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Fri Sep 20th, 2019


07:53 pm - Where the need is sorest, there the help comes soonest
Came home yesterday, saw that someone had shifted the honking big rock on my wobbly step and left an envelope under it. Odd, since I have a proper mailbox attached to the stair rails. Envelope had a message in magic marker: 'Caution, wet cement.' Well, that's nice, though last I heard s-i-l's grandson the mason's apprentice was dying of the same 6 week plague his grandmother fell victim to a month back. Guess he recovered?

This morning I saw that the loose plank in my porch's celing was hanging even lower, evidently forced down by its own weight. Went to mudroom, got Ikea shelf that's been there for 20 odd years, propped it up on porch divider and so pushed plank back up, though I was peppered with unnameable and unspeakable detritus as I did so. People like my s-i-l who don't believe in the concept of 'you never know when it will come in handy' are wrong wrong wrong.

My phone's screen has had a spreading blue stain on its face for the last month. Losing pixels or something, and a clear message from the universe to get a new phone after nearly five years. Wouldn't mind, since phone's browser can't be updated and accesses fewer and fewer websites, while Chrome runs like molasses even though phone is an android. But tonight I turn it on and... stain has shrunk? from 2cm to 1? So all is well for the moment.

Yesterday was peak crippledom, only partly explained by being at work for seven and a half hours while being paid for 90 minutes of same. (I am a martyr. Also I have no life and no resources. If I can't hang out with small people I don't know what to do with myself. This has been the case for ten years, since I stopped writing fanfic, but ten years ago I could at least walk.) Today was equally as warm and muggy and knee was unrelentingly stiff, but I could move about, so I count my blessings. But cancelling my acupuncture Wednesday was a mistake. Without it I bloat like a sponge and everything gets worse thereby.

(Cementer was not in fact grandson but his do-it-yourselfer grandmother, using some cement she just happened to have in the garage. I doubt the longterm stability, but it's at least a fix for now.)

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Wed Sep 18th, 2019


11:17 am - Wednesday random
I'm kind of delighted by this horse story found over at [personal profile] incandescens' twitter feed. Go Her Maj!

City's relief for Impoverished Elderly Homeowners (which is kind of an oxymoron, since any house in this city is effectively a money tree) came through this month ie they didn't deduct my property taxes, so I indulged myself by cancelling my 11 o'clock acupuncture appointment at short notice. For which I shall have to pay, but fine. This is the humid achy season when people so disposed (me and the cook and coworker S) are troubled in all our joints. Add allergies to that and you get super-doped me who really didn't want to leave her bedroom, let alone bike the pot-holed streets for half an hour. Who didn't want to wake up before 10, actually, and is sorry she did. And who was rousted from comfort by a real estate agent cold-calling with 'we recently sold a house in your neighbourhood and...' Jackals. It takes three lifetimes living in shanty towns and under bridges to expiate the guilt of having been a real estate agent.

Fast-cooking oats (not instant) make the best overnight oats. Lemon yoghurt takes away most of the oatmeal taste. But no matter what I eat in the morning, my insides rumble disconsolately afterwards, is why I'm not a breakfast person.

My current mission is to clean one kitchen bookshelf of books. This involves, alas, finishing Halprin's Winter's Tale, which I suppose is magic realism and which I don't actually *mind* except for its undefined but pervasive Written By A Guy-ness. Makes me think of Little, Big which I then think I must reread except that life is short. Maybe follow with Love in the Time of Cholera which is also (I assume) Mag.Real, and is also a kitchen book.

Purple Hibiscus also chugs along. There's some hope that Papa the wife beater will get his comeuppance some day, but meanwhile it reminds me why the religion of my childhood is, at the very least, something men should not be allowed near.

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Tue Sep 17th, 2019


08:56 pm - No one ever tells me anything
I was yesterday old when I learned, courtesy of Rainy Willow, that the Ichiko of Ima Ichiko- 市子- is the word for a psychic-type medium, a speaker to the dead.

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Mon Sep 16th, 2019


09:42 pm - Accomplishment
Canadian guy I knew in Japan, one of the very few who kept his head while those about him were making idiots of themselves, came home and was promptly headhunted as a headhunter. Had lunch with him after I got back myself, and he passed on these words of wisdom from his boss: "Tom, if people were just able to pick up a phone and make a call, you and I would both be out of a job."

If I'd just been capable of picking up a phone on Labour Day when I saw the damage to my roof, I'd be within two weeks of having it fixed. Since I waited till today when I was both sleep-deprived and tipsy, I must wait till October 15. But the handyman *will* come.

Now maybe I should start calling electricians...

Had a dentist's appointment today, is why I was sleep-deprived. But since dentist is a block away from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, afterwards I went shopping for the hand towels and dish towels no one seems to have anywhere else. My dollar store hand towels are fraying as well, while I was told BB&B towels are of better quality. Mh. They're more expensive, certainly, but not notably thicker: nor do they come in the rose pinks that suit my bathroom decor. Maybe I should just learn how to hand-hem towels in order to get more life out of them. But now I have two more towels, and if I continue to keep laundering my linen to other people's standards of cleanliness, I shall need them.

Oh yes: put polyester duvet into a duvet cover at last, for the nights grow chilly. Never liked the job when I was younger, and now elbows twinge and arms grow weak, I hate it. But it's very satisfying once done.
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Sun Sep 15th, 2019


06:07 pm - Season of... rain
Thursday was sunny and dry and I didn't hurt. Friday was grey and humid and I was crippled. Yesterday was sunny and dry and I went for a walk. Today is grey and humid and I'm in the sideroom with hot beanbags for elbows and hips and knees. So it goes.

But yesterday I pumped up my tires (which I hate doing- see elbows, above) and rode those 20 pounds of batteries down to the recycle, so go me.

Elizabeth's Meat and Delicatessan was on Bloor near Brunswick, back in the dawn of time- the 70s- and stayed there for decades until it suddenly closed in 2005. And I mean suddenly: owner simply locked the store one night and didn't come back. The venue became a reasonable pub, but that too closed and was replaced with an El Furniture Warehouse, famous for its entrees all being 5.95. Never been in there because lineups of university kids, and anyway pub food, but I was hungry for meat at 4 pm yesterday (4:30 is my body's idea of the perfect time to eat dinner) and no regular restaurant was serving supper then. So.

Well, even half full it's LOUD because they keep the music turned to blast volume, and so dark you can't read the menu, so it must cater to beer drinkers who know what they want already. I moved to the one table by the window and had their club sandwich and sweet potato fries. The portions aren't large, which is hardly surprising, but also a blessing since most pub food leaves me feeling bloated. I wish it was a bit more stodgy elder friendly, but that's not likely. So if I get cravings, I shall have to train my guts not to get them until 5 p.m. at the earliest.

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Wed Sep 11th, 2019


10:28 pm - Seething Wednesday
September does this occasionally, the sudden hot spell just as the leaves are turning and the first cold nights start you thinking about furnaces or at least space heaters. After last night's prolonged thunderstorm and monsoon rains blew in a warm front, today was 28C and blistering in the sun, though breezy and pleasant enough in the shade. But as ever, high heat and humidity make me feel like a water-logged bag o' flesh, and everything hurts all the time. It's supposed to thunder again tonight and return us to a high of 19C tomorrow, but I doubt if that's enough to debloat me, if the chilly weekend didn't manage it.

However the daycare top-up, which our (speaking of bloated) smug thug of a premier was supposed to cancel, came in today, and I have 600-some extra dollars I wasn't expecting, so yay for that.

Reading-wise, I managed to finish Roger Lancelyn-Green's Myths of the Norsemen in a battered copy from the Front Lawn Library, read to remind me what the canon of it actually is before I go on, if I ever go on, to the Eddas themselves. What happened to my childhood copy of Norse Myths and Legends with the black and white Beardsley-inspired illustrations? Oh, it's Padraic Collum's The Children of Odin, and here's the bit I remember where Loki eats the witch's heart. Mh. Maybe I won't read the Eddas after all. I don't care for trickster gods, and the rest of the Aesir are prime examples of Men (or gods) Behaving Badly.

