on Bowen Island

We are having the most lovely time.

We played spotify rounds last night and thus it was I found out I love Junior Brown and Paul Anka’s 2005 album ‘ROCK SWINGS’ where he frank sinatrafies modern hits. like black hole sun and wonderwall. IT’S FANTASTIC. Jeff and I laughed until we cried. “Und dis is ven I learnt that I AM AN OLDT FARDT!!!”

Our hosts are empty nesters. A human and dog friend came over and we watched Bear hump Maple until she got bored with it. Bear and Nelson are good friends with Maple.

The wifi connected instantly, I slept 9 hours last night – I literally faded at the stroke of 8 and woke up at 5.

Barbecue and summer squash from their garden for dins. SOOOO GOOOD

We’ll be grabbing a ferry home soon.

Suzanne hits a dinger

Aw jeez I’m dying here; Suzanne saw Janice on the sofa the other day at Caspell Junction and said (because her filter doesn’t always work) ‘WHO’S THAT???’ Janice did not acknowledge Suzanne’s existence. Suzanne was here today for the Enshinening and I laughed immoderately.

D.Y.I.N.G.

Anyway Paul drove her to the train station so she’s left town. I’m assuming Paul told her his medical news, but who knows.

Bowen this weekend.

sore

Slept a lot yesterday. I’m glad I’m not easily tired in a war zone, I might lie down and never get up. Driving for five and a half hours does that. We stopped twice on the way back, once for gas in Chilliwack (and the attendant laughed when I thanked him for the clean safe bathroom because at that point I was fair burstin’) and once at Hola Tacos in Cache Creek, which had the best goddamned pork taco I ever ate, and even better for Zanne because she just got diagnosed as celiac and can’t eat fast food except for a few items. We also drank Jarritos! she got a mango and I got a mexican cola, happy sigh. Technically we stopped three times because of the single lane situation on the highway, long enough for Zanne to get out and check where she hid her candy.

Currently planning a train trip to Toronto in the fall. There’s many a slip, of course, but it’s something to look forward to, and I have a long list of people to visit.

Heard from Mike; he sounds marginally more lively than the last time we spoke; it was lovely to hear his voice.

Off with Paul to the doctor today, pray for us all.

 

Trip report

As mentioned Suzanne did all the driving to the campsite. It is on Big Bar Road close to 70 Mile House. Photos and further details will not be provided. It’s all paved highway except for the last 25 or so klicks, which starts fine and gets progressively worse. There are half a dozen cattleguards on the road so even if you get to the decent speed of 50 kph you must immediately slow down.

During the trip I learned that she knows of a kitten source. I have discussed with Jeff. I hope to obtain a female tabby kitten. I said I wouldn’t but gosh darn it.

Our host, a brother in law of Suzanne’s, has a Ram 3500 Diesel Dooley with a 100 litre spare tank. He also owns a blue Ford tractor, a Case double ended back hoe, a quad with a box full of tree cutting implements, and the single most impressive trailer I’ve ever seen. It’s so impressive I’m going to go back into one of the fanfics I’m working on and rewrite it.

It has a Honda 6500 inverter genset; industrial cooling; a built in engine hoist (for game but sure, he could use it for that), a walk in fridge, a fifty inch tv, three INCREDIBLY COMFY BEDS; and a gunsafe. To say this guy is prepared for everything from a camping trip to a moose hunt to a zombie apocalypse is putting it mild. He installed hardwood flooring on the TRAILER CEILING. He is iggzackly the kind of guy you want on your team.

The property has a somewhat sulfurous artesian well (water is fit to drink, just a little skunky) and cold as anything. The well leaked – so after a great deal of fucking around on his part he got the overflow into a culvert across the road so there’s no flooding. He ended up with an artesian beer fridge / dog trough. There is nothing quite so satisfying as making up something to drink and then shot-putting it into a pond to chill. Suzanne

Stella the wonderdog is 14, black lab cross, grizzled but still lively, and she decided to follow and obey me at one point (she was tired and wanted her bed; I announced “I am going to bed” and she followed me and then I held back the mosquito curtain and got in the trailer and she followed me in and waited for me to clap my hands twice to join me on the sleeping platform. (I think she was tired of the mosquitoes). There’s no point complaining about the mosquitoes. I’m covered in bites. I didn’t want to be covered in DEET for the best part of a week, so I paid.

