Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pain and Glory

Funny - we had winter and then it went away, no snow anywhere and mild weather, and now, they tell us, it's coming back in a big way tonight. Suzette and I were invited to spend the night at Jessica's cottage in Prince Edward County tomorrow; Jess has made a pot of chili, we old friends were going to explore vineyards, eat lunch at a local restaurant, walk in the woods, have chili and wine that night by the fire. But we do not want to navigate a snowstorm on country roads, so Jess is bringing the chili here for dinner tomorrow; we'll explore her country locale in better weather.

Good smells here - I'm making leek and potato soup for us. How I love leeks!

Today I saw Pain and Glory, an autobiographical film by the great Spaniard Pedro Almadovar. Beautiful, slow-moving but always compelling, the film mirrors Almadovar's life. It stars the gorgeous Antonio Banderas playing a famous filmmaker stymied by age and physical and mental pain, reconnecting with an actor with whom he had a major falling out after they made a film together decades before - just as Almadovar stopped speaking to Banderas after the actor's work decades ago in one of his movies. A contemplation of aging, creativity, addiction, success, and writing, a completely open vision of bisexuality and the dawn of homosexual desire - much, much to think about. Highly recommended.

Incidentally, what an encompassing title - don't we all know pain and glory? Ain't that life?

Thursday, the not so painful and totally glorious last session of my home class, seven fabulous writers taking us on a trip around the world, from Israel in the fifties to Hanoi in the sixties and many other places. We are family.

Speaking of family, welcome to a new Cabbagetowner: Shani, my basement tenant whom I've known since she was 5, is home with Tiger Lily, her new baby born yesterday, a perfect tiny person, less than 6 pounds, with minuscule wrinkled hands and a busy mouth. Amazing to have a newborn living under this roof for the first time; Sam was a robust 22 months when we moved here. Blessings.

And, in my persona as a grouchy, opinionated, mouthy, aging woman, I have been writing letters. Yes, the dreaded letters! Today I visited the site of a Canadian winter coat manufacturer; a friend at the Y had bought one of their coats and raved about its lightness and warmth. All my winter coats are second hand except for one that's 25 years old; I was thinking, perhaps it's time ... but I was horrified to see that their coats use real fur, and I emailed them to say I would not be considering their products, and why.

I've been writing for years to the mayor, the city, and the newspapers - never published - about our murderous streets, but now there is a daily hue and cry in the papers about the slaughter of pedestrians and cyclists - hooray! But I'm always ready with another letter. I wrote to the Cabbagetown BIA about the fact that the C'town Youth Centre may have to close because the province cancelled its grant. This centre provides after-school activities for needy kids in our 'hood and is an essential service. A GoFundMe page has been set up, and I contributed, but so much more is needed. So I wrote to our BIA to say - what will you do? We're watching you. Get busy.

I tell my students - use your power as a writer to make your voice heard. Mind you, I say this with the hope that my students want the same things for the world that I do. I'm pretty sure they do.

So, a quiet Saturday evening, waiting for the snow to start, waiting for the soup to be ready, waiting for Randy Bachman to come on the radio so I can dance.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

the joy of testosterone

Monday night - no class to teach! Heaven. Instead I watched His Dark Materials on HBO. They've changed a lot from the book - which by chance I just read - but still, they're doing a great job. I mean, there are armoured bears in the book, and now they're on the screen, magnificent and more or less believable, as are the daemons, the animals that accompany everyone in this universe. It takes me back to reading Harry Potter, the sublime pleasure of rediscovering my youth by sitting plunged into a fantasy novel.

I also watched the moving if a tiny bit hokey last episode of the new Anne series - really wonderful work, even if its portrayal of how welcoming PEI residents in the late 19th century were to citizens of colour is surely also a fantasy. But a lovely one. My friend R.H. Thomson - we were the two Canadians in our year at theatre school in London - is perfect as Matthew, shy, incoherent, but yearning. Beautiful.