Currently working on Kari Sperring's The Grass King's Concubine, which is fun but doesn't need to be as slow as it is. I'm even skimmimg bits, which I rarely do. My downstairs reading, for as long as it lasts, is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus, because I'm not sure how much I can take of abusive Nigerian Catholic paterfamiliases.

And there's still lots of Rainy Willow, though vol15 isn't quite up to the heights of 14.

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Sun Sep 8th, 2019


07:37 pm - Fiat lux
So, I say to myself, of the various things that trouble my soul just now, what troubles it most? The basement light, obviously. It's not that there's no light at all, there's just no light that can be turned on from the top of the (narrow, vertiginous) stairs. Down in the main room there's a light at the far end, away from the laundry, that turns on from a wall switch at the bottom of the stairs, and there's the laundry room light itself, which thank heaven is unaffected. But to do laundry I have to go down with my honking big flashlight, reach for the switch amid the cobwebs, turn on the far wall's dim bulb, then go to the laundry and turn that one on. The alternative is to leave the dim light on all the time. Wasteful, but if I must...

So I go down today, switch switches, and as I'm stowing clothes into the washer, the far bulb goes out. Joy. System failure, so I must spring for an electrician who will come when he comes ie maybe in a month. Take flashlight and remove bulb just in case it's a short. Then look over basement ceiling and there, in the middle of the room, unnoticed by me for thirty years, is another light socket. Screw a bulb in, try wall light switch, nothing happens. Go back up the stairs, try switch, and light floods the basement. I am saved.

On the tide of that triumph I do two of the things I failed to last week. Actually I did try to get a credit card on my line of credit Wednesday, but after sitting on hold for half an hour I gave up. Today I was connected within minutes and the card will be sent out in the usual 5-10 business days. And then I shall buy a new washer and dryer, that lets me use hot water and dry my towels and consumes a fraction of the energy of those mid80s appliances, for I am mighty and the universe loves me, or at least it loves me today.
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Sat Sep 7th, 2019


09:03 pm - Sneezy Saturday
Definitely sock weather now, for however long it lasts- forecast 28C on Wednesday- but for now it's the standard September thing of Ohhh so cold at night! and Ohh so cold in the morning! and Ohh so hot during the day! Right now it's night and I want my fuzzy socks again.

Virtuously biked several decades worth of batteries down the bumpy cracking streets to the recycle event at the Shaw St library, only to discover that it's *next* Saturday. Then biked over to the university's Athletic Centre where I was assured there was a battery recycle station, only there isn't. I hope this counts as the 'even a little exercise' that's supposed to be better for you than none at all. Sneezed and coughed during the day because antihistamines really don't work, and washed towels and sheets at the laundromat because my ancient machines won't handle them and anyway my basement is dark and treacherous.

But then, unprecedentedly, I won $40 in the lottery, so go me.
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Fri Sep 6th, 2019


10:49 pm - Friday again
Lovely dream last night that [personal profile] incandescens and I were at a convention in some European city (grey, rain) and she'd booked us into a marvellous hotel that had a rail link directly to the convention centre. But it wasn't that the train took you directly there: it was something like, you walked the length of the train and there you were at the convention. The convention itself was for people who produced APAs, and it was partly a contest. We sat around a table and an older white guy read our APAs, and lord but he was slow with it. G's APA was a compact black-bound thing that could fold in half again, to become the lacquer box I read about in last night's Rainy Willow episode. I was quite envious of it. Then a black kid, maybe 10 or 11, came in diffidently with his APA, and he turned out to be the son of one of the leading APA uhh editors? compilers? so of course was given a seat next to his dad at the table.

When the judging was over and we were back at the hotel, G asked me to come to her room at 4:15 the next morning because that's when she always woke up 'and there's nothing to do at that hour.' But I forgot and slept in to past 10, and was folding my clothes into the chest of drawers in my hotel room, which had become the third floor front play/ living room at Bedford, when someone interrupted me and I woke up.

I do indeed sleep in to past ten these days, and sometimes later, even if I haven't overdosed myself on Robaxacet and anti-histamines. September narcolepsy, aided by the cool temps and the added wool blanket at night. After two splendid days of classic September weather, all blue skies and hot sun and cool evenings, today rolled in grey clouds and unforecast rain. Luckily I had all my rain gear stowed in my panniers and didn't get wet, but pressure or full sinuses have made me dizzy all day. Hope this blows away when the clouds do.

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Wed Sep 4th, 2019


09:25 pm - Boys of autumn
In last night's washy blowy and ultimately thunderous non-coolness (low of 20C) I turned on the window AC and slept fitfully, because even the AC wasn't as dry as I needed it to be. This morning, with the world looking much more solid-the wash having washed out of the air in the extremely heavy rain that accompanied the 2 a.m. cracks ofthunder- I put on a tshirt, went out, and immediately came back for a jacket. Should have worn a long sleeved shirt as well or a fleecy, because a dry wind blowing on a cloudy day makes 18C feel much much cooler. And tonight I ponder flannel sheets under me and maybe sleep pants as well, because an autumn feel is in the air. Of course, mid afternoon in the sun was blazing hot, but that is the essence of the September season.

In the evenings I read a chapter or two of Rainy Willow, the sweet days of late Meiji and early Taishou, the akogare of objects longing for their owners as, possibly, the owners, all these ex-hatamoto descendants, long for the settled days of the Shogunate and the certainties of a life gone by. Not that noble families are shown in a sympathetic light in flashback: it's all sacrifice for the clan and stiff-lipped gamaning. But maybe for commoners and middle class, that departed order remains as a reassuring memory even as they enjoy the new freedoms of the present, with their new anxieties and uncertainties.

Did anything like that ever happen here? A complete upheaval of society that didn't involve millions of dead? Upheavals we've had, but a whole social reordering at the behest of TPTB, no, I don't think so. Japan's done it twice, though the second time was as ghastly for them as WW1 for Europe.

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Mon Sep 2nd, 2019


02:56 pm - Holiday Monday
There's a bunch of girls playing somewhere nearby, 10 or 11 year olds by the sound of their voices, and in between shrieking they're actually *singing*. Eventually I worked out that they're singing Hallelujah, or a version thereof. I feel like I've gone back in time somehow.

The basement light won't turn on- or rather, won't stay turned on- and I can't get into the parent directory of my webpage. Nothing that couldn't be fixed by a healthy teenaged male but those don't come just for the asking.
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Sun Sep 1st, 2019


11:43 pm
Slept till nearly noon. There's druggedness and then there's psychology, and I think this may be the latter. Though on a grey rainy day when one is cozy and warm in bed, there may be a reason for not wanting to leave the nest.

For the second time this week, some big strong guy offers to help me push my bike up the steps. First time I had too many groceries in the panniers, but today I just couldn't get the angle right. This is due to the very large garden rock holding the second step in place, which has to stay until the step gets mended- and I'm getting a sinking feeling that won't happen soon. And if it's not fixed by winter...
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Sat Aug 31st, 2019


09:06 pm - Another long weekend
Something has been living in the porch roof, because this morning two planks were hanging loose. Actually it's been loose for decades, ever since an incompetent animal removal service closed up a squirrel entry in the belief that the squirrels were gone, when in fact a couple of babies were still inside. Cue hysterical mother squirrel and desperate offspring, who eventually broke through a plank of the 2by4 flooring. But now it's not just loose but hanging down. Must go hunting for handymen again.

