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Wed Jul 18th, 2018


09:17 pm - Blue and white
Oh, did we think we'd get through July without a blackout? Hardly. Ninety minutes this morning from 7 to 8:30. But hahaha, it went out on the coolest night in three weeks and hohoho I was sleeping the sleep of the ativanned just, so the fans suddenly stopping didn't wake me until quarter of eight. Thus I had to endure a mere forty-five minutes of mild anxiety, because ativan has a holdover effect that way as well- it's not just for getting to sleep after AGO coffee. (Note that the AGO Bistro's Karma Chameleon cocktail is a neat trick- it changes colour when you pour the tonic in- but otherwise it's just a G&T with a frozen ice-flower in the middle. Also the chameleon effect is better seen at the bar's blond wood than at a table already covered in burgundy something.)

Just finished?
Oh, whichever Christie it was, or were- Elephants Can Remember, 4:50 from Paddington, A Caribbean Mystery, A Holiday for Murder aka Hercule Poirot's Christmas.

Reading now?
Nemesis, because it's easy.

Possibly I'm still reading Molly Tanzer's Creatures of Will and Temper, but will stop if something doesn't happen soon. Dorian Grey isn't my cup of tea, and it doesn't matter if it's a gender-switched Dorian.

Not finishing?
Patricia Finney, Unicorn's Blood, because while I'm happy to read all about how Elizabeth I got dressed and toiletted in the morning, I do not care for John le Carre hommages, or indeed for John le Carre period. If I absolutely had to choose something to read, among spies, zombies, and gangsters, I'd choose spies as being just marginally the least boring. But I find all three genres about as fascinating as athe user's manual for an outdated technology.

Tiptree, Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
-- my own fault. Having waited months for this library collection of Tiptree stories to come round to me, I discover that Tiptree, a science fiction writer, wrote science fiction short stories, oddly enough. (And these all seem to be novella length.) Marvellous if you like SF, but I'm a fantasy person. Shall pass it on to the next waiting hands.

Next?
I shall run out of Christies eventually.

But there are my beaver bread-and-butter readings, that I return to periodically: The Kalevala, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (which I cherish for the simple prosiness of the events: no awe and terror here) and recently, Piers the Ploughman, with glosses, because I never got anywhere in it without.

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Tue Jul 17th, 2018


10:25 am - 'Grow old along with me!' 'Haff we a choice, bach?'
Sat on my side bedroom reading glasses and broke them. They were the good reading glasses ie they fit and were (once) sturdy. The front bedroom and study glasses are neither, and I've gnawed on their arms a bit. (cough) Do not want to import the downstairs glasses because I know I'll take my backpack glasses out at some point to read instructions and then forget to put them back. Also the kitchen reading glasses seem to have vanished somewhere.

Must find a dollar store that has as good reading glasses as the one that closed. And buy another kitchen wall clock because this one eats batteries at the rate of one every three months.

All these Miss Marples, especially the later ones, make for dispiriting reading as she becomes older and more achy and rheumatic and can't walk up hills anymore. In a world where old is 70 ('well he was 72, his death was to be expected') and 80 is Methusalistic. Yes, times have changed, but *I* am achy and rheumatic and can't walk up hills anymore.

The expert last week listed, as he must, all the possible side-effects of knee operations, starting with 'you'll lose sensation just below your knee' to 'we might have to amputate.' The killer, however, is his saying that a replacement might ease the IT band but will not help the piriformis or hip flexors at all. Well, those are what's crippling me at the moment, so we've postponed everything another six months after which I'll have a hip xray to see what's happening there.

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Sun Jul 15th, 2018


12:48 am - Frustration
Honto bookstore recognizes my gmail account, yay. My desktop with its XP language pack lets me input my Honto password in the required format- 半角 whatever. I order my manga, enter my new Visa number, go through the steps and then... there's no 'complete order' button. Doubtless my outdated Chrome or something. Well, no matter. Go to my tablet, go to the webpage, enter my password and... no good. Must be 半角, and Androids don't care for niceties like that. Argh.

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Sat Jul 14th, 2018


10:45 am - Well, that's interesting
So yesterday we had one of those logistic problems of three babies who needed naps, all of whom take a good fifteen minutes to get to sleep and the first of which (Miss Picky, who has two people and two only who are permitted to touch her) refused to be laid in her crib once she *had* fallen asleep. I suggested we just load them in the triple stroller which guarantees that those three will all sleep within minutes. But the only person who could take them for the walk was me. Twice round the block should do it, I thought, so off I set with my heavy load: two of these guys are chunkinators, even if the third is a bird-boned skellington.

Twice round the block didn't do it, but did immediately start my lower back screaming. Walking is good for the piriformis, yeah sure, and what about my touchy shoulders, huh? Birdbones was asleep, but Miss Picky was still suspiciously awake- and one may not stop moving or she screams and screams again- while Chunk 3 was singing loudly and off-key. On I plodded, stopping at the occasional bench to ease the cramps, and on again until even Rowboat was asleep and I could come back to sit on the front steps and just push the carriage back and forth.

'I won't be able to move tomorrow,' I thought, but fine, today I have massage. Except this morning when I got up, knees and back were happily lamblike and shoulders much less ouchy than usual. Maybe all I need after all is a half hour of strength training and walking.

Meanwhile, the online bookstore I get my manga from says it can't send emails to my old address. I try resending them my email, they say they'll send me a verification link, the email doesn't arrive. I try my gmail account, but the verification email doesn't arrive. This is serious. There's a new Phantom Moon Tower out and a new Hundred Demons due, and the only alternative seems to be amazon.jp, than which I'd rather die.

But I also discover that ebooks from the library are the best way to read Agatha Christies, especially slightly unsatisfactory later ones like Elephants Can Remember, so now I shall read them all like that.

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Wed Jul 11th, 2018


08:54 pm - The day's happiness
A decade or so ago, after renovating the bathroom, I had my air ducts cleaned through a company recommended by the gas company. Wasn't terribly impressed by the guys or the job. The former were tattooed foul-mouthed cigarette smokers, and though they got a vast amount of detritus out (I heard it rumbling and crashing into the tube) and theoretically sprayed a disinfectant into the ducts, the air seemed no different afterwards.

But what with rats and all, I figured it needed to be done again. And now is the age of the internet when one can read reviews of any business at all, so I picked someone with a first-class reputation. One man in a van rather than three, who kept in touch regularly rather than showing up when he showed up. When I mentioned the basement window through which the previous guys had run their sucking hose to the truck, he said 'Oh no, I do each vent individually, from top to bottom.' This meant of course that there would be a large noisy rubber hose going into each room in turn, so I took off to hang out at work. And wise in season, gave him a cheque before leaving because, as I said, 'Once I'm there they don't like to let me go again.'

'They' in this case was little Moonbeam who had a totally unprecedented meltdown requiring the presence of one person to soothe and distract her, meaning me, so I didn't leave the place until closing. Then had a drink and dinner, and came home wondering how the work turned out.

My house smelled *clean*. No mould, no must, all fresh and... non-bacterial. Yay for Ozone Duct Cleaning, what lives up to its name.
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Tue Jul 10th, 2018


09:35 pm
Ah, lovely central AC, ah, lovely ativan sleep, ah, lovely clean sheets. Thanks to which I slept sweetly and was awake at 6:30, in plenty of time to eat breakfast, do my stretches, and catch the subway before rush hour to get to the knee specialist's appointment way out east at 8:45. Occurred to me as I was bicycling down to the subway that I should maybe have brought the appointment notice with me, the better to facilitate hospital bureaucracy. But I have a geas never to turn back once I've left the house (at least, I assume it's a geas. Can't explain the sense of doom otherwise when I *do* go back for things.)

Which is unfortunate. Because if I'd taken the note off the fridge I'd have seen that my appointment was for the 12th and might never have got out of bed in the first place. And now must do it all over again on Thursday.
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Fri Jul 6th, 2018


09:05 pm - I breathe again
A brief respite from hammer heat and soupy humidity: oh lovely highs, not lows, of 24C; oh lovely window fans, not window ACs which grow a little wheezy after being on 48 hours straight. A day or two of breezy blue and white, and then back to our regularly scheduled summer. Yesterday, called in for an hour so a replacement could go home and get his pain meds, had me out in the hammer-heat of the playground, suffering light-headedness and nausea. Hope I need not do that again soon.

