Tom visit, Tammy visit

I went to see two of my dearest friends yesterday, and the contrast could not be more stark if I was writing the world’s worst fiction.

Tom is surrounded by friends and family in hospital and dealing with a recent diagnosis of cancer. Paul and I both visited yesterday at Peggy’s urging, and I got a little conversation and a hand squeeze out of him, and consider myself fortunate. I never see him lying down; seeing him curled up on the transfer gurney, waiting to be taken downstairs for a procedure, wrung my heart; Tom will never be ‘little’ to me, he’s always been this crane-armed dude. The way age makes us shrink is quite the thing. But it is still grumpy, quick witted Tom that I visited, whatever my biased eyes are telling me.

Tammy on the other hand is staying in a heritage building Airbnb, walking distance from a cute new little restaurant called Side Hustle, and we ate and laughed and drank (the Red Racer dealcoholized beer ‘Street Legal’ is quite fantastic) and although we ate indoors the sun was blasting down through the windows and the breeze was coming in through every door, and it was absolutely delightful. She’s in such a good place in her life (pandemic aside, of course) and it was so good to see her.

Forbidden Vancouver

Missing John today

I offer my thanks and praise to the protectors of these lands and waters. It is a good day to be in MST country, stolen but never ceded, surveyed but never yielded. I live in a state of obligation and I am a guest and visitor here. For two foot and four foot, many foot and no foot, all the creatures and people, may it be a good day.

I hate it when I pay for a craigslist ad and the first person who answers is a scammer using a phone service in Spanish who can’t even answer a basic question about the lower mainland. I know I’m a delicate flower and sensitive to rejection but it just makes me want to borrow a nerf gun and go on a low casualty rampage. You will remember that it was a threat of violence (a slap…. not a gun shot, not hacking someone’s feet off and making them eat them, not machetes, or claymores, or eating Eatmores till you burst, or being turned into a skid mark under a halftrack, or being asphyxiated in a ten foot deep tub of glitter, or being made to watch the ten worst episodes of Supernatural in a row, or being bisected by a thermal lance, or being shoved off the Trümp Tower, or any such life ending stuff a slap people, that’s all I offered the racist piece of shit) that took me off twitter in the first place. No sign that I’ll ever get back on, unless I create a whole new persona. NNNNNOOOOO THANKS.

This morning at 10 am I’m going to do the same thing (but different) with Tammy as I did the last time she was in town, mostly because we enjoyed the hell out of it – Forbidden Vancouver’s tour of the historic sites of Gay Vancouver. (The last time was more of an architectural walk, and what an eye opener that was! Seeing the place opium was manufactured? Seeing where the anti Asian riots broke out… not a pane of intact glass in Chinatown!? Seeing the first skyscraper in Vancouver, in context… it was wonderful! Nearly getting run down by a woman cop driving a squad car and laughing immoderately up in her face! ah the pleasures!) Anyway, full report tomorrow, at the latest. And between 8 and 9 am I have to ensure that I have a proper carry seat, because Tammy was amazed how much more pleasant it was to walk all over hell’s half acre on pavement when you can whip out a chair and sit for 2 or 3. (We shared, like one do.)

I’m writing this at 5:15 to 6 am in the morning; I don’t have internet from 4 am to 7 am in an effort to ensure that I’m actually writing at that time of day, or at least not disappearing down that rabbit hole. Now that twitter (an aching gap in my day, which speaks alas more to my self-indulgence (verging on addiction) than to its utility… because really what I wanted was to have a bigger audience than I do on my blog, which simply isn’t interesting enough to have 500 visitors) is gone, I’m mining karma points on Reddit.  I got 4000 points in two months, so you can tell I’ve been a busy lassie. And, as with this blog I have no freaking idea what people will respond to. It all seems to be timing.

The last time I was at the Junction Keith commented that the r/vancouver subreddit has cleaned up a great deal over the last, say, six months or so. Less overtly anti Chinese racist bullshit – still a lot of hate for the homeless, I’m still stinging from my dog pile of downvotes from the last time I stuck up for the unhoused, and fuck you, a certain user on reddit who would like to push the homeless around with ‘scoops’ like Soylent Green, I hope you think better thoughts and type less nasty words in future.

So looking forward to this morning!

