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Mon May 20th, 2019

09:33 pm - Rambling
Back to November. Cherry blossoms look amazing against an iron grey sky. Mine all fell in last night's heavy rain, thicker than snowflakes, but two doors south's tree is still intact, even with leaves breaking through.

I remember very little of this weekend, probably because I did very little, aside from some ill-advised desultory reading of Game of Thrones online and Faulkner in paper. (Really, Johnson, give that book away. Southern gothic is not good for you.) At least I walked a bit today, and hung washes on the line, which dried faster in yesterday's warm-not-hot than they did in today's cool and windy. Also had first open windows of the year, in the study, but not the bedrooms because they still hold the cold from Thursday and Friday's single digit lows.

Oh, and I vacuumed. The new beast is better than the dirt devil if not quite as good as the Hoover. But it uses bags and I keep forgetting how to open it up to check bag fullness. Not that the bag will be full at this point: but the DD is a canister type and cleaning with it gives me the positive reinforcement of seeing just how much dust I've sucked up. I miss that.

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Sun May 19th, 2019

08:45 pm - Realization
There's a corollary to 'if solitary, be not idle', which is, 'if solitary, do not waste time talking to people who aren't there' ie the ones in your head. Recently I started noticing exactly how much I do this, and it's a lot. And now I remember why fandom came as such a relief to me in Japan. Instead of yelling at the folk who cause me pains, as D Parker put it, I was meditating on the motivations and emotions of various anime characters. I mean, they were quite as non-corporeal as those various roommates, classmates, coworkers, and Japanese businessmen who smoked under the No Smoking signs whom I was mentally ranting at, but at least I wasn't *angry* anymore. Being no longer fannish, I don't have that recourse now when I'm arguing with my mother (dead these forty years) about something she said in 1972, but I think I should try to find one.

(Didn't realize there were three verses to Parker's Frustration:

If I had a shiny gun,
I could have a world of fun
Speeding bullets through the brains
Of the folk who give me pains;

Or had I some poison gas,
I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of
People whom I do not love.

But I have no lethal weapon-
Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
So they still are quick and well
Who should be, by rights, in hell. )
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Sat May 18th, 2019

09:44 pm - I should know better
My android tablet suggests news stories for me, too many of which are about Jordan Peterson or 'insiders at the Palace say the Queen says'. In the absence of congenial time wasting articles, I've taken to reading spoilers for Game of Thrones. Which I've never watched, not having a television or access to whoever is presenting GoT, and wouldn't watch, having heard what a nasty piece of work it is. But reading plot summaries is just as unpleasant as watching the real thing, so I now feel dirty and apocalyptic for no real gain. Current reading-reading is The Death of the Necromancer to have it (re)read, which isn't really a help in shaking the oogies.

TDotN is the book with vanishing text that M read years back. First time through she swears there was an angsty m-m subplot with the hero Nicholas and his self-destructive opium addicted friend, the sorceror Arisilde. Second time through it wasn't there at all. I'm reading to see what I can see.

The cherry tree still looks snow-laden against the grey skies, but the blossoms have half-fallen already and tomorrow's winds and heat will doubtless see the last of them gone. Two doors' down's burgeoning tree (which I should really suggest they trim, from bitter experience, before a branch comes down) is still in full bloom, and if we get a south wind next week may blow some elegantly confused snow into my garden as wll.

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Wed May 15th, 2019

09:58 pm - Season of the witch
Some advice to the depressed I came across on tumblr-I-think said 'you don't have to do everything. Just floss your teeth.' As I sink into my spring SAD, I've decided that whatever else I do or don't, I will at least floss my teeth. Supposing I can stay awake long enough because lord! but narcolepsy has me in its clutches these days.

Weather doesn't help. Monday I went out without gloves and regretted it bitterly (see what I did there?) Yesterday wore my winter coat and last night still had the heat on, as winds made bicycling a pain. Today was tshirt weather until the sun went in and a thunderstorm blew through. And now I want the heat on again though tomorrow will be back in the low 60sF.

Tanith Lee, Companions on the Road
--plucked off the shelves, fairly certain I never read it, finished in an afternoon on Sunday. Everything is vaguely kimoi these days, and Lee is no exception, even though this has a happyish ending. Maybe it was the overlapping kimoi of As I Lay Dying, begun right afterwards, that coloured my experience.

Reading now?
Perennially, and getting nowhere:

Seraphina, which I must decide am I reading it or not because it's due back at the library on Saturday. Does it spark joy? No, but it's good enough. Which is good enough until it ceases to be, and then I want something else.

Edmund White, Inside a Pearl
-- subtitled 'my years in Paris.' I had no high hopes of this: expected it to be 'newly famous American author goes to Paris and is feted by the French literati: expect many famous names.' Well, not quite. White goes to Paris as a Vogue writer, having assured them he speaks French fluently, which he doesn't, at all. This would give me anxiety attacks; but White is one of those guys who thinks faking it is a lark. Except that he does then have anxiety attacks over his interviews, which, well, you knew that when you signed on, guy. Still, compared with the bumptiousness of men who go to Japan and fake things, White has a certain charm. For one thing, he works really hard at improving his French, by spending hours lying on a sofa and reading everything he can get.

His American fame doesn't open doors for him, or not for long. He notes that the literati will fete him *once*, and then move on to the next new thing once they've seen this new face that everyone must see. This doesn't bother him because he's busy with his sexual pursuits and affairs with foreigners. It's the foreign lovers who get him into film festivals and the art world, which run differently from the intellectuals, and thank god.

There's still a veil of- alright, here's that word again- kimoi that hangs over the text. Whether it's me in my current funk, whether it's the 80s AIDS crisis background to White's life, whether it's that partial memory I have of reading Caracole in Tokyo where, trust me, its bizarreness read doubly bizarre, I can't say, but I feel I have a 100 Demons' type fuzzy black Thing lowering over my shoulder as I read the list of Famous People White runs into in Paris: none of whom seem at all happy, let alone cheerful.

G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas
-- bought years ago from a guy selling his library outside the quondam Rochdale, once a counter-culture drug haven, now assisted housing. I figured I could read Chesterton without pain. Not sure I can now. To quote poliphilo over on LJ:
"Chesterton was a polemicist- which is a fancy name for pub bore- and is always banging on about his blasted opinions. He once accused H.G. Wells of having sold his birth right as a story teller for a pot of message- and if there was ever a case of the pot calling the kettle black..." And this isn't fiction, so Chesterton can rant away for pages. Can, hell: does.

Reading next?
Some ebooks may be coming from the library in time for the long weekend. Maybe I should do a reread of 100Demons or even Rainy Willow, just because.

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Mon May 13th, 2019

09:41 pm - Not the happiest of Mondays
I see from my FFL that a number of people are in actual pain from this cold and rainy May. The opposite of Finder Jean's reaction to summer: I love cold and grey but my body hates it. OTOH my body didn't hate it last autumn, or not to this extent, so what are we to make of that?

Current allergies not only reach the strangle-cough stage, they segue into semi-vertigo which I could oh so do without. Back to the neti pot we go.

And when I went to clip a few more plum blossoms, I managed to snip the skin at the base of my thumb on the forefinger side. Bled like a stuck pig, it did.

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Sun May 12th, 2019

09:40 pm - Anniversary
And here we are, the twelfth of May again. Thirty years ago on this date I landed in Japan for the first time. Splendid days, those two weeks of discovery. And two years later- which was still a lifetime then- I came to dirty muggy humid Tokyo for (certain values of) good. Ie I spent the first four months telling myself 'I'll go back home next week.' Well, it worked.

