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Sun Nov 17th, 2019


06:02 pm - Silver linings
Third weekend in November. Time to turn my neighbourhood into a parking lot for the Santa Claus parade. Time for cars to be parked illegally on both sides of the street. Residents know not to invite Nonna and Nonno for Sunday dinner on this one day of the year, because there's no place for the oldsters' car. I know not to go to any of the neighbourhood coffee shops because they'll be full of families with small kids either warming up before or thawing out after. If you detour one subway stop over you can get across Bloor but beware all the southern streets that lead up to Bloor: they'll be blocked off and full of clueless drivers who discovered that fact too late and are now backing down, heedless of anyone behind them.

Except none of that happened. It's a normal Sunday in the neighbourhood, not many cars, and no zombie families trudging half a mile from where they parked to where they may, possibly, be able to see the parade, if they brought a ladder. I query a clerk up at Loblaws. Apparently, because Bloor is still a hot mess with the sewer upgrades, and possibly because of the new bike lanes, the route is changed for this year. It's now way to the east, well past Yonge St (the city's dividing n-s street) and going down to Front, at one time where the shoreline of the lake was.

So maybe being unable to bicycle Bloor for the last ten months has its consolations. And though the work is pretty much finished and the road repaved, the bike lanes are still blocked off because the decision has been made to raise them flush with the sidewalk. Personally I think it's a bad idea, but we'll see where the snow and debris ends up this winter. Also where the muscle bicyclists go when they have to deal with ancient slowpokes like me puffing along in the lane, now they can no longer zip into and out of traffic at need.
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Sat Nov 16th, 2019


10:44 pm - Next time I read the blurb
Which I don't like doing. I want to approach a book in total ignorance of both plot and genre, absolutely sans preconceptions. However, when the book is straight gothic, and *not* gothic romance, maybe I need the same warnings as for horror, which I won't read at all. Certainly The Thirteenth Tale is as fantoddy as Faulkner, largely because it's the Brontes done straight. And, by me, much more Wuthering Heights than Jane Eyre, complete with loutish idiots and imbecile housekeepers and inbred families and a version of Cathy that shows just how demented Cathy is. Brilliant book, very unfun read. Has been succeeded by The Binding, the first ten pages of which suggest that I take my own advice up there in the subject line before embarking on another nightmare.

Today was January cold and December dank. My massage was at the end of the day and so she was much less thorough than if it had been earlier, thus I still hurt. Here in the side bedroom the windows have double glass (though not double panes) and then special fitted plastic sheets over them, originally designed to shut out noise at houses near airports: and I still feel a draft coming from somewhere. It's supposed to be above freezing next week, but not much above, when what I need to break this winter wanhope is the usual average 10C and a little sun and a return to shoes. I'm back to playing Musical Boots: drop a kilo of water weight and my boots are too big and chafe me so I must use the smaller ones; put it back on and my boots are too small and pinch my toes and I must put my orthotics back in the larger boots.

Four more months of this, I tell myself, and six weeks of whatever kind of spring we get, and then I'll have the operation and possibly not be crippled any longer. Well, not be knee crippled: the elbows and shoulders and possibly the hip as well are another matter entirely.

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Fri Nov 15th, 2019


09:08 pm - Redivivus
So, as John M. Ford's books are coming back into print, I will stash Petronia's classic quote here so as to have it handy for future reference. She was of course responding to my bewilderment at The Dragon Waiting, a full ten years ago:

I've never read John M. Ford's books, but I've always had the impression he was one of those writers who - I was going to write "don't really expect readers to 'get it'", but a more accurate characterization is probably "habitually overshoot the level of subtlety required to avoid cheesy obviousness".
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Thu Nov 14th, 2019


07:56 pm - How I wish this had not been
So ok, knee surgery happening for definite certain this May. Surgeon was mildly supportive of the notion that knee's hijinks are causing at least some of the really crippling muscle pain. Like I could have coped with today's joint stiffness if my glute muscles hadn't scrunched up into a node of pain that made walking extremely unpleasant. Acupuncture may ease it tomorrow, massage may ease it Saturday. But those have proved to be stopgap measures. Only surgery seems the one option likely to restore some of my mobility, so surgery it is.

This becomes more critical as s-i-l floats the idea of them selling their house and moving into an apartment. She does get these ideas periodically (like selling the house and moving to the cottage) and then decides no, this is the perfect neighbourhood how can she leave it. But retirement having happened at last and all that lovely legal money gone, downsizing is clearly in the offing. At which point I lose mysupport system and must again fend for myself. This would naturally be much easier if I could fricking *walk* again.

There was a young guyin a wheelchair at the hospital waiting for xrays with me. One of those chatty type women, here with her mother who'd broken her collarbone, four ribs, and both legs in a car accident, was complimenting him on his wheelie skills with the chair and went on to ask what had happened. Fell twenty feet down a shaft at work and broke his spine, is what. So I have nothing to complain of, really. It's just, everything hurts.
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Wed Nov 13th, 2019


10:05 pm - Blargh Wednesday
The spam meisters must be hurting, because I'm getting half a dozen robocalls a day from them on both cell and landline, pretending to be the Department of Justice with something blah blah outstanding against me blah blah. The 6:45 a.m. call didn't wake me but the 8:45 one did. Somehow I've forgotten how to reprogram my answering machine's message so I can say 'I no longer take messages on this machine, call me on my cell phone.' Which won't help because they will anyway. But I've turned the ring no. to one. I can't reach the phone in six rings anyway- it's down the hall- but this will stop me being awakened by it.

Mind, something is weird with the cell too. Someone who would happily have done my shift today said she tried to message me on it , but no messages came through. So I had to work with a screaming piriformis and two screaming elbows, and then was caught in a signal failure on the subway which involved a substantial delay and a packed car.

And then I burned my kitchen countertop with a scorched pan, which I didn't think I could do. So the day sucks and I am going to bed.
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Tue Nov 12th, 2019


03:38 pm - Bleh
This full-scale dress rehearsal for winter makes me think better of the lifestyle one of my mobility-impaired friends has, staying inside her warm condo and having all her groceries delivered, including alcohol. And if I'm willing to do that, I might as well have knee replacement now.

But of course I'm not willing to do that. Optimistically, I think maybe I can stretch out my hip flexors, IT band, quads and everything else that had me limping today. It's at least better than thinking a year's exercise and strengthening has been completely pointless.