I checked in with Stella the talking dog today and she used the word ‘mad’ after being told she couldn’t go play in the park until after mum and dad ate. She was very calm about it though. I love that dog. (hunger4words on instagram) Apparently ‘all done happy’ translates in dog to THANK CHRIST YOU’RE OFF THE PHONE

Delightful visit and some news about that chat

All my relations, I acknowledge my unpayable debt to the peoples, lands and waters of MST country.

For Paul’s bday his double cousin Jim and spouse Jan cooked dinner; a pink salmon (they are hard to cook right and you need a meat thermometer), corn on the cob and a delicious greek salad with veggies from their garden.

Katie turned up later after dropping off Alex and Keith was supposed to go gaming but didn’t and was too upset in the tummy to eat with us. It’s all good, it was the perfect amount of food, no leftovers.

While we were talking, as we do, Jan was curious about my encounter with a yellow breasted chat.  I had read that they live in BC so hadn’t worried too much about where it appeared, but it turns out that they are rare in the lower mainland, possibly not regulars at all. She found something on line about the chat – how it was the subject of habitat rehabilitation in the Okanagan. It needs a bunch of stuff to breed. A wild rose bush in a clearing of a forest with willow and cottonwood is their idea of a home in Heaven. If you clear the wild rose bushes for development bye bye chats. Also, they just got themselves into a new bird family because they’re chonky, among other things. The one I saw was monosyllabic, but in the spring the wee bastards never shut up and have as many as 40 separate calls. Also the boys dangle their feet and shake their booties to attract girls, who watch from underneath, and they have big goddamn marks on their plumage only visible in UV. All in all a wonderful evening of natural history, family love and damned good food.

BREAKING: BC MASK MANDATE FOR ALL INDOOR SPACES REINSTATED

Interesting

Norm Macdonald is dead and the only people I can see who are mourning him are men on Reddit…. quite interesting. Waiting for a woman celebrity OTHER THAN SARAH SILVERMAN who really is a Sspecial cKase to praise him.

When Robin Williams and George Carlin died there was an incredible outpouring from a huge range of people and with Norm… just men. And Sarah Silverman. Makes ya think, don’t it?

I have started taking the medications. I’m not experiencing side effects so far, bar being a little off my feed. The real whoopsiedoodle will be the ADD meds, but I’m going to wait a while to start those.

PLEASE DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Ken Burns made a documentary about ‘the greatest athlete of the 20th c’ – Mohammad Ali. That’s funny, because by many objective measures the greatest athlete of the 20th C was Babe Didrikson, and she sewed her own fucking clothes while she was winning.

 

fill the cup

For the beauty of the lands and waters and the strength of the people and creatures, I give thanks. To walk on this land is a great gift.

Got a plum cake over to Tom and Peggy, it was still warm in the pan, yesterday morning. Mebbe it wasn’t biscotti (me yelling over the phone at Tom I’M NOT A ONE HIT WONDER YOU KNOW while Peggy was no doubt rolling her eyes) but it sure is edibibble.

Walked in Fraser Foreshore Park and received the gift of a new bird; it was a yellow-breasted chat. I got a good long minute of him, yellow underneath like a waistcoat, over pale trews, and browny-green on top, and then my goodness he flew so I got his flight pattern and then there was his call, which was what got my attention in the first place.

I walk those woods, or I should say that little strip of biodiversity jammed and vulnerable between Sto:lo and Burnaby South’s industrial zone, often enough that I know what the background noise is like; nothing but crows and possibly eagles on a really hot day in August. A pleasant sunny day with a bit of wind in May and the woods ring with everything avian that has the capacity to sing, pretty much all blowing up their syrinxes at once. But this fellow was alone, and he said chak, like a bird four times his size and bellicose, and I thought who the hell is that? for he is not much of a conversationalist and I have not heard him before.

He kept making noise, that irritating chak! noise, until by great good fortune he turned out to be as yellow as a goddamned Minion and thus almost comically visible to an amateur such as I. (Less than five metres off the trail, less than five metres up a tree, and in bright frikkin sunshine. HULLO. He flopped from branch to branch and he didn’t care who saw him. And I could have stood there a while longer but chose not to, because I don’t persist in standing as well as I used to, and I had enough markers to be able to figure out what manner of critter I was looking at (I’d also clocked the eyestripe). This species is omnivorous. He’ll do well in that park if he eats millet, someone is feeding the ground birds.