If you're careful to avoid the endless, ceaseless crap, there's some pure gold on television.

A change of plans on Tuesday - Anna called to say she wasn't feeling well, was there a possibility I could get the boys at school and take them to their after-school activities? There certainly was, especially as it was a spectacularly mild day. They came blasting out of school, Ben at 3.15 and Eli at 3.30, and spent the next 45 minutes careening around the playground; the two of them and a friend invented a game of pressing their arms across their chests and trying to knock each other over with the force of their bodies that kept them busy slamming and falling for a good 20 minutes.

Then the streetcar and the bus to a community centre, with a quick stop beforehand to charge around another playground - then Ben to a swimming lesson and Eli to drumming, free classes given by the city provided you rise at dawn to fight the crowds to get on the list. Anna waits on the day with several cellphones and is now a master at getting the courses and times she wants. I then took them at their request to a fish and chip shop nearby, which to my sadness was not licensed. I needed a drink. Waiting for the streetcar, their game was hurling themselves from the bus shelter to the stone wall of the park and back. On the streetcar home, Ben stood by one of the back doors pushing the button to open it at every stop. He takes his job very seriously. My job was to make sure he didn't fall out.

By the time we got home, I was beyond exhausted, and that was mostly from watching them. Whereas they were still going. Testosterone - what a phenomenal chemical it is! If you could channel it only for good, the world would be saved in ten minutes.

Monday, November 25, 2019

So True recap

There must be a producer gene in our family. My ex is of course a lifelong successful producer of theatre. My kids are producers, in their own way, Sam the performer of warm experiences for his customers, Anna of massive parties and demonstrations, perfectly planned and executed. And I guess I too am a producer, now no longer, after many years, of the Christmas pageant at Riverdale Farm, but as part of the team for the CNFC conferences, and, especially, of So True.

Yesterday was definitely a high point in the five-year history of this event. Every single one of the eight stories we heard resonated and worked, both the writing and the reading, one powerful truth after another. We wept, we laughed. I always speak and read at the end and do not enjoy having to follow this stellar bunch, but I do my best - and yesterday, I ended by asking everyone in the room to shout "Happy Birthday Ken!" to my dear friend in the audience, who has missed only one So True since the beginning. We made a joyful noise.

The room was packed, standing room only - so much so that we might have to look for another space, though I don't want to, I love the Social Capital. Its only drawback is that it's not accessible for wheelchairs or anyone who can't climb a steep flight of stairs. But otherwise - east side, near the subway, warm and dark, a bar at one end and a stage at the other - I love it.

A few notes from today, from the readers to each other:
What a privilege to have this experience with you all today. You all are great writers and I am a more full person for having shared in the experience with you. 

Sincerely thank you for giving me the courage to share my story today, and be my true self. Thanks Beth for all you do! 

It was a MAGICAL day! I loved all of it, especially the supportive, fun atmosphere. I was so incredibly moved and humbled by your words, your delivery, your stories.

One writer told the crowd she gives nicknames to everyone who matters to her, and that her nickname for me is "The Master." LOL. Makes me feel like I need a twirly moustache and big biceps. But anyway, something to be proud of - and also to be relieved it's over for another six months. I once did this four times a year! Then three, and now two. That's plenty. 

Went across town for dinner on Saturday; Thomas's relatives are no longer living there and calm has returned, or at least, as much calm as is possible with these two high octane boychiks. 
Eli told me he was doing alphabet work with his teacher and he told her "G is for Glamma." Be still my beating heart. 