I had the sum total of one can of beer with supper the middle night, did not otherwise drink alcohol.

Apart from washing dishes, sweeping the outhouse before we left, writing some poems and driving back, I DID NOTHING but get sun, bug bites and a lot of fantastic sleep in the chill of a plateau night (screened windows wide open; after singeing hot days the nights were so cool it was delightful). The company was entertaining and educational (I believe he has memorized every single one of his moose kills for entertainment purposes and I had a mooseburger the first night) and all in all it was absolutely amazing.

Cell service is er spotty, so I’m just as glad I didn’t take any electronics.

Big Bar Lake is cold and beautiful. Loons can be heard at night. Eagles soar overhead during the day. Stridulating insects everywhere. Sulphur butterflies, mourning cloaks, some fritillaries. Chipmunks. Deer. Bears come through a couple of times a year. No cougars apparently. Very dusty; the place is still a construction site and our host built three courses of fence while we were there, took down tons of trees, replaced a tractor tire and was in general extremely hardworking.

I don’t even want to talk about it any more, I might jinx it. The co-owner is a drunken rude lazy fuck (I got AMPLE EVIDENCE FOR WHICH) but we stayed away from him and it didn’t impact our fun.

Suzanne is a miracle to camp with, she had everything. Her car was BUNGFUL. I drove back and we found a GENUINE MEXICAN TACO STAND in Cache Creek (‘Zanne is celiac so it was like YESSSS!) called Hola Taco. For five bucks we got a memorably delish pork taco with sauces and MEXICAN COLA yes.

Fire ban, but it didn’t bother us.

Host asked for my advice for playsets for grandkids. You know me, I got lots of ideas.

this email to me was entitled Letter from Mike

SO THE FEARLESS LEADER OF AIR CANADA HAS DUN IT AGIN

Dear Allegra,

Earlier this summer, I wrote to you about how conditions in the global airline industry were impacting you as a valued Air Canada customer and to recognize any inconvenience you may have experienced. In my letter, I also outlined the many initiatives we had undertaken to address these issues. WHILE COMPLETELY IGNORING THE FACT THAT WE THREW OUT HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS OF EMPLOYEES LIKE DISEASED GARBAGE. Today, I am writing to update you on the progress we have made to date to return our airline to its pre?pandemic standards of customer service. PROGRESS I THINK YOU WILL FIND IS NOT THE CORRECT WORD.

First, however, thank you for your continued loyalty to our company. NOPE. Virtually every week this summer, our traffic volumes have increased and are now nearing 80% of the number of customers we carried in 2019, our last summer before the pandemic. HOWEVER LOOK CLOSELY AT THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE NOT REHIRED 80 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE AND HAVE MANAGED TO GLOSS THAT OVER WITH COMPLETE ELAN. It is evident people are keen to travel and all of us at Air Canada are proud that you are entrusting to us your very important travel arrangements. Let me assure you we understand our responsibility to meet your expectations. UNDERSTANDING THAT RESPONSIBILITY AND MEETING IT ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

However, welcome as the recovery is, the summer increase in traffic has also prolonged the pandemic’s disruption of our entire industry. ONCE AGAIN, YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FUCKING STAFF AND BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE FOR WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR CUSTOMERS GLOSSES OVER WHAT YOU DO INSIDE CANADA WHEN YOU DO HAVE ENOUGH STAFF. Airlines, airports, governments, and the other third?party suppliers are labouring like everyone else to return to normal. We have been working closely with our industry partners to remedy the situation and, while we still have much work to do, the results are trending positively, and customers are already experiencing the benefits directly when they travel.

As an intensely data driven organization, we can clearly see those areas that require more operational focus, as well as those that are showing improvement. In the spirit of transparency, I would like to share some metrics related to the areas that most immediately affect our customers. For the period June 27 to August 14, during which we carried approximately 6.4 million customers, the Air Canada family (including Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express), recorded the following operational improvements:
Flight Delays – Comparing the week of June 27 to the week of August 8, there was a 48% reduction or 1,160 fewer flights that took a delay longer than one hour. In addition, flight delays overall are getting shorter. For flights that experienced any delay, the average arrival delay during the week of June 27 was 28 minutes longer than the same week in 2019. As of the week of August 8, this had improved to 12 minutes. NONE OF WHICH COVERS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE STUCK ON THE TARMAC FOR AN HOUR AT YYZ OR YVR IN JULY WITH NO FUCKING AIRCON.