No point in doing reading reports. Have read another bunch of Christies, most recently The Body in the Library whose solution makes no sense to me in retrospect, ten hours later. Umm- Crooked House, Peril at End House, Three Act Tragedy, Mrs. McGinty's Dead, Dead Man's Folly, from what I remember of this last week.

Wednesday's massage loosened me up even more and the results stayed through today. It was also $15 cheaper than the weekend, but next week sees me at home Wednesday having my ducts cleaned, as Tuesday sees me up at Godawful o'clock for an appointment with the knee specialist. Still, maybe something will open. Or maybe I'll just ghost my assembly-line physiotherapist who's been quite happy to treat my piriformis for eight months without worrying at my lack of progress, and who never informed me that I had low back pain last year; it took Sabina to tell me what it was and what the cure for it is.

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Sun Jul 1st, 2018


10:29 am - Semantics
Yesterday I was supposed to have had the massage that lets me walk but I wasn't in the computer at the clinic. I was booked for Saturday the 7th instead. How could this be? My conclusion: when I made the appointment last Sunday, I said 'Book me for next Saturday' and the secretary is one of those people who distinguish between 'this' and 'next'. If you want Saturday coming, it's this. If you want the Saturday after, it's next. I of course use them interchangeably which, yes, often requires disambiguation. At least I get a massage on Wednesday- this Wednesday, or next Wednesday, or this coming Wednesday.

FB is holding posts for ransom again. 'Find friends to see more posts.' Even 'most recent' which is regularly interpreted to mean 'stuff from three days ago' cuts off after four or five. Nothing will drive me to twitter but oh lord.

Finished Tremain's Restoration, an English version of The Radiance of the King. Still left me with a lowering feeling for reasons I haven't yet analyzed.

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Sat Jun 30th, 2018


09:27 pm
Possible good news?

"Floehr provided the Observer with separate data on 12 forecasters covering 29 UK locations during 2017. In a composite measure of accuracy, the Weather Channel and Weather Underground came top"

Good news because both those apps are calling for significantly lower temperatures all week than the gloomy airport based Environment Canada. 30C rather than 35? I'll take it. Mind, it's purely psychological relief, because Out There is still hot by anyone's definition.
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Thu Jun 28th, 2018


10:52 pm
It's not yet too hot to use the study and the study's computer, but I already have the hot weather Don'wannas. Me for the side bedroom's fan and yet more Agatha Christies. A chacun son goût: an invalid friend spends her days happily watching nature documentaries, whose fascination I cannot understand at all. She, par contre, said 'I read a mystery once and then couldn't understand why I'd done it.'

Though it's odd that reading about murder should have become such a commonplace and unremarkable pastime. 150 years ago the idea would have been considered batshit. When *did* that change anyway? Was it Holmes who made it respectable?

I will note that things keep turning up on the floor that should not, by any means short of an earthquake, have landed on the floor. I hope I haven't developed a poltergeist.

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Mon Jun 25th, 2018


11:01 am - The day after
Yanno, I do my stretches regularly. Like, I can't walk if I don't. And I have a little tennis ball that I lie on and roll about on that hits those nasty muscle knots and eases them. And things are loose and I can walk pretty much OK and go me.

And then I get to my shiatsu masseuse's and she sticks her thin steel fingers into a hip flexor or a piriformis and oh dear god what was that oh dear god the pain the pain!!!

And after that I can walk without my knee brace, the one I wear to bed. For about five hours and then everything twinges again. But still: progress.
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Thu Jun 21st, 2018


10:11 pm - Confusion
Why can't I tell Danes from Norwegians? They're not at all alike. But first it's Harald Bluetooth, namesake of the wireless device, who I thought was a Norwegian king; and now it's Rasmussen of Eurovision fame, who I thought was a Norwegian singer. And both are Danes, and I shall try to remember that fact. (But if you say Viking to me, I shall think of Norsemen, even if the Anglo-Saxons called them Dene.)

Forgot to mention yesterday that I also finished Jeanette Winterson's Why be happy when you could be normal? on the weekend. It was a birthday present from my brother and I started reading it in January, and it says much about me and Winterson that it took me six months to get through it. It was more accessible than most Winterson, being autobiography, but still... Winterson must be really hot if she could find lovers, plural, even amongst fundamentalist Christians, and even when, as she casually admits, she used to beat them up. 'I thought that was what you were supposed to do,' she says off-handedly. Meh.

Did find a negative review of the book by Adam Mars-Jones, about whom I know nothing. I might not be a fan of Winterson, but Mars-Jones came off sounding like a prat.

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Wed Jun 20th, 2018


09:31 pm - Coming up for air
Bicycling about the Annex and looking at the massive trees still lying about after being uprooted a week ago is a sobering sight. Most of them are thick-trunked things, replete with leaves, and all of them are rotten inside. Makes one wonder about the local four-storeys high flora.

The cherries are ripe and the raccoons are back. One was splayed, uncomfortably I would have thought, on the ridge of the neighbours' garage this evening. I wondered if it was ailing, and hoped it wouldn't die where it was. But no, it was just waiting for the rest of the family to show up.

Google's tablets give you suggested new stories. Wish they'd get with the program and realize that I don't want to read anything about sports, or anything to do with Meghan Markle *or* Princess Diana, or the weather in Edmonton or the newest Android phone and especially not an article first published in Lord Almost's National Post. (Lord Almost is Conrad Black and there's a long story about the soubriquet which I won't bore you with.)
The usual memeageCollapse )

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Fri Jun 15th, 2018


10:17 pm - Done
Yay, we survived Everyone's Gone to the Moon Day, when all but one of our casuals were off graduating, our Muslim staff was cooking up her Eid dinner, and, well, certain staff who were staycationing for the week were *certainly* not about to come in for the day God forbid. Day's success was guaranteed by a marvellous outside replacement-- casuals are usually anywhere from useless to semi-competent, but this one was quick on the uptake and very ingratiating with our crankcases. Also by self-sacrificing full-timer who came in for an extra three hours.

So the day thou gavest us, Lord, is ended, and so is the week, and next week Mr Eternal Energy Machine is on vacation so things might even be calm for a while.
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Wed Jun 13th, 2018


10:03 pm - More interesting times
By virtue (or vice) of having lingered too long in Doug Miller's book store looking for Agatha Christies that were unaccountably not there, I had to peddle home frantically as the predicted thunder began rolling and rain splattered around. But I was safely inside when the 100 kph winds swept through and the other side of the street disappeared behind a wall of water. One no longer has to go to the tropics to experience exciting tropical weather, worse luck.

And then the lights went out-- just as they did in May's winds and April's sleet (though not down here) and and and. Time to buy a cheap generator, because this is getting tiresome.

Everything blew away quickly and the sun came out and I limped up the street intent on food from Starbuck's because I wasn't opening my fridge thank you. Last blackout was 14 hours long. The streets were bumper to bumper in all directions because a) all traffic lights were out and Torontonians still haven't learned the drill on that one and b) the block above mine had been closed to traffic both ends by public-minded denizens because right up near Dupont a great big tree had fallen over and brought down the power lines. Tree was in full leaf, blooming healthily, and the inside was eaten out with rot.

Same was true all across TO, and down Clinton families were collecting smaller branches that had come down, breaking them up and bundling them. How lucky tomorrow is garden waste pickup and what a pity I didn't rake up the linden's seedlings before they became a sodden mess.

Starbuck's was closed (oddly, because the restaurant along from it was open.) Loblaws across from it was in business, and I ate an indifferent sandwich and watched the Hydro trucks come to inspect the wires on my street, put up yellow tape and leave again. Since it stays light late, I read on my front porch in the freshening... uhh 'very strong winds' and figured that I'd sleep comfortably enough tonight, what with the coolness and uhh 'very strong winds' that had knocked my front window curtain down.