Today is as unlike those two days as it's possible to be, unless it was actually snowing. Bumped the heat up to 20C and kept falling asleep all day, while the wind rattled the panes and rain plopped onto the window AC and petals began to scatter in the garden. Eventually forced my aching self out to the store for soy milk, but mostly stayed in the side room where all the comfy flannel-covered pillows are, and did double crostics.

I've had a copy of As I Lay Dying in the living room for the last three years, having started it one February and then forgot it. Rousted it out and started again, got a third of the way through easily enough but had an uneasy 'this cannot end well' feeling, so went and googled it. How lucky I stopped where I did because oh the oogies that await. Shall dispose of it and its accompanying Sound and Fury in some wee free, and return guiltlessly to genre.

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Sat May 11th, 2019

10:04 pm - Five things make a post
1) Once a year, if you're lucky, you get an evening like last night's: November cool and grey with the smell of plum blossoms and cherries and daphne and hyacinths, and everything but lilac in fact. I should have cut some of the flowering plum yesterday because today it was ready to scatter when I did. It won't last long in my kitchen but for one morning at least I'll have that delicate perfume to come down to.

2) The heat is on, and on high, because though I was well enough last night with the thermostat at 16C, I was also triple bagged in cotton and flannel under flannel and wool covers, which makes turning over in bed something of a problem. And I must turn over or I wake up abominably stiff. Which I did today, and have been sore all day in consequence.

3) I cannot exactly Konmari my bookshelves but I can throw out the books that make my heart sink within me. These are largely bunko classic manga like Wind and Tree Song and Poe no Ichizoku which were a chore to wade through even when I was better sighted. There's much truth in melannen's comment that one needs to tidy one's dreams before you can tidy your stuff. At the age of thirty-seven she realized she'd never... no, ok, at 37 I had no limitations. But 30+ years later I must face that I will never be really literate in Japanese, will always be looking up kanji and vocab I've been looking up for decades, will rarely be able to skim a manga for pleasure. I suppose I can bear not to have read Hagio Moto's or Takemiya Keiko's oeuvre, there being little pleasure or profit in it, and I suppose I should be glad that I'm relieved of the duty to do so. At least I get shelf space for my 100 Demons now. I toyed with the idea of an Ima Ichiko test: 'do I look forward to reading this as much as I do to reading Hyakki Yakou?' But no one would ever pass it.

4) Seriously thinking of getting a junk busters company in to clean out the back two rooms of the basement and half the front as well. One fell swoop, and maybe they'd take the ancient fridge out as well.

5) Because work is being traumatic I went to Pauper's pub last night for their Murphy's stew. Made with stout and root veg, they say, but I call it a boeuf bourgignon near as dammit, and prize it. Next to me a guy was having something that looked like meatloaf. The server said it was ribs. So today I went back and had those. My mother made ribs very occasionally, with barbecue sauce, and I never cared for the ketchupy dryness of them, but 'falling off the bone' has an enticing sound to it. And well, yes, they *were* prisable off the bone, but in the end I still don't see what the fuss is about. Messy meal, and the taste is all in the sauce. Like chicken wings, another pub food I never understood. It must be the cold weather that gives me meat and potato longings just now. Hopefully I can get back to the veg and fish mode, because my scale is not happy about my western diet.

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Tue May 7th, 2019

09:33 pm - Cherry blossoms are out at the library
Yesterday was warm, very warm, but S still had the babies wear jackets to go outside. Wind and cloud make a difference. But the evening turned into that unheimlich May topos, close, humid, grey and threatening. Goes with the smell of lilacs and a sort of claustrophobia; I've felt similar once when a tornado passed by several miles away. Light-headed: slightly exhilarating in its unreal fashion but ultimately kimoi.

Chanced on a brief passage in Hyakkiyakki 25, the last grandfather story. Kagyuu's parents died when he was young, and his father's younger brother raised him and his sister. Uncle was also heir to the house and whatever kind of estate there was, passing over his older brother. At uncle's funeral, two business-type men are chatting. 'So the estate goes to the older brother's line after all. Why didn't he inherit in the first place?' 'He made an unfortunate marriage,' end koma. No details as to what was wrong with his choice of wife. But then there are all these youma in the story telling Kagyuu 'you're one of us' and Kagyuu wondering if he's really human. Yes, well. Could it be that his mother was a kitsune or something? Meaning that the oddness in the Iijimas isn't from the Iijima side at all. Of course there's also uncle being quite at home in limeral places, but that might be down to his current state (dead) rather then any inherent onmyouji-like abilities.

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Sun May 5th, 2019

10:27 pm
The windows are all closed but I can still smell the skunk outside.

My bro has discovered that keeping lights on will repel the raccoons, so they no longer poop on his balcony nor under the overhang of his kitchen window. I wish light would repel skunks as well, and that there was a way to light up the cherry tree.

It was a sunny! day today so I battled The Rut to the extent of attending the last day of Impressionism in the Age of Industry at the AGO. It mostly featured one of Monet's trains (of which it seems I already have a print, picked up off the boulevard) and some watery Pissaros. There was also a Mary Cassatt painting that I somehow missed, because the exhibit really did very little for me and my back was hurting. Also the minor annoyance of having to line up for a ticket because the exhibit was time entry, which I hadn't known, as is the Yayoi Kusama installation that I stumbled upon afterwards. Had I been genkier, or brought my walking stick, I might have gone back down to get the Kusama ticket, but at that point it just wasn't going to happen. In fact, what stood out for me most from the afternoon's visit was the Inuit sculpture I browsed while waiting for my entry time: Akpaliapik's Screaming Faces, Kakutuk's Wolf Spirit Eating Man, and Ruben's Sedna. Disquieting and unforgettable.

The sun brought the cherry and plum blossoms out in the neighbourhood, and I had the unusual-these-days pleasure of seeing them on foot this evening, because as if several hours tromping about the AGO weren't enough, I decided to walk over to Markham and Bloor for the diet Pepsi no one has. I keep saying I never walk anymore, and I do never walk anymore compared to my daily traipsing about pre-2015. I blame the demise of my regular coffee shop as much as the lower back pain, but as I walked the route today I registered that it is indeed farther to there than to my new local in the opposite direction. It just seems closer because there are no major streets to cross.
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Sat May 4th, 2019

08:19 pm - Spring lurches along
We're at the green mist stage of development, the haze that envelopes trees and bushes seen at a distance. Close up, there are actual leaflings on the lilac, and the cherry is at the knobbly bud point, like Hiroshige's plums just before the blooms come out. *My* plums are doing absolutely nothing, alas.

I'd forgotten how annoying Maya Mineo is. Plugging along through Rashan! ('you don't have to put on the red light') and wondering can I stand three volumes of uninspired dialogue and ancient gags. May keep on plugging and then throw all my copies of Patarillo into next week's recycle to relieve my feelings because for sure now I will never reread them.

Bought a new trimmer today, with bladed end that will cut through 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of wood, which should take care of the hedge. Bro already took care of the pine bush trunks, sawed and neatly stacked on the lawn. If only I had a fireplace to burn them in...

