Wednesday, April 25, 2018

ode to chocolate

During Monday's visit. What Glammas do best - help smear chocolate on the face.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I'm down, I'm really down, as Paul McCartney sang

Your cheery correspondent is despondent tonight. The world is too much with me. Sometimes reading the newspaper is unbearable, and today in particular, after my own city was attacked and ten people slaughtered by a young man who, it now seems, was enraged because no woman would sleep with him. It seems that his loathsome assembly of Incel friends used to meet on Facebook to celebrate the murder of women and men who just might be sexually active. No, it's too insane, what's happening in the world is beyond comprehension. Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, climate change, immigration and refugees, increasing income disparity, ghastly Doug Ford looming in this province, every single thing that comes out of Trump's mouth, much much more. Sometimes, it's unbearable, just rubs me raw.

And then today, on that same FB, an intelligent woman who used to be a friend posted a racist comment by Winston Churchill with a diatribe shouting that he was "a mass murderer," and I made the mistake of asking for a bit of restraint, for us to be conscious of the mores of his times, as we will surely be harshly judged for our follies in times to come. Followed by a series of even more violent comments in rebuttal. Did Winston Churchill make a racist comment about black people being an inferior race? It's possible he did; he was born in 1874, a product of his times, for better or worse. Did he also help win the war against the Nazis? I guess that doesn't matter.

And then deciding not to wade further into that swamp, I read my dear Chris's blog, where he indicates that he's having a breakdown perhaps because of too many visitors staying too long. That means me. I know he was not blaming or accusing, but still, it hit hard.

Plus I spent the afternoon doing grunt work for our conference, fiddly work which needed to be done, and we were a great cheerful team doing it, but truly, that shouldn't have been the sort of thing we were called on to do.

Plus with two weeks till it starts, my class at U of T is very small so far. Though we did have a good meeting there yesterday and I got to meet some of my colleagues, that was nice.

I'm overwhelmed by all I have to do here, an endless list in this house plus the renovation to come. I'm sad and deeply concerned for a family member who is making what I think are poor, self-destructive choices, plus after two days of hot sun, it was grey and damp today, plus ... maybe I'm still jet-lagged and will cheer up tomorrow. I'm sure I will. I bet you are also hoping this sad sack will.

Plus my printer is out of ink and I have to go remember how to wrestle the new cartridge in.

First world problems, all. But tonight, not even wine helps.

PS Within two minutes of my posting this long self-pitying whine, dear friend Nick sent a kind email. What a blessing are friends. Now, time for peanut butter. That always helps.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Itzhak Perlman plays and the sun comes out

Bliss. This is bliss. All Toronto was out today - as all Vancouver was out a few days ago - celebrating the sunshine. Hot today, for here - 14 degrees, blasting non-stop sun. Spring is just beginning here - in the garden, three croci are out, the daffs are up but not out, a few tiny buds barely appearing on the trees, and still some patches of snow. But with this sun, it'll be full on spring in no time.

What I saw right away, on my return: that Toronto's roads are terrible, potholed and extremely bumpy; that my house is beautiful but too cluttered (who knew?); that my neighbourhood is amazingly quiet given its location. Mind you, that's because there was an extra gift this weekend - the Don Valley Parkway is closed till Monday morning. The background hum from the DVP was missing all day today. So I went for a walk down on the Don Valley trail, beside the river.
 No, not Toronto - the last gorgeous view from Bruce's balcony Saturday morning.
And now for something completely different - a path off of the Don Valley trail - not quite the beautiful woods on Gabriola or Vancouver, but in a few weeks, it'll look quite different...
And ... I saw this! Can you see those toothmarks? This, ten minutes from my front door, is a tree nearly felled by a beaver. I didn't see the dam, but there must be one nearby.
The mighty muddy Don river. No, not the beauty of B. C., no question. But ...

But then after this walk, I got on my bike and rode to Roy Thomson Hall to hear Itzhak Perlman play Schubert, Beethoven, Dvorak, and more, accompanied by his pianist. A 25 minute ride from my front door to hear the greatest violinist in the world, who was sublime, especially his encores, because he chatted with us, and this great musician is warm, funny, endearing. Much adored by the audience, thrilling. Oh, and dear Nick, who told me about this concert, was there too, plus friend and student Mona, whose son took her to the concert as an Xmas present.

And then rode home to potter in the garden, make dinner, and listen to Randy Bachman, who's still on, so I am - you knew it - dancing around the kitchen.

And I thought - I love the trees, the tranquillity and mountains and ocean of a place like Gabriola. I don't get nearly enough of that kind of profound nourishment. But I have to say, I love Itzhak Perlman more. That is, I'd rather visit beautiful places in the country and live in the city, than the reverse. That's me - a citadine, as my friend Lynn says - a city woman who enjoys all the riches a city has to offer, knowing that the many negatives are the price we pay.

But now I also know, I need to make more time for the natural world. It's not just a frill, it's a necessity for this city dweller.

And now for Sunday night TV. One happy camper.

My dream dinner guests: Itzhak, Macca, and Obama. And Suzuki. And to shake things up, Emma Gonzales. Wouldn't that be something?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

the last temptation

At the airport, dying to be outside - it dawned of course a heavenly day, hot and sunny. The city, giving me the finger - diss me, will you, you Toronto nudnik? Let me SHOW you what I can do. And she fans her magnificent feathers. There was a brief sun shower and then a rainbow against the mountains.

Brucie and I took a walk on the seawall and through the park. Made me want to cancel my return ticket.

NOT.

Smog, cold, slush, complete lack of mountains, deer, otters, HOME, here I come.

Friday, April 20, 2018

the rain will see me off

Guess what it's doing outside? Pouring. Grey, chilly, very wet. The poor kids - there were many thousands this afternoon celebrating 4/20 just down the street from Bruce's place. He and I walked there, through the very smokey air, the hundreds of little booths selling kush, cookies, brownies, paraphernalia ... and munchies. How times have changed. But then came the rain, and of course, most of those kids have no umbrellas. A lot of wet puppies.

So I'm glad to leave Vancouver as it was when I came 30 days ago. In between, a few days of heavenly sun. But let's not forget, there's a lot of this here.

Bruce and I have lunched and dined, and now he's off seeing his nephew and my friend Angus play the piano, as Bruce used to, as an accompanist for a difficult Strauss opera. I am having a quiet night in, listening to the rain.

It has been wonderful. Usually I'm returning around now from Europe - Paris, the south of France, maybe Italy with Bruce. Instead, the gorgeous wet west coast of Canada, where I bathed in the forest, got a lot of work done in the peaceful sweet air, and spent time with a number of great friends. Grateful for it all.

Grateful for home tomorrow. And they say the snow may have nearly melted.