No matter. Another lovely day, hotter midafternoon than I cared for but cool otherwise, white clouds and blue sky. In search of washi, I rode down to what was once The Japanese Paper Place, now The Paper Store, out Queen West west. (The JPP proper is now in a warehouse farther west, in 'must have a car' territory. I think I once bought a bathtub in the West Mall, ages back, and discovered there are no sidewalks there.) The former Queen west village is due south from work, and is now all big box fashion and little else, because no one can afford the rents. Queen West west is due south of me, and is where all the trendy boutiques and gelato places have gone. It's been a good dozen years since I was there, and much changed. But I note that Stuart Jackson has moved there as well, who's an ukiyo-e dealer I bought a few things from 35 years back. He used to be in Yorkville when *that* was still affordable, which was, yes, 35 years ago. Useful to know this, now I think of downsizing and dumping a few of my less inspired prints.

Anyway, The Paper Place does still have some washi, and I bought four sheets. But of course I still have a roll of perfectly good white paper that I'd completely forgotten about. Shall use one or the other: and maybe white glue instead of the trad flour and water, in order not to tempt the mouse again.
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Fri Aug 30th, 2019


09:01 pm - End of August
Antihistamines and muscle relaxants mean I can easily sleep ten hours a night, and do. Even if I'm up at a reasonable hour to relieve my bladder, I can always roll back to sleep, especially with cool air blowing in the window and the standing fan making a noise like distant waves. So I reswaddle me in my flannel loose sheet and my polyester duvet and sink back down, to dream again of that nonexistent bookstore along the main drag from Heiwadai station. This time there was some sort of conspiracy being run out of it, but then my phone's alarm woke me.

For a Friday before Labour Day, today was almost quiet. Tomorrow no doubt the Air Show at the Ex(hibition) will kick into sound barrier crashing high gear, but at least today we were spared hysterical children traumatized by jets roaring over the yard every five minutes.

It was in fact a classically beautiful August day, hot in the sun, cool in the shade, blue and green and breezy. In my personal mythology this belongs to Days of 2012, sun drenched late afternoons at the much missed Ginger restaurant, eating chicken satay and rice noodles, drinking Vietnamese coffee, and reading American Gods. So instead I had hisashiburi pasta and a glass of wine at the Italian restaurant (with the Sri Lankan chef) round the corner from work. But when I went to unlock my bike afterwards to go to acupuncture, my keys were gone from my pocket, onnaccountof a great big hole in same. They weren't in the restaurant nor by the bike, and odd I hadn't heard them clank when they fell, but there you are. Of course I had my back-up set, because I always do, but they're the ones with the bent bike key that sometimes doesn't work, and it's also the last of my duplicate house keys (well, barring those given to sibs and one neighbour.)

Resigned to buying a new bike lock, which god knows I need, and possibly getting a new front door lock as well, which would be a good idea because the knob doesn't actually open the door, I bumped my way down to the acupuncture studio at Dufferin and Dundas. (Toronto roads are the literal pits.) When I took off my bike clip in order to roll up my pants leg, my keys clanked onto the floor. So let's hear it for velcro bike clips. And I shall be doing a lot of mending this weekend, because it seems several pockets are in need of fixing.

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Wed Aug 28th, 2019


10:21 pm - Water, water, everywhere
Yesterday was a grey humid day with promised scattered showers, and I had an acupuncture appointment. Wise in season- this one, the end of summer- I dropped in at the excellent drugstore near my acupuncturist's and bought a raincape. As well, because when I left her place we were having a steady monsoon rain. So I stuck my long sleeved shirt in my backpack and cycled in my tanktop under the rain cape: and the rain blew in at the neck and soaked me.

At least I could throw it into the dryer at work and wear my shirt and the dry pair of pants I'd also brought with me, since rain gaiters don't keep the side of your legs dry when it monsoons. Wise in season, me.

Today I show up at work to discover we had another backup in the basement, because the plumber last winter didn't clear the blockage completely. Laundry and kitchen were flooded, and any time anyone used a tap or a toilet anywhere in the building the drain backed up more. It was touch and go as to whether we'd be closed tomorrow, because the three university plumbers didn't have the right tools and were baffled by our drains. But at last they got it cleared, hurray. And once again we must hang out a sodden carpet to dry. It was not I who thought putting a carpet in the laundry room was a good idea, because I know how the window leaks in snow thaws, how the sump pump backs up periodically, and how the outside drain gets clogged by the sand which a certain staff (the one who did think a carpet was a good idea) hoses down the steps, thus causing floods under the door. But of course, sigh, no one listens to *me*.
Culture and ConfusionCollapse )

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Mon Aug 26th, 2019


11:04 pm - Stout Cortez
Random twitter thread over at Nora J's leads me to the Skyrim sound track, with its theme song in Dragonish. I shall never game, not with these elbows and wrists, but oh what earwormy music:

Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin naal ok zin los vahriin,
Wahdein vokul mahfaeraak ast vaal
Ahrk fin norok paal graan
fodnust vok zin dro zaan
Dovahkiin fah hin kogaan mu draal!

(Now how does one embed youtube videos when everything plays in the app and the app has no url?)

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Sun Aug 25th, 2019


10:23 pm - Update
It's been September for the last two days, which is a pleasant if disorienting change from the closed windows/ window AC/ central AC of last week. But also a little fantoddy, because it's the Septembers of too bright sun and too saturated colours that make the world look unreal. Specifically it's September five years ago, with unpleasant associations of colonoscopies and other medical procedures of the time.

Still, the great fair weather clouds and the singing cicadas are a great mood booster.

Mouse-wise, I put complicated little poison mazes (truly, mouse has to go round corners to reach the bait) in the kitchen and the study. Kitchen is untouched, though that's where I first found mouse pellets, but the study one is well nibbled. I have no idea how mouse is getting onto that windowsill or where it's hiding out between times, but I hope it will soon cease doing either.
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Fri Aug 23rd, 2019


10:34 pm - Minor trials
Wednesday morning I hear what I hope is branches rattling in the wind outside the study window. Go to check, and it's a mouse gnawing on the ancient flour-paste that holds the paper to the shoji in the window, with a pile of nibbled washi on the floor. I block up vents in study, and turn shoji upside down so the ragged edge isx at the top.

Thursday the bottom edge of shoji has been nibbled away as well.

(This mouse belongs next door, since that's where we first saw it. Could it please go back there?)

Wednesday sitting outside with sleeping babies I have a zone-out that turns into a sleep state, complete with dreams that disorient me on coming to. Or else I have attack of petit mal epilepsy: could be either, doctor says with a shrug.

Thursday sitting outside with howling new baby, who is only happy when outside, a wasp somehow gets into my pant leg and bites me twice. In spite of baking soda and Afterbite, it still swells and itches like crazy.

Today I finally get to my coffee house for a much-needed latte, only to find it's closed all week. After work I'm 45 minutes early for my acupuncture, so I go to the coffee shop two blocks from the studio: only to find it's closed today 'due to unforeseen circumstances.'

At least Grumpy the Letter Carrier is delivering my mail again, because my embroidery kit arrived today with commendable dispatch from France.
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Tue Aug 20th, 2019


08:49 pm - Let the sun shine in
So today I had the front trees trimmed and in consequence have bought a new mailbox.

Meaning:

Was up betimes and blocked off a parking space at the front of my house and next door's for the chopper truck. But when they showed up promptly at noon, their truck was parked across the street because three car spaces is not big enough, evidently. Well, fine. And they took off the lower limbs of the linden, thus eliminating the umbrella effect over the front yard, and the overhanging branches of the birch, and now nothing hangs over the street or my (sadly dilapidated) porch roof. They accomplished this by means of a very sharp extendacutter and didn't go into the tree at all, which is sad because I kind of wanted to ask them to sweep off the front gutter. I should have asked them to cut off more of the linden where it overhangs the neighbours' yard, but it's nothing like as bad as it was before.

So as I'm watching all this from the porch, our grumpy mailman comes next door and squeezes some envelopes into the small mailslot in my brother's front door. (He's complained to them about it before. A grump, as I say.) 'Anything for me?,' I ask, to save him stepping over. 'I can't deliver mail to you,' he says, handing me flyers anyway. 'Your step is broken. We can't deliver to houses with broken steps. Your mail is up at the post office.' Which one? Oh, the central sorting one near, he says, Black Creek Drive,which is beyond my knowledge. And did anyone tell me my mail was being held for the last two weeks? Naturally not.