It appears a snow plow did a run over some of the sidewalks last night. Alas, this served only to flatten the snow enough that it turned into ice this morning.
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Mon Nov 11th, 2019


09:15 pm - A cold coming we had of it
Woke at 10 this morning, looked out window, and said 'Thank you, God', because streets and sidewalks were wet but bare even as a thin snow fell. 'Well, if this is the worst of the morning rush hour, I can bike.' And did, blissfully unaware that the storm had arrived later than forecast and this was just the beginning.

It snowed all day and when I came out at 6 the streets were packed down ice and the sidewalks packed down snow. So I walked the bike home. Ah for the days when I used to walk to and from work with no problem at all. I prudently stretched before setting out but that didn't stop my piriformis from curling into a tight aching ball of pain. Is there no cure for lower back pain?

I at least stopped at an infrequently visited Japanese restaurant en route that's been there under various names for at least fifteen years if not longer, and had two glasses of wine as well as quite passable sushi. But it was still a long slog home, even as the bike took most of my weight and kept the knee from protesting too much. Must stretch well tonight, though my experience is that long slogging walks aka exercise actually loosens things up. Whatever. Acupuncture tomorrow, and the rest of the day at home.

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Sun Nov 10th, 2019


09:24 pm - Sunday night dumps
An insomniac night saw me finishing The Secret Chapter with its intriguing backstory hints about the dragon kings (and may I hope that reincarnated winged serpent at the end is a Chekov's gun?) And very nice too. Except that now I'm left with my library books which are nowhere as genial as the Library.

A choice between St. James' nasty supernatural doings at a boarding school ( The Broken Girls), Setterfield's very gothic The Thirteenth Tale, and the random violence and impenetrable internecine politics of Glen Cook's The Black Company. The grimdark of the latter never registered when I read it nearly 35 years ago, and I must say it's a lot more bearable than the looming suspense of the other two.

Though in my current mood- vaguely malaise-y before a storm front blows in, vaguely anxious about mobility next week in the aftermath of same- I probably should be reading something cheerful and mangaish instead. Or relentlessly nonfic, like The Pursuit of the Millennium.

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Sat Nov 9th, 2019


08:34 pm - Momentary triumph
So Thursday evening I was terribly chuffed at how limber I was after my long day in my bikeless state. Friday of course I was crippled even after an acupuncture session and a mere two hours at work. Knees, lower back, elbows, all screaming after I walked the two blocks from home to the store. Gloom doom despair oh what to do?

Today in spite of ongoing aches I had errands to run before tomorrow's rain and Monday's snow, so I pulled the new bike out of the bunker and gingerly climbed aboard. Reasoning that half the problem with it being too small for comfort is my thick-soled boat-shoes, I put on my tinyboots from ten years ago. I can't walk in the things because they're so narrow, and actually getting them on is a struggle for the same reason, but yes: low shoes mean I needn't bend my unbending knees as much, and I did manage to run hither thither and yon without incident. Will say that New Bike's leather-covered handlebars are comforting to the palms, and their lowness is probably easier on the elbows. Still don't feel completely in control of the thing and would never bike after dark on it.

So I accomplished all my To Do list except depositing my paycheque because I'd put it in my copy of The Secret Chapter that I was reading after its arrival yesterday (and thank you very much, G) but removed from the backpack to make space for the library book I had to return. However! At twenty to six I get a text from the bike guy that my bicycle is ready, and not on Monday as he'd said. So I hoofed it over in record time, limberness having suddenly returned, and now I'm horsed again on a smoothly running velo with a new chain. Go me.

Still intend to stay in bed most of tomorrow reading, because of course three library holds all came in at the same time.

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Thu Nov 7th, 2019


09:30 pm - At least tomorrow's Friday
What happens when you take your bike in for servicing because it's going to snow?

1) the snow stays on the rooftops but melts at once on the ground and

2) there's a massive subway shutdown *right* at morning rush hour and you get an 8:30 call to please come in to work because half the staff aren't able to make it, so

3) you have to break in on your poor brother's morning plans to beg a ride because all the city's cabs are servicing the affected area in the east end and

4) none of this would be a problem if only you weren't too chickenshit to ride your new bike on the greasy streets or had bought a proper-sized bike in the first place but you were and you didn't so sucks to be you.
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Wed Nov 6th, 2019


08:32 pm - The north wind doth blow
So in case the rhyme and Environment Canada are alike correct, I took the bike in for servicing today and will cab it until Monday afternoon. Or maybe transit, but the various achies suggest otherwise. And especially if there's any accumulation, luxury is the way to go.

Meanwhile it's *cold* so I put the spare room comforter on the front room bed and shall sleep on top of it, because flannel sheets alone don't cut it in that drafty room. Then pulled out the long-abandoned feather duvet to keep me warm in the side room. Oh, and is it warm! I abandoned it because it was always too heavy when I thrashed around in bed but now I wonder if my strengthening exercises have actually worked enough to let me use it again.

Reading-wise, I finished George Macdonald's At the Back of the North Wind, a 'get it off the shelf' book. Improving literature for children always involves children dying, I wonder why. How glad I am not to be a Victorian.

Currently plodding through Truckers, not as Pratchetty as I like my Pratchetts to be. Doubt I'll read the next two vols, or at least not now. Another Simone St. Claire is on its way from the library because I never learn, as is The Black Company, which may or may not be a bad idea. We shall see.

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Mon Nov 4th, 2019


08:16 pm - Misspent weekend
Why would I keep vols 2&3 of the Black Company, but not vol. 1? I suppose, she sighs, looking at the two-deep paperback ranks on the eight foot high bedroom bookshelves, it's here somewhere, but maybe I'll wait til the library coughs it up to pursue my bout of 80s nostalgia. (Book of the New Sun, 1982 on Wellesley; The Black Company, 1985 on Brunswick; both very time&place-specific.)

Dunno whose rec led me to put a hold on Simone St.James' The Other Side of Midnight, but I did and I read it this weekend and now I realize I have actually read a romance novel for the first time in my life, unless you count that m/m supernatural thing a while ago. Like that one, the plot was fine but asexual me thought the romance part unnecessary. Life was more fun when I had hormones.

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Sun Nov 3rd, 2019


06:36 pm - Possessions weigh the soul
No idea why November is always Touchy Tum month, but it is. Last year I lost two kilos to it; this year, much milder, only a single one. But I'll take what reduction I can get.