Last autumn the leaves fell, yes, but it rained and rained and I had two cracked ribs so I never got them out of the gutters on my side of the street, which is where the parking is, so the street sweepers didn't get them either. Thus they remained a sodden rotting mess, or a frozen mess, through the winter, and are now a wet carpet that often gets sploshed up onto the sidewalk. So I took my ice chopper and shoved and lifted them closer to the centre of the street where cars are welcome to squash them back into paste. Just so long as rain can run down the gutters again and not pool as it has been doing this very wet spring.
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Fri May 3rd, 2019

10:19 pm - In between
Still cold enough, but I've turned the furnace down overnight because the days still warm up. Result is I'm cold here in my house dress and will sleep tonight in double or triple layers of clothes, under a flannel duvet cover and wool blanket, surrounded by beanbags ie the way I always used to sleep in winter with the thermostat at 20C.
My unsavoury pastimesCollapse )

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Thu May 2nd, 2019

10:48 pm - The slowly unfolding year
Still unseasonably cold, still winter jacket weather at 9C with no sun. A few diffident plum or cherry blossoms appear on streets that get whatever sun there is, but the horticultural landscape is behind the (new) seasonal. Temperatures might get into the teens this weekend, but if it rains, it still won't feel warm.

Yesterday I had an eye appointment and bicycled down in the rain and scarily gusty wind, which as ever came from whatever direction I was trying to go in and nearly knocked me sideways as I passed Robarts, not usually a wind tunnel area. Meanwhile hordes of high school students passed me on foot, bound possibly for the general strike/ demonstration at the Legislature a long block away. Our cocaine dealing Premier has been teacher-baiting. Gone alas are the days when the province's teachers could bring down a government. Now they're fair game.

Rehearsing for retirement, I stayed away from work on my two days off. This might have worked better if I hadn't ached abominably both days, with hip flexors and low back spasming into inexplicable rigidity, and if I hadn't been power-reading The Bone People. I was enchanted at first by a Booker Prize winner that was quirky and language-loving and utterly unlike the 'misunderstood white man by a lake' school of writing. (Though really that's an American trope, and the Booker IME just tends towards Misunderstood Men.) But read without the corrective presence of other human beings, it gave me the fantods, and now I have a bad taste in my mouth over it, which I'm trying to erase with the second last Hyakki Yakki. 25 had some interesting discoveries on reread, but 26 so far is both frustrating and obscure. So is Phantom Moon 5, but I might be better off with that new territory rather than the indifferent vol 26.

However, my s-i-l, genki as ever, heard me saying that I wanted to buy a power saw to cut up the ancient pine branches that have been sitting for at least a year on my porch, and cut down the rest of the scraggly pine bushes, and maybe lower the hedge as well; and so I came home today to a porch swept and bare of branches, which were sawed up and tied in bundles for the garbage. Two of the pines were gone, but she thought the corner one should stay. Best of all, the various trash that had accumulated on the table until I could think of a way of disposing of it (tiles, concrete pieces, wooden frames that didn't work for concrete repairs) was all bundled into garbage bags waiting for the next pickup. Oh happy day!

Of course I still want a power saw because even my genki s-i-l said she had to take two tylenols after all that sawing.

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Tue Apr 30th, 2019

02:39 pm - End of an Era
Being my age gives one a distorted frame of reference. The Shouwa emperor was born ten years before my mother, who herself was born before the first world war, and died when I was almost forty ie middle-aged. Queen Elizabeth was born ten years after my mother and is still alive and working as I approach seventy ie old age. And now the Heisei emperor is abdicating after a mere thirty years, which seems far too short. I went to Japan for the first time in his first year; Japan for me was always Heisei. Presidents and prime ministers are short-careered, usually thank god, but I always think royalty should be much longer-lived, since the only royalty I know always has been.

In personal news, I have bought a new vacuum cleaner. This wasn't top priority on my Must Have list, but was the least anxiety provoking ie if it proves a dud, I still have the Dirt Devils and the Behemoth. But I hope it's OK: I need something that will vacuum walls and curtains (and suck up spiders poised in ceiling corners), and clean carpets better than the DD. The Behemoth and its rotary beaters is good for that, but oh! does it weigh a ton and oh does it smell, since the filter probably needs replacing. Also the carpet attachment has rusted in place so it can only be used on carpets which rather limits its usefulness.

(The reason buying new anythings is anxiety provoking is my conviction that anything I choose will turn out to be the wrong thing, and it's pure luck if it doesn't. It's really time I got over that particular manifestation of my mother's ingrained negativity, but the best I can manage is to ignore it.)
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Mon Apr 29th, 2019

07:50 pm - That's a relief
There's not being a morning person, and then there's battling narcolepsy all afternoon, trying not to fall asleep on my feet. 'God, I am seriously past this,' I thought. Or coming down with the plague (this thought aided by spasming back most of the day), or suffering low blood sugar, or something. Something like taking two extra-strength Sinutabs in the mistaken belief they were extra-strength acetominophen, say? Yes, that does it.

My sister posts a GoT .gif on her FB:

-Winter is coming.
-Actually it never left.

Other people are unhappy, doubtless, but I love this grey cold wet early April/ late October weather. It's invigorating, which spring usually is not, and reminiscent of happier times.

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Sat Apr 27th, 2019

09:38 pm - Cold and bright and windy
To my accountant's for tax return and a nice refund. Saw several big dogs and their owners on the subway, saw many spring gardens with unopened tulips, blooming daffodils and fading hyacinths up in hilly neighbourhood where he lives. It's near Yonge and Eglinton where, it is believed, *everyone* wants to live, but in practical terms that means all you see out your windows are the high rise condos built and abuilding nearer the intersection. Not my notion of a desirable neighbourhood at all, esp. given the one, count it, one supermarket in the area- in the depths of the Y-E Centre itself- and the continuing chaos of Y&E itself as they continue to not build the Crosstown LRT aka 'behind schedule since 2016'.

Though one reason people might want to live there is that the local Aroma coffeeshop now has a liquor license. Thus I celebrated the end of tax season with Bailey's Irish Creme in my frappuccino. A change from last year, when I went to The Pickle Barrel, that ippanteki (undistinguished) family restaurant, and couldn't taste a thing because of my sinus blerg. Even so. The area may be fine for young working people in their 20s, as advertised, but young wp can't afford the condos that are there.

And because my hip hurt so much today, after I came home I googled walkers, and am depressed by same. Certainly won't order sight unseen, because very very few have high handles and all seem made for people with balance problems. I want something that doesn't put weight on my elbows, doesn't make me hunch, and lets me bend my arm closer to a 45 degree angle. Not sure such a thing exists.

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Thu Apr 25th, 2019

09:27 pm - Varia, and Thursday reading
I konmari'd my tops and t-shirt drawer the other day. Not sure if this will stick. It looks nice enough, but the refolding and rerolling when you pick a top that clashes with your trousers is a pain.

It's possible that tonight I won't have to turn the heat on, but I'll still have to bundle up well. As ever, temps are set to drop again the next five days, and some lucky folk will get snow.

Accomplished one item on my feet-dragging list. Took bike to store and asked about tune-ups. "Leave it today and you'll have it back in a week." Yes, well. Next step: check out new bikes, as I've intended to since last fall. Foot-dragging on this is a luxury. In the past I've always had to buy a new bike because the old one was stolen. Maybe being bikeless for a week will give the same impetus.
ReadingCollapse )

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Tue Apr 23rd, 2019

08:20 pm
Was surprised, the other day, at my coworkers' surprise that I don't wash newly bought clothes. Why would I? These tops and trousers have one chance to be smooth and crisp and unwrinkled. Why start them going limp before I've even worn them once? My coworkers' argument seemed to boil down to 'but someone else has touched them!' and who knows where those hands have been? I dunno. It seems that someone in my profession, with its close adjacancy to various unsavoury body fluids, is in no need of such delicacy. If my hands are clean, as they are and mustbe given our protocols, I don't care what's covering the rest of me.