And then the lights came back on after a mere four hours, and all was good again. Well done, that Hydro One. But I'm still getting a generator.
Cut for memeageCollapse )

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Tue Jun 12th, 2018


09:46 pm - Today's bit of surrealism
So there I was at Loblaw's picking up my meds when I happened to turn around and found my underpants lying in the aisle behind me. Surreptitious fingering revealed that I still had my underpants on, but their twin (from a set of Fruit of the Loom) was definitely lying on the ground. I hastily picked them up wondering how this could be. True, I'd worn my current pair of loose trousers last week and hung them on the rail in case of warm weather, which we now have. Maybe the underpants had got caught inside them and I hadn't noticed when I put them on this morning? But the sniff test revealed that they were freshly washed. Maybe they'd got stuck to my tanktop in the laundry and I hadn't noticed when I put that on? however unlikely that is, and anyway, I was wearing yesterday's tanktop *and* yesterday's shirt. So I don't know.

Maybe they're someone else's underpants, and now I have an extra pair.
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Sun Jun 10th, 2018


09:03 pm - All the perfumes of Arabia
My fingernails are tar black. This is because my bicycle has been logey for some time, and careful inspection showed quantities of dirt and mud caught in the chain and front gears. Probably the back gears too, but those are harder to get at. Careful cleaning doesn't get at the problem, so I went in bare-handed and picked the stuff out. Yes, I should have had it tuned up before the soft summer bicyclers all decided it was nice enough to go for a spin and brought their rarely-used vehicles in for overhaul, but I didn't.

Special soap cleaned the skin, but only time will get under the nails.

Piriformis has been acting up in spite of stretching and acupuncture and physio, so today I had a massage. Hadn't intended for it to be shiatsu, but I got a Japanese masseuse and a very shiatsu-type half hour. Shall see if there's fall-out from this (have I told you my shiatsu in Japan story?) but have booked another session plus acupuncture for next week. Piriformis has of course tightened up again.
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Sat Jun 9th, 2018


09:59 pm - The rites of June
All those Christies I copped last week for a buck apiece turn out to be Miss Marples, except for a single late Tommy and Tuppence. Mind, I chose titles whose plots I couldn't immediately remember, which may be why there are no Poirots. But still...

Open mic at many neighbourhood venues today. There was one instance of some kind of Andean flute, very pleasant, but the rest were the usual off-key nasal C&W or LOUD amplified cacophanous rock. The latter in the laneway behind the house, necessitating closing windows. Why does no one sing ballads or folk anymore, or even the harmonious rock of my youth?

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Wed Jun 6th, 2018


08:57 pm - These things are sent to try us
Suddenly there's an unpleasant smell coming up the vent in the study. Not dead animal so much as... semi-fecal? Blowing heat in the winter didn't cause this, and the random warmth during May didn't start it off, and there's still lots of poison in boxes outside to discourage rodents. Don't know what it is and almost wish for my nose blindness back. But I bit the bullet and contacted a recommended duct cleaning service who will hopefully dispose of whatever it is. Some time before I have to turn on the central AC. (Though really? I have a tablet for web cruising and solitaire playing. I'm no longer obliged to sit in the broiling back room with its insufficient cold air supply, when I could sit in the front bedroom with its efficient window unit. There, that's that sorted.)

But I went to Wiener's and bought a duct cover for that vent, firmly closed, and put a section of vinyl tile in front of it, and the mirror in front of that. Can still smell it, and of course even more in the bathroom. May be time to bring out the coffee bags again.

But since I was being pro-active, and since I was at Wiener's, I shelled out for the expensive filters for the bedroom air filterer, and I took a pair of pants someone made for me oh fifteen-twenty years ago, that were always too long, to the seamstress who shortened my brother's nightshirt. Had meant to ask if she could make a pocket from the excess, but forgot. No matter. A pair of summer pants is a pair of summer pants and these at least are loose enough.

Would do the Wednesday meme but in fact have read nothing since Nightwatch and Point of Sighs and am again uninspired to read anything further. I have holds on two ebooks at the library, but they keep their holds and returns in a separate section from the paper books, and I use a different platform from theirs to read, so I don't know when they'll become available.

In happier news, M bounced onto my phone this evening, announcing they'd reached a verdict and she was available to do my shifts at least tomorrow. So calhoo callhay for that.
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Tue Jun 5th, 2018


09:08 pm - Grey days have found us
Cool grey afternoon/ evening, belonging to a house in the Annex with white muslin curtains, or maybe sprigged cotton, wooden floors and brown furniture. I don't know what house that was because for sure *our* house ran to oversized rooms and wall to wall broadloom and the furniture so placed that it was impossible to have a proper conversation no matter where anyone sat. But the vision of that simpler, sparer interior was clear to me as I bicycled home; and I record it now because both it and the weather that engendered it will be gone in a day or two when the warmth returns.

In the meantime I am back to sleeping on, not under, my summer duvet again, because the cotton sheets are too cold for comfort; back also to pants and long-sleeved shirt in bed, and may go for socks as well, at least tonight.

Yesterday, three days before the election, Trump Light was sued by his sister-in-law for defrauding her and her children. Ford supporters won't care, and Mr Light is naturally saying fake news. He has learned well from his master.

And today I tripped while removing a recidivist sand-thrower to a different spot and landed hard on my arthritic knee. Fortunately I landed on sand, which is at least better than concrete, but I would be oh so happy if jury-dutying M were to bounce in to work tomorrow afternoon announcing 'The judge dismissed the case!' Won't happen. But they were set to go into deliberation today. Maybe, maybe, they might wind up tomorrow morning?
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Mon Jun 4th, 2018


09:02 pm - Laziness
Once upon a time in my giddy youth- pre-65, that was- I used to cook! I made curries and stewed meat and roasted chickens, and I have the spices to prove it which I should throw out because they're all four or five years old. Actually, the chicken roasting is a recent thing but it's not something I do in the summer, however cool the summer may however briefly be at the moment. Now all I want is something easy to throw together that goes well with a Johnson cocktail.

Thus I will sing the praises of Mainstream Bread, whole wheat with preservatives, that lasts two weeks and doesn't need to be consumed in two days like the healthy stuff. I will add-- Avocadoes!! because they are fatty and full of potassium. Spread on soft Mainstream Bread and add a little low-cal mayonnaise for flavour. Cover with thin-sliced cucumber; if desired, coat with a schmeer of Dijonnaise mustard; grind sea salt over all. It has plastic in it, but so what. A bit of camembert on a whole wheat cracker for protein. And that, my dears, is filling and satisfying and digestible and I will probably eat it all summer unless two slices of bread in the evening turns out to be as weight-putting-on as pasta (which I also used to cook, in those dear bygone days before the metabolism went all awry.) Which I really doubt.
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Sun Jun 3rd, 2018


08:28 pm - Grey moist Sunday
There was a mammoth yard sale down Borden benefitting some Ugandan youth project. Passed it yesterday on my way to acupuncture, when I didn't have time to stop, so went round today after my eggs benny at Pauper's. (Their eggs benny are merely so-so, but my delicate gut today wanted eggs and only eggs, so Pauper's it was.) If I were in furnishing mode, there was much to tempt me there, but I'm in the opposite just now (de-nesting? possessions weigh the soul?) so I picked up half a dozen ancient Agatha Christies that will do me for when the hot weather melts my brains.

Meanwhile I finished both Nightwatch and Point of Sighs and feel pleasantly replete. What to read after that? Well, I do have a police procedural set in Ghana that might do the trick, though the overarching and congenial Discworld/ Points theme of The City is absent from that one. Still, best to end diminuendo.

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Sat Jun 2nd, 2018


06:53 pm - Found and lost
I have my desktop connection back. I have a keyboard again. I am beyond happy.

But lord I'd forgotten how noisy this machine is.

