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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, exept 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 sSulduggery, set in a Hong Kong police dep't, pre-handover, that can 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 try 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 somuch non-genre does exactly the same thing cough cough the desperate lives of middle-class married white people cough. This 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 there to entertain, which is genre's main virtue; and frequently enough isn't there to instruct either, which is the (unintended but present) side-pleasure of reading non-white writers. So Ioften 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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Wed Mar 21st, 2018


10:35 pm
No reading Wednesday because I haven't read anything in the last week. Have cruised FB and DW and LJ instead, and had massive insomnia alternating with 12 hour marathons.

Have also rediscovered (today) the danger of Bouchard et Fils Macon Lugny Chardonnay. One can drink half a litre of it without thinking because it's just so darned smooth. Makes my other, Canadian, tipples taste like battery acid. Now I recall why I stopped buying it seven years ago.
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Sun Mar 18th, 2018


11:47 pm - The brite sun of March
Yes, ok, ginger does freeze well. But then it's *frozen* and you have to wait for tomorrow to cook with it.

But aside from cooking my chicken livers, I was a powerhouse of accomplishment today. You woudn't believe that three days ago I was a quivering aching mess of tendinitis and bone spurs. First I painted the two stairs that have bugged me for the last five years. Then I went by work and retrieved my boot shelf, came home and assembled it, and then removed all the rugs and carpets and furniture from the front hall, vacuumed it with two different vacuum cleaners (because one is powerful but the other has a crevice tool), then got down on my-- bum, actually, since I can't kneel, and washed the linoleum with scrub brush and soap. Haven't done that this decade and possibly not this century, and the exercise proves alas that that tile has had its innings and really needs replacing. It's disheartening when you acrylic polish your tile and it still looks dull.

But I vacuumed all the rugs and replaced them, thereby covering the unsatsfactory tile, put boots on the new shelf- which stands out in its unfiniished pineyness; would stain it but the job's far too finicky- and said what a good boy am I.

I agree, this would have been much harder fifteen pounds ago; but why then did the bra that fit happiy fifteen pounds ago so signally fail to hold me in through the afternoon's endeavours? Sheesh. Am also wiped, suggesting that whatever malaise was bugging me last week may stil be lingering about. To bed.
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Sat Mar 17th, 2018


11:16 pm - St Paddy's Day is come...
Aye, Caesar, but not gone.

Hopefully the Chinese winebottle collectors have collected the winebottles from my front lawn so there's nothing for the Poorly Behaved Students Drunk Off Their Asses to smash in their merry glee. See, this is why I won't buy a house in the Annex even if I win tonight's 7 million 649. Fraternities have held on to the buildings they bought when the area was a rundown location for rooming houses, so you may sit in your 3 million dollar refurbished Edwardian mansion on Huron and still be assailed by loudspeakers from three different locations in a one and a half block radius.

Also the shopping in the Annex is punk.

But since it was Saint Paddy's Day, my aunt's retirement home had a concert for the residents, where a bubbly cheerful woman sang blandly cheerful Irish-American songs (not Irish: note the difference, please) and bullied people into singing along to Toora loora loora. Posh as the place is, I should hate to be subject to that kind of holiday camp jackbootery in my dotage. (Responded by singing sotto voce in my corner, Tora tora tora/ Tora tora lai/ Tora tora tora/ We're the se-eh-ven samurai.)

I said to my aunt, bad-temperedly, that traditional Irish songs are beautiful, so why give us the vulgar likes of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling or My Wild Irish Rose or I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen, all transposed into a swing rhythm to make it worse. She opined, mildly, that people like them. Yes well, they like I'll Be Home For Christmas too, possibly because they've never heard the Coventry Carol or Quem Pastores. Give them some of those sad songs Chesterton talked about, or even Come by the Hills, and maybe they'd prefer them.

