As ever, a crossword clue took me to Keats Ode to a Nightingale, which I'd somehow managed never to read even as I see it quoted all over the Victorian literary landscape. Then I wondered just what was so melodiously wonderful about nightingales, given how unmusical birds are in general. Googled and listened to a few videos of same. Nightingales sound like a clockwork something winding down. Keats must have been eating some high quality opium to get from that to 'full-throated ease.'
Never did care for birds much, actually. Even before I learned they were shrunk dinosaurs I felt there was something unheimlich about them.
My last session left me limber for almost a week, but the April showers of yesterday and today, and tomorrow and Thursday as well probably, guarantee it just ain't happening this week. So it's put on the braces and sip on the gin. Am inclined to spend the next two days on bed, under quilts, with the electric heater on, and my embarras de richesses of reading material. Two ebooks came from the library yesterday, and today G's copy of A Radical Act of Free Magic appeared as well, English post being almost back to normal. I think. My time sense is still covid-screwed, but it certainly was a matter of weeks not months. So thank you, G.
However if it stops raining I must get out to a post box and mail my accountants their cheque and my signed tax form so the gov't wheels can start turning. Our tax system is slightly bonkers: you have to calculate your own taxes and submit the forms to the gov't, which then recalculates your taxes to see if their figures agree with yours. I suppose it's easier to have you assemble all the paperwork for things like health bills and childcare expenses than for them to do it, but I'm sometimes envious of countries who do all the tax work for their citizens.
Also the weekend's unseasonable warmth started all the trees budding so my allergies are back again. Even quarantined at home, the sneezes and throat itches still happen, but at least they're happening a month later than usual.
(Really, why is Spenser in the Canon? A more lumpen poet I never read.)
My scale's battery has died only a few months after I changed it. Very disconcerting because I weigh myself every morning to remind me *why* I can't have pasta and cake and cookies. And because today was a rainy owie day, and a weekend, I couldn't get out to buy a new one. However rain let up in the afternoon so Boy Next Door got to have his birthday party in our mutual back yard. Happy shrieks of five year olds banging the pinata which had to be hung from the cherry tree in the sad absence of any other tree to hang it from. I do miss the plum tree and its evanescent fragrance, though for all I know it might have stopped producing blossoms and fallen over by now if we'd left it to its own devices.
Some odd tangent took me to Streetview where I discover that Markham St, currently and for at least the last three years a wasteland construction site, has been preserved in its 2017 glory because Streetview cars can't go up it. That is, in Streetview the chainlink fences are up on both sides of the street but the buildings, though empty, are still standing. Alas that there seems no way to capture that particular shot to remind me what was where; and once they've finished building their satanic towers the view will go.
Turned out the drawers of the study cabinet looking for Cohen's Ten New Songs and found it, along with a bunch of memorabilia last looked at in 2010. Meishi from Japan, people's addresses, maps of Tokyo restaurants. 'Guess I'll throw it all away...' And then Cohen sounds all different on the stereo than he did on the boombox and I'm gakkari all over again.
Apparently there's a bike thief in the neighbourhood who cuts through Kryptonite locks, so I have to hump my beast up the steps every night. Can't count on them not taking my battered rusty Old Paint, worse luck. People.
Considerably poorer now but at least I have my crown in place.
Highs into the 20s for a while. Not unknown in April. Neither is snow, of course.
Jump through hoops with UPS to find out why the package from Burnaby BC is said to have been delivered to Scarborough and when I finally get them to give me details turns out to be the package *I* sent to the accountants a week ago Wednesday. Then, in swift order, UPS brings the package from BC and Purolator brings me my finished taxes. Good news is that I get a refund of sorts, but of course I didn't work 9.5 months last year, and they charge no more than my old accountant did. And actually my OAS is not being cut, my provincial benefits are increasing. Do get your government services straight, Johnson. So that's good news. Even better is that I somehow paid my gas bill twice last month, so instead of owing the near $200 I've been paying during this cold stay-at-home winter, I have close to $100 in credit, *and* my March-April usage is less than half it was last month (and last year, for that matter) and it will probably stay that way because we're in for a warm spring.