Flight Cancellations – There has been a substantial reduction in the volume of flight cancellations. During the week of August 8, there was a 77% reduction in the number of cancelled flights as compared to the week of June 27. This translates into 960 fewer flights cancelled. Furthermore, flight completion, which is the percentage of all scheduled flights that are not cancelled, reached 96.7% during the week of August 8, which was less than one percentage point lower than the same week in 2019. The vast majority of customers experiencing cancellations, often due to weather or other unexpected factors, were able to travel within 24 hours. BETTER THAN ONE IN FIFTY ODDS YOU WON’T MAKE THAT FLIGHT.  YEAH.

Baggage Handling – The strongest area of improvement over this period can be seen in baggage handling, where the airline handles over 650,000 bags per week. During the week of June 27, mishandling rates per 1,000 customers were approximately 2.5 times the same number in 2019. As of the week of August 8, this rate fully recovered to 2019 levels with a baggage handling success rate of 98%. AS RASPUTIN J. NOVGOROD ONCE REMARKED THE MOST AWFUL THING ABOUT POSTAL STRIKES IS THAT ONCE THEY’RE OVER SERVICE RETURNS TO NORMAL. LOSING/MISDIRECTING/MISHANDLING ONE BAG IN FIFTY PER CUSTOMER – 2 PERCENT – IS GHASTLY

While these numbers are encouraging, TO WHOM, YOU PRECIOUS FOOL, our recovery remains very much a work in progress with a significant distance yet to be covered. Even with our success to date, we are committed to further improvement in those areas that we directly control and also by supporting our third?party partners, upon which we rely, as they too strive to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if you travelled recently, yet still encountered a disruption, we at Air Canada apologize for this. With an industry as complex as ours, WHICH NEEDS SO MANY EXPERIENCED STAFF, WHOM WE FIRED and dependent as it is on the coordinated performance of so many entities, recovering from an event without precedent like a global pandemic presents many challenges. For this reason, we appreciate your continued patience and understanding.

Thank you again for your loyalty to our company. Please be assured that all of us at Air Canada are preparing and eager to welcome you aboard and to transport you safely in the very near future.

Sincerely,

Michael Rousseau FOOL or TRICKSTER TAKE YOUR PICK
President and Chief Executive Officer
Air Canada

home a day early

For a variety of completely NON BAD reasons we came home a day early, and glad we are we did. She did all the northbound driving, I did all the southbound.

I had a fantastic time, met one of Suzanne’s inlaws, got rather closer to a wildfire (put out in two hours though) than was pleasant, saw a lot of wildlife, and thanks to said inlaw INSISTING THAT WE SLEEP IN HIS TRAILER, I had three nights of superbly restful sleep next to a beautiful elderly lab cross named Stella. At one point I was awake and they were snoring and it was all I could do not to laugh.

Suzanne and I got along fine and laughed our asses off. I will give you a hint in life. Take HER camping, not me, she’s prepared like a quartermaster….

Many more details will come later. It was FUCKING AWESOME.

leaving today

Bubs the Magnificent Baby, Alex and Katie just visited me and Ryker is SO HAPPY TO SEE ME HE SMILED SO HARD HE NEARLY SQUIRMED HIMSELF OFF THE BED and his mom cotched him and threw him up in the air while he fizzed with toothy mirth.

I have finished Shirlene Obuobi’s ‘On Rotation’ and it is a very satisfactory romance. VERY. I shall exercise my critical (not very) faculties on a full scale review shortly, but not right now.

Katie’s about to order us a McDonald’s breakfast and I am here for it, quite literally.

The psychiatric attic has once more been breached! it now reveals a View-Master. The box that the View-Master and the reels are was made by my maternal grandfather and when I reached into the box to randomly pull out a reel…..

IT WAS FOR THE ADDAMS FAMILY TV SHOW, IN COLOUR.