Meanwhile, I broke my single cocktail glass from the Geckos down the street. And the Korean takeout nearly-next-door to work closed abruptly last week: lease up, not renewed, new owners, good-bye. Since the first notice we had of this was the sign that went up on Wednesday as the staff cleared everything out, it was a shock and a half. And it was *good* Korean, and they had diet Pepsi at need, and though I never learned anyone's name they all knew me from the- how long was it? five years? eight?- that they were open. Change is indeed vexatious to the soul.
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Wed May 30th, 2018


09:51 pm - Warm Reading Wednesday
Last finished?

Rose Tremaine, Evangelista's Fan
-- very nice collection of short stories told in a low-key style that I'm not competent to analyze but which seems different from any other mainstream writer I know. Or maybe it's just that her people are different from the regular run. There are loving husbands here, and people who actually find their dreams even if they lose them later, and people who lose their dreams but get them back. I think it's a feat if someone can make me care about middle class waipipo, and Tremaine does.

I did hope Evangelista would be a woman, but evidently it's a guy, Evangelista Torricelli, who made the first barometer.

Emma Newman, All is Fair
-- third in the Split World series, and full of people I don't much care about actually. I trust the worst Badnasties will come to a bad end in the next two books, but I'm not going to read them, especially since the purported hero is such an insensitive brick.

Reading Now?

Happily, Point of Sighs has gained steam and I chug along in its chewy story. This is the most substantial Astreiant book since Point of Dreams of happy memory.

Started a reread of Nightwatch which I should have done last week when maybe the weather was more like it. Do not recall last week any more than this; work and heat (and causelessly unhappy infants) shortcircuit the brain. But it's still nostalgic Discworld again.

Next up?

Good question. Am tempted to chuck Plain Pleasures and Across the Frontier into someone's Wee Free, on the grounds that I am too old for improving reading.

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Sun May 27th, 2018


09:53 pm - If solitary, be not idle...
...as that grand melancholic Dr. Johnson said. I am solitary, so I pulled me out of my weekend funk and decided to go vote. I've never seen this number of advanced polls availaable before: I had my choice of three locales, all open from 10 to 8, ten days before the election itself. Are they anticipating a mass turnout? With Donald Trump Light running for premier, better believe it.

Anyway, as I had library books to return, I opted for the Native Canadian Cenre on Spadina, a hop skip and jump from the Spadina library. Housed in an Edwadian mansion, it has oak floors and stairs and is much nicer than the abandoned cafe at Davenport and Avenue Rd that was my other close choice. What I hadn't figured on was that the poll would be on the second floor in the large meeting room. It's already two sets of stairs to get into the building, then interior stairs that turn twice to get to the second floor, then three stairs up along the corridor itself. Them Edwardians did like their bitsy-pieceys; or liked their servants to trot about the bitsy-pieceys, whichever.

The joke about me being solitary is this: as I was tooling down to Bloor, I passed Gabbly's father pushing him in his stroller. 'Trying to get him to sleep so I can unload the car,' he said wanly. This is about the right time for G's nap, and if he's in a daycare stroller he falls asleep and stays that way, but today he was in weekend mode, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and gabbling away cheerfully as is his wont when he isn't screeching inconsolably. I left them to it. Then as I was rounding the parkette I ran into the Twins en famille, parents, older bro, and large dog. Twin A and older bro had white faces from that very effective, very natural, but virtually unspreadable sunscreen. Twin B did not. I can't tell the twins apart unless they're wearing their daycare shoes (and neither can anyone else, pretty much) but I have my ideas which one Twin B was, because one of them is natural resister and one isn't. And then, at the poll itself, one of the scrutineers was a mother from twenty years back or more. So a far more social morning than I'd expected.

This last weekend of May was, as expected, hot, though cooler today than it will be tomorrow. Is also Doors Open, and as expected, I gave the whole thing a miss and not just because of low back tsuris. There's a lot of refurbished factories on display this time round, repurposed as art studios and film makers' labs and things I'm not much interested in. I'm happy to see the inside of houses, but architecture qua architecture is very much not my forte.

So I washed the flannel sheets and did a white wash and ploughed grimly throuh some more of All is Fair to get it out of the way finally; then tossed a coin. One more chore to justify my existence. Vacuum downstairs? Wash kitchen floor? Trim hedge? I trimmed the hedge, as being longer overdue than the others- though the others, being overdue, annoy me more. I should be chuffed that I could heft the electric clippers without shoulders and/ or elbows complaining loudly, as in the past, or even back complaining about the bend and pick up part. Maybe the core strengthening is happening after all. I expect to hurt a lot tomorrow, but I have acupuncture in the evening, so perhaps all will be well.

And then in a kind of 'I don't see me doing this' fashion, I vacuumed the front hallway, which at least disposed of all that rock salt that got tracked in six weeks ago during the ice storm. Yes, I meant that about overdue.

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Thu May 24th, 2018


10:03 pm - Daydreams
My random reading of other people's journals, whether DW or LJ, plus an ativan to counter a late evening Pepsi, has left me with a new dream- living in England with a partner who drives, and on weekends tootling about to various spots of interest, however one defines interest- old houses, old churches, stately homes, small villages: just about anything except mountains. Though since living in England is currently as unlikely as a serious introvert acquiring a partner at 68, I might as well posit that both my arthritis and my acrophobia have become non-issues and I could indeed hike five miles up some Northumberland tor or Welsh mountain..

Travel, with an agreeable companion. Pipe dream indeed.

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Wed May 23rd, 2018


10:17 pm - May isn't out yet but
When the temps hit 25C it's time to change the bedsheets to cotton and retire the flannel duvet covers.
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Mon May 21st, 2018


07:29 pm - Long weekend ends
A day or two ago I was wondering if it was warm enough to open the windows at night. Opened them. Concluded after five minutes that it wasn't and shut them again. Have been sleeping in t-shirt and long-sleeved shirt quite happily, with socks occasionally, in my flannel sheet sandwich. Removed flannel from the side bedroom but figured it was too early to change the bedroom.

But today was warm, regardless of what the thermometer said. The unbreathing mug of incipient summer. This week will be in the high twenties C/ high 70s low 80s F, if you believe the gov't's webpage (cooler selon le Weather Network, who I hope are right.) Must begin the Fan Dance at night, starting with bringing the fans up from the basement.

Read all three of Paul Cornell's Witches books Friday and Saturday, a regular zipalong. Yes, they're more like novellas, 120 pages; but so is Wole Soyinka's play Death and the King's Horseman, and I can barely manage twenty pages of that at a time. Yappari, genre is easier, except that Point of Sighs is genre and that goes even slower than Soyinka.

OTOH I polished off a mystery in an evening, William Marshall's Sulduggery, set in a Hong Kong police dep't, pre-handover, that could surely not exist unless the English were even more incompetent than one thinks. Probably a different genre entirely: police procedural surreal comedy. The surreal bit only half calms thoughts like 'how very noble of the Det-Insp to care so much about the identity of the 20 year old skeleton who was once a living breathing human being, you chaps: but would he have cared so much if the skeleton had been Chinese and not white?

Cornell's witches are a pleasant break from his angsty-wangsty doom and gloom Shadow Police, and amusing enough after reading Pratchett's witches. Can't help suspecting some influence there- or maybe it's a coincidence that Witch A has a grown son called Shawn who's the town's one police officer.

I'm reading Stevie Smith's Over the Frontier now, since the Points book is too heavy to cart around. As always, she writes a bit like Amos Tutuola, and as always, I find her voice just a wee bit annoying. I read to have it read. The trouble with non-genre is that you never know what it will do, even if so much non-genre is doing exactly the same thing cough cough the desperate lives of middle-class married white people cough. This open-endedness ought to be exhilarating, I suppose, but I read slowly and life is short and with non-genre there's no guarantee of satisfaction. It isnt necessarily there to entertain, which is genre's main virtue; and frequently enough it isn't there to instruct either, which is the (unintended but present) side-pleasure of reading non-white writers. So I often end up asking myself why I'm reading a non-genre book, and I have no answer.