On the strength of which I booked a covid shot for next week, and also had a g&t, and then ordered two more bottles of gin because however solvent I am, the pressure changes from today's unseasonable warmth and the gusty April winds mean I hurt, and like the warm weather am likely to go on doing so.
Dreamed an actual coherent ghost story last night, most of which stayed with me on waking. I was staying at a kind of northern cottage, or a house in the lake region, with an old man and woman, and everything was fine until she wanted me to move downstairs to another room. And after that they started acting weird in ways I couldn't define until the cops showed up, led by a black guy, and they started poking and knocking on things. There were corpses inside the hollow trunk of a tree that grew inside the house- 'maybe 150'- and the old man certainly and his wife maybe were also dead. But then the old man's wendigo spirit took over the head cop, whose eyes went milky, and that's when the phone woke me up.
The phone was probably another scam call and not the dentist I assumed it was, because there was no message. Some time thereafter I got a call from the accountancy firm, who has my return ready. 'So can you come and get it?' My sweet summer child, there's a pandemic on and you're at the ends of beyond and your letter said this would all be done online. But that was the chief accountant's letter and this was one of the underlings. She's going to courier it to me and it will arrive 'some time in the next five business days' oh joy. Because I will be out Friday and out Monday. 'Is there some place they can deliver it instead where someone will be in?' Sweet summer child, no. We do not all have concierges or workplaces, not in the current pandemic-have-you-noticed. So I hope they call the number I provided before attempting a delivery.
-- the best of Gaiman's oeuvre, I think. Everything else of his is not quite quite for some reason.
The Medieval Murderers, The Tainted Relic
-- sort of a samplar of various medieval murder writers, generally undistinguished. Though I'm checking out the one who writes Elizabethan players.
Yang, Gifts, Favors, and Banquets
-- academic study of guanxi, the Chinese version of コネ I think, the grease that oils the social wheels. Heavy-duty bicycle reading.
-- because I remember absolutely nothing about this. So far, it's Gaiman does Mirrlees.
I suppose I could reread The Princess Bride,
...and take to my bed for the rest of my life. Only she had servants and I do not.
Eh well, got to the drugstore for Benadryl and Gravol so I'm fortified against some of the side effects of the covid shot, if and when. Still not champing at the bit to get it because if it makes everything that usually aches ache worse, then I shall be completely immobilized, given how immobilized I am now. A bit better after an acupuncture session but still remarkably owie in both muscles and joints. I'm inclined to wait for a less debilitating month than April, frankly. Even if the allergies are, as last year, muted by indoors and masks, allergies are still happening and my system is registering them at some level.
Also got to the dollar store which didn't have the kind of slippers I wanted or the strength of reading glasses I wanted but did have underwear which might fit. I have enough underwear in the ordinary way of things ie if I can do laundry, but won't have enough if I'm unable to do laundry for a month. But that's thinking very far ahead at this point.
Also however missing brace turns up on the downstairs sofa, so that's ok.
Managed to lose an expensive only available online leg brace sometime yesterday, possibly at the laundromat. It was only occasionally useful, is why I took it off in the irst place, so not too annoyed. My diva knee sometimes wants a brace below it and sometimes wants a brace over it and there's no telling from day to day or hour to hour which it will be. These glowing testimonials from people who can now hurray! walk after umpty many years or umpty many surgeries by using said braces obviously don't apply to those of us with quote bloody big bone spurs in the knee. So I should stop hoping for miracles.