Well, no matter. I came home and put on Loreena Mckennitt and finished several bits of housekeeping I'd been postponing for months if not years, that aches and wanhope had held me from, and gave the kitchen floor a good wash afterwards. So peevishness has it uses.
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Fri Mar 16th, 2018


09:14 pm - The mundane
The city, in its ketchi fashion, contracted out the garbage pickup some years ago. The workers are, as I understand it, non-unionized and underpaid, which might explain their cavalier attitude to the bins. One less endearing habit (not as bad as bashing the plastic bins about until they develop holes and then refusing to empty the bin because it's damaged) is dragging a bin down to the truck and then abandoning it in front of a house it doesn't belong to. Thus I came out yesterday to an unfamiliar green bin on my lawn. I taped a note on it- 'Anyone own this bin? It's not mine'- and left for work. Came home to find bin still in situ with a doggie bag added. This morning I turned it over on its side, taped note to side, and went to work. Came home to find someone had added another doggie bag and a baby's diaper. Have now turned it upside down and taped the note to its bottom. If there was any way of tying it shut, be sure I would, because peope in this town are shameless. Put poop bags and diaper into a plastic bag and hung it on my hedge as a subtle hint.

Exploring the joys of online shopping, I odered two pairs of pants from Old Navy, a store which otherwise hangs out in the bowels of the Eaton Centre amidst hordes of teenagers with nowhere to go. Their yoga pants are wonderful, save for a lack of pockets. But the summer pants I bought at a prudent 2XL (can't bend over in Mark's Warehouse's 2XLs) turn out to be made for someone twice my size. ON have an easy return policy if you can find a UPS dropoff, but I want to make sure their XL fits. I might even need an L at this rate. Was all set to transit down today- it's only two blocks south of Bed Bath and Beyond but the wnds still blow and there's even more construction down there- until it occurred to me that the Friday of March break is no time to be attempting anything at Wakamono South, much less exchanging items. Next week will do.
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Thu Mar 15th, 2018


10:25 pm - Belated Wednesday meme
..on account of the usual effects of Convivial Wine next door, which saw me sleeping from 8 to 12 midnight last night. An ativan got me sort of back on track, so that I only slept in to 10:30 this morning.

This Spring Forward has been harder to adjust to than past years, possibly because my sleeping habits were already edging back to 1 or 2 am bedtimes. I finally got tired of lying awake in bed and counting breaths for hours and hours so went back to reading until I got sleepy, which then meant 4 or 5 am, like back in the 90s. My reluctance to sleep is balanced by a reluctance to wake up- understandable when waking means fifteen minutes of stretch before one can even get out of bed- and the result was a lot of little bunnies sleeping in till nearly noon, perfectly happy in the warm softness of wool and pillow, but not very effective.

(Shall note as well a sudden loss of morning appetite. Don't want to eat anything. Result is I end up eating oatmeal for lunch and instead of getting hungry two hours later, as I do when I have breakfast at a semi-reasonable hour, I survive happily till dinner. Since this loses me weight, I'm not going to try correcting it.)

But today I flogged myself out to accomplish, meaning bicycling to Bed Bath and Beyond for flannel pillowcases. The ones my younger bro and s-i-l gave me thirty years ago are barely there anymore; the ones the Magnificent Helen's parents gave me fifteen years ago are soft and threadbare; the brown and green plaid ones that came with the duvet cover in 2007 open in mid-back, which means you can't flip the pillow over. Silly design, and ugy with it.

But BB&B have them on sale this season, and as the store is only just south of College and Yonge, I thought I'd suss them out in person instead of buying online. And yes, well, they're flannel pillow cases in unexceptionable beige or off-white, which go with everything, and a lot better than the reindeer logos in the online store. But oh dear, what a trip to find them.

College and Gerrard both have bicycle lanes, but they also both have condos a-building which, surprise surprise, pre-empt the bicycle lane. So after weaving through traffic on my drunken bike (it lists badly, and March winds don't help) I arrived at Yonge and Gerrard and a big sign for the store- but no entrance into the building except for one that takes you to the food court in the basement. No, one goes round the corner to the main entrance on Yonge and up the escalator, and then gets lost.