In spite of touchiness, when the sun shone today I was moved to move things, and put out the beautiful but very unsatisfactory Mandarin-style wooden chair on the front lawn. As an incentive, I left it with the pretty seat and back cushion, formerly from a wicker chair that unravelled a dozen years ago. Not that the cushion rendered the chair any more comfortable or easy to get out of, but it might disguise the general ungivingness of the thing. Then I added a respectable kitchen chair from the back bunker and a large wheeled suitcase that I have no further use for because I'm incapable of travel, and thus freed up enough space in the bunker to stow my useless new bike so that Old Paint can retake its accustomed place in the living room. One can't leave a poor aged velo out on the porch in the coming snow and precipitation.

And by day's end everything had been taken, hooray! Now if only winter hadn't arrived so early, I might try moving some knick knacks as well.

Though it belatedly occurs to me that if I ever have that surgery and the hopeful two weeks of rehab that follows, I'll need a suitcase suitable to a fortnight's stay at the centre. But I shall burn that bridge when I come to it. It's not as if I don't have other bags stashed away.
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Sat Nov 2nd, 2019


06:33 pm - Four things make a post
1. Why are there midges flying about outside? It's supposed to snow. Come to that, how did I wind up with two mosquito bites on my left thigh, and a bruising noseeum bite on my right, last week? Die, little insects. Hibernate, fat raccoons. Winter is coming.

2. I want a house with a fireplace. Then I could burn all my credit card statements instead of tediously shredding them. More to the point, as I go through my files and find letters from twenty and thirty years ago, I could burn *them*. Letters should be burnt properly, not shredded as if they were bank statements.

3. Another milestone in the stages of aging: my super-excellent doctor is retiring next February. She's lined up a replacement, which is good since it saves me the trauma of trying to find one whose practice is open to new patients, and lets me keep her super-excellent secretary, the only one I've ever met who books realistically. (Looks daggers at all the specialists' secretaries who book every fifteen minutes for doctors who regularly run 90 minutes late *before they've even started.*) But however good New Doc may be, I very much doubt there'll be the goodness of fit I had with the old, who was cheerful to my Eeyore woes, well-informed, akarui, and infinitely reassuring.

4. Ran into someone I used to work with today, unseen for twenty years or so and now unrecognizable. Her voice has changed, which I consider unfair, because voices and hair are how I recognize people and people are always changing their hair around. So I caught her up with all the current trauma at work and she caught me up with the various other people I haven't seen in almost twenty years, who seem to be doing very well for themselves, go them. But twenty years... that was pre-Saiyuuki, which I can now scarce remember.
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Thu Oct 31st, 2019


09:01 pm - Sodden Hallowe'en
Spent most of today asleep after my doctor's appointment. This either because of two muscle relaxants during the achy rainy day, or fallout from having biked to and from acupuncture last night in the freezing rainy cold. Or both.

The morning's weather stats advise me that snow in late October is not a rarity, but I am no longer able-bodied and the prospect does not please. Anyway, since the bone spur in my knee is making itself evident 24/7, I've put my final request in for a referral to a well-regarded surgeon. Knee replacement has to happen, since exercises have done all they can and weight loss hasn't happened. Mind, things being as they are, replacement may take another year to occur.
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Tue Oct 29th, 2019


10:58 pm - Ouch
Tendinitis in elbows has gone ballistic. Have braces on both arms. Heat helps: maybe I'll spend the rest of my life in a bath, like Marat.

Also finished Love in the Time of Cholera. It may be that the title, and indeed the book itself, are meant to be extreme irony. It may also be, as Dorothy Parker said, that the Statue of Liberty is located in Lake Ontario. I mean yes, Garcia Marquez casually characterizes his horndog protagonist as 'one who demands everything and gives nothing', and his rival as a perfect husband ie totally self-absorbed and utterly useless around the house. I'll give him half the benefit of the doubt. But I really can't be having with the unironic representation of all women quite naturally devoting themselves to helping whatever man happens to wander by, sexually or not, so that's it for me and GGM.

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Sun Oct 27th, 2019


08:45 pm - The perils of walking
Walked today, which was my accomplishment. Not far, just up to Loblaws and down to the new coffee shop on Christie. This fights my reflexive 'the poor aged cripple can't go anywhere' attitude and also, as I know even as I don't believe it, loosens the leg tendons that hurt more than the knee.

I even managed to cross Dupont in front of Loblaws on the east side, a dicey corner that raises my anxiety because it's a prime spot for drivers to come racing up Christie and hang a right without looking. Aged neighbour was knocked over in just such a fashion, and I witnessed a stunning collision there where a right turner up Christie met a left turner down Christie in an explosion of metal parts in front of Starbuck's. Me, I was on the opposite side of the street, luckily. Toronto drivers are not patient: they'll ease into their right-on-red turns as you're still crossing in front of them, and become enraged if you don't move out of their way fast enough. I feel safer walking my bike, because it makes me more noticeable as well as letting me walk faster; the walker marks me as a cripple so all but the most brutish drivers (who do exist) must exercise patience; but an unmarked pedestrian moving tortoise-like across the street can be a target for horns and shouts, and I would very much rather not.

The oddity about that intersection is that there are two nursing and assisted living homes just north of it, and Loblaws is full of the scootered and the walkered. You'd think drivers would be used to it. Maybe the aged just never cross the street? Probably wise. I've heard many a driver leaning on his horn to tell the car turning in front of him 'never mind the pedestrians! I wanna make this light! Run 'em over and get a move on!' Truly there is no hope for this city.

Anent which: was reading reviews of Wiener's Home Hardware, that Annex institution staffed by an eclectic bunch of eccentric oyajis plus a few less charming younger guys. Reviews were 95% ecstatic, including the encomium 'the staff never talk down to me'- a female reviewer. But one guy took hoity-toity exception to the staff's odd sense of humour (almost certainly the long-bearded Dumbledore lookalike, 'the owner I presume' and wrongly, because the third generation owner is a lot younger). "I asked for a bag and he said, What's wrong with your hands?" bridle bridle. I can imagine the conversation that preceded that, because Annex nouveau riche are like nouveau Beaujolais: crude, unfinished, and not as big a deal as some believe.