It's a grey gloomy day today but my heart is light; one more class on Thursday and my teaching responsibilities are over till January. Christmas looms, but first a few bits of travel. Time to sit at my desk. Time to focus on that neglected part of my life, the part that produces, not other people's words, but my own. It's time. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

So True - eight stars coming up

We had our rehearsal for the 16th So True last night, and Jason, our MC since the beginning, declared it one of the very best. It's especially exciting because five of the eight readers have never done this before, hence the importance of rehearsal. Hope to see you there, Toronto friends! We will celebrate the power of story - and also the fact that it's mild outside again and the snow has melted. That patch of terrible weather was all a dream. It will stay like this, mild and snowless, till next May. For sure.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

the sun, and Margaret Atwood

My friend Isobel wrote to point out that I'd titled the last post "anals of aging." If you look up 'anal,' you'll know what a mistake that was. Thanks for your editing eye, Isobel! Especially embarrassing for me, because I am keeping a file of absurd spelling mistakes.

As I am finally able to pour through my Abbey Road super deluxe Anniversary Edition …

2 of these groups pray on week and the vulnerable with no ability to communicate ...


The weather is beautiful, a little gift for us, warm and sunny - well, relatively warm, enough to melt the snow and allow us to wear light coats and shoes, not boots. Very welcome.

On Monday night, the last class of the Ryerson terms, a terrific bunch. As usual, we had a party with food and drink, though we also worked, of course. When I left at the end of class, no one noticed, they were busy eating and drinking and talking about setting up an ongoing writing group. Now that felt like success.

Ran home to watch the Gillers but only caught the end. It's great to catch glimpses of people I know; loved watching Anne Collins, one of Canada's best editors and publishers, erupt into tears when her author, Ian Williams, won. And what an amazing story that guy has. It's too bad I don't have time to read much fiction. Maybe one day.

And then a documentary about Margaret Atwood, A word after a word after a word is power. This must be the week for docs on Canadian artistic celebrities. It shows what a focussed woman she has always been, winning a GG award with her very first book of poetry and then continuing with novels, polemics, a children's book, more poetry, more activism, countless novels - historical fiction, dystopian fiction - an extraordinary talent.

I was shocked to realize, however, that I don't think I have read a single of her novels straight through. To me, there was always something sour about them, at least the early ones. Reading, I felt my mouth pucker as if I was sucking lemons. Maybe it's just a reaction to her way of speaking, the way her dry voice seems to come through her nose. But I do admire her enormously, her limitless drive and sense of humour, the spotlight she has never stopped shining on some of the world's intractable problems.

I met her once at a party at the home of an acquaintance who was very well connected. She and her husband Graeme Gibson were there along with other famous Canadians including the then current governor general and her husband - a stellar assembly. I ended up in a circle with Peggy - if I may be so bold - and others talking about childhood, and Brownies came up. She told her Brownies story, and then I told mine.

That's all, but it felt huge to be telling a story next to one of the world's great storytellers. Incidentally, I was never invited to another of this man's parties again.

Today, a big CNFC meeting and raking leaves in the sun. Tonight, the film McCabe and Mrs. Miller is on. It was shot in B.C., some actor friends are in it, and I've never seen it. Perhaps tonight I'll rectify that. Can you go wrong with Julie Christie, Warren Beatty, and the mountains of British Columbia?

Monday, November 18, 2019

annals of aging # 643, Lightfoot, Verlyn Klinkenborg

One of those days - rain turning the snow to slush - that we dread in February. But - may I remind you, Powers That Be - it's November! A little early for all this weatherly misery, don't you think? Though, to cheer me up, the gardenia Wayson bought me years ago that's parked in my bright upstairs hall until next spring has just produced its third bloom, perfuming the whole upstairs. So - we who are prematurely winter-bound take what blessings we can.

Went to the massage therapist last week with a few specific spots to work on: a sore shoulder and foot. I didn't even know what a rotator cuff was before; now I do. Somehow I have pulled it, or one of them - are there several rotator cuffs, like on pants? - and if I lift my right arm, it hurts. There's a constant pain in my left foot under the bunion. My knees crack like branches in the wind. Yesterday, after riding my bike to the Y through bitter cold, I had a sparkling halo dominating my right eyeball for hours.

But you know, when you consider how many moving parts make up this machine which has been running steadily for nearly 70 years, the thing is pretty miraculous. How many washing machines last 70 years? And yet here I am, going sort of strong.