My step is not getting fixed in the near future, not with rain every other day and S only available on weekends. So what if I put my mailbox on the railing where you don't have to climb the steps, I ask. Oh that'll do, he says, as long as I can reach it. Well, the mailbox is screwed into the wall and I'm not screwing it out. But $30 gets me a cheap replacement from the hardware store, and I shall tie it to the stair rails, and maybe Grump will bring me my mail again, including those things I ordered on the weekend.

Then I went and jumped through hoops with Hydro to get online access to my account, and fortunately discovered that the bill that wasn't delivered isn't due for another ten days. I don't like online billing, given outages and server woes, but I may have to go for it anyway.

People, she says.
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Mon Aug 19th, 2019


11:00 pm
Earlier this year when I did my acrostic puzzles, I kept getting glimpses of Brust's Vlad out the corner of the mental eye, because that's what I was mainlining in January '18 when I was also mainlining acrostics. But now I get glimpses of Severian's Urth because that's what I mainlined in July. Possibly mainlining is not a good thing, or possibly I should give up acrostics when I do.

Cooler and dryer for a bit after that drenched and thunderous weekend. Cicadas sing, cosmos blooms: it's August.

My dryer no longer dries towels in a single go. Washer no longer shuts off hot water when on hot water cycle. After 30+ years I need a new washer and dryer. Oh if only Dovercourt Appliances was still open, because I can bike there, and all other appliance outlets are in the boonies and require a car. (Yes, cabs, but Toronto taxis are stupid expensive. I was shocked at how cheap New York cabs are by comparison.) And one must see the appliance before buying. Our washer at work was bought, sight unseen, on a workman's recommendation. It's a good washer but so deep that anyone under 5'5 (165 cm) has to stand on a milkcrate to reach the clothes at the bottom. And one also needs to check the cycles. Staff bought a new washing machine that only has one timed cycle, of 90 minutes. No thanks.
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Sat Aug 17th, 2019


04:25 pm - August wears on
In the alley the buyers come and go
Talking of downspouts and subflooring and soffit and fascia and and and

Many agents showing many people the house next door. Buyers will learn the interesting acoustics of cheek-by-jowl downtown housing soon enough.

Accuweather confidently predictd thunderstorms at 2pm and were out by only an hour ie just as I was emerging from massage. Got soaked of course, but as the lightning came closer I ducked into the local KFC to wait it out. Which was fine: I'd been jonesing for hot chicken anyway. It's a combined Colonel's and Taco Bell, but the Taco Bell machinery was closed for servicing, as announced by a sign on the door, a sign at the cash, and the removal of the Taco Bell menu items from the overhead boards. This led to tantrums from a woman who came in after me, who ordered Fries Supreme and was aghast when the clerk said she didn't have them, pointing to the cash register sign. 'But why didn't anyone tell me!?' Stupidity I can bear, having stupid moments myself, but stupidity and rudeness is flat unnecessary.

Have been indulging in retail therapy of the online variety. The last three Rainy Willow manga are coming from Japan, sweet reminder of another and arguably better time. Then last night I stumbled on KateNepveu's post about embroidery sets. Incapable of learning embroidery from books, I've long been looking for another beginner's embroidery set of the kind I had ten years ago and never found again. But here's a woman in France who does pretty patterns and can send you whole kits, complete with wooden hoops (not plastic likemy present ones.) So a set of those is on the way, and maybe I'll learn at last how chainstitch and plain stitch are supposed to work.

She lives in the beautifully named region of Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. I'd never heard of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, not surprisingly, since it didn't exist before 2014. Takes in a huge chunk of the s-w, from Poitiers down to Bayonne, taking in my old stamping grounds of Pau. Being unable to remember where Vieux Aquitaine had been, I googled and discovered this lovely piece of background:
The region's interim name Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes was a hyphenated placename, known as ALPC, created by hyphenating the merged regions' names – Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes – in alphabetical order.

In June 2016, a working group headed by historian Anne-Marie Cocula , a former vice president of Aquitaine, proposed the name "Nouvelle Aquitaine". The decision came after the popular favorite, "Aquitaine", faced resistance by regional politicians from Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. The other popular favorite, "Grande Aquitaine," was rejected for its connotation with a feeling of superiority. Alain Rousset, president of the region, concurred with the working group's conclusion, reaffirming that he considered the acronym "ALPC" no choice at all. For those deploring the loss of "Limousin" and "Poitou-Charentes", he noted that the predecessor region of Aquitaine subsumed the identities of the Périgord or the Pays Basque, which did not disappear during its 40 years of operation.
"The other popular favorite, "Grande Aquitaine," was rejected for its connotation with a feeling of superiority." Oh dear, oh dear.

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Thu Aug 15th, 2019


09:54 pm - Day off
Spent pleasantly doing very little but read on my tablet. And of course I meant to go in and help with Horrible Thursday snack but it was pissing rain and I didn't. Also Horrible Thursday is less so when the kids stay in bevause of rain, and the numbers are down, as they are now, so no guilt at all.

Pasta with egg in it is much more satisfying than regular, but it takes forever to cook to my favoured mushiness. Still I managed a carbonara variant with thick-sliced ham and duck egg, and found that one 'nest' of the egg noodles filled me quite happily. This is good, because the noodles themselves are only 150 calories, bringing dinner in at under 500.

S-i-l invited me over for wine the other day, and I told her about the masons' heart-stopping quote. 'But that's what S is learning to do! (Grandson S) I'm sure he could mend it for you.' S was around this afternoon, and in the course of examining the step lifted it off bodily, not surprisingly. But he seems to think he can cement it back in place, if not actually replace it completely. (People keep wanting to do that, even though the stone is beyond friable.) So now I'm cautiously optimistic, but it will have to be a weekend when it's not raining if that ever happens. Meanwhile there's a large rock from L's garden holding down the broken_off edge, and I need to put a sign up for the letter carrier suggesting caution when stepping on the rest of the stair, since it's no longer attached to anything. Luckily it doesn't rock at all, for however long that lasts.
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Wed Aug 14th, 2019


10:06 pm - Sign of the times
Well, the For Sale sign is up next door. I expect the house to be snapped up immediately and succeeded by many months of renovations, because I don't think the inside has even been repainted any time in the last thirty years. Mind, neither has mine, and it shows, but I didn't raise a family in this one.

Inordinately stiff and achy yesterday and today, and most grateful for the half hour massage this evening that I managed to book on the weekend. 'You're all bruised,' she says, poking at my hip. 'I suppose it's the tennis balls I use to work out the muscle knots,' I said. Very embarrassing, because I tend to get bruises whenever I try any kind of acupressure on myself. And then a small interior voice said, 'You *do* remember that fall you had in the yard on Monday?' Tripped and landed on a low plastic slide while going to rescue one of my babies who'd got himself upended in one of the play cars. (He does this regularly because he goes backwards, as they all do, but at great speed, because he's a cannonball.) Getting up off the ground was difficult because it always is, but I didn't think about it again after that. The nicest of the new staff called me next day to see if I was OK, which was sweet of her, but reminds me that in other people's opinion I'm an ancient old woman who needs to be looked out for. This might almost persuade me to lose 30 pounds and have my knee replaced, except the first involves compromising my quality of life and the second risks compromising my knee. Anyway, presumably my fall has come home to roost, so I shall have a hot bath and double Robaxacet tonight and sleep sweetly.

Got in touch with one of the masonry companies about my front step. They were cheerful and obliging and will only charge me $2300 plus HST rather than $2500 plus. This is the state of home repairs in Toronto these days- what the market will bear and oh! but it will bear a lot.

Reading-wise, I finished two late Ruth Rendells on my tablet and am reading a third now, since summer has me in its grip. A waste of the current brief cool spell, but too bad. I work slowly towards the end of Waning of the Middle Ages, to have it finished, now he's talking about the art that was the core of his original thesis, and work slowly through Gideon the Ninth, now she's talking about buildings and furnishings rather than her highly unlikable characters. Progress, progress.