Parenthetically must add another food that I can't be left alone with: buttercup squash, or kabocha to be precise. Cooked one yesterday, put butter and pumpkin pie spice on it, ended finishing the whole thing by day's end. Mind, it was a smallish kabocha, but still.
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Sat Oct 26th, 2019


08:10 pm - Satisfactory Saturday
Failed again to take computer in for same reasons. Not only knee but both elbows had spasming conniptions as soon as I was out of bed, though they'd both been relatively quiet while I was there. A good argument for not getting up in the morning, maybe.

Only then I wouldn't have accomplished all the other stuff I did. To wit:

- prescription for pain meds eventually achieved so I need not ration them

- necessary staples bought in spite of weekend crowds

- load of laundry done and put out to semi-dry on the line. In spite of strong wind, clothes don't dry without sun

- bicycle brakes tightened *finally* and brite front light bought against the newly encroaching dark and the need to bicycle to acupuncture in same next week

- serendipity yard sale had a cane/ bamboo chair for yikes! $10; delivered to my house for another ten. Higher than both current slightly unsatisfactory and highly unsatisfactory chairs. Can now put HU chair out on the boulevard, eventually, when it stops raining, and trust someone will take it as someone took the broken and badly mended china whatnot and the gaudy navy blue and orange cushion I put out today

- unthinking sorting of ancient meds to go to the pharmacy and vacuuming of unspeakable grunge in lower kitchen drawers and tossing of ancient doujinshi into the recycle. Have had three dreams lately of emptying the Madison apartment/ the Nerima dorm, one of which involved taking the stuff *back* to Wherever again. Coworker asks if I'm thinking of moving. Am not, trusting that eventual knee replacement will renew mobility. But if I must move I want at least a decade's head start on the process, so I needn't repeat the trauma of clearing the family home or sorting my Tokyo possessions ever again.

Tomorrow is supposed to pour, so tomorrow I will stay in/ on bed and read.

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Thu Oct 24th, 2019


10:09 pm - Ups and downs
Failed in my major plan for the day, which was to take my two and a half year old laptop a) out of its original unopened box and b) up to the guy who says he can put Windows 7 on it.* This involves taking a taxi, since he's in a transit vacuumish area that requires two subway lines and a bus going in the wrong direction, then crossing a wide street on my slow and unreliable legs. But my inflexible knee was not happy with anything today, especially the prospect of getting in and out of a car. So to exercise it I took the walker to the laundromat to wash my new flannel duvet (huzzah!), a bare five minute walk that took me fifteen. Must work out a grip that doesn't engage the elbows, but I think that requires the same 90° angle that I use when walking the bike. I put my laundry in dryer and walked home, ditched the walker and came back half an hour later on my blessed bicycle.

To discover that someone had removed my clothes from the dryer maybe five minutes into the cycle and dumped them, quite wet, in another one. However the laundromat had been midday empty except for three guys servicing the machines, so I must conclude they needed to service the dryer I was using. Still annoying. Then I went off to be Thursday Fourth Body as ever, and walked into someone's crisis and thus ended up working for pay. And since plague hit the Infant section today, cutting the numbers in half, tomorrow my lunch shift is cancelled and I can sleep in. So generally a win all round.

* Calling the guy in the first place was Tuesday's accomplishment, because I've had the number for two years and not been able to bring myself to do it.
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Wed Oct 23rd, 2019


10:24 pm - Ah the wonders of the human body
How lucky that my massage therapist does acupuncture as well. My left elbow is ever so much happier than yesterday. Must get her to do the right one next week. What beats me, though, is how muscles that I stretch and exercise twice daily ie quads, scream like babies when she pokes them. What does it take to make them unclench, when I'm not aware of them clenching in the first place?

Also my knee still clicks, click-clock, which is distracting. But at least it doesn't hurt, or at least not today.

As for reading Wednesday, I finished nothing in the last week except a book of crosswords. (cough) Currently near the end of The Library of the Unwritten and halfway through Love in the Time of Cholera. The former is Good Omens-ish because it involves demons and angels and a couple of neither-nors. The latter is going to give me a hangover because Latin American lit does that, but is well enough so far.

A hold I'd completely forgotten about came in at the library. Appropriately, it's The Bodies in the Library. And while a nice mystery is what I need right now, I'm not sure this is it.

Otherwise we're at the calico patchwork quilt stage of autumn, all the colours all the time. Brief as cherry blossoms and much more beautiful.

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Tue Oct 22nd, 2019


10:42 pm - The cripple speaks
I'm beginning to understand why my aged acquaintance such as eg my aunt used to answer the question 'How are you?' with 'Oh, you know, good days and bad.' No rhyme or reason to it, but I have good days and bad, and this was a bad. Knees that annoyed me by going click-click-click all weekend and yesterday settled into an immobile cramp that neither meds nor exercise would touch. May just as easily vanish tomorrow. Thus arthritis.

Mind, it would help if my acupuncture studio would stop cancelling appointments on me. I gather there's something wrong with their building, so shou ga nai. But this occurs just as those disintegrating neck discs, that were quiet so long, make themselves felt again after that little bout of gardening I did three weeks ago. Next day my left little finger was pins and needles numb. It gets better after acupuncture and then gets worse again, spreading down the side of my hand. The mercy is that it doesn't hurt, quite different from its first manifestation ten years ago. But I'd like it gone and that will only happen with several sessions a week of real pins and needles in the neck.
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Mon Oct 21st, 2019


08:13 pm - The workman cometh
And begins with an afterthought request of mine, that perpetually slow and perpetually smelly kitchen drain. Wretched, wretched mistake, as Elizabeth Bennet said.

Now, the downpipe was replaced x many years ago (3,4) by a moonlighting plumber who swore violently at the original iron pipes and substituted plastic for them. B swore mightily at the moonlighter's work. ('They always glue things in so you can't take them apart, I don't know why!') He went to New Canadian for a new drain set which lacked a necessary part; went off to Home Despot for a different drain which- hallelujah!- fitted. (How he went is a mystery, because I don't think he has a car.)

Then he screwed back the porch 2x4s, and warned me that the ceiling was bulging towards the southern edge. His suggestion is that squirrels have or had a hoard there that they forgot about, which seems only too likely. Then he cleared several inches of linden pollen from my eavestroughs, in time for tomorrow's rain.

