Allegra Rivett Sloman's blog

opinions expressed on this blog are my own, mostly, and do not reflect and have not been approved by Beacon Unitarian Church
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Edwardian hotels

So… the Arundel Mansion Hotel is awesome, but there are few things you need to know before you book in.

1.  YOU WILL NEED EARPLUGS.  They are supplied, but it’s noisy down here.

2.  You should probably bring an extension cord if you want to charge anything in your room overnight.

3.  If you are scared to operate an elevator which is roughly the same vintage as a Boer War survivor, don’t come, or stay on the lower floors and use the stairs.  The elevator is not automatic and it makes unearthly noises as it moves.  It is, however a complete delight. I love it.

4.  You WILL have to wash just about everything you need in the kitchen before you use it.  You are at the mercy of the housekeeping standards of the previous tenant, and the previous tenant didn’t even rinse the f*cking percolator.  I was employed for about ten minutes in the effort to restore it to some semblance of food safety.

5.  A claw footed tub is beautiful, but the surface finish may not meet your standards for cleanability.

6.  The wifi is not wonky, but it is slow.

7.  It is simply not possible to keep a place of this vintage to the cleanliness standards of modern hotels (such as they are, since everybody knows what happens if you turn a UV light on in a hotel room.)  That said, the linens and bedding are completely clean.

8.  It’s a sketchy neighbourhood, but I’ve never felt threatened.  If drug deals in the parking lot below (the one with the vintage Rolls Royce…) skeeve you out, you won’t like it.

9.  There is lots of food of varying kinds and quality and easy transportation and nice walks and touristy stuff close by.  The Keg, alas, is closed – there’s some kind of structural problem.

TL;DR – If you’re OCD, have no personal qualities such as adaptability, a sense of history and equanimity, and expect South Korean style internet access, you will hate it.  If history, quirkiness and creativity appeal to you, this is like a steampunk luxury indoor camping experience, and I love it, and I will be back.  Keith and Paul loved it.


A friend came over for coffee in the morning, and Paul and Keith took me to supper at the Heritage, and I wrote 1500 words in the middle, which is much less than I’d hoped and much more than I’ve done recently.  I pronounce myself pleased.  I’m gonna take video of the elevator  - it is a TRIP.



Off to work early this morning

I need time with my supervisor to actually learn my job…. and it’s not happening during regular hours.

Christie Blatchford is a ghastly excuse for a journalist.  I’ve never seen a more enthusiastic shill for values which support hatred and corporatism.  Gah.

Margot voluntarily remained in my lap and let me pet her for about five minutes yesterday without fleeing; them she remembered she’s not a lap cat and took off.

Paul came by with dun tot night before last, and talked to me about the restorative justice event he and Keith and Lois went to in Victoria (they got in a visit with mOm and pOp too).  I am so proud of the folks for doing that.  Thanks Jeff for updating John’s memorial site with that info.

I am REALLY looking forward to my writing weekend.  I’m going to hole up in a hotel and write for three days in a hundred year old building with clawfoot tubs and free wifi, best of both worlds thanks.

Well, if I’m going to get on the bus by quarter six I’d better root, ablute and scoot.  Root in the eating like a pig sense, not the other use of the verb.

The images and music from Upstream Color are still going through my head.  It’s an amazing movie, I’m looking forward to rewatching it as much as I enjoyed rewatching Primer.


Laundry weekend.

Apart from running dishes, talking to friends on the phone and laundry, this was an even lazier weekend than last weekend.  Oh, and I made pork patties and fresh green beans for dinner last night.


backing away

I don’t have enough energy for the anti racism curriculum now that I’m working full time so I’ve emailed everybody and told them I don’t have the energy. It’ll be okay.

Not going to church this morning.  I feel rather disengaged.

Finally made biscotti again after a long hiatus.

I’m tired all the time.

“We live in an anocentric culture…everything runs in circles around assholes.”

I am not tone deaf I went to


Theology at the movies

That’s my next homily.

I’m looking forward to writing it.  I’m reallly reealllly looking forward to my writing weekend, it will be epic.