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Thu May 17th, 2018


09:49 pm - Modified rapture
Today was the hearing for the proposed destruction of the house down the street. Fearless Leader advised us that showing up at the Cttee of Adjustments in numbers would make even more of an impression than writing letters to it/ them, which we also did. So I dressed semi-respectably and biked down to City Hall where I believe I haven't been in nearly twenty years, and then waited about while various cases were considered, a truly tedious business. Cttee was one older man, one younger man, and one thirtyish blonde woman, and I couldn't have told you which if any of those was in charge. Maybe they take it in turns, case by case: didn't sit through more than one case before I had to find an uninhabited meeting room where I could cough my lurgy lungs out in peace.

Came back to find them three cases from ours. Call for proposer of the amendment, call for opposers, usually one or two of each, and let them make their argument. But no one appeared for the next two cases, so then they came to us. Proposers? Up stand owner and his architect. Opposers? Up stand all fifteen of us. 'Oy vey,' says the older cttee man sub voce but audibly. 'I'm sending you out to discuss this first.' Now you'd think the discussions might have happened earlier, but apparently getting neighbourhood input is something one does after paying one's architect to draw up plans. (Or before- have never understood the architectural formula of 'we charge ten per cent of the total final cost' which seems an incentive for them to be in cahoots with the contracter to overrun the budget as much as possible. It's not like it won't go over budget anyway.)

But anyway, down we all sit and Fearless Leader and Owner square off. Owner affects to be surprised at level of resistance to his lovely plan and aggrieved that nobody told *him* about it. (Is told that the onus is on him to contact theneighbourhood rep, not vice versa.) FL, having clearly learned the wisdom of not responding at once to alpha male shows of aggression, runs rings abot him. Owner and architect agree to ask for a deferral while they reconsider their plans in light of our objections.

So am pleased, because my heart sunk when I saw the note to the Cttee's agenda that they 'do not rule on issues of sunlight and privacy'. Simply, how much do you want to bend the bylaw?

So we await the next round.
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Wed May 16th, 2018


11:11 pm - Random reading Wednesday
When did reading become something I just don't do unless it requires no effort? I could read Brust-- or reread Brust-- but everyone else is Too Much Work. Easier to play Yukon solitaire and read the random news stories my tablet throws up at me. This is depression, I recognize that, but it's the cozy depression that keeps everything same and low-key; and it still carries depression's theme song of Why Bother? Why Bother has been a recurring motif in my life, which is why I have no resources to combat things like Trump's Rapture and my increasing physical limitations.

Of course the 18th century thought the best thing for depression was work, which works just fine for me until I get home. But today I did at least do laundry and bagged up the unpleasant outdoor cushions for the garbage. (It's not the cats that sit on them as the squirrels-I-think that drop white pooplets on them. Except it doesn't look like the squirrel poo I see on the fence at work, which is roundish and never goes white. All the mice have been poisoned, and anyway it's bigger than mouse poo. Must be squirrels, but how...?) Anyway, this summer the cushions come inside when I do, which should preserve them.

Also did finish a book:
Pratchett, The Shepherd's Crown
-- yes, it goes downhill in the last half, with more repetition and more italics than it needs, but the first bit is the genuine thing, and I'm glad to have it.

Reading now?
Melissa Scott, Point of Sighs, if I could stop playing Yukon soitaire long enough to do it.

Jane Bowles, Plain Pleasures, on my shelves since forever and 'how hard can it be to read short stories?' Hard enough when you get into some git in Guatemala being gittish and everyone else looking insane to his gittish eyes. Sometimes too I wonder what's the point of short stories, when they aren't telling an actual story like Kipling does, but just being watercolour opaque thin slices of a not very exciting life. Like poetry, perhaps, an acquired taste; or like music, something you need to be trained to appreciate.

Can I say I'm still reading Rose Tremaine when I haven't got past the first three pages of the first story in Evangelista's Fan, and that three weeks ago?

Next?
Paul Cornell, Witches of Lychford, in hopes that it isn't as harrowing as the Shadow Police series.

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Tue May 15th, 2018


09:55 pm - I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled
Staff had to leave early today because her tendinitis was killing her. This makes me feel slightly better about the fact that mine isn't killing me quite as badly as yesterday, or otherwise I'd be grumbling about last night's acupuncture Not Working.

Still an achy day with sore throat and snot thrown in, but that's because of the allergies that are killing everyone else.

The cherry blossoms all blew away in this morning's grey rain, hanafubuki, and my garden paths are now white as with snow. Like (ahem) that which fell exactly a month ago, except that was molasses sleet.
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Sun May 13th, 2018


10:31 pm - Flush as May
My mind retains few memories of Mays that happened before 2008. Certain events date to a vague 'lilac time', sometimes I recall the Victoria Day weekends (usually not happily; see: fireworks); but that May in TO has a distinct structure was something I was as oblivious to as the horticultural calendar of the year. Japan taught me to notice that one, but I have no idea why the social events of 2008 stuck so precisely in my head and dictated my approach to it ever since.

However, there it is. The first weekend is maybe sakura, or maybe sakura gone too soon, in hot years, or maybe not yet in cold ones. Second weekend is Mother's Day. Third is the long weekend that in 2008 was memorable for its Gaiden episode and an autumnally cold Monday. Fourth is Toronto's Doors Open event, usually in heat that discourages participation. Haven't been to that since 2014, the last time walking was pleasant. Also because there's a limit to how many churches and power plants one cares to see.

Anyway, today was Mother's Day. The sakura still bloom in the sunshine and everything else does too; and I took me to lunch at my favourite Japanese restaurant, the one where they know me as a regular and greet me with smiles, and when I left they gave me a carnation, as they did every woman customer; but still, very pleasant.
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Fri May 11th, 2018


09:46 pm - November with fllowers
High of 10C/ 50F, low last night of 5C/ 41F. Tempted to turn on the heat (and do a wash and hang it on the basement lines to dry, guaranteed last time this year) but don't because in two days it'll be 25C/ 77F plus humidex. But I did sleep in full winter rig plus beanbags and flannel sheets, and perversely woke up wet with sweat. True, it might have been a fever breaking, though the present scratchy throat seems more likely to be due to allergies than head cold. Everything blooms, and the sky is a low grey ceiling that keeps the pollen under a dome. Last week's mighty winds are a distant memory.

Made it to the Duff Mall today and bought underwear at last. I don't really care that my underpants are ragged, but eventually they do disintegrate altogether. Am cheesed that 100% cotton can only be found in briefs and that everything else has spandex in some quantity. This summer is going tobe a hot one and spandex, even 5%, is not good in sweaty summers. But I also succeeded in finding thin loose rayon pants, one pair only, to get me through the humid days, now that my only other pair threatens to fall apart as well. I do have light summer pants that would be perfectly comfy if I could lose just another five pounds, or if my core strengthening exercises would flatten the abdomen just a bit. But that can't be counted on: otherwise I'd have bought the L size rayon pants that nearly fit, as well as the XL that, oddly, don't fit that much better. Ah well. We shall see. Heat may destroy the appetite that returned autumn has sparked into sugar and carb cravings.
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Wed May 9th, 2018


10:10 pm - May melancholy
Spring melancholy persists. Possibly fall-out from the stubborn sinuses and spasming lower back, possibly part of the sadness that goes with cherries and lilacs and too-warm days, possibly just weltschmerz from Buttercup and the Dying Earth. (Hm. See this article for differentiation between angst, ennui, and weltscmerz. Maybe it's angst after all.)

This is heightened by the arrival today of Point of Sighs. The Points series for me always carries bittersweet echoes of 2001, which mind insists was a time long ago and far away and so much better than it is today. Well, curate's egg: parts of it were excellent, and the Point of Dreams part was one of them.

I read the Kalevala fr the same reason, actually: it recalls just about the only unforced memory from last year, coming home the first Saturday in January to find it in the mailbox. It too has a faraway feel, almost Discworldish. I read a few chapters but then that old niggling dissatisfaction crops up again. I'm reading something edited, not something in its original form. Yes, I know: the 'original' was already corrupted by Christian interpolations, if nothing else; and its oral tradition perhaps spans thousands of years, with that much more opportunity for improvisations and interpolations and what-all. But the things that motivated, say, Homer's rhapsodes to improvise and interpolate were different from what motivated Lönnrot; nationalism was not a concern of Iron Age Greece as far as I know. So- well, yes.