Lastly he cleaned my kitchen walls with some new preparation that you just spray on and wipe, no water necessary. He told me the name, which I must ask him for again, because it seems the perfect thing for the tile grunge under the fridge and stove.

Then he charged me $165 for the whole five hours' worth. I threw in another $75 because seriously .

I hope he's free come this winter- he implied that work was slowing down after the summer but then someone needs him to prepare a house for selling- because while the kitchen is cleaner than it has been in decades, it still needs repainting.

But the price is definitely right.
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Sun Oct 20th, 2019


02:34 pm - Last of the warmth
Took the walker for its first spin today in briĺiant yellow autumn sunshine. May see if I can get the arms either higher or lower because crotchety elbows still don't like leaning on that height. OTOH there are ways around that which don't involve leaning on the arm rests at all. And either I'm remarkably supple today or the slight steadying influence makes a difference, but the piriformis-ITB-glute muscle that stiffens and cripples me when I'm walking unassisted or with my staff, um, didn't do either, or not nearly to the extent it usually does. So we shall call this a win.

But while walking always helps with weight, it won't do it any time soon, because when I got to the supermarket, there were a bunch of Girl Guides selling their peppermint chocolate autumn cookies. The little women tempted me and I did eat. Yum.

Workman had an emergency Saturday morning and couldn't come. I look at my kitchen empty of knickknacks and bowls and appliances and think how restful it seems. If I could find a place for said clutter, I might well keep it that way.
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Thu Oct 17th, 2019


08:09 pm - No need to set the phone alarm
I no longer sleep until 10 or 11, because the house next door has begun its renovations, and the thudding whine of drills and the clang bang CRASH of drywall chunks going into the dumpster begins at 9 every morning. But today the drills started before 9 and turned out to be jackhammers ripping up sidewalk down the street, while a large truck blocked access to my block from the south and STOP signs to the north suggested drivers not try going the wrong way down it. This was the day my walker was to be delivered, of course. So I called Highway Robbery North to inform them of the problem, and they said they'd notify the driver, and we agreed that I'd come pick my walker up in person, either via taxi or the kind offices of my bro.

But I was not going to do it today because who knows if they'd got it off the truck in the first place, and if they had, where they'd stored it. I went off to my coffee shop, had a latte, and rolled over to work to be Horrible Thursday's fourth body. And as well, because someone had been double booked again. The consolation in all this was that the blocked block let me get my namagomi out for pickup, though I fully expected the pickup to be in the evening.

Coming home in the 5:30 gloaming (it shouldn't be dark so early but today was a grey day) I found my house locked, when I was sure I'd left it on the latch, and almost stumbled over my walker in the hallway. Seems they'd shown up anyway, after trying to call me at 4:40 on the cell phone I never take out at work (because if I do I forget it) and followed my instructions to ring next door if I happened to be out. S-i-l left it forme and prudently closed the door fully behind her.

The garbage got picked up early too, so all's well that ends well.

Now if only I could find the energy to clear the kitchen of its myriad tchotchkes nd clutter so my handyman can wash the walls on Saturday...
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Wed Oct 16th, 2019


09:08 pm
So yahoo groups is closing in December and deleting all their content. I'm half tempted to use one of the download devices to save bits of AMLA and the Saiyuki mls, but those belong to a past so distant that even Lot's wife me isn't sure she wants to be reminded of it. Especially AMLA, which was lovely talky fun in the day but now is probably embarrassing in its revelation of our ignorance.

Odd thunderstorm early this morning, sounding exactly like garbage bins being rolled out. No sudden crashes or cracks, never got very loud, but woke me all the same and may account for my extreme tiredness and aches today, in spite of massage. Or maybe that was the rain that continued to midafternoon. Or maybe it's the sleep apnea I'm sure I have but don't want to know about.
Cut for reading WednesdayCollapse )

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Mon Oct 14th, 2019


09:10 pm - Last long weekend of the year
Bright sun, blue skies, brave colours: classic Thanksgiving weekend. Accomplished two things on my perennial Get Done list.

First was to make motions towards getting my kitchen walls clean. Some services do respond to requests even on holiday weekends, which surprised me. So I theoretically have a guy coming to give me an estimate sometime. But as I was doing my exercises this morning the doorbell rang. Canvassers, I thought, not gonna limp downstairs for that. Then it rang again, so I had to. And there was a tall guy with a toolbox who turned out to be the handyman from two and a half years ago, whom I was expecting tomorrow and who face-blind and lenseless me didn't recognize at all. So we went over the things I want him to do- the porch roof, the eavestrough, the bathroom sill, the cloggy kitchen sink- some of which he can't until the hardware stores open tomorrow. On a sudden thought I asked if he washes walls. He does. He may not do it as well as a professional cleaner but he's probably cheaper, and I can leave him alone in the house or just trust him with a key. So I'm tempted just to go with that.

The other thing was to finally, finally, buy a walker: the kind that rolls. Went up to Highway Robbery North yesterday and got the top of the line model which a) folds b) sideways and c) has high grips that I don't have to lean my achy elbows on. HRN charges through the nose, but they took 10% off because I was buying and- callhoo callay- there's no sales tax on this kind of health aid. Thus what would have been a heart-stopping sum became quite reasonable. It will be delivered, assembled and one trusts intact, some time Thursday, which I have off. And then I shall walk as I used to, all around the neighbourhood, because I have something to sit on when my damnable hip starts seizing up. And that might even strengthen some of those leg bits that need strengthening and that 6 months of strengthening exercises haven't.

Of course the internal voice whispers about the road to hell, and how bicycling is always easier and faster, but I hope to circumvent my don'wannas in this lovely season. Since to look on leaves in rust, forty days (if we get even that) is not so much, around the Village I will go to see the autumn foliage blow. Especially as my new bicycle is indeed too small for me. I might have managed it a dozen years ago when my joints were more flexible, I might manage it if I didn't wear huge boaty mcboatface shoes, but as it is, getting my leg over the bar is a precarious exercise. Must do it in front because there's no way I stretch enough to do it backwards.

