Allegra Rivett Sloman's blog

"Furor fit læsa sæpius patientia" ("An over-taxed patience gives way to fierce anger")
XML Feed


A call, and my response

Man posts lists of 125 deal breakers on a dating site.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you want, but he isn’t actually asking for what he wants. He is listing, with brutal clarity, all the reasons his relationships ain’t been so swell so far. He’s also saying, not in so many words, that despite his youth, he is frozen in his conception of himself. He’s also saying, not in so many words, that he wants someone he’ll never argue with because she comes pre-loaded with all the things he THINKS he wants. And wouldn’t you just know it, what you want and and what you think you want and what you think you should want are not all the same thing. I can’t do anything but feel sorry for him; his self-conception is a tragedy, and his inability to understand how his list of demands might be seen is a farce.


Continuing to love on Europe Central

This is the best novel I’ve read since the 40 rules of Love, and it’s a really really different book.  I am finding it enthralling reading. (Except for the typos, and there were a couple of doozies).  Historical characters – snared in conflicting loyalties and pushed to the snapping point time and time again, broken on the wheel of tyranny -command attention from every page.  Superlative.  His prose has the effortful grace of a bird of prey taking off.  He calls Hitler ‘the sleepwalker’.  Yesterday I watched a documentary on the death of Stalin for more background.

Hymn sing yesterday at Tom and Peggy’s was wonderful, and I took a cilantro salad based on the one Sandra taught me.  (oh god, the food she fed me…. it was amazing, stellar, eye popping, wonderful). Two bunches cilantro wash the hell out of them pick them over and chop.  One rinsed can kidney beans, make em yourself if you can. A cup of walnuts, broken up.  Rather more garlic than you would think necessary, minced.  Lemon juice all together maybe three tablespoons.  No salt, no pepper.  I’m also going to try this with parsley.

Jeff and Katie went to Wreck Beach yesterday.  I would have gone, but I put out my knee somehow and every time I go up and downstairs my eyebrows bob up and down and I puff and blow in a most elderly way.

I read mOm what I wrote in Madawaska and she laughed in all the right parts. Now on to more serious bits.  It can’t all be waltzes and comedy.


Feted Mike

It was lovely, absolutely lovely.

Today, hymn sing at Tom and Peggy’s and then a trip to the beach afterwards.

You know which one.  I’ll be taking it very very easy on the stairs. Dang, I wish there was a zip line.

An interesting set of analogies on the topic of discussing religion. NSFW language.


Library run

It has been yonks since I visited the library… I picked up two doorstops, one being the really excellent William T. Vollman novel Europe Central, which is an examination of totalitarianism as it affects the creative mind, set during the period just before and during WWII.  Some reviewer or other said you don’t read Vollman for the plot but for the individual sentences, and he was absolutely right.  Vollman is a powerfully strange individual, but his depiction of Kathe Kollwitz was so amazing I looked it up.  I am looking up much of what  he references on the internet and going to some strange and dark and eerie and interesting places.  He’s also, like Dunnett, a portrait painter and polymath and this impacts the work.  Good times.

I also picked up Part II of the Mark Twain autobiography, but the way it’s put together really sucks and it weighs 5 kilos if it weighs a gram, so I put that one down, even though some of the anecdotes are killer.

Last night filking with Cindy and Tom and Peggy; tonight Birthday Celebration with Mike M and friends; tomorrow hymn sing, back at Tom and Peggy’s.  I just love singing Frobisher Bay with those folks. I took Peggy hazelnuts as a thank offering.

400 words on Tarot for Atheists yesterday.  If I ever get finished with the introduction it will be one of the strangest pieces of atheist literature ever written; I know I’m saying the right things in the worng way, and some of it simply has to be cut but like most writers I don’t edit myself worth a darn. Also practiced lots.

Keith double booked himself for his own birthday party a while back so Paul and Jeff watched Internet’s Own Boy without him, so there, and had barbq chikn.

Time to make pancakes, I promised Jeff.


safely home

There was a certain amount of ugliness at both ends of the trip – I came home day before yesterday – but I’m going to take the high road and not whine about it since it all came right in the end… always a hazard of complaining live, you may look like an ass in real time rather than recollecting the horror with a suitable amount of alcohol to hand, speaking of which, there is none in the house.

It’s a rainy and overcast and not particularly warm day in Vancouver.  The alternator is starting to go on the MR2 so Jeff will be babying it until he has a chance to get it fixed.  He’ll be off to visit the folks sometime soonish, within the next week, and I’ll be doing the walk on thing to visit them shortly thereafter.

Today, a Costco run.  I’ve already applied for all of the interesting looking jobs; now to map out some kind of more useful job hunting plan than I have at the moment, as it is entirely too passive.