Though the brain concerns me sometimes. I can laboriously learn a piece by heart on the piano, but if I don't play it for a few weeks, it vanishes. Pouf, gone from the overcrowded, shrinking grey matter. Discouraging.

But the good news is, I don't have to wade outside till Ryerson tonight - last class of term. We'll have a party to celebrate. They've been a stellar bunch.

Watched If You Could Read My Mind, a doc on Gordon Lightfoot on the Doc channel last night, and soon will get out my scratched, beloved Lightfoot albums from the sixties and put them on. Steve Earle thinks Lightfoot is the most important singer/songwriter ever to come out of Canada - fighting words, Joni! - and I agree, one powerful, lyrical song after another. He had a happy childhood in Orillia, was a choirboy, grew up to be a hard-drinking womanizer which he now regrets - he won't sing his misogynist That's what you get for loving me any more - an interesting man who was in youth extremely handsome, gifted, and hardworking. His idol: Bob Dylan. But Dylan admires him too. A great Canadian story, with great great music.

To inspire me for the weeks of unemployment, aka holiday, ahead - 6 weeks with no income so free to do my own thing - I have a new library book, Several short sentences about writing, by a writer with the unlikely name Verlyn Klinkenborg. He sounds like a character from a comedy about Nazis, but in fact, he's a marvellous writer and this is a very interesting book - a lot admonishing young people about how badly they've been taught to write, but much aimed at someone like me. He writes about the importance of each sentence. The book is condensed, like poetry:

Your job as a writer is making sentences.
Most of your time will be spent making sentences in your head.
In your head.
Did no one ever tell you this?
That is the writer's life.
Never imagine you've left the level of the sentence behind.

Most of the sentences you make will need to be killed.
The rest will need to be fixed.
This will be true for a long time.
The hard part now is deciding which to kill and which to fix and how to fix them.
This will get much, much easier, but the decision making will never end.

A writer's real work is the endless winnowing of sentences,
The relentless exploration of possibilities,
The effort, over and over again, to see in what you started out to say
The possibility of saying something you didn't know you could.

Beautiful, no? I just looked him up - he's a modern day E. B. White, writing about rural life in the New York Times, and he's two years younger than I am. I hope his machine is running well. A long happy life to you, Verlyn.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

So True next Sunday

Eight superb stories, and moi. For the low low price of $10. Can't be beat.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Don Cherry and "Klaus"

I shake my head in total incomprehension at the furor surrounding Don Cherry. But I guess that's because the number of times I have watched him on television is exactly zero. I gather there's a hockey game tonight and for the first time in decades he will not be commenting on it and the nation is shivering with anticipation. I am rarely embarrassed to be Canadian, but the fuss about this appalling blowhard bigot is one of those times. Who the @#$#@ cares?

Okay, asking for trouble. Many do. Do not trample on hockey! Or maybe big beefy Canadians will stalk you as Trump stalked the dignified and articulate Marie Yovanovitch yesterday. What a spectacle. All standards of common decency thrown to the dogs - and Cherry was part of that trend.

It's majorly winter in a way that's incomprehensible so early - it feels like an affront. What did we do to deserve this cold in mid-November? We had an exceptionally mild October, that's what, and this is the price. We're hoping it's some kind of unpleasant blip and the temperatures will settle into more normal for this time of year. No guarantees.

Eli spent last night here; my seven-year old companion came into my room, disgustingly perky, at 7 a.m. I persuaded him to grant me a few more minutes in the warmth of my bed, but then it was downstairs for breakfast and games and reading stories. His parents have taken themselves away for the weekend, and Anna has just written that they may not come home. We'll have to go and drag them back. In the meantime, a bunch of Thomas's relatives are still living in Anna's small apartment. No wonder they needed to get away.