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Sun Aug 11th, 2019


08:01 pm - Mutabile Semper
Walked my bike over to the conveni that sometimes has lime yoghurt- walked so as to get some exercise and look at the August gardens hereabouts- cosmos and tigerlilies and designer groundcover. I had three acupuncture sessions this week and a massage yesterday, I did my exercises and stretches before I left, and *everything* was owie tight and aching. Lower back pain is a bitch.

The conveni is next to the realtors with its heart-stopping postings of million dollar plus houses in the neighbourhood. To say nothing of one house on Bedford, more or less across the street from the one I grew up in. Unlike ours, this is a semi-detached, even if it's also a three storey Edwardian behemoth, and it's currently asking a hair under four million. This, as they say, is ridiculous.

There seems to be an idea that us aging boomers will downsize or die, and open up the housing market to young couples, which simply hasn't happened. Isn't going to, either. Where would I move to if I sold my house? A condo that limits what I can do with my theoretical property? An apartment with noise on all four sides of me? And both costing twice or three times what it does to run this place? Yeah, guys, you need a better answer to your housing problems than that.

(My sympathy for young couples who can afford a million dollar house is also limited. Downtown becomes a haven for upper middle class professionals? How exquisitely dull.)

The unbudging old happened with the generation before mine too, at least in this neighbourhood. Nonna and Nonno stayed put in the family house until the bitter end. As seen next door, which may come on the market soon. The widow Pisani to the south of me has either left us for good or (less likely) is in a retirement home, because her many offspring have been cleaning the place out on successive Sundays. I shall miss her, if not her quarrelsome extended family, who only made Sunday afternoons unpleasant, after all. The new owners, if there are any, may not mind my cherry tree, which will be a relief.

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Sat Aug 10th, 2019


10:14 pm - Mundaneities
Kefir is lovely stuff, or rather, the flavoured kefir I drink is lovely stuff, thick and creamy and more satisfying than yoghurt. Decided to make overnight oats with it, only plain this time. Oh dear, oh dear. Maybe it's the difference in brand- an impeccable organic one, mind- but it's sour and runny and tastes like the worst salty yoghurt. Have emptied half a tin of coconut milk on the oat mixture in hopes of saving the batch. Responsible consumerism insists I must finish this kefir rather than dumping it, so I hope the coconut does the trick.

I've had this opioid cough syrup for at least two years, and while I'm happy it stops the racking cough and got me out of jury duty, I'm not at all fond of the fuzz and light-headedness it causes. Can't see why anyone would get addicted to the stuff. Took it midweek, now that the bronchial tickle has started again, and half an hour later gradually became aware of a great sense of well-being, causeless for anything I could see. Could it be my cough syrup? It's rather annoying than otherwise, because I don't need further incentive to take something my doctor is so antsy about in the first place, and that I very much need when things get worse than they are now.

I was raised to change my sheets every two weeks, but such cleanliness went by the board long ago. I rely on my sense of smell to tell me when sheets and pillowcases need washing. And of course, since ten months ofthe year I sleep in pyjama equivalents and with my head covered, the bedding can go for a month or more before I notice anything. (The terrycloth sheets I use to wrap my shoulders and arms in do get washed more regularly, though I can't figure why they smell more than the pillowcases do, seeing as I breathe into both.) But this summer is this summer, and I'm back to fortnightly or oftener changes, and very pleasant it is too.

Towels I now change weekly, though it seems an extravagence. But there's no longer heat blowing from the vents to dry them within minutes, as in winter. I am assured that even if the towels don't smell, they're crawling with bacteria. Well, and fine, say I. Bacteria promotes the immune system. But I also don't dry out in the heat from the vents as I brush my teeth post-shower, which in winter means I often need only the slightest of patdowns, so weekly it is.
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Fri Aug 9th, 2019


08:58 pm - Quarter past August
Temperatures have gone 'almost autumnal', at least at night. Slept with only the window fan, and slept on my terrycloth sheet because the cotton one was too cool. Daytime sun was furnace like, and after I came home I sat and sweated for twenty minutes before going off to a room with a standing fan. But still a respite, even if this year doesn't register as grindingly hot. But neither is it the generally cool of 2013 to 2015, when I rarely needed the AC at all. Those days are probably gone, though we recall how cold it was even into June.

Called two well-recommended masonry companies, one of whom got back to me same day- amazing- the other of whom said he'd call Monday to arrange a viewing. I hate having people 'going to call', which I suppose is part of what I now know as social anxiety. But at least there's hope for the front step.

Not to jinx anything, but the playground at work has been remarkably wasp free this year. Usually by now we've knocked down three incipient nests from the roof over the sandbox. We'll see what the next three weeksbrings. Raccoons still come and poo on the fire escape, but that's a chronic Toronto problem. Next door was so pleased about its bright lights keeping the raccoons off their balcony, until they went and looked at the balcony, and then it was hey ho for the rubber gloves and bleach and cayenne pepper solutions.
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Wed Aug 7th, 2019


09:48 pm - Doldrums
Have been earwormed all week by Steeleye Span's King Henry. Earworms usually have one line at least that relates to my current situation. This doesn't. But I was chuffed to learn that there actually is a Scots ballad that forms the basis for SS' version, but that the ballad has no music attached, so the composer borrowed one. Not that it sounds like Bonaparte's Retreat to me at all.

I managed to finish Ruth Rendell's The Speaker of Mandarin and that's it. Ordinarily I'd just go read more Rendell, but that's summer lassitude talking. None of my genre books inspires me with the desire to read; I reaĺly need cooler weather for those doorstoppers. So I had the bright idea of trying something Completely Different. I have a number of my mother's books, ganked from the home library thirty years ago: mostly stuff I thought I might want to read sometime in my old age etc. Well, old age is on me, so let's try something mainstream. In this case, Elizabeth Bowen's The Hotel. And it starts very nicely with a bunch of tween war expats summering in, I assume, the south of France. It could be the lead-in to an Agatha Christie mystery. But then it goes on and on, and no one is murdered, and I can't keep the various Mrses and Misses straight, and it becomes as much a chore as the genre works.

So I fall back on a Front Lawn Library Ian Rankin, which is probably not going to cheer me up, given past Rankins, but oh well. Yes, I know I should just forge on with Hamabe no Kafka, because when everything reads the same, Murakami's utterly mundane Japanese at least has the virtue of language practice. But I only have patience for a few pages at a time of that.

Roll on September...

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Mon Aug 5th, 2019


10:38 pm - Discontent
My perpetually crumbling front steps have crumbled again, the middle one this time. It's been cracking since the winter- road salt does that- and the linden has deposited a whole bunch of seeds in the cracks. In an evil hour I started clearing the seeds out with some thought of putting instant concrete in, and a triangular chunk of step came off in my hand. The underlying whatever-it-is has fragmented into shards, as my workman told me twenty years ago that it would. I still don't know what substance it actually is, just that he said it wasn't being used anymore, and I can see why. Alas, I seem not to have kept the contact number for the super-skilled Argentinians who mended the bottom step in '11. Must try to find a cement worker who can apply a fix, which is likely to prove difficult in this market.
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Sun Aug 4th, 2019


08:54 pm - Content
Nice day, warmer than forecast but sunny and dry.

Clean linen, clean clothes, clean front hallway, clean kitchen floor, half-clean stairs (must wash the top six). My feet are happy walking there. Just wish vacuuming didn't make my back ache the way it's always done. Aren't those core exercises working at all?

Overnight oats with coconut cream are the best. You need milk for them in the morning because coconut and oatneal goes to stodge, but the flavour is divine.