I was thinking after we came back from brekkie (steak and eggs… should you care) that I don’t feel like working on George today, so it will be Tarot for Atheists.



I’ll be off to Ottawa tomorrow and flying Tuesday.  It has been superlative, but it’s over.  Sandy has been the kindest and most welcoming host imaginable, and I really don’t want to go home, except of course I want to catch up on Longmire and I miss Jeff and Miss Margot.


Barry’s Bay

July 17

Today we went in to Barry’s Bay and in short order ditched the empties and got more IPA, went to the bank, got Sandra into a newly cropped set of hairs, visited the two grocery stores in town plus the health food store, and saw Clem.  Clem has a fine homestead on 120 acres just south of town. There’s a dock and lake and geese who march up and down and eat all the bugs and a dog with his own sandpit, (he was completely recessed in it when I came out, imagine being a dog encouraged to have your own little sandy pit) and an enormous garden and quaintly rusticating farm machinery and cars and a bunkhouse overlooking the lake and two big old wooden barns and fields of wildflowers including milkweed which meant there were monarch butterflies to be seen flitting among the flowers.  It’s like somebody took two generations of rustic Canadiana and mashed them together; the whole place was a photo op, and me with just my memories and neither camera nor smartphone. The message on the wind told me to go there and once I got there the beauty of the place put me into a high state of aesthetic intemperance. I mean this is a guy who can throw a busted geranium stalk at a wall, and it blooms. Entirely amazing. I am glad that the message on the wind did that.  And when I got back the message on the wind said CALL YOUR MOTHER and I did and when she didn’t answer I fretted.  Yes, I did, such a sap I am. Because you should call your mother, and certainly not assume the worst when it’s a lovely day and they are journeying in their VEHICLE OH MY GOD THEY’VE BEEN IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT IS WHY THEY ARE NOT really, Allegra, wait upon events.

Now it is Friday already.  I’m going to go play with George.  Ah, 610 words later  I scrubbed out Sandra’s tub (I got the impression it was the epitome of filth and I’ve taken baths in tubs that were FAR less clean) including the interesting purple marks, and once it’s a better time of day to have the hot water on I’m going to have a soak – it’s a massage jet tub and working much better poor lamb since the filter was put on the water system.  The water is good but a tad too much iron.

Still kvelling on the radishes Clem gave me yesterday.  He pulled two ordinary sized and four potato sized radishes out of his immense garden and I IMMEDIATELY took them home and cut them up with a) rather more salt that you’d think justified or necessary b) fresh ground black pepper c) enough pecans to make it interesting, two palmfuls say and d) drizzled all over with white balsamic vinegar.  I ate ALL of it in two sittings and nothing repeated because fresh radishes don’t repeat.  Also amid yesterday’s comestibles was the amazing beef liver and pineapple with onions and ginger. The beef liver was barely thawed and barely cooked, set aside, then the fresh cut pineapple was added to the reduction and then the onions and ginger were cooked in what was left over from that and then it was all added together.  The first bite had me sliding off my chair with my eyes rolling back in me head, ’twas of such surpassing excellence.  mOm, you would have been enchanted.  We ate it over noodles from the previous day’s linguine and beef tomato sauce.  Then we watched the Bobby Darin biopic, in which Kevin Spacey once more reveals himself to be an actor of such calibre that I can’t imagine there’s a role he couldn’t convincingly play.

Wrote a little ditty on the 17th – think I’ll go practice now.

Life is beautiful, for the guest…..

Earlier in the day I watched Sandra work.  Apart from being her driver, turning a few lights on and off, scrubbing the tub and pulling some weeds I have loafed and lazed with startling ease; I have neither touched a dish nor cooked a meal since I got here (I don’t count tea and toast).  It’s marvellous.  I wish the bedroom door closed all the way, but since Shadow isn’t in at night there’s no cat to come importuning and shedding half a campground of debris all over my bed at night. She was fresh off a catnip buzz when she came nuzzling this morning as we stood outside.  I performed a brief interpretive/vocative dance, addressing the spirits to send business Sandra’s way.  It’s glorious, and the campground is practically empty.  Sigh.  As soon as I finished my dance a car pulled in but it was somebody in the cabins. Sandy really could have had me going there….


Trip to Bancroft

Flying squirrels have a really weird distress call.  There are plenty of them here.

Yesterday we made the trip to Bancroft since the weather didn’t cooperate with respect to grass cutting.  We provisioned and avoided big piles of junk food or beer.

Military aircraft just went by about 30 meters off the deck.

The cat here, Shadow, is an elegant longhaired tortoiseshell who hides in the catnip bush and minces through the tall grass.  I’ll have pics later.

Today I pulled tall grass out of the rose bed and deadheaded the roses.  They will probably set on more blooms.