I do have my sense of smell and taste back, though I'm disappointed that I didn't drop a few pounds during the three weeks I didn't have them. Evidently I still ate too much, even if I couldn't taste what I was eating. And I would like to be back to what I weighed in 2014-2015 even if I don't care for the cause (chronic anxiety, if you ask.) Was sitting next to a woman at the physio's today who'd just had her second knee surgery, and her accounts thereof don't make me eger to experience it myself. Not that I'm likely to be sharing a hospital room with a 95-year-old Russian woman with dementia who speaks no English at all and wails non-stop- just a one-time screwup at St Mike's while they moved departments, perhaps; nor will I have problems with my blood oxygen because the staff forget to give me my CPAP during recovery, because I don't use a CPAP; but then again, I don't trust St Mike's to do anything right, for various reasons, and I'm not sure about other hospitals either. (Remembers her punctured lung from ten years ago.) I have this naive belief that losing another fifteen pounds would make the bone on bone rubbing in my knee go away, and would be happy to be proved wrong if it meant I was fifteen pounds lighter- because that *would* make stairs easier.

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Sun May 6th, 2018


10:11 pm - A day in May
This is the day the meds don't work, so I've been home all day reading the Kalevala.

Good: the plums, tree and bush, have burst into blossom overnight. Bad: I cannot smell the plum blossoms, even though nose and mouth are both recovering. Good and bad: nose and mouth are recovering.

Cheery tree also has blossoms, one or two, amongst the leaves. Remains to be seen how many there will be ultimately. Neighbours' cherry has neither so far.

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Sat May 5th, 2018


01:30 pm - I see the light come shining
from my brother's front window, some fifteen hours after it disappeared in a windstorm, and I have been released. (American father asks me, Does Toronto get tornadoes? No, but there's always a fist time. Some 30 years ago we had a winter storm that was much worse than this- the wind bent stop signs in half.)

Of course, next door threw in the towel and took off to the cottage before power came back, so I get to go turn their lights off and mop up the leak under the fridge from, I assume, an ice maker gone wrong.

Thursday night I was congratulating myself on the house retaining coolth even as humidexes went into the high 20s. More specifically, I was able to sleep in a simple shirt, wrappped in flannel, with bare feet and be perfectly comfortable. This kind of balance is rare. Last night, of course, it was all 'oh there's no heat oh I can't warm my beanbags oh what shall I do here in the dark??' What I did was wrap me in flannel and feathers and wool and fall asleep at 7:30, waking only eight hours later to take a mistimed penicillin pill before going back for another four hours. Is this my sinuses doing their last blast routine, or the perennial muscle relaxants, or depression? Deponent knoweth not, but is still tired and achey. Shall call it allergies in the new blooming world and leave it at that.
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Thu May 3rd, 2018


09:24 pm - Oh, the week that was
Two days of heat and the forsythia and tulips and daffodils and magnolias that should be blooming in April have put in a belated appearance. Up to Tuesday we had only snowdrops and a few shy periwinkles braving the temperatures and the sleet. Now we have spring all at once, and cherry blossoms on London St's keener sakura.

(I want a proper keyboard. This blue tooth thingy likes dropping letters and quitting mid-line, and since I'm not a touch typist I don't notice till a non-appearing sentence later.)

Was- not woken because could not sleep, but rousted from bed early Monday by 1 a.m. phone call from semi-coherent staff whose father just died that night, wanting me in at 9 to cover her shift. Which obviously had to do, even if I had to do it on four hours belated sleep. Next day required an 8:30 shift and a nap midday before the afternoon's shift. Wednesday was physio, which always hurts, and heat and extremely cranky babies. Last night I slept ten hours finally making up the loss, but also woke achy and draggy and sore-throated, either from Crud Redivivus or incipient rain. OTOH my sense of smell makes a tentative comeback: not nice stuff like my carbolic soap and lavender dishwashing liquid, but work necessities like stinky poos and stinky farts. Which I shall be grateful for: anything is better than nose blindness.

Florence and Mary's house down the street sold last year to a rather skeevy type who clearly intended to develop it for chesp and then flip it. Development plans came in the mail last week and involve tearing th 140 year old structure down, putting in a brutalist boxy stucco-covered mega house, adding a third floor, building out twenty feet into the back yard, and putting balconies on each floor at the back, overlooking all the neighbourhod yards, leaving the way open to cover the balconies in wood awnings and further block all sunlight from the two-storey houses to the north of it. This, BTW, qualifies as 'minor variance from the bylaw.' Elmtree's Mom and Audrey's dad immediately called a neighbourhood meeting to oppose this at the hearing in two weeks time. I didn't want to go- have discovered my perennial reluctance to attend these things is something called social anxiety- but did anyway, and found myself amongst a dozen neighbours as well as my bro and s-i-l. Shall go to the next meeting and send the required letters to the Planning Cttee, in spite of social anxiety and Eeyore convictions of doom.

Have swapped ebook jinni for The Shepherd's Crown, but don't want to read that past the last of Granny Weatherwax. Ah well. Some day this cruel war will be over.

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Sun Apr 29th, 2018


09:38 pm
Still sticking a gingerly toe into the 21st century, I'm now reading my first e-book, borrowed from the library and DLed to my tablet. Aside from the 'Power Is Mine' feel that comes fom mastering some ancient piece of technology, it's not the happiest experience. The app will freeze from time to time, bringing up a logo at the bottom of the page that stops everything from moving, so I have to go to the sidebar and start the story again. At least it's stories and not chapters. But also it's stories about djinn, some set in very uncongenial places, and in my current state of malaise this causes wanhope and fantods. My eyes ache from looking on the white screen, to paraphrase something William Caxton said which I can't find online, which might also be malaise. Can't see this becoming a habit, though it does let me read more authors than before.

Had eyes examined last week and eyes are fine. Saw accountant yesterday and taxes are done. Refund is close to $1000, which might go to a new bike or a new stove, or might be eaten by the dentist whom I see in a week. Or not, since this is the strangulating cough time of year, just the worst time for lying supine with one's mouth open. Maybe I'll just hire someone to wash my kitchen walls and ceiling and how nice that would be.

Periodically I get the hint of a taste or smell- an orange cough drop on Friday, a brief whiff of woodsmoke today- that says maybe, maybe, the senses will return. (Unlike the completely tasteless meal at The Pickle Barrel yesterday, post-accountant, that was very literally nothing at all.) This absence may be why a new stove has priority over a bicycle, because my present one has a perennially lit pilot light- several of them- and I can't smell when one goes out, as they occasionlly do.

ETA: Ahah. "..and forasmuch as in the writing of the same my pen is worn, mine hand weary and not stedfast, mine eye dimmed with overmuch looking on the whit paper, and my courage not so prone and ready to labour as it hath been, and that age creepeth on me daily and feebleth all the body..."
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Thu Apr 26th, 2018


09:47 pm - Dropping in
I find the rat-tat-tat of woodpeckers annoying. It sounds like my lungs when I'm croupy.

Turns out I needn't be blind after my eye exam. 'Put your lens back in' the optometrist advised, and indeed the world does focus wonderfully if you do. I needn't have taken transit and bled more money from my Presto card that already bleeds enough- top ups needed almost every week- but then I would have been biking in the light but persistent rain that, well, persisted all day yesterday.

Further advantages to having no tastebuds: I no longer drag my feet about brushing my teeth because of the vile aftertaste of toothpaste. Not being able to taste also cures the slight stomach quease that I get from both toothpaste and mouthwash.

Haven't done reading Wednesdays for a while. The sleety weekend saw me finishing two books: Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Inncence because someone did a TV adaptation which I'll never watch. I understand they changed a lot for the adaptation including Who Done It. Probably to Gotcha! the audience who thought they already knew. Then Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which was pleasant, though I wish someone else had written it because Salman Rushdie is an unlikable little git.