I offered to take Paul to lunch and he deferred to Keith who was on another call. We were on the way back to my place and heard from Keith, so we went over for a late lunch there and I got to see the whole family including Alex, which was very pleasant. My plum cake was well received. Paul and I then spent an hour singing and playing (I of course, even with my recent illness, am well rehearsed, so I made it hard on myself by picking up an instrument I do not regularly play at this time, a standard sized mandolin. I felt like butterfingers and clumsy had come to live in my hands, it was quite comical.)

THAT BUILDING IS CONCRETE. I sang as loud as my body can when I’m sitting down and Katie didn’t hear a thing.  It was so good, so very good to see her. Alex had a new game which he was playing with his oldest friend on line, which is in my view cute as hell. How else are kids supposed to sustain friendships without some technology I esk you.

I ate the bean chili that Keith made, and drank beer, and came home.

Doc appt today

mOm have you seen this birding site?

the worm’s eye view

For about thirty years now I’ve thought about a polemic called ‘the worm’s eye view’ which is about the state of employment in Canada. I always thought I would get to it while I was still working and the blood boiling in my veins from the insanity of the workplace animated me to rant like a little steam engine.

Mike called to say he was once again unable to get together this weekend. Today he’s going in to the office in Burnaby for the last time to clean out his desk. TPTB (The Powers That Be) have decreed a teleconference for 7:30 am Monday and ANOTHER one at 5:30 am Tuesday. A more vile Fuck You to the people who are expecting to be laid off on the 15th of this month can hardly be imagined. Mike’s mood is thus explained. It’s very hard to pin a smiling face on under the circumstances and I certainly won’t jib at that when I’m still coughing a lung up about four times a day. I’m working my way through his lovely chowder as a consolation prize. ALSO GODDESS PEGGY HAS DISCHARGED A VOLLEY OF APPLE TARTS ONTO OUR FRONT PORCH.

I was feeling sorry for meself and we went and got a very abbreviated Timmy Ho’s order. I was the one who stood in line and it was godawful, slower than bullet time and scattered with people not wearing masks. I always thought people of colour would be more sensible about masking but no, this morning was a standard cross section of humanity but with the usual bullshit men not masking (all the women were masked) and I just wanted to vent so hard and I pasted silence into my brain and a smile onto my face until Jeff turned up in the parking lot after a side trip for cat food. SO MANY CARS  ATTEMPTED TO IMPEDE OUR EGRESS that it was hard not to take it personal. I want to stick a camera there; some of the parking interactions must come close to mayhem, public mischief and homicide — occasionally.

Anyway, with respect to the worm’s eye view, I’m just going to jot down what it would look like

chapter one ONBOARDING – all the horse puckey that happens when you join.
chapter two TRAINING – the even worse busssshit that happens when you are training
chapter three – BOREDOM, OVERWORK, performance issues, CAREER PATH, JOB-HOPPING – the five states of employment
chapter four – MANAGING THE MANAGERS WHO CAN’T MANAGE
chapter five – THE PETER PRINCIPLE, IF YOU HAVE A PETER YOU GET TO BE THE PRINCIPAL
chapter six – HOW TO BE A MEMBER OF A MODEL MINORITY
chapter seven – CUSTOMER SUPPORT
chapter eight – And now, the end is near And so I face the final curtain
CONCLUSION – IT’S ALL TAINTED, CORRUPT AND EARTH-DESTROYING BUT HEY A GIRL’S GOTTA EAT.

do not whack the simulacra they’re running subroutines as fast as they can

Truly, one must have survived two heat domes to enjoy the humane temperature and humidity currently blanketing MST country. I popped the front door open at about 4:30 am to see what I could see, and the soft light and welcome light breeze were balm for my overheated soul.