The Least Flycatcher female sat still and let me admire her, then her hubby came by and told her to move along.

Sandra made me roast lamb and red wild rice and I just et a really fabulous mulligatawney soup.  World is a tasty place here.

I hope everybody is having a good day.

A child I once went on a camping trip with has turned out to be an evilly-reputed international call girl.  What a world.


I’m a little behind – July 13

Live blogging from 3 am to 5:34 am July 13

I have arrived safely and soundly at Red Deer Cabins, where my body clock is saying that it’s 3 am and local time is 6 am, but I’m up because the gentle rain is bringing out some very insistent birds.  I have already learned, without getting out of bed, that the crows in Madawaska call a third higher than the crows in Vancouver.

The trip was characterized by patience and was rewarded with success. The plane went mechanical just prior to pushback and one of Paul’s confrères trotted over and fixed it within twenty minutes, but we lost our slot time and the crew had to flog it to make it up. I got the last window seat on the flight and one of my seat mates was a charming ten year old boy.  He was obviously an old hand at flying, brought a lunch and immediately fired up a couple of movies. I spent most of the flight tightening and loosening all my leg muscles to keep from seizing up or having circulation issues but did not otherwise get out of my seat.  The flight was interrupted by what I considered to be trivial amounts of turbulence (as terrified as I am of flying, and really, I am, and apart from the Lake Amphibian crash back when Katie was in utero I have also survived one horrifying near miss on the runway in Toronto (that was the flight that took us out of Toronto for the last time to move to Vancouver, and it would have likely killed a couple of hundred people as it would have been a full on t-bone between two fully packed airliners one of which was full of fuel) I don’t mind turbulence, nor landings, nor takeoffs.) There were not one, not two, not three but FOUR screaming babbies on the flight.  They were thoughtful though, they tagged teamed and we only got two screaming at once, and the one sitting closest to me saved her meltdown until half an hour before we landed.  Air Canada headset ear buds are the most uncomfortable I’ve ever worn.

I watched Captain America 2.

The Budget rental is more than adequate for my purposes. It was a long fucking drive from Ottawa after the drive in to the airport, and the wait which, and then the flight, and then the trivial amount of time to pick up the car, and then the stop in Eganville. I accidentally called OnStar while attempting to adjust my rearview mirror, which was embarrassing and comical, and happened, god damn my eyes, less than a kilometre from my destination.

Sandy greeted me with hugs, Oka and IPA. Walked outside into the dark and in the first second saw a firefly.  Then another.  Walked down to the water so Sandy could soak her feet. Played Otto for a while by fire and firefly light.  The sky looked to rain the next day, which it did.  There are so many different birds and birdcalls.  The Least Flycatchers nesting in the eaves have already rebuilt their nest once; they put the nest too close to one of the enormous logs holding up Sandy’s square dance sized deck, which faces on the river. A raccoon  … holy cow a hummingbird just fed at the fuchsia in the hanging box over the deck.  Okay, where was I with that raccoon.  So many dead yearlings on the highway, and SO many porcupines I lost county.  Dead yearling deer 15k east of here.  The raccoon, damn, the raccoon climbed up the log and ate the babbies.

I’ve had two ginormous cups of sedately ferocious coffee.  Sandy’s generating smoothies which (one piously hopes) will assist in the generation of verbiage, since I’m all about the writing for the next week.

Life donates its riches whether they are fireflies or storm surges.

I send fond greetings to Jeff and merp-inducing hugs to Margot.



Jeff very kindly gave me a lift to the airport so I am now at the gate and waiting to board, which will be in an hour.  In a couple of minutes I’ll get up and go grab something to eat and drink.  I ordered a bit of food for the outbound flight as it’s cheaper than ordering on the plane.  In Ottawa I’ll grab a booked car and then drive to Sandra’s place.  If everything goes according to plan then I’ll go to Toronto and possibly London.

If that doesn’t happen I’ll go to London in October – Phyllis will be 90 and I’d like to participate in her birthday festivities if she and family consider it appropriate.  I’ll give her a call when I get to Red Deer Cabins. Hey, book a vacation there, you won’t regret it… it’s like a little piece of Canadiana from the 40′s.

There was a lot of hate for the movie Transcendence when it came out and I don’t get it; I watched it and quite enjoyed it, although I think Johnny Depp was miscast (not that he cares, he’s never watched a single one of his movies which is wise.. and he’s reputed to have gotten a heck of a payday also wise now that he’s paying alimony). Everybody else was good to very good.  It just wasn’t a big box office movie and the special effects come late and weird in the movie unlike Noah where the SFX were front loaded.  I quite liked the Pfister version of Grey Goo.