This afternoon, Eli and I watched Klaus, on Netflix. I'd read a rave review, well deserved - it's a beautiful animated film about the imagined origins of Santa Claus, fantastically rich in detail and humour. Highly recommended. Eli wanted to watch Teen Titans, and Glamma said no. He gave me his Xmas list: 3000 Beyblades, an iPhoneX, and a drum kit. Santa may have to disappoint. "Marcus has two phones," he said. "Most of my friends have phones." He and his friends are seven! I'm glad I'm not a parent in these complicated times. When famous TV sports pundits and the President of the United States behave worse than the most ill-mannered toddler, how to teach children manners, kindness, compassion, decency?

The best, though, was getting Eli to write a letter to his brother; we put it in an envelope with a stamp and he was to mail it on the way home. He'll be there when Ben receives and opens it. Glamma doing her best for the Canadian Postal Service, and a new generation of writers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Twyla Tharp: "Wake up and dance, y'all."

They say we haven't had this much snow in mid-November for 70 years. 12 centimetres or more. Very very pretty for those of us who don't have to wrestle our way to work. The leaves are still on the trees and I'd just blown up my bike tires for further riding. I think not. It's sunny today, blindingly bright.
I know, you've seen this view many times before. But not in NOVEMBER.
The view, through the screen, from my bedroom window. Very David Milne, no?

Yesterday's excitement - a trip with John to Staples, which is having their annual chair sale, to buy myself A NEW DESK CHAIR. A first - mine so far have all been second-hand; the one I'm sitting in now has a variety of cushions to support my back. The new one is snazzy with built-in lumbar support. Half price. Delivered tomorrow. I spend a great deal of my life sitting here, so might as well do so in style and comfort.

The salesman who sold me the chair had, without doubt, the worst haircut I have ever seen. It was pressed straight at the sides, like wide sideburns but growing straight down and sticking out, off the face, and short with weird bits at the back. Indescribable - well, like a large leprechaun with a very bad barber. I kept wondering what he saw when he looked in the mirror: Ooo, lookin' good today you handsome devil! But maybe he was thinking the same of me. And he did know a lot about desk chairs.

On Sunday, to an event put on by the King's University Nonfiction program - the only degree in the country specifically for nonfiction, yay! It was about publishing nonfiction, and it was, as always, depressing - about how hard it is to find an agent or a publisher, and even when you do, to get a book out into the world and - cue laughter here - to make money. However. We do it anyway, because we are lunatics of the best sort.

Speaking of lunatics, finished 78-year old Twyla Tharp's new book Keep It Moving. She urges us to dance. Good news: my friend Gina and I are again going to produce a dance event at the Black Swan. Thursday Feb. 6 2020. Great music, no partners needed, just move that bod!

Here are a few inspirational quotes:
Age is not the enemy. Stagnation is the enemy. Complacency is the enemy. Stasis is the enemy. Attempting to maintain the status quo, smoothing our skin, and keeping our tummies trim become distractions that obscure a larger truth. Attempting to freeze your life in time at any point is totally destructive to the prospect of a life lived well and fully.

To move is the provenance of all living human beings. And by my definition, to move is to dance. With the time you’ve got, choose to make your life bigger … I say this with love: shut up and dance … You might want to start now.

If you look at your body as a job, then gathering the discipline to stay strong and limber isn’t a chore. Fitness expands our social, emotional, and intellectual well-being. When we make time for physical activity … we are not stealing from other parts of our lives. We are making it possible to live each day productively.

Wake up and dance, y’all. As you best see fit. Dancing is a beautiful way to say thank you to your body and to join the human race. Welcome to the tribe.

Hope to see you Feb. 6, if not before. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

the joys of Michel de Montaigne

My dear Chris has chastised me for not posting daily, as he does. He thinks I should rename this site "Born to Blog Occasionally." I wrote back to say I didn't think there was anything in the Official Blog Rulebook that insists we bloggers must post every day. I love that he does, that I can follow the daily activities of one of my oldest and dearest friends who lives on the other side of the country. But for me, the need to write begins to bubble inside until I can't bear it, I have to let it out; this takes time. And writing each post also takes time, often up to two hours I don't have in the day.