That Shakespeare bucket list that's going around. Spent my teens and twenties going to Stratford every summer, so it's easier to list the plays I haven't seen. Any of Henry VI, Cymbeline, Coriolanus, Taming of the Shrew, Henry VIII and Merry Wives (both of which I could see this year if sitting for several hours was still an option), Timon and Titus and Two Noble Kinsmen. And, just as I've never read David Copperfield or Crime and Punishment, I've never seen Othello or Richard III. Could remedy the first this year as well; could remedy both with the Olivier films. But films don't count, by me. The only filmed play I've seen is Hamlet, and that's fine by me.

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Sat Aug 3rd, 2019


09:45 pm - The summer progresses
Another long weekend, and if it seems we only just had a long weekend, I need to remind myself that back in early July I was coughing and sneezing and miserable with allergies. Seems an age since that happened, now that it begins to happen again. These respites are never as long as I think they are. And of course now I discover that most antihistamines are anticholinergic , meaning they're linked to cognitive impairment. Also dementia, but I'll take my chances on that. Mental fuzz OTOH is what I could do without.

That being the case, I probably shouldn't be reading a mouldy copy of Ruth Rendell's The Speaker of Mandarin. But my SFF reads these days are all door stoppers and I want something portable. Began with a couple of slim volumes from the kitchen shelf, which I am working on emptying: Emmanuel Bove's My Friends and Charles Williams' All Hallows Eve, which I read in my 20s, restarted ten years ago, and somehow never got far with. Dropped the first after three pages, because the unlikable narrator *has* to comment on the breasts of every woman he meets. Dropped the second after three chapters when I ran into the hair-raising Christian-based anti-semitic plot point that somehow went over my head 40 years back. Just as I avoid books about the Japanese written by westerners who fought in the Pacific War, so I must avoid Christian authors who introduce Jewish characters. Or maybe just non-Jewish authors who write Jewish characters, period.

So Rendell it is.

Am at an increasing loose end. Think I must go and spend a chunk of money on something like a new bicycle or a cleaning service, just to assert my existence.

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Thu Aug 1st, 2019


09:52 pm - So that was the month that was
Utterly forgettable, as ever. Much warmer than June, requiring central AC often enough, with at least two deluges that flooded us at work. Did read all of The Book of the New Sun, which is better than last year's run of Agatha Christies. But otherwise it was just... July.

Today however was an excellent start to August. Yesterday went cool and dry so I slept with just the window fan and woke in cool blueness. Wrapped up in cotton sheets, surrounded by pillows, with my one flannel sheet to keep my arms warm, I had no desire to get out of bed, so turned on my other side and savoured the pleasure of warm feet and not-warm air, and of course fell back asleep for another two hours. A morning well spent, I say.

Of course there was unhappiness when I stepped on the scale. Month's start always sees a kilo gain, which is most dispiriting, and especially when it doesn't come off again. I ascribe this to lack of water intake, because a month ago when I was swigging back litres in an attempt to stop the allergy cough, of course my weight dropped. Must drink more water during the day, and maybe my ankles will unbloat as well.
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Wed Jul 31st, 2019


11:21 pm - Yes, I know other people have it worse
My doctor is still MIA, along with her business partner and secretary. Am reliant for my meds on a new ON policy that allows druggists to extend a scrip for one month at discretion. Presumably my doctor's 'afterhours health network' that I am advised to consult, rather than a walk-in clinic, has access to her records and can do the same, but it's a different doctor in a different location every day, which is hardly convenient for the mobility-impaired non-driver. It would be nice to have a heads up notice when someone goes on holiday for more than a week, or at least a change of voice mail message. No, madam, your office is clearly *not* open from 9 to 5 Monday to Thursday. My dentist manages up-to-date messages. Why don't you?

Did finally mail the authorization to have the linden chopped, six pages of bumpf required by the city to trim a city tree. Would have been done a week ago by email if this tablet would let me edit PDFs, which unaccountably it doesn't.

Morning knee crumble and butt spasm continue. Aging still sucks.

Am on tablet, so don't feel like html-ing a reading entry. Have finished Mistress Pat and the homoerotic Magpie Lord, a not bad KJ Charles. Am reading The True Queen, which I like better than Sorceror to the Crown. (But oh! pro publishing for the West has flattened Afrai's style so much.) Will continue Gideon the Ninth and hope it becomes less Hunger Games in time. Not that I've read the Hunger Games, but I get the frisson all the time.

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Tue Jul 30th, 2019


09:43 pm - Mistress Pat
My mother regularly gave me books for birthdays and Christmas and they were regularly books I enjoyed. Besides odd Louisa May Alcotts (Jack and Jill, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom) there were odd L.M. Montgomeries. Of course I had Anne of Green Gables, but none of the later Anne books- though my sister the TV child, who didn't read much, somehow wound up with Rilla of Ingleside. But the two I had, and reread to the point of memorization, were Jane of Lantern Hill and Mistress Pat. The latter was second in a series, the first of which I didn't get round to reading until two or three years ago. The lack of background didn't stop me liking the sequel, though. I think it was largely because Pat's reaction to places and houses was very much like mine, even if couched in higher-flown language than I would ever use, and with a degree of anthropomorphism I would never apply to any house at all. (Houses may have a feel, but they never have *feelings*.)

Probably I should have read that first book, which suggests a degree of pathology to Pat's dislike of change that's a bit toned down in the second book. Hating it when old trees fall down feels natural to me; having fits and cows when your father shaves off his moustache is a touch much.

I've no idea what happened to those good quality hardback children's books. Since not a few of them made it to here, I can only assume I ditched the others at some point or other, possibly even before we moved out of Bedford where most of them lived. But I found a copy of Mistress Pat in some front lawn library or wee free, and at a loose end on Sunday, read it in a sitting.

I'd have thought both Jane and Pat impervious to the Suck Fairy, as Anne was not. Ha. Not Pat, for sure. It's not the tweeness of language this time, as it was in the Anne books, but the sheer passive-aggressive Mr. Woodhouse nature of Pat's insistence that absolutely nothing be altered on the farm, and her languishing and dumps when unavoidable changes happened. Dear lord, what a horror of a character. And alas for the insight of maturity.
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Sun Jul 28th, 2019


02:18 pm - Summer incongruity
Like those people who only eat ice cream in the winter (looks shifty), the only time I use lap robes on my lap is in the summer, when the fans blow their necessary cool air on my poor sensitive bare legs and feet. (Am always too warm until I stop moving and then I quickly become too cold.) Fortunately, and thanks to [personal profile] incandescens, I have enough lap quilts to cover my length. Thank you, G!

Have restricted my evening fluid intake in hopes of not having to get out of bed in the middle of the night. Last night though my body decided to shed water, if not, alas, water weight, so I was awoken twice out of complicated dreams. In the first I'd been kidnapped kind-of-by-accident by the yakuza, who'd decided I wasn't worth killing but couldn't be left hanging around after whatever massacre had gone down. I believe I spent my time cooking and cleaning for the yakuza suits, and was just walking out on them when I awoke. Dream was remarkable for having no babies in it at all, because I always dream of babies. Second dream made up for it by being about some grand do at the daycare, or rather the building the daycare was housed in, and the rather ineffective clean-up crew afterwards.
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Sat Jul 27th, 2019


10:56 pm - Gakkari
Further adventures in People Not Being Called What They Should Be: just as Tolkien has two syllables instead of the proper three, so it appears Gaiman is not pronounced Guyman either. I'd assume my misreading is Japanese-influenced, except that I thought 'Tolkien' had three syllables decades before I knew anything about the language.

I can't think of any words where ai is pronounced as a long i and not long a, but does this mean Leguin's Genly Ai is Genly Ei?
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Fri Jul 26th, 2019


11:00 pm - July is such a non-month
I finished The October Man last weekend. It's quintessentially Aaronovitch in that I couldn't keep the names straight at all. This may be me, not him, but evidently it doesn't matter if the names are English or German, they all register to me as nondescript and confusible.

Also Aaronovitch's style reads very flat after Wolfe's. Or maybe it's Tobias' voice, because I bet Peter's would have felt different, even though Tobias had some very Peterish moments.