This morning I’ve run the facecloths through the wash; they’re in the dryer. I have trained Buster and brushed him TWICE (we have two brushing stations in the house and he wanted me to hit him up in both); I have popped some clear plastic face shields and clips into a bag for Mike as spares -he uses them for eye protection, not COVID protection and why not since the delta variant goes through air like cigarette smoke – I wear mine when I’m doing the lawn (which reminds me, I should do some weed whacking once it’s not quite so damp, and now I’ve written it down, so it’s on the task list). Jeff loaded and ran the dishwasher. I cleaned out my purse again, and found something in it which I will not report but made me laugh like a drain. Something-something, a certain morning after at Statpower, my desk, and that’s just to remind me what it really was. I put additional sterile masks in a clean bag and into my purse; I counted my pills to ensure that I had enough until my next GP appt on September 13 and put a weeks’ worth into my purse so at least I’ve got my BP medication if I’m on the wrong side of a bridge if/when that fault lets go; I practiced octave mandolin and dulcimer and kazoo, and you’d know when by the moment Jeff rolled his eyes, put his headphones on and turned up the EBM; I found a shade for the light behind the TV (there’s supposed to be an extremely expensive sun-spectrum light there and after 12 years of faithful and continuous service, except during power failures, it expired, so there’s an ordinary incandescent bulb there now and it was just too fucking bright so I wandered lonely as a person with ADD around the basement until I realized THERE WAS ALREADY A SHADE FOR THE LAMP thank you Granny and swapped it off a lamp we aren’t using for the one we are, so now the light level in the media room is back to semi-Stygian, instead of having an ambience like someone’s training a Klieg light on me for an interrogation); I played a whole bunch of Sherlock (as mentioned in previous posts, my all time favourite puzzle game, available for a very reasonable price from Mr. Everett Kaser please pay the full retail thank you) but never got my 8×8 time below 8:30 (best time under 5 minutes, and I’d like to see YOU get that time) which leads me to believe that my cognition and processing time today will, sadly, not be excellent; and I even got dressed if you can believe it. Now I’m waiting for the various water-using machines to quit cycling so I can make pancakes, and in the meantime I should probably go downstairs and fold laundry until I get bored.

SO LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING IN VICTORIA WITH MY MOTHER (also my dad whom I love just as fiercely as my mother, just not as mushily); SO COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY REFUSING TO EVEN CONTEMPLATE THE CLUSTERF …. THAT WILL BE THE JOURNEY TO VICTORIA. Well, really, it’s Saanich, but most people call it Victoria. Full marks if you get the reference.

I spoke to Tom, who sounded hoarse and thrawn but lively af (he was at work when his phone said he’d missed a call from me, which, strangely, he had not) on the phone yesterday, no housefilk today. The shop will be moved into his garage; (this is his NON side gig, not that anyone but he can keep it straight at this point); his sole employee entered into a state of nullibiety under ‘unforgiveable’ circumstances, and given that grumpy ol’ Tom has a fuse (for important matters, on trifles he is …as people are) of ample dimension and remarkable length, I refuse to even think about what the employee did to earn that particular word from Tom. Also Peg’s got relatives in from out of town, it all seems like too much work and fuss for them.

Still pissed about the mailbox. I feel like every time I take a step forward from being a selfish ass, in this case by writing friendly bracing letters to friends and relatives, for which I need a mailbox, the social environment says FUCK YOU! try harder ADD person, use your executive function for something you shouldn’t have to, because some fucking bureaucrat is trying to save money. Always and continuously, capitalism pushes governments so they are rent collectors instead of service providers. And that, mes soeurs, mes hypocrites lecteurs, is a rant for another other day.

Yesterday and today

First, have a bear from the Capilano neighbourhood of North Van, as of about last week.

AND we don’t deserve dogs. Nor cats. (Buster when he see WOMBAT he CRAZY). NOR ORANGS.

Yesterday Paul and I walked in Fraser Foreshore. I had a dizzy spell coming out of the house so I didn’t drive, and thus nagged Paul freely the entire way back and forth.

Virtually no birds singing, none of our usual animal companions, not very well attended, nobody but us and an Asian couple bothering to wear masks. I told Paul the Delta variant is like cigarette smoke and even outdoors on pathways where we have to pass close by to people you can can get a whiff…. also I’m getting REALLY MIXED PRESS on how good Astra Zeneca is on suppressing Delta. Apparently, the word is now that it’ll keep me out of hospital if I get a breakthrough infection but I’ll be more likely to be contagious to other people if I’m asymptomatic. Not exactly the shit ya wanna hear when you’re going to visit your parents, who while not frail are elderly (sorry guys but you are over 80 after all.)

We bailed on pho as soon as I mentioned Schnitzel, by gar, and I got three takeout schnitzel dinners from Balkan House so Jeff could enjoy our celebratory meal too. Paul took exactly the same amount of time to get beer from the Oliver Twist, which faces Balkan House (I suspect he actually used the crosswalk, since jaywalking across Edmonds is something only silly young people do) as it took for the food to arrive. It was fantastic… much better than the last time, although the food portions on the rice and potatoes were smaller than I’m used to. The breading though… always a classic.