45 minutes before we load.  Wow, I didn’t know that it’s airport fashion to walk around with your flipping travel pillow around your neck (bleugh) or that you can get Spiderman™ themed travel pillows, although technically I guess you can get Spiderman™ themed anything. I got a reasonable night’s sleep, which is good, because I have a hell of a day in front of me and 3.5 hours stooging about at YOW and getting the car and driving to Sandra’s into the sunset (yes I brought my hat and sunglasses) which will be tiring in and of itself.  And somewhere in there I need to stop for beer and cilantro, a bizarre but brief shopping list which I imagine I should be able to do on my way out of town.  I’ll wrap it up now I guess.

Tomorrow Paul and Keith and Jeff are going to get together and watch The Internet’s Own Boy, which I am hoping to watch at some point, and I can’t think of a nicer way for them to have a late celebration of Keith’s b-day – they are apparently planning on participating in ritualized cooking of fowl over flames.


Off to Ottawa

I’m going to see Sandy and spend some time with her.  I’ll be back in about ten days.  I’ve rented a car and will visit various people if the fates are propitious.


Anxiety coming in waves (this condition)

That’s a quote from a Lupine Howl song, by the way, but it covers the situation nicely.  Every time I go to book the flight I am overcome by anxiety.  I have been waiting for a sign and when I emailed Sandra this morning, she cut through all the bullshit and provided a prosaic and unjudgemental reason to fly east, so after Jeff takes me to brekkie (yay) and I empty the dishwasher and refill it, I’ll book it.  Don’t know the day yet, but at least I know I am going.

Yesterday was that feeling of impending doom day, but today is much better.


a reasonably satisfactory day

I got to hang with Katie and Paul, and it was lovely.  We ate on the deck overlooking the Fraser at Wild Rice at the Quay. I didn’t think much of the kangaroo buns (kangaroo meat is gamey) but the chicken wings were the best I’ve ever eaten, and the lamb gyoza and vegetarian spring rolls were esculent, and the gluten free chocolate cake served a la mode was nommers.  Prior to that I hung out with Suzanne (we ARE going to be joint grandmothers, so…) and that was also a most satisfactory visit. Prior to that I hung out with Katie and visited Village de Valeurs and picked up travelling clothes as I don’t have any summer weight pants or shorts.  Prior to that I took Jeff to breakfast.  It was a really really tasty day.  Also showed Otto off and practiced lots.

Today, laundry and packing for the trip east.


A little piece of a story from somewhere else

In the beginning, there was nothing.  There was nothing to see, and nothing to see it with; there was nothing to feel, and nothing to feel it with.  We don’t know why the nothing turned into something.  We have asked science, and science tells us what might have happened, but we don’t know; nobody was there.

So when the nothing became the something that became the world we see, science measured and measured; science made equations and formulas; science thought of theories and hazarded hypotheses, but we can never know why the nothing became something.

Science is where the story stops.

That is the first beginning, but it is not the best one.

I will tell you the story, but if you believe it you are a fool.  Science tells us not to be foolish.  I will tell you the story, but if you disbelieve it, you are a fool.  Religion tell us that without a story, true or false, the people will wither away.  It is a story that keeps us rooted; it is a story that makes us real.

As I was saying, in the beginning, there was nothing.  Now the great thing about nothing, is that it’s very small.  It is also very large.  Nothing is like nothing else, and the reason it is like nothing else is that it doesn’t need a container.  Nothing, by definition, can’t have a container; if it had a container, it wouldn’t be nothing anymore.  It would be the space inside a container, but it wouldn’t be nothing.

That is why nothing is so hard for people to understand.  We all want the nothing to have a container, but it doesn’t.  It can’t even be contained by our minds.  That is why some people think the nothing is God; nothing, not even our minds, can contain it.

It was nothing for a very long time, without flaw, without a container, without being or thought or meaning; it tried and tried and tried to be the same, always being nothing, but it failed.  To be nothing is to be perfect; there is no flaw, no feeling, no reality.

How did nothing change into something?  My dear friend says it got bored.  I respect my friend very much, but I have to disagree; there was nothing to get bored, so that is not what happened.

I think that the nothing got bigger and bigger and bigger until it hit something, and the thing it hit was itself, and from that collision came everything we see.


The Further Adventures of Keith as told by Keith

Work: Hey Keith, clean out the Fire Urchin tank.

Keith: Can do!

Work: Also, fyi, Fire Urchins are lethally toxic.


-Five minutes later-

Keith: Ouch… uh oh.

Work: Oh you’re okay. The long spines aren’t toxic, just really painful. Are you having trouble breathing? No? Yup, you’re fine.

Keith: Working in an exotic fish store is fun!

Yeah, my brush with death for the day.




This is for Keith’s 28th birthday.  Love ya!

Powered by Wordpress Web Directory