The walls of bonny Honest Ed's may be down to the ground, but his spirit lives on in BB&B. 'Come in and get lost!' as his signs used to proclaim, and one does. There's signage but no store map, and section follows section, around corners and into nooks, and cul-de-sacs with ?barbecue equipment? and tchotchkes and scented candels, and at last one finds a body that wrks there and she leads you, because telling is too complicated, to where the flannel pillowcases are: a very small selection.

But pilllows? We have pillows coming out of our ears. Now, one is supposed to repace pillows every 2-3 years, which, if I've paid $200 for a pillow, I do not. But the sirens sang about my ears: the dream of the perfect pillow, that won't hurt one's neck, is alive and well there.

Unfortunately, what I did end up buying was a wooden shoe rack because my old one is dead; and not even the one I wanted, which wouldn't have fit on the bike. Yappari, I should just have transitted over there.memeageCollapse )

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Sun Mar 11th, 2018


11:06 pm - For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down
The sack of Markham St continues. Buildings are coming down on the west side of the street, god knows why, because the main construction site is not only on the east side, but on the eastern portion of the block by Bathurst. Worse, they took down the big old tree near the bicycle store, that had glow lights wound about its trunk all through the year. At least the trees by the remaining east side buildings, which I hope are to have their facades preserved, have the mandatory fences about them. Whether they survive the heavy digging and pounding that goes with erecting massive condo buildings is another matter.

My tablet has been going black on me and this morning the back button didn't work at all. Turns out to be a common side effect of having a tght fitting case. This was not mentioned in the glowing review of the Fintie keyboard and carrying case that persuaded me to buy the thing.

Meanwhile my dryer fails to dry adequately. It shouldn't take two cycles for a towel to stop being damp. Granted, it's at least thirty years old and has served me well. But it seems I can't wait to win a lottery to replace my failing possessions. A chunk of change from the Money Tree may be required, to provide a new stove and bicycle and washing machine. Dryer? The fact is, I rarely use the thing. Just for towels and, more rarely, sheets and pillowcases, because you will recall I sleep fully dressed. When all that shows are feet and hands, linen doesn't get nearly as manky as you'd think. And a good thing too, because my work clothes make up for it in spades. Tops and socks and singlets all go into the hamper every working day, and frequently on weekends as well. But they dry quite happily on the line most of the year. And the rest- well, there's a perfectly good laundromat a block and a half away.

The thing is, I hate shopping for appliances even more than I hate shopping for clothes. Laargely because the stores are way out in the burbs and require a car to reach.

Oh, and shall mention- Boodles gin is vastly inferior to Tanqueray. Just so you know.

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Sat Mar 10th, 2018


01:16 pm - Update
Delight it is in age and March to see the sun arise- and then to stumble down the hall to one's own bed and sleep till 11:30. At least I got a week's worth of dishes done last night and put on my sleep garb before fadng away over Yukon solitaire with my lens still in. /total uselesness

Also understand afresh a friend's husband's remark that without yoga he wouldn't be able to walk, because after sleeping on the side room bed neither can I. In fact it still takes ten minutes of leg lifts and piriformis stretches and pelvic tilts to get my ligaments to a point where they will bend and/ or take my weight. Am disheartened, bcause M's husband is meso inclining to ectomorph, so weight is not the total defining factor in this. Losing it would certainly help, but that involves giving up the evening alcohol which ahem is what allows me to move in the evening.

However, I'd forgotten my Robaxacet habit of early winter. Have returned to it, and the pain begins to subside to a grumble. Might try in place of wine, at any rate.

Was looking at stoves online the other night, thinking a new one would be quite doable bar the installation hassle. But now it seems I may have to get a new phone instead, because mine has started going black screen when online. Mind, so does my tablet, which is something to do with this carrying case that I haven't quite figured out. What joy to live in the future. (S-i-l in a moment of disgust says she's going to ditch her cell. 'People who want to talk to me can write me a letter.' Like LPs, what goes around comes around.
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Wed Mar 7th, 2018


09:30 pm - Again
The days continue in loose-end March fashion- not very cold, not at all warm, trying to decide between rain and snow and, luckily for me, usually ending with the former. I've discovered online Yukon Solitaire on this tablet, much cleaner and neater than the one I play on the desktop, but with the chiz curses factor of no options available beyond base rules: one can only move the kings into empty spaces. Hence I lose many games, and still play obsessively.