So I will not prewash the two shirts, two t-shirts, and two tank tops I bought at Mark's Warehouse today. I don't have high hopes of them anyway. Tops bought anywhere other than at my departed dollar store seem prone to developing The Stink that only super-smeller I can detect, even the ones that cost three times as much, and the material is never anywhere near as good in quality. But my dollar store shirts grow ragged from much washing- can't wear them two days in a row at work- and worse, begin to exhibit The Stink as well. So this is at least a start at replacing them.

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Fri Apr 19th, 2019

09:01 pm - Day 1
The last long weekend we had, back in February, I had appointments on all three days and regretted it because the weather was miserable. This weekend I only have two but both are on rainy days that make travel almost as unpleasant. But this time I can bicycle in raingear and needn't walk anywhere if I don't want to, so shall call myself happy.

I continue on with my Classic Short Stories but wonder what's wrong with me that my reactions are so different from other people's. I think the heroine of Flowering Judas behaves perfectly rationally, aside from being in the middle of a Mexican civil war in the first place. I'd be non-reactive with people like that if I found myself in their dangerous company. Certainly the safest course. And I practically cheered at the end of Rain. Go Sadie Thompson, girl guerilla!

And otherwise I read back archives of my LJ because one should have something sensational to read when stuck indoors.

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Tue Apr 16th, 2019

08:36 pm - The days are still cold
Well, if you must pop a crown, best do it on a day when you already have a dentist appointment, even if it adds $150 to the already heartstopping cost of having rough tooth edges bonded smooth. My dentist insists on this, even though the bonding always comes off, sometimes within days. In retaliation I treated myself, if that's the word I want, to breakfast at Mcdonald's, amid all the new condo towers on Yonge that have utterly wrecked that homey street. I'm fairly sure I haven't had a Macdos breakfast since I was in Japan, nearly twenty years ago, and Canuck Mcdonald's is nowhere near as good. Or maybe it's April's allergies blunting my taste buds again.

This is what I think of as easy care weather, requiring only a waterproof light winter coat, a hat, and gloves at need. 'No coat at all' is not easy care, nor is cloth jacket, because there's the perpetual problem of what do you do if it rains, or gets hot in the day. Easy care doesn't last long though: the highs not only creep up, but vary by condition. 16C can be winter coat weather or shirtsleeves, depending on cloud and wind conditions.

Having given up on both versions of The Poetic Edda, I picked up another 'get it off the shelf' volume, The Golden Argosy, which bills itself as a collection of the best and most famous short stories around. Well, as of 1947. And yes, there are The Man Who Would Be King and Paul's Case and The Devil and Daniel Webster and The Red-headed League, A Rose for Emily and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Lady or the Tiger, a Mark Twain and a Saki and a John Collier and a Somerset Maugham. But when I started in on ones I hadn't read, what I got was an oddlly cynical Ring Lardner and someone I'd never heard of, Thomas Burke, the very title of whose gratuitously unpleasant story I can't bring myself to write here.

There's also E.M. Forster's The Celestial Omnibus, which is nice enough as far as it goes, especially when taken in conjunction with Ima Ichiko and some of Ritsu's odder experiences, but whose ending struck me as enh. Bref, I'm finding a certain small-souledness in the compiler's choices, in spite of the inclusion of The Gift of the Magi. I might as well have stayed with the lying cheating murdering thugs of the Poetic Edda.

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Sun Apr 14th, 2019

08:02 pm - Cold Sunday
In an attempt to avoid finishing the latest 100 Demons, I plucked an ancient unread book from the poetry shelf- Norse Poems by W.H. Auden and Paul B Taylor. Read the first one, The Lay of Volund, with a plethora of confusable names. Mh. Volund the crippled smith. Wieland, by any chance? Google a bit, get involved in the Volsungs, sheesh the whole of Scandinavian literature can be summarized as Men Behaving Badly and that includes the Finns. The Norse are at least equal opportunity, since the women behave just as badly as the men.

Then I check my shelves, pull out my Oxford copy of The Poetic Edda, and yes, that's exactly what Auden was translating. Not sure I want to read it anymore.

Meanwhile, Benadryl and codeine cough syrup together guarantee a long protracted sleep, especially if it's dark and raining. Not all that protracted really, since I woke several times to pee or just to float to the surface of consciousness. But back to sleep instantly, or roll onto my other side and sink back down, because delicious delicious sleep is a luxury. Consequently didn't wake up until noon by the clock. Actually I don't mind cold rainy days, but I wish it would stop thundering now. Enh, April. Possible snow tomorrow...

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Sat Apr 13th, 2019

10:04 pm - The gasman cometh
Cheerful, helpful, and ninety minutes early on this sunny windy spring day. My furnace and thermostat are both healthy and, fingers crossed, I'm spared the need of buying new ones for another year.

It's been so long since I last read any Japanese that I'd forgotten how to use the Wordtank. Fortunately it comes back to me, but I feel the need to be careful with the thing because Wordtanks are both fragile and rare as hens' teeth. Apps on the phone simply don't work as well, not least because the phone has no Japanese input. The tablet *might* work better and eventually I suppose I'll have to go with that. Or start reviewing kanji again so I can look up vocabulary rather than readings.

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Wed Apr 10th, 2019

10:51 pm
Some day I'll fire up the desktop and not only post at length but answer other people's replies. It just feels like too much trouble, even if the html is easier than on a tablet. My mouse jumps and double clicks and won't highlight properly and it's all so vexing that even tapping with a stylus feels preferable.

Dinner at swanky French restaurant to celebrate mine and my sister's birthdays last January and my brother's today. Aches and stiffness meant I didn't manage even a card for him, and to make matters worse, both he and my sister gave me presents. The presents are alcoholic in esse and in posse (LCBO gift card) so the latter might well be repurposed as one giri no ongaeshi. People who live on tylenol aren't supposed to drink at all, and certainly alcohol hates me these days. Dinner was at invitation of my cousins, aunt's surviving daughter and husband, partly at least as thanks for weekly visits for the last six years. Which still dictate my reflexes: I automatically check the long range weather report for Saturdays and only belatedly recall that there's nowhere I have to go on Saturday.
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Tue Apr 9th, 2019

09:11 pm - Roundabout
The weather was warmish for three days, though still not cloth jacket warm except in yesterday's sun, and has now reverted to pseudo-November, all cream skies and grey cumulus and blustery winds. Winter coat and gloves weather. Cold Aprils don't guarantee cool summers- vide last year, when it snowed heavily in April and then steamed until Thanksgiving. However I shall enjoy this while it lasts, the more because the conjunction of grey cold and reading 100 Demons sends me back to 2007. Err- which was a pretty hot summer as well.

100 Demons is carrying on the theme of the last tank or two. 'I've run into a dead end so I shall start a confusing story about Ritsu's second cousin twice removed' ie some descendant of Ritsu's great-aunt who had a bushel of children that no one on Ritsu's side has kept track of because grandfather insisted on cutting all ties with her so she wouldn't be affected by his bad luck. Only now some kid's spirit keeps turning up at the house to use the bathroom, and he seems to be a relation of some sort. I hope this gets settled somehow and we go back to more interesting stories.

Meanwhile I wonder why my always overheated sideroom feels so much colder than the front bedroom. Maybe it's my refusal to put the thermostat over 20C, and actually to have it closer to 18. (At 22 the house becomes breathlessly hot. A very fine line.) Maybe it's my furnace becoming inefficient. Or maybe it's that I no longer wear as many clothes to bed. Have moved back to the front room and gone back to front room dressing: nightshirt, long sleeved shirt, wooly pullover, pants and socks. You know, the reason I never had to wash, or even use, sheets on the bed. Though I do now, because flannel.