What I failed to do was order cannabis oil online. I'm still antsy about it and would rather use a topical cream just for starts. There's one place that has it, highly rated, but when you register they want you to send them a picture of your photo ID and a photo of you holding your ID, and I still can't get this tablet camera to take a face-on picture of me. There must be some art I'm missing. Phone selfies are no problem (from that point at least, because my phone tends to lose its camera function) but tablet selfies always have me looking down or rolling my eyes to the ceiling like I'm about to faint.
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Sat Oct 12th, 2019


02:22 pm - Winter's Tale
So, I finished Winter's Tale. Left me feeling a little blerg, which is how I felt all the time I was reading it. Loved all the winter bits, loved the not!New York, especially the idealized 1890s, only it couldn't have been the 1890s even in its own universe but never mind. Still have an unsettled gut from reading it.

Then find this on my tumblr dash:

-I love that Tolkien took a paragraph aside in Bree, after all the horses were run off, just to let us know that A) Merry’s ponies were going to be fine and B) Mr. Butterbur would not, in the long run, suffer financially by the incident. He understood what was really important.

-One of the recurring themes in Tolkien’s works is that the world belongs to the baker down the street as much as it does to the Lord of the Golden Hall. In almost every city we visit, Tolkien talks about shops and living arrangements and where people work and how they get their food.

Helprin doesn't really care about the commoners and likes to slaughter them en masse without pity or comment. As with Pullman, the essential man will come through the verbiage, and the essential man is not likable.

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Fri Oct 11th, 2019


07:35 pm - The best laid plans of mice and men
Can be short-circuited by someone double booking themselves.

Rose from pleasantly drugged sleep at 10:30, did half an hour's stretch and strengthen exercises for stubbornly aching knee (regretting that my free afternoon's acupuncture session got suddenly cancelled last night), brought laundry to basement and started wash so I can put it on the line in this afternoon's 'last for a few days' sunshine, before I go to get my daily coffee and croissant at the cafe and then to look at rollators. Went up to kitchen to weigh myself and saw answering machine blinking. These are usually ghost messages from robots, but I checked, and it was the business coordinator asking could I come in for 12 because the toddler student hadn't shown up, and could I do the afternoon shift because A was double booked to work in preschool. So I gobbled some oatmeal and took my meds and biked over on the tires I hadn't had a chance to repump. And that was my day. The consolation is that I'm now going to be paid for Monday's holiday, which casuals aren't unless they work both days surrounding the holiday.

Otherwise some October funk has kept me from doing anything except crosswords and online time wasting. This is reminiscent of my first fall back from Japan when all I could do was double crostics, and had to flog myself even to get the laundry done. Normally I lke October but I've always had psychological problems with it.

On the other up front, I somehow really overpaid my last gas bill with the result that this month is less than $10, on the strength of which I bumped the thermostat up to 20C this evening in spite of the outside temps being still in the teens. And now I'm too hot. The gas co's flyer is advertising rebates on smart thermostats, and though I loathe the things because you have to bloody program them, that bit about 'adjust temperature from your phone or tablet' sounds very tempting just now. No limping downstairs in the middle of the night- yes, I could get into that.
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Sat Oct 5th, 2019


08:28 pm - Return of the dark wash
Because all my winter clothes are black. But since temperatures still bounce around, and will bounce to 20 tomorrow *they say*, there's still plenty of whites.

Had winter jacket on yesterday and furnace on overnight- low, but enough to make for a warm awakening this morning and a lie-in till 11. Today wasn't as cold as yesterday but the chill creeps back now the sun is gone, so maybe will bump the thermostat back up tonight a tad.

Took sheets and towels to laundromat, had massage, ate fried chicken at Popeye's and need never do that again. People who put chili flakes in their mashed potatoes are not my kind of people.

Front step has come loose again. Concrete patch either couldn't hold out against the rains or got knocked loose by me humping bike down it. I'm convinced this is a portent for continued disaster, eg my new bike when I finally get it will be a bust. But to combat that: have needed new bowls for a while because several of my yard sale/ boulevard bowls have gotten chipped. Alas, I no longer roam the streets where people leave stuff out for passersby. But coming back from the laundry this evening, there was a kind basket of crockery including exactly the right kind of bowl. So now I have an unblemished two more.

Equally, I'm a fan of just one kind of caraway rye bread which is available only at my local super, but they only have it sporadically and haven't had it for months. Today I checked the shelf, as I till do, and there was a single loaf left! They've changed the packaging slightly but not so as to fool a careful glance, and I'd still never seen it in any time since spring, so I am happy. Of course, Fiesta often doesn't put that brand out until close to its best before date, for reasons I don't understand. Once in a very long while you get a fresh loaf, which is heaven, but mostly it's dry, even if there were no loaves out the day before. And that means toast. So I have a toast loaf. And that's fine too. At the very least it's a change from overnight oats for breakfast.
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Thu Oct 3rd, 2019


10:24 pm - Gratitude, and reading Thursday
Oh the grateful warmth of a space heater in a chilly house. I won't even say 'on a chilly evening' because it wasn't all that much- certainly less than midday when I went out in fall jacket and wool scarf, and at once wished I'd either worn a fleecy as well, or just caved and put on my winter coat. And gloves. And rain gaiters, because the misty rain did succeed in getting me wet by the time I reached work.

But now I have heat without having to limp downstairs and turn on the furnace and then feel too hot in the night and not want to go down and turn it off again. I would never live in a smart house where I, or any random hacker, could regulate things from my phone. But I could really use one of those Japanese all-in-one units that heats, cools (or overcools), and dehumidifies the bedroom at need. Maybe if I win a lottery...

I'm reading Winter's Tale still, and only just realized why it has a hundred year break in the middle, and also that Halprin was writing about the year 1999 in the early 80s, but since it isn't the *real* New York it doesn't matter that the zeitgeist is all wrong. Oh, and did anyone call this a fantasy when it first came out or did they figure that since it was by a guy it must be Seeryus Littrachure?

Am also reading Once Upon a River, recommended by my Rivers of London FB group. Went very well with last Saturday's rain and cold, but I'm tired of rain and cold (after only two days of same) and reading has lagged. I am, in fact, unwilling to read on in either book, or to read anything else, which is why I finished nothing last week except a volume of double crostics. The draining sinuses and strangling cough don't promote enthusiasm either, but those aren't stopping for another two months so I'd better find enthusiasm somewhere.