Yukon was my solitaire of choice in the long ago when I still wrote fic (late 90s, early oh noes) and needed to noodle a plot point while not-thinking about anything else. It replaced Free Cell, which tells you how far back we're going here. At some point my browser wouldn't do java or adobe flash player and I had to switch to Addiction solitaire, which I can't think to. And now, well, I could maybe think plot points if I still had stories to tell and a convenient means of telling them, which the tablet isn't quite, yet. If nothing else, I'd have to send my stories to the cloud, and I'm uncertain as to whether I could retrieve them afterwards. I mean, if FTP are not in use anymore, does everyone's server pick stuff out of clouds, and if so, how?

But back to abbreviated reading memes.

Finished?
Good Omens.

Reading now?
Still with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, now that we're into the voodoo sections. I keep meaning to go back and finish Tell my Horse to get the lowdown on Santeria from at least an anthropological point of view, so having it crop up here feels like the Flow happening. And Berent is rivetting reading.

And next?
Keep meaning to finish Athyra as well, because. Keep meaning to start that biography of Da Vinci or the medieval Eco novel. (The other medieval Eco novel.) Have a thumping huge book of Holmes pastiche which will do for sofa reading, since it's too heavy even to bring upstairs. But feel a vague need for meat and potatoes reading, since nothing this year has been.

Abandoned?
Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?
--one has to have read vol 2 to make sense of vol 3, nd vol 2 has people going to Hell, literally, and suffering psychic fallout in vol 3. And personally a) I don't trust anyone but Dante to do hell convincingly, and b) I suspect Cornell of writing non-stop broken suffering characters merely so he can look like a dark and stormy writer. Which I will admit is unfair just on the basis of one book. Mind, that book broke me and made me suffer, so I'm not much invested in fairness here. But anyway- too Goth for me, and Cornell is a horror writer manque, perhaps trying to put his Dr Who days behind him.

As well, fancy I shan't finish the latest Rebus. Am getting tired of Edinburgh gangsters and the old cops that bromance them.

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Sun Mar 4th, 2018


09:29 pm - Triumph
What's the opposite of bitter cold? Sweet cold? Then yes, we have the sweet cold of early March in a translucent blue evening, the third Sunday in a row for same. Sun, clear skies, the great big blue room. And I have managed to connect my bluetooth keyboard to this tablet, which makes me feel like I've conquered the world. Mind, I think I've also connected it to one of next door's phones as well, because the only device the bluetooth could find on the first three tries was a Blackberry. It would be nice if things worked right the first time, but oh well. I kind of miss having a mouse but doubtless I'll work out the shortcuts for that too. And find the Del key, because there doesn't seem to be one.

Meanwhile I actually finished a book! a reread of Good Omens. (I love you, angle brackets, never leave me again.) Nice change from hard-drinking Scots policemen, and makes more sense now I've got most of the Pratchett and Gaimen oeuvres under my belt. Do not see how it could spark a huge writing fandom, but that's me.

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Wed Feb 28th, 2018


11:14 pm - Canadian service
Ordered my bro a flannel nightshirt online from a Canadian company called Nights in White Flannel: chosen partly for the name, partly for the Canadian-ness (no customs charges or Fedex idiocies), and partly because they alone had 3XL. My bro's chest measurements are 49" and he's 6'3. I mean, several firms did have lovely flannel 3X shirts, but they were American and didn't even consider shipping outside the country.

Anyway, it arrived last night, in an environmentally friendly thin plastic bag tucked inside an environmentally friendly cotton outer bag. The products are individually sewn and you get a little note from your seamstress written on a piece of cotton attached to a sprig of lavender, hoping the recipient will be warm and cozy. Very Tale of Genji. They also include a small square of lavender soap, shrink-wrapped in plastic inside a freebie cotton washcloth. And dear lord is the soap smell strong. I'm a lavender maniac and, shrink-wrap or no, I was starting a headache within minutes. (This, by the by, is why I cannot use Lush products. In fact, why I can't even buy Lush products- the store is a cacophany of smells even from three floors up in the Eaton Centre.) Have double-bagged the soap sliver until it gets the worst of it out of its system.