I think I probably screeched. John Astin as Gomez in a 1920’s style pure white driving costume? It with its hair in curlers? LOLOLOL. MORTICIA KNITTING? lololololololol guess what my mother was doing all day yesterday in the sunroom, it’s just TOOOOOO RICH

Making happy family memories is a wonderful process. Only people missing as descendants were Jeff and Keith. And you were both missed!

Absolutely no writing except for the blog and a couple of tweets.

 

lots on my mind

  1. much of it isn’t my story, so I sit by the side of the road
  2. Housefilk has been moved up to today. I wish I could stop feeling this bleak – Jeff got me CHEESE SCONES and COFFEE and both are excellent.
  3. weather remains fine
  4. The Russians keep providing the Ukrainians with proof of war crimes and the fact nobody on the Russian side seems to care indicates that they don’t actually believe any international justice apparatus will still be standing when they’re done.
  5. At this point I think we’ve got about 6 months left of ‘normal’ so it’s time to batten down. Start keeping more cash on hand, among other things.
  6. Anne Heche died of her injuries. Addiction is a terrible thing. I hope her kids have people they can trust with them and aren’t exposed to too much vileness.
  7. preparations for camping trip have commenced – I need to find Jim’s old camping list. Suzanne has already told me to expect to do as much driving as I can stand because ‘she wants to look at the view’ and I am HERE for that.
  8. off to Victoria soon for a flying visit more deets later
  9. I am hoping for a breakthrough on totally boned so I guess I’ve got a date with some 3×5 cards current count is 1663
  10. allegra sloman 13/8/2022 ‘Doing it badly’

mini trip

As a responsible adult I called Katie yesterday morning to let her know that Jeff and I were heading up the sea-to-sky highway to check out a provincial campground and park north of Squamish, to be back in the afternoon; I’d call her when we were home. In other words we drove all the way from Kikayt (New Westminster) southeast of K’emk’emeláy (‘place of maple trees’, aka Vancouver) all the way to Skwxwú7mesh Temíxw (Squamish Territory). The number seven or the special question mark is a glottal stop.

I had one job.

Only one job.

That was to tell Jeff when to turn off for Alice Lake. Could I? Did I? No. I didn’t see the sign until we were on it. Jeff turned around. There was a sign saying turnoff in one kilometre and we didn’t see the turn off. Going back north again from Squamish we saw TWO SIGNS for Alice Lake and finally managed the turn off. The campground itself is lovely, heavily treed and with two little beaches. Anyway, I marked the damned turnoff on the map with the kilometres and paid for Jeff’s gas (I hardly ever pay for gas, so I was due anyway).

It was a gorgeous trip, however brief, and if someone ever transcribed our joint running commentary from the dash cam we’d probably have to flee the province.

Jeff got us McDonald’s afterwards – I got my fries with no salt and they’re surprisingly good.

And I wrote a thousand words yesterday, 17865 is the count.

It was a good day.

glamping

So the Delica was wonderful to sleep in, thanks, after Mike sorted out the storage issues. He packed tent pegs, he swears he did, but he didn’t find them so the SUV tent extension never got put up. That hiccup aside, I got to camp:

In a new place (Sxótsaqel, Chilliwack Lake PP)

RIGHT ACROSS from the pit toilets, which were clean and unsmelly

Drank not a single whisper of anything alcoholic

Found out about recent generation camping equipment that’s most useful

with a cat and two dogs (Ninja, Zaya and Jasper)

with a raven flying through the woods

listened to the other people at the campsite play Mölkky which is a deranged Finnish version of skittles invented late last century

and three little chipmunks so we kept yelling for Alvin

with new people and old (Stephanie, the long term girlfriend of Erik (all camping trips should have a meltingly beautiful young couple to admire, she’s one of those women who without being too much into herself can put her hair into a messy bun in 1.5 seconds and then look gorgeous) and her beau Erik who instead of being Jarmo’s child at Baumfest, conspiring with Ville to lock me in an outhouse LOL LOL is in fourth year med school prepping to be a radiologist and who probably saw Tom on rounds when he was dying at RCH, and Päivi, whom I hadn’t seen in easily 15 years; and Samppa her oldest whom I hadn’t previously met and Matthias who turns out to be ANOTHER Finnish extraction med student. We got into the prolapses folks, it was intense, also hilarious)

Not having to prepare a single meal, cup of coffee, pack except for myself or do any driving. I wiped some stuff up, cleaned the small trash off the campsite, got the chairs out of the rain, that kind of thing; told stories and sang songs

—very nice gig frankly

With a view so intense that if you want to see the mountaintops through the trees you have to tip your head back

and a beautiful beach

and it’s only two hours from here, less if you maniac it down highway 1.