I am grateful to be employed.

There are a LOT of dead rats down where I work.

Those two statements have little to do with each other, really.

I am full of happiness at how sunny the day was, how I am alive.

I grieve for the end of life of the mother of a friend.  I hope to see her soon, before she goes into hospice.

I send a kiss and a smile to a man I know, and the international call me sign to another.

Spring deliberates so briefly and then it comes on, flouncing in on a raindrop, hazy with pollen. There is a time when trees unpack themselves and fling themselves at the sun, deliberate as all get out, but by damn, they get there, and sequoias be your guide.


I has a gladsad

My son is going to check out Edmonton for work.  I am very pleased, and also just downcast.  If he likes it he will probably be gone by the beginning of May, and if he doesn’t, he’ll be unemployed, which he has not much use for at all.

He and Paul are away so I have to do cat care tonight on the way home from work.

Time to get dressed and be off to work.  I’m dressed, it’s just the wrong clothing.

I have another homily in May, Theology at the Movies.



Hopelessly romantic

As part of my prep for the next blast of writing, I am rewatching every hopelessly romantic film I can, so I got Jeff to watch the 1991 Disney Beauty and the Beast with me last night.  Honestly, I must have cried for half an hour, I was so filled with nostalgia, plus of course that wonderful transformation scene.  I also found it strange that I knew every note of the soundtrack even after all these years.

We’re slowing up on Downton Abbey because of course we blasted through it.  I do love the show.

Now to see if Jeff is ready to watch Game of Thrones….


Lazy Sunday

Spoke to Katie yesterday, she sounds quite well, which is always good to know.  She cracked up as she recounted how pOp’s reaction to her gestational status included the gem, “And the worst of it is I’m now sleeping with a great-grandmother.” … which is a variant of what he said when he found out I was knocked up with Keith.

She asked me if her favorite stuffed toy had survived her childhood.  Blank!  I only kept a few.  I’d be buried in them had I kept them….

Church this morning.  It’s about food security, so I will be asking Jeff if I can borrow Mr. 2.

Science and biology on the march


A good week

I’ve had another great week at work; we’re doing a bunch of training for a new computer system and after Epicor’s Avante it’ll seem like roasting marshmallows and drinking beer.

And I got paid.

Gotta like that!

I descuzzed the kitchen surfaces (except the sink, Jeff got to it  before I did) and now am contemplating the agony of getting on the floor and cleaning out the fridge, which smells like Something Dead, since bending knees and back does not suit me.  I have had to learn how to step down off the bus all over again; if I lead with my right foot I nearly collapse on the ground from the pain, so I have to remember it’s left foot first.

Jeff and I are very much enjoying Downton Abbey and recommend it.

Coming up – last episodes of Warehouse 13, the season ender for Justified, more Archer and hopefully more Rick & Morty.  And Game of Thrones starts up again tomorrow night.

I need to transfer some music onto my phone to relieve the tedium of the bus ride, and also maybe some TED talks or books on tape.  Apparently the Dunnett novels are all available but of course I haven’t found a free one.

I opened up the novel again and worked away at it for a bit last night.  I’ve booked the Easter weekend to do nothing but write, but that’s two weekends away.  Maybe I’ll even finish it; there’s a novella length single scene I have to write for close to the beginning of the book, and it’s going to be hopelessly and most soppily romantic, so I’ll have to really be in the mood.

Haven’t heard from Katie lately, but apparently she’s not throwing up constantly any more, so yay.  She lost a lot of weight, poor lamb, and that is never good.  It’s as well that we’re made of tough stuff.

I answered the door today to a couple of Xtian types wearing my screaming blue “I am on the side of the scientists’ t-shirt, which I acquired from a geekgrrl at Conflikt VI.  Happy days! Declined their dead tree, have enough of my own thanks.

It has been more or less unremarked that the first climate change refugees left their Pacific Island this week.  Very sad.

The global banana crop is about to fail due to a pathogen which has now been found on every continent. Also, sad.