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Sat Apr 6th, 2019

10:44 pm - Spring arrives with resounding sneezes
The current state of the me may be indicated by the fact that the latest Hundred Demons arrived on Tuesday and is still in its mailing envelope. This is mostly because I think I can't read Japanese anymore and am afraid of being proved right.

However I made up for some of my feet-dragging today by housecleaning and putting in a new shower curtain and weeding a little in the hall closet. Discovered my suitcase was full of discarded control-top underwear from my hernia days in the early oughties. Have added them to the bag of cloth to be taken to the recyclers since I seem to recall that the menopause weight shift rendered them unwearable, even though I weigh thirty-plus pounds less than I did then. OTOH I spent the day in a pullover from the 80s, just to demonstrate that thirty pounds less is still thirty pounds so long as it's not near the abdomen.

My net surfing turned up a method of journalling- paper journalling- that the writer swears takes no more than a few minutes. You divide the blank page of a notebook into four squares. In the first you write five things you saw that day, in the second five things you did, in the third one thing you heard (more, I suppose, if that's your forte), and in the fourth you do a quick sketch of any of these. Possibly when you're used to this it takes minutes but I had to rack my brains to find five sights of note, and in my now cloistered weekends, even one thing heard. I'm not even going to try sketching. But this may give me something to hook memories onto, different from the bland monotony ofmy daily routine.

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Wed Apr 3rd, 2019

09:39 pm - April is the restless month
The outrageous winds of early April are again outrageous this year, and how could they be else, given climate change and condos downtown? To add to the misery of wind gusts to 70 kmh, the outfit that replaced my flat last week did it in such a way that the wheel rubs against the brake pad and squeals. Maybe I shouldn't have them tune the bike after all.

Why am I always stiffer after a massage? Tonight I can barely walk.

Once again the dates fall on the same days as in 1996, and today is the Wednesday I came back to grey sleety comfortless Toronto from Japan. But the days and dates were also the same in 1985, and so I can finally remember the date of my father's death which has eluded me for close to 35 years. Friday April 5, not the 4th and not a Saturday. Felt like it, because it was Good Friday and hence a holiday.

Have read virtually nothing this week. Two early Sayers, when Peter was a first class twit- Whose Body, where he's eminently slappable and his mother is horrible; and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, which has the line I thought was in Christie, about 'good servants never knock.' They just sashay into your bedroom as you're fapping off to the porn of your choice, and never turn a hair. Can't read anymore Wimsey. Even in Bellona he's being recast as St Peter.

I have An Unkindness of Magicians on the go, in paper after the ebook completely confused me with the ungendered names. Still not sure I really want to be reading such very unlikable people. I manage to get a bit farther with City of Brass until a Napoleonic Egyptian girl says 'I can relate' and then the book loses me again. Started an omnibus edition of the Katy books, particularly What Katy Did at School, because that was a fave when I was 13 or so, but can't take it now. Something very fantoddy about it, and I Would Rather Not. Mind, April
in certain avatars will fantod anything, especially when the cold sun and blue skies yield to the warm and grey, which will be happening soon.

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Mon Apr 1st, 2019

10:41 pm - Today's argh
My professional association is a joke, and not funny at all. They want money every year for for doing nothing. They don't advocate for daycare workers. They 'oversee professionally' meaning they fine and suspend for ridiculous infractions if someone complains. (We got dinged once for letting five year olds handle toothpicks in a supervised art activity where they glued them to paper.) And their attempts at technology are- laughable isn't the word. Infuriating past the howling point.

I receive an email telling me to renew my membership. Here is a link to the form to renew online. "Your username is your email address." I go to page and enter my email address. Error message: "We could not find your information in our system." Then how in bloody blazes did you just send me a renewal email, you clots? This is taking the right hand not knowing what the left hand doth to exceptional depths.

How lucky my printer is talking to my desktop again. Print out and write a cheque. Old ways are ever the best ways.
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Sun Mar 31st, 2019

03:05 pm - We have done those things we did not want to do
...so I suppose there is health within us. Starting small with a week's worth of dishes and a dark wash and proceeding to assembling income tax papers, and finding that almost everything is there except my totals from the massage clinic. It's possible I just never picked them up in the first place. Shall swing by there tomorrow if I can.
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Mon Mar 25th, 2019

07:38 pm - When I come home the house is dark
Also freezing, and not merely because I turned the thermostat way down when I left today. Hydro One is silent as the grave about any outage currently affecting Seaton Village, but my bro texts me that power's been off since 3:30 in the area. Warns that Bathurst traffic lights might not work but in fact they did, as did the stores along Bathurst itself, which is why I had no notion until I got here. So lit candles and wrapped up in wool blankets and read on my tablet until there was a mysterious BEEP from somewhere in the house. Tried the light and it turned on, so yay, a mere four hours of inexplicable blackout. OTOH when I reset my answering machine, it had stopped at 1:30, so who knows? Hydro One is still opaque on the subject.

(The BEEP was my computer turning itself on which it shouldn't have, but it grows old and as erratic as its owner.)

Otherwise I managed to get the blood test I was supposed to this month, and at last saw the dentist about a cleaning that was due in January. Thus two foot-dragging things off the agenda so I can concentrate on the third, getting tax stuff for the accountant.

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Fri Mar 22nd, 2019

09:29 pm - A windy night is blowing on Rome
The Masefield poem has always been associated in my mind with November-like March, bare branches swaying in the early spring wind, which is what is happening tonight.

My brother lives in the Last Homely House and I wish I did too. He spent his inheritance renovating the place, so he never got to oh say live in Japan for five years. But now he has the nostalgic wooden floors and wallpaper and sideboards of a mini-Bedford, as he calls it, and quite by chance March sun shining through his side dormer windows which I wouldn't have even if the benighted former owners of my place hadn't taken all the dormers off, because the houses across the street don't line up that way. But whe I come in it smells of crockpot stew and there's always wine and cheese available, and good company and conversation, and how nice that would be if all my life choices had been completely different from what they were and I had been someone else entirely.
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Wed Mar 20th, 2019

08:25 pm - End of our Saturday tea parties
Two weeks ago or so my 97 year old aunt had what looked like a stroke, even though the wonders of modern medicine could find no proof of it. But inability to move one side of the body, speak, or swallow looks enough like a duck that we'll call it that. She regained a little movement in hospital but mostly spent her time sleeping. I was waiting for my cough to get better before going to visit her- *I* know it's allergies but hospitals aren't so forgiving- and had intended to do it Monday afternoon, which I theoretically had off except then I was feeling the daycare fever coming on me. So fine, maybe Wednesday. But Monday night my cousin emailed us all to say a room had miraculously opened up in a terminal care facility in the town where she lives, 40 miles away, and Aunt Margie was whisked away by ambulance Tuesday morning. So somehow I need to get to St Catharines, but does the GO system give me schedules? No, they want to tell me the next three buses leaving at the time I choose, but not what runs when through the day. They're giving my aunt 'weeks or months' so I need to do this soon.
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Mon Mar 18th, 2019

08:30 pm - Aftermath
For fifteen years our workplace has been a block up from a fraternity. This year we had our front window broken on St Patrick's Day. I hope we shall have another fifteen years of peace hereafter.

Cold sunny March days, enspiriting and invigorating. Or would be if tree budding allergies weren't in full force. Sneezes, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and voice-strangling post nasal drip. Have OTC cough syrup in place of opioid prescription stuff but am afraid to take it, since it contains Benedryl, the substance from which no man wakes even when awake. Will try some night when I needn't be up before noon next day, meaning evidently Friday next.