But the shirt is calf-length, that being the only 3X in stock, and J wanted knee-length. So today I followed up vague memories of dry cleaners that do alterations in the neighbourhood (you understand, I have no need of dry cleaners myself at this point in my ragbag life) and lucked into a Chinese outfit on Bathurst whose tailoring section ie the owner's wife runs the dry cleaning store a block from work. So the nightshirt is I hope in good hands and will be ready Monday.

And because Nights in White Flannel makes white nightshirts, and because white nightshirts are perhaps not the best thing for people who drink coffee in bed, as is next door's happy domestic habit, I then went to Amazon and ordered another shirt, ugly checked plaid as nightshirts usually are, from a company that swears their 2X will accommodate a 50" chest. And if they lie, well, I can use it myself, because my own nightshirt is ripping at the seams.
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Mon Feb 26th, 2018


10:14 pm - Monday in not quite March
The new asparagus is in and I would happily eat a whole bunch at a sitting, favouring it over things like cheese and ham and crackers. Alas, I seem to recall reading something about asparagus poisoning, and while I can't find it on the net, it's worry-niggling. Nothing in excess, I suppose. Eat carrots instead.

My new puncture-proof tire had a punctute this morning. Slow leak from the detritus of winter and construction- nail, stone, piece of glass, I didn't ask. Mild nuisance, anyway.

One should let Ian Rankins mature between readings, but instead, after finally finishing the antepenultimate Rebus, I polished off the penultimate on the weekend and am now on the last one. This because I don't want to read Midnight in the Garden etc now it's got to the trial, and have Who killed Sherlock Holmes coming to the library shortly, in spite of the inadvisability of reading Paul Cornell ever.

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Fri Feb 23rd, 2018


08:43 pm - Thy wish was father, Harry, to the thought
Woke up this morning totally convinced it was Saturday, not just in a vague way but with the concrete sense of Friday night 'done with the week-ness' behind me. So I was only routinely annoyed that FB would wait till Saturday to remind me of a friend's birthday that was certainly on Friday, and the fact that she lives in Japan doesn't excuse it. I was merely puzzled that there was a school crossing guard at Christie- must be a special occasion on at Essex- and I was quite elated that the coffee shop was miraculously empty of noon brunchers and I could get a table. It was only when the owner said 'We only do brunch on weekends' that the first niggles of doubt began. Even when I got to work (fortunately, not late for my shift) I could still barely believe it was really Friday. My time sense said otherwise, and said it very loud.

Time to get back to the B12 supplements, I fancy.
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Wed Feb 21st, 2018


05:40 pm - Catch up
The first Family Day February holiday was ten years ago, and I remember it clearly because I spent it hacking ice up and down Christie St, where the snowplows had left great banks of frozen slush that covered half the narrow sidewalk. This year was a grey and mizzly late March, not as warm as they said it would be (my hands froze in their single wet gloves) but delightful with the unfamiliar freedom of clear streets and a bike. I dressed up and went to the AGO for a late lunch.

'Dress up' is something I almost never do, and it involves wearing my one 'good' pair of pants, currently 20+ years old, which are the same cotton-polyester as everything else I own and have an elastic waist-- the ups and downs of menopausal weight don't permit of fixed waistbands. I'd buy a dozen more pairs if I could find them anywhere; ubiquitous through the 80s and 90s, no one makes them anymore. To this I added a wool-blend three-quarter length top, picked up off the boulevard, and a mystery because the size label says M. I don't fit anyone's Ms ever, let alone a woman's dress. Possibly it *is* a dress, intended for a shorter person than I, but that doesn't explain the shoulder width. Since a fleecy is infra dig, I wore a cherry-coloured cardigan over it, bought in 2006 in what has always seemed a moment of bad decision because the thing has no pockets. But as ever, hold on to the bad decisions and they will find their moment. The cardigan is the same colour as the scarf Incandescens gave me for Christmas, and I wore that to cover the slipping shoulders of the top (as I say, an oddity for a size M) that threatened to reveal my camisole straps. And since it's the AGO, I ditched the backpack for my shoulder strap purse.