So I reread Sorceror to the Crown instead, assuming Regency pastiche would have style enough to penetrate the heat-hazed brain. And it was well enough, though Zacharias is really such a-- err well, perhaps 'slave of duty' isn't the best phrase for it; so well-behaved and squashed a dutiful son that he seems almost as flat as Novik's Laurence. Really I much preferred Damerell. Especially as I'd remembered the deal with Georgiana but completely forgotten the one with Rollo. Shall go back and look at their passages again, only slightly hampered by not being able to remember the plot even a few hours after finishing the book.
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Thu Jul 25th, 2019


10:36 pm - Growing old sucks
Alive but. Mostly I'm in a taking about the morning spasms that make getting to the bathroom a matter of stumble flail owowow. I *must* find the right in-bed stretch to stop the hip seizing up the way it does: because after I've stumble-flailed down the hallway it's lways much better. Massage worked for a bit there but then the knee went ballistic, and it's been 'cling to wall, cling to railing, cling to doorframe' ever since.

Maybe I should just resign myself to diapers.
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Sat Jul 20th, 2019


09:55 pm
Hot enough today, but not the 37 and 38C of the late 80s, and the wind blew as well, so I won't complain. Humid, however, in a very nostalgic Tokyo fashion. When I went to hang tank tops out on the line, I discovered the lianas had taken over the back yard, so spent maybe twenty minutes with the clippers clearing the back path. After which I was soaked to the skin- which is actually the wrong phrase because the wet was *coming* from my skin, wasn't it?

And while we're at it, why are they called tank tops, a term I can never remember and must google every time. To me they're singlets and always will be.

House remains cool even with central AC off, but I'm at a hot weather loose end. I want the net to distract me, as I used to want TV to do when I had cable so many decades ago, and the net doesn't do that any more than TV ever did. Tumblr, FB-- not enough people are talking to meet my needs. I wish we still had active MLs as in the old days.

(Where are all these little flying insects coming from? My windows are all closed, y'all.)

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Fri Jul 19th, 2019


09:24 am - Random
So, that thunderstorm we had Wednesday morning evidently dumped as much rain as the famous flood of 2013. It didn't feel like it went on as long- maybe an hour total? But it flooded work just the same, just in a different spot: the south wall where the builders graded the walkway in all the wrong directions when they put in the new playground. UofT maintenance brought in an industrial fan to dry the basement and seem to have forgotten about it.

It's now official. There are two food items I cannot buy because I am willess not to eat them at a sitting. One is halvah, the other honey roasted peanuts. I have been warned.

Central AC on last night. Lovely. And the minute I turn it off, the stink of polluted air comes through the closed side room windows. Which evidently leak like a sieve. Even the bathroom, whose window is actually open, doesn't smell as bad.
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Thu Jul 18th, 2019


09:56 pm - Looking backwards
So, fifty years ago or so I seem to recall I was sitting at the rather too small bedroom desk that I rarely used (because when I was a kid I did my homework at the dining room table), translating Xenophan's Apology which was the first real Greek text I'd ever worked on. Did I actually see the moon landing? Did someone call me downstairs to come watch? That part I don't remember at all. And for all I know, I might not have been sitting at my desk that day either, because my memories all conflate and can never be trusted.

I'm thinking of memory and its fallacies because I finally finished the first four Severian books and then happily went off to read discussion boards and spoilers about 'how unreliable a narrator is Severian after all'. No one seems to agree, but ohh did the Reddit threads have the whiff of early fandom testosterone. So thanks but no thanks, I shall not be reading the sequels where My Character Becomes God and my narrative becomes a mess. (Checked out The Urth of the New Sun in Bakka and passed up on it because the typeface is uuuuugly. A narrow escape.

Am a bit gakkari, because my first reading of the series left me with an impression of something rare and strange. The SF aspects washed right over me. And now that it turns out to be all multi-universes and time twists and alien intelligences guiding human development and and and, it seems much more mechanical and infinitely less resonant. Sigh. I hate it when people get SF in my fantasy.

So now it's either back to Gideon the Ninth or Tobias Winter, but neither is what I want to take the taste out of my mouth. Shall read something mindless and wait for the heat to break on the weekend.

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Mon Jul 15th, 2019


09:37 pm - Good news
Somehow work has the best basmati rice in the world. I don't know what it is, because the cook buys in bulk, but even the expensive organic rice I get from Fiesta doesn't taste as good. So whenever we have a basmati dish, I zoom in on tne leftovers and take a yoghurt container or two of rice home with me, to serve on subsequent days with my two fave dishes, gyoza and har gow. After all those scares about 'leftover rice causes food poisoning!', I was a bit dubious, but still... delicious delicious basmati. I'll take my chances.

And now I find that refrigerating that rice makes it healthier to eat. Win-win all round.
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Sun Jul 14th, 2019


09:34 pm - Green green
The linden is in overdrive now. Its pollen coats the closed eavestrough as well as the steps and walkway. Luckily I swept the latter before yesterday's monsoon rain, which tends to reduce the stuff to shoe-sticking gunk, impossible to be rid of. A pity the arborists couldn't come sooner. I only hope it blows off the gutters before the next rain.

Once a week I take a walk. Tigerlilies are out in the neighbourhood now and other unidentified flowers in those households that have a gardener. Honeysuckle has faded leaving just the memory of perfume.

Left leg and hip has been stiff and painful for a while now, so I had a massage yesterday. Owie owie. Apparently my hamstrings have turned to steel wire that regular exercises don't treat. Back to the prolonged stretches it is.
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Fri Jul 12th, 2019


11:43 pm - Minor pleasures
It's been so long since I've used conditioner that I was halfway out of the shower before I realized it was still in my hair. But oh my hair feels so much better than usual!

Of course, there's no saying what difference it will make in the sweaty weather of the next few days. (Today's civilized breeziness is not forecast to last long.) Maybe I won't go as limp and greasy as usual?
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Wed Jul 10th, 2019


09:39 pm
Dear lord but almond milk is *vile*. When I was very young I had a doll made out of rubber. Almond milk tastes the way that doll smelled.

Weather continues very warm but not oppressively so. Oppressive is 35C and we hover at 30 with breezes. 'In July the sun is hot. Is it shining? No it's not.' Which is half-true. Days have gone to thin cirrus coverings that pale the shadows, which is fine by me.

Books finished?
Wolfe, The Shadow of the Torturer

Reading Now?
Wolfe, The Claw of the Conciliator
-- The Book of the New Sun is so recursive that I've had to put everything else on hold till it's done, and also keep vol 1 handy for reference as I wade through vol 2. And occasionally have recourse to the web to remind me who this person is I met ninety pages back, while trying to avoid spoilers.

Reading next?
Whatever the next one is. (googles) The Sword of the Lictor (Oh geez, you mean there's a fifth volume as well? Oh crap. Must I?)

Gideon the Ninth

And if all these depress me too much, and they do, The October Man arrived yesterday. I thought it wasn't released here until the fall, and maybe not, because Bakka isn't carrying it and somehow the American edition is going for $40. So I ordered it from England for a pittance.

Abandoned?
Probably K.J. Charles, The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal
-- people keep mentioning Charles as a fun writer. I suppose if I still had hormones I might not find her mandatory sex scenes so annoyingly intrusive, but I don't and I do. Let them delight some other e-readerer.

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Tue Jul 9th, 2019


09:09 pm - I wish *I* hadn't got no noses
Woke up yesterday morning with the room swinging gently back and forth, and me due at work in 90 minutes. There's a maneuver that supposedly works for vertigo but I find it simply makes it worse. Luckily the other thing that works is ativan, so I took a half capsule and a Pepsi and made it through the day without either falling down or falling asleep. But I couldn't do my exercises because that involves lying on my back, which- nope.

Some better this morning, only a bit of movement when I first woke. Hope this continues, but meanwhile the sinuses still drain, the ear tubes still hurt, and the lungs still bring up great amounts of fluid. Could do without these dress rehearsals for pneumonia, myself.