Given that I did nothing this weekend but bike to mycoffeeshop on Saturday and walk two blocks to the super on Sunday, the aches were ferocious. My elbows woke me several times last night and knees wouldn't take my weight today. Shall try hot bath and possibly a different mattress tonight since some of the elbow tsuris certainly comes from side sleeping.

But am reminded what an old friend said when she called on Saturday and updated me on the happenings in the last fifteen years since we last spoke. She's been teaching in Chicago and her two daughters are in college now and her book got finished and is at the printer's and all is ticketyboo except she *did* have breast cancer seven years ago and the meds she was on for five years after that made her joints ache so it was a relief when she had a minor stroke and they took her off them and everything stopped hurting and dear god I think I have it tough. Just goes to show.
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Wed Mar 13th, 2019

08:38 pm - Wednesday's Child
So, my nemesis at work used all the salt we ordered specially, for stairs and such, on thawing out the toddler playground, with no thought either for the preschool ice rink or the garbage/ diaper disposal area. Consequently, yesterday I slipped on the ice in the latter and landed hard. Was resigned to being crippled today because, in a fit of fed-up-ness, I neglected to ice the knees after I got home. This morning however I woke with nary a pain in either knee nor hip. Must have shocked my body into good behaviour, at least temporarily.

(The arms are another matter. I now have a certain muscular slowness in the neck region, very reminiscent of the whiplash I got after being knocked off my bike in the mid-oughties. At least I can still sit up and lie down, which then I couldn't.)

But limberness was as well, because I'd been hearing noises in the bathroom the last day or two, and since I was over my fed-up-ness, I went down to the basement to investigate. And there of course was my once-mended water pipe happily spewing water over the back basement. However I live in the future, where I can google plumbers and pick a five-star one. Who came three hours later, fixed everything in half an hour, and only charged me $250 plus tax. Call this a win.
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Mon Mar 11th, 2019

09:17 pm - Of bikes and backs
They say winter is over, but I say it snowed this afternoon, and next week will again see temperatures below normal. I did bike on Saturday and today, if carefully: the side streets still have their shelves of ice on each side extending into the road, and occasional ice berms in the middle, and the bike lanes are pot-holed loose-asphalted horrors with occasional ice chunks stuck in the middle of them. Not unlike the streets themselves.

Alas for hopes of freedom, the bike is not much easier peddling than walking. Either it badly needs a tune-up or it needs to be replaced. 15 years for a bike is 45 human years, and mine grows old.

My surgeon requires written notification of cancellation of knee surgery at least a month in advance, or he'll charge the cost of the surgery itself. So two weeks ago I sent him an express letter of same, guaranteed to arrive last Monday, which no one had registered as of last Thursday. My surgeon's office does not inspire me with confidence. But a letter comes from him today saying letter was received and please pay $25 cancellation fee. I gave him six weeks notice and see nothing about a cancellation fee anywhere else. But he can have it, and grateful I am that he's not my surgeon any more.

So I must put my trust in strengthening exercises and weight loss to help with the knees, which don't actually bother me as much as my lower back does. And though I'm inclined to blame the back pain on the stiff knee, the surgeon himself was doubtful about it, and the pain itself began when my knees were lamblike under their cortisone shots. So core strengthening it is, and thigh strengthening, and we shall see what transpires.
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Sat Mar 9th, 2019

08:10 pm - She returns
I suppose there's a reason why, in this winter of Alberta Clippers (a weather pattern associated with cold fronts and high winds that knock down trees etc), we should have had an air quality alert this morning because pollution was building up under a stagnant air mass, an effect usually associated with warm weather. It was certainly happening, because my throat was sore and raw, but it's been that for several days. Allergies, even in the January type temps (highs of -9C lows of -15), that current antihistamines don't even touch.

Well, the air pollution has blown away now. My windows are rattling in the 25 mph wind gusts that accompany the approach of, what else, freezing rain.

This week was distinguished by an inability to stay awake, falling asleep early in the evening, waking only to take a lens out, and going back for another eight or nine hours. Either medication or an incipient something. Came back from physio today, went into front room to read, fell asleep for at a guess four hours. This is not the night for a late bedtime, but the antihistamines might see to that too. At least there was enough melt and sun that I got my erranding done on bikeback, and have money and meds and Pepsi at need against tomorrow's 'wintry mix'.
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Tue Mar 5th, 2019

12:50 am - Let's all get up and dance to a song
So one of the fulltime replacements at work has a Spotify account and used it today to play Golden Oldies from my childhood and adolescence. I may have to do the same, because I've never been able to make such a comprehensive compilation myself. Lacking a record player, say, and finding all 60s Greatest Hits CDs to be terrible in sound, and not techy enough to master mp3s or whatever the format is. Much better to let Spotify play it for me.

But it was *weird* having those forgotten bands suddenly thrust upon me again. The Beau Brummels, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Chad and Jeremy, The Tremeloes, The Buckinghams, The Exciters... Good times, guys, good times.

(R's mom was born in the late 50s so no, these weren't a hit before she was born, but close, very close.)
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Sat Mar 2nd, 2019

09:32 pm - Oh great
Russia is planning to temporarily disconnect itself from the Internet in order to satisfy a bill in its parliament requiring that the country and its Internet service providers take steps to give Russia greater sovereignty over its Internet

As someone said, Don't be surprised if LJ doesn't work one of these days. Not that I'm ever surprised when LJ doesn't work...

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Wed Feb 27th, 2019

08:52 pm - Ingratitudes
1. Lost one of my excellent bright pink gloves on the weekend. Dollar store specials, but that dollar store closed a year ago, and I discover that all my other dollar store gloves are nowhere near warm enough.

2. A discussion online led me to order a pillow from Ikea billed as 'firm'. It arrived yesterday, rolled up in a way that does not bode well for firmness, and is both flat as a pancake and limp as a noodle. The label says 'firmer' which strikes me as a piece of legalese ass-covering. Certainly it's firmer than a jellyfish, but most things are.

3. Had acupuncture yesterday, told myself not to be a wimp but take transit rather than calling a cab, as has become my extravagent wont. Streets dry, wind calm, certainly I can walk to the station. So allowed myself an hour for two subway stops over and the equivalentof three down, and even caught a non-existent Christie bus to the station. Got to Dufferin and waited for a bus. And waited. And waited. And consulted the app,that said a bus would be along in 19 minutes. So had to cab it anyway, at only $5 less than a cab from home would have cost.

4. Snow today, 6-8 inches. Fluffy because the temps are cold, but going to become slippery sodden in the warmer days to come: and then more snow on Saturday.
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Mon Feb 25th, 2019

10:14 pm - Update
The barbarians failed to materialize, or rather, they weren't as devastating as forecast, and thereby justified my s-i-l's cheerful "Oh, 60 mph mph winds are nothing." In any case, no big branches came down that I can see (though today's transit kept me to main streets: it might have been a different story were I biking the side roads) and TO seems to have avoided major power outages. The winds were still strong and gusty when I went to work early afternoon, but had thankfully dropped to bearable when I came home.

The narcolepsy of yesterday, or at any rate odd susceptibility to antihistamines, continued this morning, because I drifted off briefly around 10 after at least nine hours sleep last night. Some of this is psychological. If I start falling asleep with the lights on and my lens in, my mind says 'Oh, this is just a nap' and doesn't resist. If I get all ready for bed, heat up beanbags and put in night guard and take out lens, some resistance kicks in and it takes hours to fall asleep. Which is why I slept with, frankly, a rather annoying table lamp on until 4 am this morning.