So all in all, I looked quite respectable amid the hordes of children and adults and strollers in the AGO lobby, and even respectable at the AGO Bistro, where I had made a reservation and was thus greeted by name in a very Lady Teldra way. I had a Dubonnet and the famous $22 hamburger, which is, well, a hamburger, slightly better than some, with good frites and alas garlic mayonnaise. 'Home made pickles,' says the menu, meaning pickle singular, because this is the AGO Bistro; and the cheapest wine ($13) and only a coffee to follow, because their eclairs have fruit on them instead of chocolate, in this case caramelized apple. The damage was a mere $50, of which I will not complain. It was a very pleasant experience; and going home in the October grey fog and drizzle, I met the twins and their dad and their dog out for a walk, which was also pleasant, so I will remember this holiday weekend when I have forgotten most of the others.
While I have this work computer and its keyboardCollapse )

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Sun Feb 18th, 2018


11:12 pm - The Sunday/ Wednesday blog
Ill-advised late Pepsi meant I couldn't sleep last night, so after however long meditating and then doing leg strengthening clenches, I got up and ordered a keyboard for this beast And I pray God make me able to pay for it, as Pepys would say: at least it was from an in-country source,so no tariffs and handling charges. Then went online again and bought an acrostic book from England, and I apologize to amazon.uk, because they did apply the book token refund to my new purchase after all.

Then fell asleep somewhere towards 6 a.m. and woke bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 9:15. This would be a neat trick if I could rely on it, but it only works if I don't actually *have* to be up for anything. Be sure that if I'd had work today, even in the late afternoon, I'd have been a zombie.

As it is, I went for two walks in the lovely gold sunshine. Walking is the best exercise for the damnable piriformis, says the webpage, aside from the stretches I do so often and so uselessly. I shall hope that today's limping about has had some good effect.
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Thu Feb 15th, 2018


10:25 pm - Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
Sweet it is to come home from work and curl up on the sofa with a Johnson cocktail, some crackers and camembert, and a book of acrostics. Sweet also to curl up under the quilts on the spare room bed with the current Brust, the tablet, and hot beanbags for the back. Winter has its consolations.

Today however the temps were autumnal and I had an 8:30 dentist appointment, just the worst hour for the TTC in the directions I had to go in- 'a matter of time before someone gets pushed off the overcrowded platforms at Yonge and Bloor and dies'- and in my current crippled state: because whoever else may like thawing snow, my left leg does not. Knee, periformis, ITB, hamstrings- all shrieking loudly for the last three days. But hey, thought I, there're bike lanes almost all the way there, and the bobcats will have cleared the snow from them, let's bike!

Ha ha ha. The Bloor bobcats clear the *sidewalks* and dump the snow in the lanes; on St George, utility trucks block the lanes while installing their nefarious wire optics; and on College St, the plows dumped their snow in the curb ie bike lane. There were also random bits of detritus everywhere, including chunks of concrete from the flattened Honest Ed's. I made it in one piece, came back to work, and fell asleep for an hour, something I never do.

However. One more day, no more early mornings, and a blessed long weekend to follow.

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Sun Feb 11th, 2018


06:48 pm - Uptown problems
Because I am a packrat, the Diabetes Society regularly hits me up for donations and I regularly put bags out for them. But for some reason, the last two times the driver only takes one bag, leaving the other to freeze in the cold. Must ask why-- next time.

The freezing rain failed to appear this morning so I got out to Fiesta for groceries, then gung-ho shovelled and chopped sidewalks up and down the block just as in the old days. *Then* the freezing rain started. Hope the forecast snow follows, to cover it all over again: though you'd think yesterday's four inches of slippery slidey mealy stuff would be enough.