This last weekend it was L.M. Montgomery's The Road to Yesterday, not quite as twee as The Chronicles of Avonlea but making me oh so grateful that I'm not a Presbyterian growing up in the insular haha world of PEI a century ago. Actually, growing up anywhere in Canada prior to oh say 1965 was a pretty grim experience. There's a smallness and smugness to white Canada that's most unpleasant and always has been.

Currenly reading Holmes pastiche, edited by George Mann whom I keep telling myself to avoid. In fact it's the actual collection I keep telling myself to avoid, the one with the Ms B--- in it. Except for that story it's no worse, even if not much better, than most Holmes pastiche. Have also a selection of short stories by Rose Tremain, an author I'd never heard of, who had a glowing writeup in the Guardian a while back. She writes historical fiction as well as modern, and of course our library has nothing available in paper but these stories.

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Tue Apr 24th, 2018


10:31 pm - That was the day that was
So after yesterday's Monday marathon -- early shift for 'not a morning person' me; impromptu between-shifts dr.'s appt to get antibiotics because she's leaving for *another* ten day vacation tomorrow; frets in case I'm late for afternoon shift but arrive with ten minutes to spare; and acupuncture that sees me home and dining at 8:30--, my regular allergy meds and that last cocktail before penicillin saw me yawning and heavy-eyed not long thereafter. Shower and beanbags and bed by 10:15.

Now bed before 11 means waking before dawn, or close to: 6 a.m. which BTW is the coldest time of the night. Got up because of a strangling sensation caused by soggy lungs, and because my lower back, supposedly acupunctured into pssivity the night before, kept biting me ferociously. Well, no matter: I took a penicillin, did my exercises, cruised the net for a bit, thought about breakfast but wasn't keen on anything, cruised more FB, got half dressed, and then the phone rang, which at that hour means someone is sick and needs a nearby replacement. Indeed. Queasy toddler staff, 'can you be me for a few hours until I can work something out?' Sure, I say, intending to be her for half an hour and then roping the assistant into becoming the co-ordinator. Glanced at the clock on the study table. 6:42, lots of time before 8 a.m., but surely not too early to text R about switching shifts? Get phone, get R's number, am typing message when I see the time up in the corner. 7:45. I didn't turn the study clock forward in March. So scramble into rest of clothes, limp downstairs and out the door: unbreakfasted, unmedicated- neither arthritis meds nor cough suppressant- without the brace for my back or my knee, and ride like the wind to work. And make it on time but wincing with each step.

Fortunately I can do a baby shift in my sleep, and did, because natch that early rising rebounded on me. Misplaced everything I put down but luckily didn't drop anything human. And finally free at lunch to go home and have breakfast and all my morning pills and come back to work for a few more hours until 6. Have taken half an ativan which makes me feel better than in ages and shall sleep the sleep of the doped, the weary, and the unwell tonight.

Theoretically I'm not working tomorrow- physio and an eye exam, and rain forecast so no biking home from the thing halfblind in the sun. May the phone not ring; I shall disconnect the jack tonight.
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Sun Apr 22nd, 2018


09:13 pm - Fabulous invalid
This sinus infection is getting old in all senses of the word. Into the fourth week now, and no smell or taste for over two of them. OTOH it makes a nice change from being a super-smeller. I can wear shirts two days in a row; I'm no longer bothered by those phantom sweat smells I keep detecting in tops and coats; garbage doesn't affect me, and the equally phantom smell from a just-washed armpit no longer exists either. Of course, maybe I should worry about how I come off to other super-smellers, but really there's nothing I can do about it. Of course, neither can I smell gas leaks and such, which is why I hope to get to my doctor some time this week for antibiotics,

The lack of taste is a little more annoying. 'What if it never comes back?' Well, if it doesn't I shall soon weigh what I did in my thirties. I've had infections where taste disappeared completely: everything tasted like nothing. This isn't like that. There's still tongue taste- sweet, salty, sour (faint) and umami. Ghost tastes, which are interesting because different. I could live wihth this at a pinch.

Still feels like my other senses are blunted because my nose ones are. And I'm really tired of the eye ache and the green goop and the phlegmy cough. So let's hope antibiotics work on this.
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Tue Apr 17th, 2018


12:34 pm - Gratitudes
1. My stuffed sinuses have destroyed my sense of smell, so I can use the unsatisfactory bath oil whose chemical edge normally bothers my sensitive nose.

2. My stuffed sinuses have destroyed my sense of taste, so I can drink the unsatisfactory soy milk from Nearby Super now that Farther Super is barred by fields of ice.

3. Close to freezing temps mean quickslush has become ice. Grippers work on ice even if they don't work on quickslush.
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Mon Apr 16th, 2018


10:01 pm - Wicked governors
So our mayor in his time has worked for Rogers Communications (spits) and Brian Mulroney (spits twice), which doesn't necessarily make him a bad man. When he declines to plow the streets after our five inches of sleet because it will all melt immediately and plowing will only block the sewers so there'll be flooding, I snort incredulously, because five inches of packed sleet will block sewer gratings anyway. But indeed the streets, even the side streets, were bare to centre bare today. Not the bike lanes of course, because they're at the edges and 'no plows' means no little bobcat plows either.

And *there* is where I'm cursing His Worship the Mayor, because the sidewalks were impossible in a way I've never seen. Not just slushy, but deep and heavy slushy-- quickslush, where you pull your foot free from the semi solid guck at every step, poling along painfully with the help of one's hiking staff. The sluggardly denizens of Christie St are evidently dependent on those little bobcats, because no one had shovelled their sidewalks by this afternoon until practically next to the station, where the retirement home and the Jesus Is Lord people had very Christianly managed it. The Baptists, I note wrathfully, didn't even try, in spite of having services yesterday while the stuff was falling. If I can shovel muck in the freezing rain (again and again and again), rottit, so can they.

And having made it to the station, thinking I should have worn two grippers instead of one, and possibly had a cocktail to deaden the pain of walking in the biting damp cold, I couldn't face the stairs and so took a cab to work. And marvel of marvels! all along Bloor St the good burghers and merchants had *all* shovelled their sidewalks clear to the curb, all of them, from Christie to past Spadina.

Yeah, sure. Maybe it wsn't the city; maybe it was the Annex Business Association what hired those bobcat plows, but bobcat plows had for sure been at work there. And coming home up my street, I noticed the west side looking very virtuous and clean, which can't be the Good Samaritan Snowblower because this stuff does not blow (except figuratively) but may have been the same guy out with a shovel, because even the House Perennially A-building was clear, though the A-builders were completely absent.
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Sun Apr 15th, 2018


01:30 pm - Weather-bound
Nice of the storm system to stay as rain until I got the shopping done yesterday. After that, of course, it was monsoon sleet, a phenomenon quite new to me: ice pellets bucketing down for hours and hours- and now, days and days. Finally located my ice chopper that I put in a safe place when S came, so no longer have to borrow next door's ancient rusty splintery-handled one. I think I know what I'm getting bro for Christmas next year.

The raging winds and pressure have joined with the current sinus unhappiness to make me feel lousy for the last few days, but at last some combination of drugs and sinus rinse contrives to give me a moment of bien-etre. Shall be grateful while it lasts.

Meanwhile a foray into youtuube has left me ear-wormed by Evita, both Don't Cry For Me, Argentina and its reprise Oh What A Circus. Still haven't figured out when the last verses to that were added, my favourite ones that start
Sing you fools, but you got it wrong
Enjoy your prayers because you haven't got long
Your queen is dead, your king is through
And she's not coming back to you.

They may have been in the Essex version, but the youtube clips don't include them.

This susceptibility to the media I never view does make me wonder if netflix is really a good idea for me.

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Wed Apr 11th, 2018


09:24 pm - Reading Wenesday again
Sinus blergies have reached that rare, once in a decade point, where I have lost all sense of taste and smell. This lets me live as others do, unassailed by other people's deodorant or the slightly off contents of the garbage bag. OTOH there's the workplace drawback of not knowing who has a soiled diaper, kind of a necessity if a child will refuse to sleep or sit in a highchair because of same.

Recently finished?
The first two Split Worlds books, well enough as far as they go but wearisome in their chronic betrayal and backstabbing topoi.