However, for the moment we're not under threat of anything weatherwise, and the unremitting owies of the weekend have remitted. For which, trust me, I am grateful. I stayed in bed partly because everything hurt less when I was there (and there was nowhere to go in the ice and wind) but there's only so much one can accomplish horizontally.
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Sun Feb 24th, 2019

07:52 pm - Sunday perdidi
Nothing like a four hour mid-afternoon nap while waiting for the barbarians uhh the 60 mph winds to come and take tree branches down. But oh, it was so pleasant under my wool blanket and atop the soft flannel sheets with flannel cased pillows about me, listening to the winds gust outside. No wonder I caved to the temptation.

And dreamed the house my sibs and I lived in- no place I can identify- and its narrow garden, grey in the March melt or maybe the June rains, had been taken over by some large animal whose genus I ought to remember but can't. It pooped a lot, though, and I had to clean it off my Birkenstocks while a Japanese visiting student promised to bring in his ms. Then there was a Japanese pop singer on her motorbike, giving a ride to her pop star boyfriend while I tried to keep the backlights on my bike carrier. I was in Japan by then and had found my old Wani bike, but had the same trouble with the back carrier, until I rode it into the dining room of a Nakano hotel where all the Pre-school staff were at dinner with a bunch of people. They'd been invited to visit one Nichole, once a kid at the daycare, now grown out of recognition. The streets being dark now I figured I couldn't bike to where I was going any more; it was too late for trains, the Nakano station (nothing like itself) all dark. I tried calling Jean on the pay phone to see if I could stay with her, but the buttons would only offer certain combinations of numbers which didn't match those of her home number. I'd hoped to hitch a ride with Nichole's party but there were too many people so I said casually that I'd find a love hotel and spend the night there: 'you only need to brazen it out when you first walk in', I said more cheerfully than I felt.

My dreams do turn into frustration ones on a regular basis, but this wasn't high frustration, just 'what a bother.'
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Fri Feb 22nd, 2019

09:25 pm - Gratitudes
1. Meds prescription was filled over the phone. Have not forgotten the time my doctor didn't refill it- possibly last year, in this very achy month of February- so grand relief all round. Now I can take my normal doses again and maybe hurt a bit less.

2. Mild after Wednesday's freezing rain so I could use bike to get to store and buy more salt.

3. Store had more salt: places have been running out because of unprecedented demand, also three month strike last year at the salt works.

4. Maybe thanks to bike, or meds, or mild weather, I now feel a lot better than I have any time this week. Given that I only worked three days out of five, what with a holiday Monday and Thursday off, the degree of my 'Let's stay in bed until spring' was astounding. Yesterday I wound up doing just that. Because yesterday I forgot my Presto card in my other coat's pocket and thus walked rather more than I wanted to in order to accomplish necessary erranding, while back and knees bit ferociously. Had lunch at my old Japanese restaurant, and innards had fits and cows in response. So dosed me and showered and took to my bed and napped for three hours; then got up, took out lens, dosed me some more and went back to sleep for another twelve, utterlu incapable of dealing with that sink full of dishes and that stack of laundry waiting since Monday.

5. Fingers very much crossed, that while they're calling for hurricane winds on Sunday and snow squalls the rest of the week, no one has said anything about freezing rain. After three bouts of it in the last three weeks, this is piteously welcome. The snow berms from a month ago still haven't melted from the streets; when they're gone, I'll know spring has arrived.
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Wed Feb 20th, 2019

08:40 pm - Oh this winter, this winter
Went out every day of my three day weekend and really wished I could have stayed in. Weather wasn't bad but knees ached anyway, and Monday's acupuncture didn't help them at all.

Followed then two early mornings, and my scheme of double dosing myself the night before may have made me feel happy but didn't get me to sleep any earlier or make a 7 a.m. rising any easier. And because of a communication mixup (between two other people, not me) today's early shift needn't have happened at all.

So I have tomorrow off, and it's freezing rain out there, so tell me why I booked a noon acupuncture session? Hope, I suppose.

Reading-wise, I finished only Deep Secret which I didn't like nearly as much as the sequel, and Tales from Moominvalley which tells me that I am a Fillyjonk. Haven't decided what to read next, but path of least resistance Pratchett or Dick Francis both look likely.

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Sat Feb 16th, 2019

08:39 pm - If all the year were playing holidays
Started yawning at 9 something last night. Aw c'mon, I'm not going to sleep before ten on a night when I've had a Pepsi, surely? Did. And woke up after nearly twelve hours of sweet sweet sleep.

Had appointment at Spadina and Bloor. Dropped into the super there to see if they had Ovaltine. They didn't. But, thought I, it's a nice sunny day at last and the Bloor sidewalks are clear, I could surely walk to that little conveni past Bathurst that sometimes does, and get the subway from there? Did, and scored my Ovaltine at last. Then thought, keep on walking and you can deposit your pay cheque finally. Did, and then walked on to the Christie subway station, where the next bus was due in twenty minutes. Bref, I ended up walking home. And yes my back hurt, and my knee as well because this is an achy week, but hey, exercise. And my physio is of the opinion that my piriformis pain isn't, that it's a reaction to weakness somewhere else entirely. Which would certainly explain why eighteen months of stretching has failed to get rid of it.

The side street sidewalks are an icy messy mess still. I walked from Christie to my street singing a very rude song about the Baptists and their lack of Christian consideration, but now feel better after a hot bath and muscle relaxants. Oh for money and freedom, to lounge about on sofas and revel in hot water and sleep as much as one wants. Yes of course I'd tire of it in short order but it's very nice for the three days of this grateful long weekend.

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Fri Feb 15th, 2019

08:33 pm - Grump
I'm all for amber alerts and so on, but why am I, a Canadian, getting President's alerts at quarter to midnight for an ongoing abduction in Ontario? We don't have a president, thank god. And though it was thanks to the alert that the man was found and arrested, I still don't care to have my sleep broken by situations I'm in no position to help with, being as I'm like, yanno, in BED and ASLEEP before my 6:30 rising for an early shift. Was a useless zombie all day in consequence.

Clearly must buy an alarm clock instead of using my phone.

Meanwhile the temperatures have dropped and all the slushy ice has turned to knobbly ice and the snow melt from above freezing temps has turned to glare ice, and I am not happy about this st all.

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Thu Feb 14th, 2019

07:56 pm - Not doing that again
My acupuncture studio is on two famously non-existent lines, the Dufferin bus that goes up to the Bloor subway, and the Dundas streetcar that will eventually take you to a stop on the useless University line. But before that it hooks up with the Spadina light rail that lands me a block from work. Recent improvements in transit mean that these ghost lines are now very frequent, especially the quondam streetcar that's been replaced by a bus while they tear tracks up by the AGO. Today there were three Dundas cars coming my way, so I got on the first (fool) which steadily became more packed and moved glacially along the crowded length of Dundas itself. Traffic picked up after Bathurst but of course slowed down again close to Spadina, which is the unmoving heart of Chinatown, where pedestrians rule OK (safety in numbers which freak out people from smaller cities like Rochester.) So, an interesting experiment but one not to be repeated.

That means Dufferin bus, which is less frequent andlands you on the wrong side of the street if you want to use the elevators and avoid stairs down and stairs up and more stairs down and and and,which I do. Must remind myself that *some* day I'll be able to bicycle again. But oh, I wish these guys would open on weekends, and can't for the lifeof me think why they don't.
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Wed Feb 13th, 2019

08:12 pm - Misery misery misery me
The snow that was supposed to fall last night to cover up yesterday afternoon and evening's freezing rain didn't fall. Instead it kept on freezing rain overnight, so this morning at Horrible O'clock I came out to two inches of sheer ice on the steps I'd salted before going to bed. At least the base layer of salt let me remove enough ice to get down the stairs and do my poor best for the sidewalk.