The book I ordered early in January from amazon.uk having missed its delivery date by two weeks and change, I took advantage of their Buyer's Remorse amnesty (cancel within a month and we'll refund to your method of payment, and you needn't return the book.) Book of course shows up three days later. And I might have returned it nonetheless except I noticed that the refund was for the $5 I'd put on Visa for the bit my gift certificate didn't cover. The $10 from the book token is not refundable. So yes, a good thing the book came or I'd be seriously chizzed.

What did arrive in excellent time was a book of New York Times acrostics. The first one took me over an hour. It was from Harry Potter and contained the word 'quidditch' twice.

Meanwhile I shall never get to use my Indigo Books token because Indigo (the last bricks and mortar first-run bookstore standing downtown) still has nothing I want, or can't get cheaper second hand.
Current Location: Mesmes
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Wed Feb 7th, 2018


11:34 pm - Wednesday comes again
The self-proclaimed world's best lime and calcium remover may be worthy of the boast. Used it on the tub this morning and a decade's worth of TO buildup has vanished. Though not from everywhere- there are rivulet marks where I didn't manage to scrub it all off.

There's a - available on the keypad here, but the ' màrk requires a different screen. You'd think the latter would be in more demand than the former.

So there are keypads available from Amazon, but the ones in Canada are double the ones in the US. Like, the dollar isn't that low, guys. But ordering from the States will assuredly get me hit with customs and paperwork fees so shou ga nai.

And until then, no Reading Wednesday. Have only finished a Brust or two anyway. But I seem to recall a scene of Vlad getting jumped once and calling on Varra, and that was the beginning of his misery. But I'm up to Tiassa, again, ie where I started reading last December, and haven't come across it anywhere. Maybe it was just a mention in passing?

(Oh, *there's* the angle brackets. Three taps away and not worth the effort. But still, good to know.)

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Sun Feb 4th, 2018


08:41 pm - Not totally futile
Went out to shovel wet snow this morning and then stayed in, so today was a de facto Spend No Money day.

Made roast cauliflower and mustard sauce yesterday: delicious and indigestible. More mustard, less oil, must try with other veg.

Someone is collecting books for a (presumed) literacy project. Will take anything and will pick up, so three boxes are now sitting on my porch.

To which end I flipped or skimmed a couple of things this afternoon- the very twee Chronicles of Avonlea, a Tanith Lee YA, a Ruth Rendell by any other name depressing psychological thriller- all of which are now happily sitting in boxes in the cold. My habit of picking things up off front lawns and Wee Frees that I might want to read some day has yielded to time's winged chariot. Life is now too short for Don Quixote and A Tale of Two Cities, but not for Dick Francis and Stephen Brust.

Lord but I miss having a keyboard.

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Fri Feb 2nd, 2018


10:58 pm - Blue moon
February is the month most likely to screw up my time sense, which is why I booked an acupuncture appointment for the 9th under the impression that it was today. The clinic's staff are also taking rotating vacations. The upshot is that I'll be going ten days between treatments, ie about five days too many. Ah well, that's what painkillers are made for. And exercises, and hot baths.

However, since I didn't have to pay for a treatment, I was able to take me out to dinner at the end of the street- fish sliders and a Pinot Grigio- and walked happily home in the blue cold night on nice dry sidewalks. Snow falls this weekend, so I enjoy it while it lasts. Yesterday in the warmth I cleared the remaining ice from the Indian Gardener's house, only to be confronted with yet another glacier this morning after the temps fell overnight. Can't think where all that water comes from. But in a fit of pique I emptied most of bag of salt on it tonight and may get to chop it again tomorrow.

Or perhaps I should just start walking on the other side of the street.
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Wed Jan 31st, 2018


10:08 pm - Alas, Wednesday
One oddity of this round of weight loss is that my feet have shrunk. Right foot sloshes about in its boot, birks fall off even with socks. I keep buying new socks that are never thick enough to keep things on. This is gratifying, yes, even if it's water weight, because I have chronic edema and water loss is just fine by me. Shall use the full_length orthotic until feet start sweĺing again in the spring.

New chuffedness re tablet is youtube, which delivers me Woxin Changdan in, supposedly, fansubs. Not sure if they really are because it took me a while to figure how to turn subtitles on, but it makes an amazing difference having the action six inches from one's nose rather than six feet.