Reading now?
Wading through vol 3, hoping for some closure. Put aside for

Agatha Christie, Ordeal by Innocence, anent someone's write up of the series, which is not the Christie I wanted, so put aside for

George Mann, Further Encounters of Sherlock Holmes, in spite of a resolution not to read any more Mann edited anthologies, though I think I may already have read this one. The titles are unfamiliar but the plot of at least the first story rings bells. Well, we shall see.

Next?
Something, no doubt. Tried the biography of da Vinci, couldn't get into it. May have to go back to some classic like the Inferno or the Kalevala.

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Mon Apr 9th, 2018


06:41 am - Via umadoshi
tumblr discussion of Cohen's Hallelujah in context.

Since I only know the song in its original avatar on Various Positions, and the few covers I've heard were all whine whine whine without the sardonic edge, I didn't realize people left the last verses off. The sense of Cohen talking to a lover is muted in that first version- no cold and broken hallelujahs, no remember when I moved in yous, certainly no Christian holy doves ugh Lenny what were you thinking of- so the primary interlocutor sems to be God himself. And that, frankly, is how I like it.

(I have a tumblr account now. People, you don't need to tell anyone how to go from tumblr to DW, you nee the exact opposite; because all I see are 'posts recommended for you' and no way to unfollow people I've followed by accident. Really annoying interface in that wakamono 'press a few buttons and see how it works' way that computer developers thrust on us generations ago. 'No one read the manuals so we won't have one. Problems? Just google it.' Shakes cane- argh.)

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Sun Apr 8th, 2018


09:35 pm - Naaapa-napa-nap they call me the napper
Which I'm not usually, but drifting off for a few hours swathed in flannel is much more pleasant than sitting and listening my lungs creak like a wooden gate in the wind. Have redoped me against tomorrow's 6:30 alarm and hope to sleep again.

Meanwhile assembling the last of the paperwork for the accountant, and washing the dishes, mitigates more against croupy wanhope than trying to read Emma Newton or The Gangs of New York or Rituals and Spells of Santeria. My interests when ill evaporate.

However an amusing event. After having been wrestled to the mat by a quotation by John Stuart Mill last night, I began another British crossword: got three clues and wrote them in. First word starts My plus four more letters, second word ends in n preceded by three letters, and alas, I knew the whole passage then and there:

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door as in I went.

Good old Omar Khayyam in Fitzgerald's compulsively memorizable translation. Have often wondered if Fitzy's aaba rhyme scheme is at all reminiscent of the Chinese same.

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Sat Apr 7th, 2018


01:59 pm - Return
Not entirely dead yet, just mostly.

Easter weekend brought a visiting Petronia, also a sinus infection that fuzzed the first two days of same. But she was as entertainingly informative as ever, ranging from artisanal beers to the population of ancient Mexico to the head-hurting intricacies of who owns what part of Hannibal Lecter (Paramount has the liver- no, OK, I'll shut up) to how much echinacea is needed for an effective dose to the best way of roasting a chicken. She also got to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition so I don't have to.

Followed then four early mornings in a row, three for work and one for a totally unnecessary visit to the doctor, because the screwup with my meds wasn't her sending me the tacit message 'see me about your painkillers' but the pharmacy dropping a zero from the prescription and giving me ten tablets instead of a hundred. I staggered through the week and slept twelve hours last night and get to do this all over again next week, when the unfortunate combination of someone's holidays and someone else's religious feasts and a series of seminars for the staff and the uni's exam period leaves us badly short of working bodies. Again, I'm not the one working ten hour shifts, but after four hours I feel as if I had been.

My doctor is death on pseudoephedrine but after a week of rehashing the last act of Traviata and producing vast quantities of sludge from the lungs, I bought a pack of Sinutabs and at last had a dry(ish) night last night. The irritating wheeze and rattle continue, but I prop me up on pillows and ignore it.

Lack-of-will reading is Emma Newman's Split Worlds series, or A Series of Unfortunate Decisions. Can't say if it's me or her, but the machinations leave me befuddled and I'm never sure what it is Cathy's agreed to help Max with, or vice versa, and why. Shall only say that her Fae cast Incandescens' ones in a much better light, though I see parallels between Lord Poppy and Carriger's Akeldama.

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Tue Mar 27th, 2018


11:27 pm - 'The good rain knows its time...
It comes in the spring.'

A misty mizzling rain on a relatively mild evening, the better for me having transitted down to acupuncture and back up to work. Thus saved from having to bike up and down hill, I needed only to go horizontally home. (But whatever time I leave the studio, there's always a Spadina streetcar just pulling into the stop, which I miss because of lights and not being able to run, and thus always have to wait five and sometimes ten minutes for the next, while southbound cars trundle by in profusion.)

Had morning shift today, took ativan last night, woke as ever pain-free and able to stand unassisted. Is it *all* about tight muscles then?

Enjoyed British Acrostics tremendously, in spite of the layout that reviewers complained of- crossword horizontally on one page, clues horizontally on the facing page, requiring a large work surface. But the great thing was that once I had enough letters to guess the author's name or the title, I could at once supply the title or the name, because they were all familiar to me-- unlike the unknown authors of self-help books or nature studies whose passages other acrostic compilers like to use. So any difficulties caused by the fact that Chaucer or Fielding don't use the bog standard prose style of the 20th century, which occasionally allows me to fill in half a quotation just on the basis of likely words, were lessened by the knowledge that it was in fact Chaucer and Fielding. OTOH, I got amost all of the clues in one puzzle the minute I realized the quote was The Return of the Native- no guessing words in the passage at all. Maybe I should try a country whose literature is less familiar to me, like Canadian Acrostics. (Am holding off on the last British Acrostic because the clues are all scientific and I'm guessing the passage is too. Something from Boyle or Whoever's Physica.)
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Sun Mar 25th, 2018


09:06 pm - It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiney day
I won't say March was all sun all the time, but that's how it feels. Day after day of blue skies and cold sun, starting back in mid-February, actually. Others complain of the cold- 'I wanna be wearing a t-shirt!'- but t-shirt weather in March means hideous heat in July. So no, I don't complain of the (really, quite seasonable) chill. Besides, it'll end this week with temps in the 50sF and rain.

The stark sun of March always makes me think of 1996 and returning from Japan, and taping Babylon 5 for Finder Jean, and cleaning my house after its half decade of neglect. That I was still in Japan in March '96, and that April of that month was dank and grey, and that I'm really remembering 1997, desn't really matter. Memory becomes poety over time: not the way it was but the way it feels when arranged for aesthetic effect.

Due to an oversight by the pharmacy I'm low on stomach coaters, so didn't take any prescription painkillers today and... did not die? Actually went for a walk? This suggests what I've been fearing all along, which is that my anti-inflams don't actually work that well. This may save my kidneys the damage my doctor keeps darkly hinting at, but does nothing for those days when the joints really really hurt. Mayybe I should just say 'placebo effect' and the hell with my kidneys.

Yesterday up from my aunt's place there was a large crane blocking half of Avenue Rd and the east side sidewalk. I went up to see what was afoot and found a white-haired gentlemen watching the backed-up traffic and the officious workmen with their signs and yellow tape. 'You can still get to the Dakota' he said, which I gather is a residence on the near side of the condo that's abuilding up at the Davenport corner. I said no, I just wanted to see what was going on. Well, a new condo, casting all the surrounding buildings in the shade. 'We went to the OMB- Ontario Municipal Board, an unelected body essentially owned by the developers that will allow just about any new building regardless of height and traffic flow- and they just said Pfft to us.' There have been moves to get us out of the clutches of the OMB but it hasn't happened yet. 'I'll tell you something. I'm 84, and I'm really glad I won't be around much longer.' I agreed, and refrained from mentioning my 96 year od aunt waiting for me a block away. Expectations don't always pan out.

But I take a certain grim pleasure in the thought of those well-heeled condoites in their fiftieth floor suites coping with our antiquated sewer system and our frequent blckouts. Give me water pressure and only one floor to walk down any time.

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