Case in point: my travelling reading is a volume of Nagai Kafu's short stories, including the famous The River Sumida in the Seidensticker translation. I read that before I'd been to Japan and thought it well enough. After living in Tokyo, or to be more precise, after having been to the areas he talks about- Asakusa, San'ya, Hashiba- I'm enchanted by his deep sense of place. But then some article tells me that Kafu deplored the changes taking place in Tokyo at the time- the time being 1910, eighty years before my sojourn there, before the earthquake and the firebombing even. Makes one wonder what he actually liked: the flat low houses of the Edo period jumbled together on narrow lanes? Meiji photographs always make the town look unspeakably dreary, not to say muddy and/or dusty as per season. So at once I lose interest in Kafu's world.

Rightly so, perhaps. Here's an article about him, including good ol' Seidensticker echoing the sentiment that all the fun parts of Tokyo have disappeared, though Seidensticker's nostalgia is for the city that Kafu hated. Those two, going by Hoffman's account of Kafu and Seidensticker's accounts of himself, had an awful lot in common, with emphasis on the 'awful'.

(Yes, I know. What people are *like* has no connection whatever with what they can actually *do*. Except that with writers, unlike musicians and artists, yer basic small-souled meanness will show through, whatever they do.)

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Tue Oct 1st, 2019


08:30 pm - Hopefully, the last of the weather oddities
This would have been an excellent day to lie in bed with beanbags about my aching joints, and in fact I did just that until 11:30. But I had to get up eventually and face the sudden humid sticky mug that moved in last night. The walls were wetly tacky with the abrupt change from yesterday's cold dry autumn to today's hot moist July, though this time they didn't actually sweat drops as they did in 2013, and the wooden floors were just sticky.

Severe thunderstorm watch all afternoon while the rain fell in buckets and lightning flashed, but in the end I got home only slightly wet. Couldn't face cooking, which is why I have frozen dinners in my freezer. Michelina's noodles stroganoff are just fine after you grate a little parmesan over them, and if I'd had wine would have been even better. But it's the allergy season and I mustn't have wine until November.
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Mon Sep 30th, 2019


08:05 pm - 'Would I were dead now, or up in my bed now'
'To cover my head now and have a good cry.' Aka vanity (ie futility) and vexation of spirit.

So I trot down to the bank this morning and end up reciting my woes to the bank manager. Should be simple enough to straighten out, says he, but we can't do it on our computers here, it has to be on your own device. Do you have a laptop? No, but luckily I do have a tablet. Go home to get it, come back, he's with another client. I sit until his no.2 comes asking can she help me. She can't, actually, and ends up handing me back to the telephone support guys. This time we manage to reset the password- I'm convinced it's because in defiance of logic and the facts I tick the 'I do not have a phone to receive my password' box, even though I'm talking on a phone at the time.

But my trading privileges were suspended in May pending an information update to my trading account. So he walks me through that and nothing needs changing till we get to 'State your annual income and net worth' which wants new figures. I enter them and oh here we go again the webpage won't accept them. Guy is puzzled. 'Try putting a dollar sign before it.' Nope. 'Try adding a decimal point and two zeroes.' Nope. Guy is increasingly perplexed. Calls up his own account, puts in new values for those fields, no problem. We go through the familiar routine: close browser, open browser, reenter webpage, reenter all info, reenter new figures, webpage won't accept them. After forty minutes he says he'll send me the forms, I can fill them out at home and email them back. My heart sinks, but I say OK.

Go to coffee shop for belated latte, open email, there yes indeed is a .pdf form. DL it, open, it's read only. Save it as .docx, open doc, there's a little edit button but tablet won't give me a keyboard. This 'fill in the form online' schtick only works if you have the right magic formula and the few times I've managed it I immediately forgot what the formula is. Close everything up and go for unsatisfactory acupuncture session. Then get my blood tests done so the day isn't totally wasted and go home to wait for bro to come back from the cottage so he can tell me how to fill in forms online. Still picking at the scab I turn on desktop, go to Investorline account, and try reentering my info. Get to the annual income line and a little voice says try leaving the commas out. And *of course* that works. But why did no one else know to tell me that's what you have to do?

No matter. Is done. Now can sell my paltry stocks, take my substantial capital loss to offset any gains elsewhere, and close the thing down, because I am so done with technology and banks.

And I still don't have my new bike.

(Also I see that the King James cttee's vexation of spirit should more properly be Donovan's 'try and catch the wind', which to me is a great falling-off.)

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Sun Sep 29th, 2019


06:23 pm - Accomplishment
Lovely sleep last night, lovely waking, silver cold September day with a massage to follow. And since I still seem limber (autumn loves me, evidently) I pushed my luck to the extent of raking a garbage pail's worth of leaves and cherry pits from the back pathway and clearing the cellar stairs so that a new washer and dryer, if and when, can make it into the house. Then vacuumed and swiftered* the kitchen floor and did five days worth of dishes and called myself virtuous.

But the real triumph began last night. I have eight drawers in my kitchen full of nothing but junk. Well, also pot holders and corkscrews. But by and large it's a mass of unassorted Stuff accumulated over 30 years, and the thought of it has always made my spirit fail within me. I *know* civilized people keep their cutlery in clean cutlery holders in clean drawers, not in jars on the counter, but I find sorters useless. I still have two of them, mind, but they hold things like bamboo skewers and lobster cutting shears and nut crackers and other knick-knacks reminiscent of the luxurious life at Bedford, now gone forever. I can't even begin to think of weeding them out because, because, you never know when they'll come in handy. (Like that lovely tin Fearless Leader and Riko sent me elegant biscuits in a decade ago, that I finally decided was just taking up space. And now I buy these rice crackers that say 'store in an airtight container after opening' and do I have one? Not any more, and my crackers bend like cardboard after two days.)

So I started a little 'I don't see me doing this' project. The top left drawer is now clean and sorted and the top right one half so, for certain values of sorted that include putting lightbulbs with other lightbulbs and batteries with other batteries and gathering rusty screwdriver heads together in the hopes that a screwdriver will turn up in some other drawer. But I found the knob to the cover of my stock pan, that lost its screw ages ago and so came out, and I found a screw that more or less fits it, so I can use the thing again. And I found a bunch of allen keys, none of which alas are the hex key needed to tighten my bike's brakes, but useful for other things. As for the lobster shears and crab picks and such, they'll just have to go out on the front lawn in the hope some affluent passerby will want them.