Wonder if I can meme with this? No, actually, because this keyboard has no angle brackets. No matter, because I've finished nothing but *Jhegaala* in the last two weeks, dropped *Athyra*, and may be about to drop *Dzur* or possibly just skip all the food bits. Reading this year is a bust.

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Tue Jan 30th, 2018


07:45 pm - Random
As af this morning I've dropped ten pounds since the start of November. Can't feel any difference at all. This is why I don't notice when I gain ten pounds.

Got a stand for the tablet. If I'd got a keyboard it would have a stand included, but they only had keyboards for iPads. Clerk tells me Samsung's nonfunctional spellcheck is a famous software issue, but it still seems odd to me.

Last two corks I've removed from wine bottles have crumbled and needed to be poked into the bottle. Is it ancient me or my ancient corkscrew?

Not the super blue whatever moon yet, I believe, but still pretty impressive.
4 or 5 inches last night which bro shovelled twice and I once. We are bare; neighbours are various states of trodden white; but the Indian Gardener's son's house was again a glacier flow of ice this morning. What could have done this? Running his hose over the sidewalk? because it was -11C pover night and nothing but nothing melted and froze again.
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Mon Jan 29th, 2018


10:08 pm - Snow falls, still February
My bro and s-i-l took me to dinner last week for my birthdaya and gave me a couple of books as presents, one of which was Ursula Le Guin's collected blog posts. The ones I've read so far are all about how being old sucks. Le Guin told it like it is, but still, disheartening.

OTOH have discovered I can play Addiction Solitaire on this tablet much more easily and clearly than on my desktop, so shall still be content.

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Sun Jan 28th, 2018


08:16 pm
A pleasant shiny November afternoon smelling sweetly of woodsmoke. Transferred necessities to my purse and debated- art gallery or Museum? Museum is closer so museum it was. With a huge lineup of parents and kidlings- what we do on a Sunday afternoon. So checked the gift store in case they had something that might serve as a tablet stand (one never knows with the ROM) then took off to Indigo books along the street, which sells ereaders and possibly something to hold them? But no. 'We had bookstands once but everyone hated them so now we don't.'

Ah well. I know I have two invalid tables at home in some closet somewhere, so went looking and found the bamboo one (the other is under the scanner in the study.) Found also hurray a box of cassettes with all the ones I was missing, so there's that satisfaction. Typing is marginally easier with the table, so grateful there too.

Will admit grudgingly that a tablet is a marvellous thing and I'd be happy with a desktop that had these capabilities if only it didn't involve learning a whole new OS. With a tablet I'm not *too* worried about poking around and tapping things, which I gather is how you're supposed to learn technology these days. In my day, when you did that, you corrupted hard drives and erased the whole OS.

Also this tablet does hold a charge, which makes me realize that my phone very much does not.

Off to see if I can find autocorrect on this thing.
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Sat Jan 27th, 2018


08:07 pm
Writing on a tablet is slightly better than a phone so I must be content. Still would prefer a keyboard and some autocorrect suggestions. Oh,and a stand for reading, because holding this thing cricks my neck and elbows badly.

Ah well. Think of it as a whole new country I get to explore...
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Thu Jan 25th, 2018


09:18 pm
There are people who can write on their phones. I am not one of them, or not happily. But since my desktop is playing silly buggers with my connection and my tablet is out of charge, shou ga nai I use the phone, autocorrect (no I dont mean nazi or PC) and involuntary capslock and all, to say I'm still alive and still reading Burst. Brust, dammit, autocorrect.

God I hate living in the future.
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Sun Jan 21st, 2018


08:34 pm - Not to jinx it
But prophylactic salt-and-gripper-buying seems to have caused the Major Freezing Rain thing to veer off north of us, so that with luck, tomorrow will merely be rainy wet, not ankle twisting.

Finished Jhegaala. Remembered vaguely that I had problems with it last time, in the 'too confusing, can't make sense of it' way. I think now it's because of a plot hole big enough to drive a horse through. Basically To avoid spoilersCollapse )

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