So - "Born to Blog when the need arises and I can make time and there's something to tell you." How about that?

What I have to say today is not much, however. It's our first real autumn/winter day - cold and bleak, a grey-white sky, nothing moving, no desire to go anywhere. The time for hibernation has set in; suddenly I'm more tired, want to eat chocolate and carbs and go lie down. Did not ride to the market this morning. Will not go to the Y. Will however go to the library, if I can read a bit more of the massive tome I need to return, The Complete Essays of Michel de Montaigne, who, in the Screech translation, is a most entertaining companion, thoughtful, erudite - quotes in Latin every few lines and many examples from his life experience and from classical literature - as he examines thumbs, prayer, cannibals, and many other disparate subjects with wit and profound insight into human behaviour, especially his own.
On Solitude:

We should have wives, children, property, and, above all, good health … if we can: but we should not become so attached to them that our happiness depends on them. We should set aside a room, just for ourselves, at the back of the shop, keeping it entirely free and establishing there our true liberty, our principal solitude and asylum. Within it our normal conversation should be of ourselves, with ourselves, so privy that no commerce or communication with the outside world should find a place there; there we should talk and laugh as though we had no wife, no children, no possessions, no followers, no menservants, so that when the occasion arises that we must lose them it should not be a new experience to do without them. We have a soul able to turn in on herself; she can keep herself company; she has the wherewithal to attack; to defend; to receive and to give. Let us not fear that in such a solitude as that we shall be crouching in painful idleness.

1267 pages like this; it would take many weeks to do it justice. But I need to take him back - the book is overwhelming and too thick to hold comfortably, I'll come back to it - and get the one that's waiting for me, Twyla Tharp's new Keep it moving: lessons for the rest of your life. I loved her The creative habit and quote it in class, that routine is the friend of the creative person. Make a work behaviour automatic and you won't have to push yourself to do it. Routine helps us stop crouching in painful idleness.

Have never been able to follow it myself, but it's great advice.

Much to do besides reading books, papers, emails, websites, FB, the New Yorker etc. - cooking a ratatouille, practicing the piano, maybe though probably not watching a good movie - Temple Grandin - that's on this afternoon on one of the movie networks, laundry, work. Gretchen came to watch Bill Maher last night and brought a freshly-baked apple pie - an inspiration. I had an idea for a new writing project at 4 a.m., which is when many of my ideas appear. Contemplated going out to see Pain and Glory, one of several great movies out now, but won't. The day, which at this moment, 1 p.m., feels long and empty, will vanish.

As they do.

Spent yesterday morning listening to Sandy and Nora's Podcast, one of Anna's favourite political podcasts; she sent a link to a specific discussion about the recent library controversy, on which Anna and I have opposite viewpoints. I listened and responded at length and in detail about how much I dislike and am offended by these two judgemental, closed-minded, foul-mouthed, misinformed, censorious, sanctimonious young women and what they have, so self-righteously and with such frightening self-confidence, to say. How can my daughter ... no, stop. No point.

Go on, Beth, tell us what you really feel.

On the other hand, had two emails this morning from my new BFF in Edmonton, a poet and spiritual counsellor who was one of my mother's good friends and who has now, amazingly, through the internet, become one of mine. We write long emails about our families, our writing work, the past. A great and unexpected gift.

So that's it for today - nothing much from this long silent solitary day in the grey. But here I am, not crouching in idleness but here, in my room at the back of the shop, writing to you.

We have lived quite enough for others: let us live at least this tail-end of life for ourselves. Let us bring our thoughts and reflections back to ourselves and our own well-being.

Amen, Michel.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Barkis is willin'

Snow! Not much, but there it is. The trees are still covered with leaves, which are now covered with snow. Very pretty out there. And there goes a black squirrel clutching a peanut - where did he get that?