I have more notes and more details later, but I’m home, and happy and I can hardly wait to tell Katie about it but I bet she already knows about this campground. Maybe pics later if I can liberate them from Mike.

All hugs and kisses to Mike for underwriting basically everything

wind

Exceedingly windy right now, I’m worried a bit about our travel plans

My head’s empty and my mood is blank. I have a ton of things to do before I leave.

Heard from Mike. It was good to hear his voice.

Heard from Paul. He was having trouble with the website that you have to fill out a form for in order to return to Canada. After I, like a fool, volunteered to help him I learned that I had to actually be logged in to the site which I couldn’t do, so I told him to go talk to Hank (where he’s a houseguest) about that. Hopefully he’ll make it home, the alternative is an enormous fine.

7623 words, quite a bit of ratchet editing; two kudos overnight. If the averages hold, that means that twenty people across the surface of the planet were reading my fanfic last night.

I really should pack, lol. The wind better die down or they’ll cancel the ferry.

I am cautiously pleased about the price I should be getting for some books.

thinking of John tonight, this is a drawing by Brooke…

another cat pic

Moar effin precip

Moar shovelling today I imagine. It’s supposed to stop today and start again tomorrow, might be as much as 15 cm but my heart misgives me and I think it will be more. AND STILL THERE IS NO SALT IN THE STORES.

Much horror, humour, excitement and a happy ending –  with the fam over in Victoria – yesterday. To preserve the privacy and dignity of those involved I shall say nothing here except that we are all well, and perhaps some of us collected some bruises. I shall also note that in the midst of my hysterics (yup, cried like a baby on the phone with my mOm), when I was first informed of the precipitating event, that I kept my cheese assembled long enough to provide useful and actionable advice to someone under stress, so go me. Everything came out as okay as it can but I sure learned that I’m a hair from weeping and flailing about pretty much anytime.

Jeff and I, partly because of the effin precip, partly because of the news, and partly because (WAVES HAND OVER THE IDEA THAT A MILLION AMERICANS AND QUITE A FEW CANADIANS GOT DIAGNOSED WITH COVID YESTERDAY) did not have a fantabulous day yesterday. I ran the dishwasher and shovelled and fed the birdies but other than that I can assure you I did not do a thing. Okay, I did write 1391 words on the ‘meet cute in the airport during a snowstorm’ story.

Tammy comes to town today to visit friends and fam on her way to Hawaii. Fingers crossed for her travel luck; there’s a break in the weather on both ends but if COVID knocks too many people off work, that plane won’t leave… Like I said fingers crossed. She’s double boostered. If anyone is safe to travel in a pressurized aluminum skin full of plague she is. She just messaged me to say her flight’s still showing on time. With luck she’ll call me a little after noon.

I observe that when white people stick their noses in the ‘pan-Indigenous’ concept it’s usually about control over, grift from and erasure of distinct nations and persons. Only nations can determine belonging and categories of belonging. It isn’t a single, simple concept or law.

I have opened YET ANOTHER PROJECT FILE this one non-fiction. It’s called Common Human Cognitive Issues and What to Do About Them. I realize I have zero experience with that! (actually that’s not true, but it wasn’t peer reviewed, which is a grift anyway) which is why it’s going to be a jolly parody of self-help books.

recovering

I am feeling much better than I did yesterday. Most of the sprung ribs have gone back into their little detents but I still have abused tendons and one very bruised left hand to deal with. It no longer hurts to cough or laugh, but rolling over in bed, bending over to pick anything up, and getting up from and sitting down in a chair hurt like billy-o. I don’t feel much like typing, that’s for sure, it hurts.

We’re having a super quiet time, just talking in the sunroom. Alex is being quite civilized. He’s an amusing lad.