But I still accomplish in my minor way, mindfully doing things even if there seems no reason to do them. Thus books are back at the library, pay cheques have been deposited, new batteries have been put in smoke detector and dollar store clock, and new filters purchased for the air purifier. But I still need to keep a list on my phone of things needed, because yes I got to the hardware store but no I forgot to get Critter Ridder to deal with the racccoon family happily disporting itself in the cherry tree Sunday night, not a mite disturbed by the bright lights aimed at them from my brother's back deck.
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Sun Jul 7th, 2019


09:40 pm - Accomplished
Oh if only all summer could be like today- 23C, breezy, dry. Or sort of dry. Having spent muggy yesterday in the side bedroom, reading by the uhh whatever of the standing fan, I was all prepared today to... lie on the sideroom bed, reading in the cool fan breeze at a total loose end. Since my lassitude wasn't down to heat wanhope, it must be creeping invalidism. 'Oh I can't do anything, everything hurts too much, and it will hurt more if I do anything.' The which to combat, I went for a walk down to Bloor to buy cherries (good for arthritis) and strawberries (the Ontario strawbs are in now, the only kind I eat these days.) Core work seems to be working because I didn't have to stop and stretch things more than twice, and oh it was nice to see people's gardens again like I used to four and five years ago.

Thus encouraged I started doing a bunch of those minor things I'd been resolutely not doing, like taking my ice chopper to the grate down the streeet that's been bunged up with earth and leaf detritus and bits of garbage since last fall. Alas, the dirt plug appears to be several inches thick now and not about to crumble into the sewer however much one pokes at it. But at least I tried.

Then I repotted the philodendron again, the one that's been growing in water since the time that the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. I got out the trimmer and hacked eight inches (20 cm) off the hedge. After which I was dripping wet, meaning today actually was more humid than it felt. Then, because the trimmer had dried leaves in it that went all over the hallway, I vacuumed the hall and the living room and the kitchen. And then I swiftered the parquet and the kitchen linoleum, which if not totally clean, are at least cleaner than they were.

Of course by this point my body was saying 'can we go back to reading in the sideroom now?' But I was adamant. I got the humidifier from the bedroom, took it apart, and soaked its various components in vinegar to remove the hard water deposits. (I love drinking Toronto water, but it's only good because it's so hard, which means a constant battle to keep baths and sinks and toilets white.) And then- and then- I pumped my bicycle's tires, which I now hate doing with a passion, because my arms simply can't. I have to use my torso to push down and it's a bloody nuisance.

So then I was dripping wet again, but I did everything I had to do except repapering my shoji, which frankly I'll be very surprised if I ever get done, and not solely because I don't have the right kind of washi for it. What I have is a kind of laminated washi, behind which is a long story, and you can't use flour and water paste with that. So, another day, maybe. And quite enough for now.

Oh no, actually. I have to apply for my property tax rebate for this year. Tomorrow.
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Sat Jul 6th, 2019


09:36 pm - A word child
I'm a touch bemused by the fact that 35 year old me not only had no trouble with the language of The Book of the New Sun, I didn't even notice any oddness to it. There are indeed advantages to a classical education, a minor in medieval history, and a semi-European upbringing. But I think I just let most of the terminology roll over me. If I didn't know that a misericorde is an actual kind of knife, or that khaibit is an ancient Egyptian term for a person's shadow self, no matter. The general sense was clear enough. But now I'm tempted to look all these terms up online just for the fun of it. And to marvel that Wolfe himself had that erudite and occasionally obscure vocabulary available to him *without* the Net.

On a different tangent, I've been experimenting this last week with overnight oats (which sounds like a Pratchett character.) Am convinced that the stubborn weight gain since the spring is due to me eating French bread toast for breakfast (with butter and jam and fake PB) instead of my long-time cereal and berries. French bread has more calories than sliced rye, for one thing, never mind what you put on it. Given my druthers and my touchy insides, I wouldn't eat breakfast at all, but I need meds to move and meds-cushioning food for the meds, so... Instant oatmeal is great, but not nutritionally so, and hot things on muggy mornings aren't great at all. I'm still not sure how I feel about cold oatmeal. It involves more milk than I've had in a while, even if lactose free- good for calcium and aging bones, iffy for digestion. I suppose I should try the nut milks, expensive though they are, and see if that feels any lighter. Or track down the one elusive rye bread that I can stand to eat a nd go back to that.

One odd thing I've noticed in this season of never-quite-awake (heat and antihistamines). I've never needed coffee in the morning, or wanted it. Home-brewed coffee upsets my stomach. (If I must have caffeine, it needs to be cold and carbonated to work.) I do go to my coffee shop for a latte, but the need is social rather than physical. Get out of the house, see familiar faces, exchange a few words, etc, But recently drinking my latte gives me a feeling of well-being that I've never had before. I mean, it could still be psychological: Starbucks doesn't have the same effect. But there certainly seems a perk-up physical component to it now as well.

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Thu Jul 4th, 2019


08:29 pm - Return of the special weather statement
That which plagued us all winter, promising freezing rain, heavy snowfall, arctic temperatures etc., is back in its summer version of humidex warnings. Not heat, because the temps don't get above 30. And in spite of it, somehow today was very pleasant because the air was dry and the wind blew, and it felt like the best of summer. House, even the upper floor, stayed nice and cool, and cool is blowing in the study window even though it's 27C. I can't expect as much for tomorrow, but who knows? Maybe...

I no longer tell myself stories in bed while drifting off and drifting awake, alas. But I have a... what to call it? half-conscious scenario that I sometimes see at those times. I'm living in the north somewhere- not the north of Canada, a European or maybe British north. A city, certainly, somewhere grey and chill and possibly rainy. But I'm indoors with my flatmate? sig.oth? having tea, and there are books in the flat, and the paraphernalia of the craft/ artistic stuff one of us does, or maybe both of us. And I finally realized today that this was an echo of Tove Jannsson, which I think is neat, however it came to be lodged in my subconscious.
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Wed Jul 3rd, 2019


08:55 pm - Where the nostrils cease from dripping and the sinus are at rest
Not that it's happened yet. But every so often there are stretches where it does, and I feel reborn...

Josie's house across the way sold to a lesbian couple with several kids and at least two dogs. They redid the basement to make a granny suite for one grandmother. But now they're temporarily moved out while major renovations happen inside, including it seems a new staircase. This week has seen the porch stripped of its covering, which I rather thought was concrete. New stairs are being put in. The facing was taken off, something altered inside, and then somehow put back. And I wonder to myself where the money for this is coming from, because houses on the street have been going for over a million since 2015. I hope it wasn't inherited from Grandma, whom I liked.
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Mon Jul 1st, 2019


07:59 pm - And there's an end of June
Which was both fast and undistinguished. I remember only going to Indigo for The True Queen, which I haven't read yet barring a reread of the first volume which I haven't bought yet etc etc, and the Israeli family party at my coffeeshop on Father's Day. I finished three books (Cyril Connolly, Kate Griffin, and The Affair of the Mysterious Letter), did not finish two (Huizinga and Shiga), and have no place-memories attached to the reading, which is unusual but indicative of how undistinguished the month was.

I worked a lot and hurt a lot. The weather was pretty much dead on average for the month, which is also unusual, but meant no fans and no AC until this last week. I call this gain.

Ordered a battery operated grout cleaner. Aches and laziness stopped me from trying it out until today. Not exactly miraculous but infinitely easier to use than an ordinary brush. Can't say if the grouting really looks cleaner because I have a certain amount of dirt-blindness to go with the other kind. Must really work up my nerve to get a housecleaning service in, just once, to see if... well, if I can see a difference. (Went next door once after s-i-l had her cataracts removed to find her, most unusually, mopping the kitchen floor. Housework is usually my brother's domain, as yardwork is hers. But, she explained, now she could actually see the dirt it bothered her so much she had to do something about it.)

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