Then temps rose midday and turned the combined snow and sleet of yesterday into great tidal pools at all corners, and my waterproof Warm Toes boots became damp inside. Have desalted them tonight and shall dubbin them tomorrow, since Camp Dry waterproofing clearly doesn't work. And it's supposed to rain on Friday.

At least this is a long weekend.

Also making me happy is the discovery that cooking sausages in the oven in my iron frypan a) cooks them through, which I'm never sure of when cooking them on the stovetop and b) doesn't splash grease all over everything, as always happens when cooking them on the stovetop. Had bangers and mash for dinner yesterday and it was exactly what I wanted on a nasty winter day. Doubtless weighs in at far too many calories: but maybe not if I keep shovelling snow and chopping ice.
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Mon Feb 11th, 2019

09:44 pm - Under threat
Winter storm is barreling down our way- snow, freezing rain, ice pellets- basically the last two storms combined. In theory I needn't be anywhere tomorrow since they again postponed our first aid seminar, thank god, and I'm stocked up on staples and extras though I'd really like more Ovaltine for sipping cozily in bed. So I may spend the day shovelling and reading ebooks on my tablet. It's Wednesday's early shift that has me worried, but oh well. Must learn to let the day's evil be sufficient unto itself, and take no thought for the day after tomorrow.

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Sun Feb 10th, 2019

07:57 pm - Gives up
Winter Brane will not parse anything new: well, is unwilling to parse anything new- so I'm now re-re-reading The Merlin Conspiracy and enjoying it immensely. Because almost all Diana Wynne-Jones' works are imbued with a kind of Don't-See-Me spell, which makes the memory slide off them, I might as well have never read the work before. I vaguely remembered the King's processions, and when I came to it the flower classification as well, but Roddy's grandfather? Nope. Romanov? Nope. *Anything* to do with Nick? Nope. The elephant? You'd think I might at least have remembered the elephant. But nope nope nope.

I suppose this is a plus in an author. But Merlin isn't even one of the twisty ones, like Hexwood or Fire and Hemlock; those guys you don't know what you're reading even as you read.

Meanwhile I walked the bike over bumpy ice to my cafe, and bought more salt for work against Tuesday's promised freezing rain. This year is a replay of 2005 when it isn't replaying 2008, and as in both those, one simply hangs in until it's over.
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Fri Feb 8th, 2019

09:10 pm - The world continues arghity, hope you are well
*So* not a morning person me had an 8:30 shift this morning, meaning a 6:30 wake-up in order to do exercises, get breakfast, hobble to the station over the possibly ice-encrusted sidewalks, and if needed catch a cab early enough to avoid those tiresome TTC delays that happen in 'inclement weather.' Hoping to do an end run around my sleep disorder I double dosed me with muscle relaxants last night and was in bed, yawning, before 10. Which meant, naturally, awake at 5. Happily awake, and knowing that if I went back for another ninety minutes I'd be sleep-sodden, up I got.

Thus I was at the station by 7:15, or rather in Tim Horton's with a double-double and a red velvet cupcake. Tim's at that hour is very nearly empty: when the street belongs to the cop (ha!) and the janitor with his mop, and the grocery clerks are in fact already setting out produce in the supermarkets up the street. But by then I was tired again and the 70 kmh wind gusts were beginning. So I believe I took a cab, though I have no memory of doing so, and wound up at work before the centre was open. And left it at 5:45 pm, which made for a remarkably long day. And alas, I get to do it again twice next week, once after a predicted snowfall of 4" or possibly freezing rain, and once during it. I am so done with this winter, I cannot tell you.

But tromping about on snow grippers does make for a completely different emotional world from tooling about on the bike. Some of the Canadian ganbaru spirit seeps back when there are no other options. This will vanish with the next thaw, but meanwhile I am walking again- the ache and stab just an accepted part of things- and shovelling snow and chopping ice, as I did at work yesterday on my putative day off. Because, of course, otherwise I'd have had to negotiate an ice field today, and chopping myself into exhaustion was better than that.

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Wed Feb 6th, 2019

06:11 pm - A Turnip for the Books
Was home late last night because of deadly boring CPR refresher seminar, during which I had both a coffee and a Coke. So took an ativan to guard against wakefulness till 6 a.m. and slept blissfully till 10. Padded to the front bedroom to do exercises and retrieve cell phone, which promptly rang shrilly. Staff asking 'where are you?' as she'd also messaged me (twice) and left a voicemail. Seems I had an 8:30 shift that I'd totally failed to notice on the schedule, probably because if I see a name starting with J in the morning section I assume it's Jessica. 'Don't hurry in, we only have seven kids, there's only an hour left anyway and we have the student.' She was much more concerned that I wasn't lying unconscious on the road having slipped on the ice pellets that had accumulated overnight. 'You may not have to come in for the afternoon shift either, call before you start out...' 'Yes, but we still have the First Aid seminar, right?' 'Oh yeah. Right.'

So I shovelled white stuff off the sidewalk and salted it and walked down to the subway because the Christie bus can't be counted on in a storm. The Spadina streetcar also failed to materialize so I walked the three blocks to work. (And am resigned now that I can't cross Bloor on my own steam in the winter. I simply can't go fast enough for the light. This is the second time I've sought the aid of a sturdy young(er) man's arm to lean on, and still barely made it to the other side before the amber. Twenty-five seconds from curb to curb is just not long enough, guys.)

Turns out that the early co-ordinator also failed to appear, thinking she'd hired a replacement for today when it was for next week. I will say the toddler staff were very forebearing in the face of this double dereliction, since they had to take in the orphaned infants who arrived before nine. The orphaned infants of course were *delighted* to be taken in by the toddlers and didn't want to leave.

But meanwhile we had more freezing rain warnings for the rush hour period, so first our First Aid outfit called asking to cancel, and then- wonder of wonders- the St George campus decided to close early, at 3 p.m. So parents came to get their kids and I came home early. And, exerciseless all day and unmedicated for much of it, hurt like a mofo.

Tomorrow I'm off. But conscience suggests I come in anyway and help out on Horrible Thursday, when we have no students and the messiest snack of the week.
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Tue Feb 5th, 2019

10:39 pm - Modified dread
Have been through three days of erranding in the mild weather (12C yesterday), stockpiling toilet paper and road salt and meds and soy milk, and returning library books at last and picking up RoL comics from Bakka and Beguiling, all in the vain hope that the ritual of preparing for major sleet and freezing rain will cause it not to happen as badly as they say it will. One can hope. The chiz of it is that we have a first aid seminar tomorrow night, when the freezing drizzle is supposed to be at its worst, and my unlimber legs are not looking forward to getting home even with ice grippers on. But it will be as it will, and in theory I have Thursday off.

Don't care for the new art style of Action at a Distance. The old Nightingale looked just fine to me.

Yesterday looked out front bedroom window where the snow had melted off the porch roof, to see three shingles caught in the eavestrough. They're not from the porch roof but from the sloped roof over the front bedroom. Last reshingled in 2003 and so lasting a scant fifteen years. Anyway, that's this year's foreseen major money drain; I hope there are no unforeseen ones, though if I do have my knees replaced there'll be the considerable cost of a rehab place. If. I'm still hearing nothing good about the procedure.
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