Katie’s expecting a baby

I’m expecting panic.  In the meantime, Steampunk of Mixed Ethnicity.


Joe Frazier of Chad Mitchell Trio has passed

Found out about it on Facebook today.  Here’s the wikipedia link to Chad Mitchell Trio.


It wasn’t very good banana bread

But it all got et anyway.  It certainly wasn’t good enough for church but Jeff didn’t mind.  I took some nice bag tea into church, and Sue did too.  Soup lunch was yummy.

Yesterday was a laundry and church and mini relaxicon kinda day, with phone calls interspersed to various people.  I am woeing at the moment over various things, but I had a nice long talk with Sandy yesterday.  We were messing about with tarot again.  She asked recently for pull cards for purpose in life of various family members.  The deck was messing with me again and most of the cards were correct if reversed.  I said to the deck, are you for real???? and pulled a card she hadn’t asked for, for her.  It was the same card we pulled the last time, which had me laughing most immoderately, because that is what the deck is like.  Just at the point everything is random and screwed up, it reminds me to look harder.

Then I pulled the Hierophant for me.  (Sandra said, what you haven’t already?  I am incurious about some things.) Well well, telling me I’m an institutionally based spiritual authority less than a month after my last homily is not exactly a slap, but it was pretty funny, and got me thinking.  I know that UUism is my spiritual home but it’s annoying.  Do I set myself up in authority?  If so, what can I do to stop being like that?  I’m not a minister or even a good candidate for ministry (although given my gabbiness in the pulpit I get asked about it occasionally).

I was proud and humbled when this was read in church on Sunday. This is part of the context for the anti racism curriculum.

Brother Jerome called me!  He congratulated me on my new job.  (Woke me up from a sound sleep too, but other people are not responsible for keeping track of my goofy sleeping hours).  I forgot to tell him about how the Green Man came back into my life since he’s one of the few people who’d appreciate it.  I am so blessed in my friends, they’ve been really good to me.

Did cat coverage for Paul this weekend, Ayesha is a sweetie.

Yuck, I’ve had two spiders crawl across me in the last twenty four hours. I flung the last one onto the floor.  I hate killing them.

There is brie in the house. And fresh sourdough bread. And smoky, luscious Russian Caravan tea. I know what I’m having for breakfast!


bits and bobbles

Jeff and I are off to Thrifty’s once he wakes up.

I have been thinking about what I like in an actor.

A good actor works consistently and takes time off only when she must.  She tries different roles and treats everything about herself as a component of performance. She can differentiate between the toxic pixie dusts of celebrity and notoriety, interviews graciously, is courteous to fans and professional with coworkers.  She is judicious in her use of alcohol and drugs.  She leaves her personal life out of her work unless it helps to bring snap to the performance, recognizes and honours excellence in others, never stops learning and protects those aspects of herself which make for great performances against all comers.  She can take direction and make suggestions. She understands as much about the business of acting as she needs to.  She takes every job seriously, even the fun ones. And the only time you hear about her when you aren’t actually watching her is when she’s promoting a role; she saves the interesting stuff for the screen and stays out of the fricking tabloids. A good actor is a working actor.  A good actor balances knowing what she does best with working in a challenging role, knowing she might fail spectacularly.  A good actor is too busy working to worry about the last blazing success or ignominious turkey.

Soup lunch today.  I may bake something if I feel energetic enough.

I have decided that I am an Assam person, not a Darjeeling person.  I may blend the two teas together; that’s pretty much how they make English breakfast tea anyway.  Proper loose leaf tea is really a thing of beauty.

Were you aware that the global price of coffee is going to triple over the next five years?  If you can bring yourself to stop drinking it except as a treat you’ll be doing the planet and your wallet a favour.

The California drought is going to end.  Whether it will be enough to save the almond plantations is an open question.




Artificial organizms, here we come.

It was a great week at work.  I learned things, made mistakes and enjoyed getting to know my coworkers. Being able to look out the window and see the mighty Stolo makes me happy.

Keith and Paul are back from visiting the fOlks and are now off to Seattle so I have to feed Ayesha.


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