to run into her often in the ravine. I asked after Bodhi but sadly he had died at a young age; she now has two new Great Danes. Hapi was scared of Bodhi because he was so big, about the only dog Hapi was ever scared of. But Bodhi was very friendly, he'd lean up against you to be petted and just about knock you over he was so big. Like a small pony.

Funny how I remember dog names but not their owners, I still have no idea what that woman's name is.

The dirt was for filling in a couple of sinkholes left from the sewer line excavation in the front yard last fall. So in between trips to the dirt store I was dumping bags of dirt into the holes. Two days of that and it was exhausting, I'd come indoors at suppertime and collapse. But the new soaker tub and Epsom salts came in handy. I was planning to put in grass seed when the dirt settled but one passerby who stopped to watch me work suggested a garden in one of the holes instead and I think I will do that. Not that I need any more garden beds, but I have too many hosta in the back yard that desperately need dividing so some of them could move to the front yard.

I ended up with closer to 4 cubic yards of dirt and composted manure (also on sale) when all was said and done, a lot of that is still sitting in the driveway awaiting good ideas for how to use it. Just couldn't resist the sale price. But I got the holes filled just in time for a major rainstorm to settle it all in, so I was happy with that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

70


I turned 70 shortly after my friend died in the city. There was a celebration of life at her son's place on what would have been her 69th birthday, I went down for that. There was a good turn out. It was basically a party with food and drink, no speeches or anything. All her photo albums were out so you could go through them. I was impressed at what a record she left behind. I take pictures of dogs and trees and birds but she took pictures of people, a good half century of people. A lot of shared memories there.

My own birthday was the next day. Had a big party at a local brew pub, then the next day attended the 70th birthday of a friend at a local winery. A much more upscale affair. Then I had a second small party of friends in a cabin on the mountain. A local guy gave me a shadow box model of a boat that he made. I love his boat models.


The brew pub is actually a malt house, they malt grain for craft breweries to use in making beer. Then last year they opened their own little brewery and pub. It's out in the country surrounded by farmland, so a lot of their regulars are farmers. It's a nice place, very cosy. On your way to the washroom you can take a look at the malting operation.

Then a friend and I reserved a table for six at a local pasta place where once a week he has Burger Night. He makes 60 burgers, bakes the buns for them, and when you make reservations it's more for the burger than for the seat. He does two dinner seatings that night and when all the burgers are reserved that's it, there ain't no more. Right now Burger Wars is going on locally, but this restaurant does not participate because their burgers are so good that they would win hands down every time. On Burger Night you get one burger, one local craft beer and a salad for $17. Right now my favourite local beer is Wayfarers Hellene. The burger that night was a Pizza Burger, it had pepperoni and tomato sauce in addition to the usual hamburger and fixings. And they do a vegetarian version too, but when you make the reservations you have to specify whether you want regular or vegetarian so he knows how many of each to make.

I was invited out to two other dinner/beer events but I had to say no because all that partying gave me a gum infection and I guess at age 70 you can only push your luck so far.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

She has left the room


This morning, Easter Sunday and the first of April, a dear friend died.

I first met her in the mid-'70s, she was visiting her sister in the commune that I then lived in, and I was just returning from out west, newly pregnant with my last child. I thought she was a great person but was preoccupied with severe morning sickness, new single-parentdom, and the exigencies of living in a cabin in the woods on a commune. Eventually I moved away, first to town, then to another province, and then to another coast. But I returned many years later and reconnected with her. By then she had been married, separated, and diagnosed with a host of health issues that among other things necessitated dialysis three times a week. For thirteen years she lived with that, and if you know anything about dialysis then you know that that is an extremely long time.

Our birthdates were one year less a day apart in early April. Two years ago I went to Halifax where she was then living to celebrate our birthdays together. I stayed overnight on her couch and on the first birthday we went for a fabulous Italian dinner washed down with Prosecco at a great little restaurant near her home. On the second birthday we went for a wonderful brunch at another restaurant near her place. And throughout we just hung out and talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. I think that will always be one of the highlights of my relationship with her.

She loved good food and drink. She loved life no matter the adversity, and there was a lot of that. Since then she has been in and out of hospital, more in than out. I visited her in her various hospital rooms, frequently requiring "downing-up" since she acquired a couple of hospital-related antibiotic-resistant infections. At one point we had to wear bizarre face masks in addition to the paper gowns and latex gloves. In the end, the infection was what killed her, but her health was such that it could just as easily have been something else. She got good care in the hospital and I think she enjoyed the company, since she was fairly isolated in her little apartment in a city where she had few friends (most of her friends lived in the Valley and she had no way to get there, and we Valley people did not go to the city as often as she would have liked).

My mother died at home, we kids took care of her with assistance from the local palliative care. It was a good death as these things go, but sometimes death takes a long time and the stress of daily care and four siblings who are not used to prolonged proximity and the exigencies of taking care of a dying parent can be overwhelming. I know that the first emotion we all felt at the moment of her death was relief.