That plus beer (Red Racer Vanilla Stout, a total rip off of Granville Island Winter Ale) and a blueberry turnover for dessert, and we had a lovely meal.

Finished Swan Song and loved it. I think it’s a one-watch but it was a lovely, heartfelt movie with lots of great bit performances, the young gay bartender being a standout. Wish I had his name but imdb is oooooosssssssslessssss.

We’re really feeling the Lack of ‘Wanted’. They made three seasons and stopped, like sensible people, but we are not sensible people and want more. As always, we are salved by Elementary and the inhuman perfection that is Lucy Liu in that show.

Danny DeVito’s been locked out of his Twitter account for supporting the Nabisco strike. LOL

CHICKN

I have chicken thawed in the fridge and must Do Something with it.

Trip to Victoria for next week confirmed.

Tom is feeling poorly; he’s been in hospital again. I wrote him a letter, I should mail it.

House filk has been postponed until we have better health and a certain venue. (Edit later) nope it still may happen on Saturday. I think Peggy is possibly contemplating more food than she can reasonably get into her mouth but I ain’t argying wit’ a grown woman. I mean, she’s having rellies for house guests AND wants a house filk? I WANT EVERYTHING AT ONCE she is my relative, there’s no getting around it, I don’t care what the family tree says.

Alcohol abuse

Well, that’s what I call it.

Jeez, it’s almost like you can’t expect the feds to actually investigate. I have no idea where we’d be without Citizen Journalists.

OH MY DUCKING SOD. Free DNA test with application  Please note this link will disappear in 60 days. But essentially it’s just another brick in the EMPLOYERS ARE DUCKED IN THE BREAD wall.

 

Monday raining

SO HAPPY about the legitimate steady, not warm, not windy rain, but Mike is growling way back in his throat because he drives a convertible and the lower seam on the back window is verkockt. He drove me home anyway because he’s funny like that and we are walking distance apart, haw haw.

Yesterday I stepped out onto the balcony at the Aerie and Mt. Baker (Nooksak Kweq’ Smánit white mountain) was looming on the horizon, bigger (against odds) than I remembered it. It was such a blessing to see it after all the smoke.

Supper consisted of sous vide beef tenderloin, garlic shrimps and blackened peppers, rather more beer than I should, mango ice cream for dessert, evening show Suicide Squad #2; breakfast was coffee, smoked salmon with capers, buttered toasted bun and scrambled eggs with garlic and scallions, lychee fizzy to drink. Got toasted on shatter, ayoille. My back feels better than it has in ages and I pounded on those sad hip attachment points that cause Mike so many an ache, had a dizzy spell, sat down, drank some fluids, got up and finished (his shins always need work as well). I admired his new gaming set up (he three d printed much of the attachment grips in a lurid dark cherry red) and hand-wrote a letter to Tom (I didn’t bring any devices so I was looking for non electrified means of entertainment) and cleaned out my purse and wiped his stovetop and dusted a couple of his swords hand washed all the fussy glassware and updated my to do list, which thanks to my mental mobility issues, as in, I ain’t got none, looks virtually identical to the one I made the last week of July…. at least I have friends, Katie’s pregnancy is okay, and I have a safe and comfy place to live with a most congenial housemate.

got up at four

Made tomato lentil soup. Very tasty; zero fat and hardly any salt nonetheless.

Paul’s about to come over and take me to Fraser Foreshore before it gets too hot.

About sixty words of infill on previously existing projects. I have so much work ahead of me to massage the mss into shape it’s quite vexxing.

Put down more ant traps, the ants are back in sheeting hordes.

Cedar Isle Farm reports the harvest:

Barley – not good, sadly

Wheat – both hard and soft, excellent quality and yield

Oats – OH YEAH BABY

Rye – much better than anticipated

This has been your community supported agriculture report.

 

Paul ate lentil soup, iced tea and pecan-apricot chocolate mascarpone salad.

Phone came home

Mike dropped by briefly and gave me a 3d printed tentacle hook. Also dropped off the non phone phone Jeff loaned me that I forgot over at his place (which he charged, thank heavens)

tentacle comme ça

I don’t really know how to describe the mood I’m in. I’m not sad, I’m not happy, I’m not depressed. I just feel blank.

kMike has moved out of Caspell Junction. I am sad about this but it is none of my business.