For a change I put on Warren Zevon's Desperados Under the Eaves album (apparently its proper name is Warren Zevon, which of course is what I think Excitable Boy is called) to accompany my biking. Discover that songs work much better than music to distract me from fretful 'Isn't it 30 minutes yet?' checking of timer, if they're the right songs. (Seem to recall that Greatest Hits of the 60s was a complete bust.) What struck me today is how very much a Los Angeles singer Zevon is. The LA ethos is all through his music, the way New York is all through Paul Simon and-- err well, maybe New York, maybe Montreal, but anyway some north-eastern city is everywhere in Cohen. And I loathe Los Angeles, the very essence of unreal city, emptiness, no there there. He really ought not to work for me.
But that album is the epitome of a whole zeitgeist in my life. It's so much Tokyo that merely listening to it brings back detailed pictures of 30 years ago, and smells and noises and textures and the whole gestalt of new-in-Tokyo. And of course Tokyo is empty too, but it's a different kind of empty ie it's perfectly real to the Japanese who live there. It's just the gaijin in their gaijin reality who can't see it properly. (Whereas I'm convinced that Los Angelenos know they live in a vacuum or an ersatz reality, they just prefer it that way.) Possibly that explains why Zevon's other albums don't grab me the same way, even though I also had Sentimental Hygiene with me in Tokyo. It seemed inferior to Desperadoes, like something had gone bland in Zevon in the intervening decade. Which it had, if you look at his biography. Like Lowell, 'Cured, I am frizzled, stale and small.'
Woke up today in early 1996, with Jean and Mary and the cats and ComicBox, which I suppose is down to today being the 25th anniversary of returning from Japan. Unlike everything else time-sense-wise, twenty-five years feels about a proper distance between Then and Now, but only because plague and crippledom have landed me in another dimension, one removed from even two years ago. If I could still walk, if I were still working, it might seem less than a quarter century, given that the the deade 2010-2020 counts for maybe three years emotional time because nothing happened during it.
Whatever, this last week has been ferocious for achey pains. Rollatored to the laundromat with knees howling all the way. And of course there were half a dozen people hanging about inside, including a maskless woman doing a massive wash, so I spent most of the time outside in the not-warmth. She had a mask, of course, she just wasn't going to put it on until she was ready to leave. Do we wonder that the city's cases are over 1,000 now and the province over 3,000? Our dilatory premier has mandated a 'brake' for the province, which merely means imposing on all of Ontario the restrictions that have been in place in the city since January: which have accomplished bupkis, obviously. Agreed that people are being suicidally negligent in their behaviour, still: what's needed is for workers who are sick to be able to stay home and get paid for it. They had two paid sick days which dear Doug the Businessman's Friend transformed into three days unpaid. And so: factories and big box stores and food processing plants are all driving the numbers up and Doug is closing hair salons. Oh wherefore, Nature, didst thou conservatives frame? They are inimical to just about everything.
(In the words of the old joke, I have no head. Can't imagine why us Olds are supposed to become more reactionary with age. I'm farther left than I was fifty years ago, because better informed.)
Yes well, if you will indulge in a delicious lie-in of a morning so that you don't get to your email until 11:15, you miss the message from the Happy Pig people from whom you ordered expensive (but happy!) pig and chicken the night before, saying 'if you want to update your order with say our organic asparagus pls do so before orders go out at 11:30.' Yes theoretically I still had 15 minutes but it was too last minute entitled for my conscience so asparagus will have to wait until Sunday afternoon's grocery order comes.
Meanwhile I have far more ham than I know what to do with, so I carved up and froze about two thirds of it. There will be many Savoy omelettes once the swiss cheese comes too. No, this is not how one loses weight. If I could figure out what the food processor blade and bowl in the cupboard attaches to, I could have ham salad. (I do not own a food processor. Blender, yes.)
Can't say that recipe for Yorkshire pudding works all that well. Used clarified butter in the cups, as instructed, but not a patch on drippings, or even a Dutch baby made with a buttered cast iron pan. So made a Dutch baby using my tried and true recipe and it didn't rise at all. That's me for white flour then, for the foreseeable future.