My friend died in hospital, where her basic needs were taken care of by hospital nurses and staff. The only restrictions on visitors were those in defence of her dignity and privacy, and mental and physical health needs. They were minimally invasive and took pains to keep her comfortable, I never got the sense that they were keeping her alive at any cost or that they were being insensitive toward her or her visitors. Her son left his guitar in her room so he could play it to her whenever he was there (and he was a very attentive son).

I am glad that her family had the time to gather around her at this time. I am glad to have known her, and relieved that as these things go it was a good death. A friend described it as "torturous", but I think that she herself was not tortured but at peace with her end. It was torturous for those she left.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

What does a dragon mean?

I just got an email from a friend in my writing group who recommended reading a New Yorker review of a book by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have not read anything by that writer, let alone the book being reviewed (The Buried Giant). She mentioned layers of meaning within a dragon allegory. She thought of me because I am working on a fantasy that among other things has dragons in it. There was a quote from Ishiguro where he talked about the concept of genre (The Buried Giant is considered 'fantasy'), which he thought was essentially a marketing thing having very little to do with what he wrote or why he wrote it.

I guess I would agree with that, although I am not thinking in terms of allegory or genre. My dragons are characters in my story and I don't really have a particular idea that I am trying to convey with them, allegorically or otherwise. It's just a story. I sort of know where it is going, in the broad strokes, but the details constantly elude me. That's not entirely accurate. I have no problem writing the details, I am just not sure how they relate to what I hope the general trajectory of the story is going to be. When I sit down to write it is as if I am entering a different world, writing as fast as I can to record what I see and hear there. Sometimes I think I should write particular things or somehow massage the narrative in a particular direction. That trips me up, I soon find myself dealing with contradictions I'm not sure how to resolve.

I read somewhere else that the 'meaning' of art is in the eye of the beholder. When you look at a painting (or read a poem, or whatever) you are free to interpret it however you like, the meaning of that piece of art is up to you. The artist may very well have a point they wish to convey, their art may have a particular meaning to them. But you are not required to see it that way.

I'm on the third draft now, or maybe iteration 3.5, as at one point the story forked and then there were two separate stories. In an effort to rein in the complexity I am trying to ignore one of those forks and continue on in only one direction. I wanted to eliminate some of the characters (again, reining in complexity) but I have so far failed. It turns out that either a character up for elimination makes a very good argument for importance to the plot, or else some of the things I have previously written about that character are just too good to dump. One of the members of my writing group has started a genealogical diagram to keep track of my characters; I keep promising to provide a definitive dramatis personae, but so far it is just in my head. Too many characters, too many points of view.

A few years ago I participated in a writing retreat with a couple dozen other people. It was very productive for me, I got a lot of writing done. One of the other participants was also working on a fantasy novel, she already had one published. She said that finding a publisher for fantasy in Canada is very hard, there is certainly nothing available in the Maritimes. I doubt that I will ever publish, unless I self-publish, but I don't really care about that now. Not being concerned about publishing takes a bit of pressure off, I don't have to think about whether my story is publishable or whether there is a market for it. I also have no deadlines. I listen to the other writers in my group discuss these kinds of things and am kind of glad I don't have to take any of those concerns into consideration when I sit down to write. I can just enter that world and try to record what is going on there. It is enough.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

What to do after late-season snowstorm


I do love my new bathroom. Every time I walk into it I feel great, I love a bath in the soaker tub and I even love brushing my teeth at the new sink.


Yesterday I was going to vacuum the basement floor, in preparation for replacing rugs on said floor. I started up the vac and then thought it was rather full of dust and I should clean out the vac first. I took it into the utility room to empty the canister into a garbage bag, only I missed; half the dust ended up on the floor.

OK, I thought, I'll just get the shop vac to clean up the spilt dust.

I hooked up the shop vac hose to the wrong outlet and instead of sucking it blew. Not only all over the utility room but also all over the entire basement, since all the doors were open. So much for vacuuming, now I have to wait for the dust fog to settle.


Big snowstorm on Friday into Saturday morning. After a month of pseudo-Spring we're now into Real Winter. But since it is March, Real Winter means heavy wet snow that one can hardly move with a shovel.


Hapi and I went to the Reservoir for a walk in the afternoon (after half a morning spent moving heavy wet Real Winter snow). Lots of trees down from the Real Winter snow in their branches, every one of those trees was rotten. The ponds looked like they were covered in ice again (they had been clear of ice for over a week), but it was actually snow floating on the water.

Waterdog tracks in the snow
In the evening I went to a friend's place for Carcassonne and pizza. I usually win but this time my friend trounced me in the first game and narrowly beat me in the second. She refused to play a third game. As a consolation she gave me a huge chunk of apple-ginger cake that she had made for the occasion, to take home with me.

I can live with that.