*Swifters have two problems. One is the smell of the cleaning fluid. The other is the curving handle, presumably designed so the swifter can be hung on a wall, but which, because I can catch things in places that I couldn't manage if I were actually trying to do it, always grabs my sleeve or my shoulder strap or you name it. Makes me want to scream.
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Sat Sep 28th, 2019


07:38 pm - *Men*, said Jessica
Yesterday's attempts at accomplishment were thwarted by people being people. 'Go to your local BoM branch and you can reset your password there,' I was told. So I did, only to find all the investment officers' offices dark and shut up tight at 11 on a Friday. Maybe they were all out at the Environment Protest march? (bitter laugh) On the main floor the cashiers had long lineups- no surprise- so I couldn't even ask how to make an appointment.

Biked home and then walked over to Bateman's to pick up my bicycle. Did somehow manage the 6 blocks without having to stop and stretch more than twice, which is gain. 'Oh, it's not ready yet,' I'm breezily informed. 'Fifteen or twenty minutes.' Err well, OK, even though there's nowhere to sit down there. Walk around the store, do stretches, watch mechanic work on a bike that isn't mine. Half hour goes by. 'Uhh, how much longer...?' 'Oh, maybe another fifteen or twenty minutes.' Leave without bike. 'We'll call you when it's ready' he says, mildly reproachful, as if I shouldn't have come in on Friday morning just because they said it'd be ready on Friday morning. Did they call yesterday afternoon or today? No. Did however score the rare lime yoghurt from the conveni across the street, and a pair of round 8" baking pans from the boulevard as I made my slow and nostalgic way home along Follis. I like it when people get antsy about Teflon. I get my most useful pots that way.

Anyway, the walking seems to have loosened me up because I woke this morning( (at ten to twelve) from a protracted lie-in almost limber, where I should have been too stabbity to stand up for fifteen minutes. Deep late sleep does that to me, besides giving me dreams of the dc staff going out to dinner at a pricey French restaurant and taking all the babies with us. But it rained heavily all day and the aches and stabbities return, to say nothing of the allergy strangle cough that renders me voiceless and blind from tears. Have doped myself with the Good Stuff and hope for better tomorrows.

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Thu Sep 26th, 2019


08:27 pm - The readiness is all
Today's attempt at adulting was foiled by technology. Spent half an hour on the phone with a BMO rep trying to reset the password on my tax-free savings account. First time through, the connection failed just as we got to the last Enter. Every time thereafter the webpage rejected the temporary password he gave me. Once I screwed up the 'repeat new password' entry: this is why they should let you see the password as you write it. Anyway, must go and do this face to face sometime. And then close the account for good.

However, as compensation, my refund of the yearly property tax increase, which was a mere $300 last year ie less than one month's tax installment, was a whopping $1100 this year ie two months installments and then some. The tax dep't never explains and never apologizes, but I suspect that both this and the reduction earlier on in my monthly installments is due to them miscalculating something badly last year. For sure, property taxes didn't increase any $1000 last year. There'd have been howls if they had. But $1000 falling out of the sky is a welcome gift. I'll take it.
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Wed Sep 25th, 2019


08:48 pm - Progress of a sort
It's not just that I'm an aged arthritic waterlogged jelly-woman. The reason bicycling this weekend was so exhausting is that my rear tire had a veeeery slow leak that rendered the wheel flabby. This I ascertained this morning by pumping it- and never has that wheel been so easy to pump, which should have alerted me right there- waiting five minutes, and feeling the softness return. Local Dave said he couldn't take it today so I went to Bateman's on Bathurst. They're inconvenient, in that they're in the middle of the block far from any cross street, and up a steep flight of stairs with ramp, which the nice gentlemen will push your bike up for you. And *they* said they could fix it in twenty minutes. Most bike stores in this area have harassed mechanics and are packed with people. I really do think they need another more accessible location, and not just that second hole in the wall at Dupont and Davenport. But then I wouldn't have had my bike fixed so fast, and gotten a new puncture-proof rear wheel as well.

And since I was there I did what I knew I was going to do and bought a new bike. It's a six speed only, where I'm used to 18, although I never use more than four in practice. The wheels are thinner, guaranteeing a bumpier ride, and the pedals are plastic, which may be slippery. But the chain is covered, a feature I haven't seen since Japan; it's much lighter than my current Slovak bike, made for long-legged sturdy peasants but an increasing pain to womanhandle up the front steps; and it was less than $500, where past bikes have started at $750 or more and gone up, with the bells and whistles and all, to well over a thousand. A new lock will set me back another hundred, bringing the whole to where other bikes have begun. And then I can have Old Paint properly serviced (have blanked on the proper word for having a bike tuned-up: could it indeed be 'tune up'?) and keep it for the heavy duty stuff.

That, I suppose, is one load off my mind. Bikes are my mobility aids, until such time (if ever) that my strengthening exercises actually strengthen the bits that keep me from walking more than five minutes. But next on the To Do list is to get a walker, or rollator as they're called. (Next is actually to get my quarterly blood draw and close my tax-free savings account for which I've lost the password, and hire a cleaning service for the kitchen and and and. This would all be much easier with a SigOth to cheer and support me, but such do not come for the asking, or at least not to me.
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Sun Sep 22nd, 2019


09:03 pm - A warm wind blowing
Yesterday was muggy and hot, and I barely managed the three things on my list because of aches. Today began the same, but the wind blew dry air in- hot dry air, but dry- and the laundry I couldn't think of doing yesterday got done and put on the line and dried in three hours, and joints were almost quiet.

Still, it gets dark too early these days. Autumn, sigh.

Finished Purple Hibiscus but did what I never do and read the last chapter when I was halfway through, just to be prepared for the worst. Worst didn't happen, and justice was served in its fashion, but lord that was an enraging read. Mainlined a Ruth Rendell to clear my palate but it turned into Rendell being appallingly naive about several things, including female reactions to assault. So that didn't help. And now I'm back to Halprin, whose magic realism somehow gives me the oogies as well, much as Mieville did in Perdido. Can't escape the fact that this is Dude Lit, however unmainstream it may be.

Really, back to manga is the only solution.

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Fri Sep 20th, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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Wed Sep 18th, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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Tue Sep 17th, 2019


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

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Mon Sep 16th, 2019


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

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

Now maybe I should start calling electricians...

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Wed Sep 11th, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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Sun Sep 8th, 2019


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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Wed Sep 4th, 2019


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

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

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

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Mon Sep 2nd, 2019


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

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


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

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


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

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

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