A thrill this morning - yesterday I wrote to the information officer at Bletchley Park, asking for information on Mum's 2 or 3 years there, and immediately he wrote back, telling me what he knew. I'm sending more questions. Busy day today - teaching at U of T, a CNFC meeting on Zoom, a class here tonight. But right now, have to go find the snow shovels and salt and fill the bird feeder. I can hear the blue jay complaining and see the flash of cardinal red, waiting. Sorry, guys.

Finished a marvellous book, Unquiet, by Linn Ullman, daughter of Liv and of Ingmar Bergman.  It's annoying that she calls it a novel when it's obviously, in every line, a memoir of her upbringing with two fascinating eccentric parents. However, she writes, "In order to write about real people — parents, children, lovers, friends, enemies, brothers, uncles, or the occasional passerby — it is necessary to make them fictional. I believe this is the only way of breathing life into them. To remember is to look around, again and again, equally astonished every time."

An interesting notion - I guess especially if your parents are as famous as hers'.

And good TV - the end of "The Durrells in Corfu," delicious, and "His Dark Materials" on HBO - as in the Harry Potter films, nice try, but the books are SO MUCH BETTER!

More transcribing of my parents' letters yesterday. I knew, but was reminded, that they had a pet name for my father's penis: Barkis, as in the David Copperfield character looking for a wife who repeatedly says, "Barkis is willin'." And I gather our family Barkis always was. There's a letter written to the boat bringing my mother, brother and me back from England to Halifax after months of separation, when Dad gives Mum instructions on how to lie to customs officials - an effective lesson he taught me too, later - and tells her how much she is missed. At the end of the letter, he writes, "An old friend wanted to add a few lines." What follows is written in messy, child-like handwriting:
I too have missed you terribly and am quivering with excited anticipation of our renewed connection.

There are repeated allusions to their sex life. When he was looking for a new bed for them, she wrote, "Try it out well first—if it creaks, don’t buy! (Bearing in mind our favourite winter sport next to skiing)…. It makes me happy that despite years of unhappiness together, this part of their lives always worked, until the end.

I know, not all of you are acquainted with your parents' affectionate name for your father's penis. My family believed in sharing, for better and for worse. Perhaps if I pretend the two of them are fictional characters, it'll be easier to do this work.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Jojo Rabbit

It's starting, the closing down of that big room outside the door, where we can walk and sit and play from May to November. Today, mild but windy, wet, and grey turning to sun. But snow predicted. Got out boots and winter coats today. I think I'm ready.

Thursday was Hallowe'en; after the class at U of T I met Ken to see a movie, both of us gladly escaping candy, costumes, and merriment. We saw Jojo Rabbit, which in fact brought us a great deal of merriment. Any film that can turn Hitler into a figure of hilarious ridicule wins in my books. We both had a really good time seeing this thoughtful comedy with a dark underbelly and wonderful child actors. Then we had dinner and gossiped, and by the time I got home, the madness was nearly over. This 'hood goes crazy; the people up the street have giant inflated pumpkins and spiders and neon skulls and a fog machine and an electronic witch who cackles and a vulture in the trees ... I just can't get over that we're trying to cut back on plastic, but Hallowe'en has now become a competition to see how much crappy plastic shit you can shovel into your front yard. My neighbour scattered about a collection of severed bloody legs I'm hoping will vanish soon.

Ooo. As Ken says, I know I'm getting old and crabby. Me too. But it was a success across town - maybe the lousy weather meant people gave even more to the brave kids who were out.
Friday, crabbier than ever - first the electricians in to fix something relatively minor which took all morning and $300, then the minute they left the plumber, ditto, $275, while I was online with a CNFC conference call. Didn't get outside all day. Gretchen came to watch Bill Maher; she was bearing her divine chocolate chip cookies, and now I have to beg her not to bake, because these are lethal. Bill Maher was crabby too.

Anna's partner Thomas's sister is temporarily homeless, so Anna is providing shelter for her and her many children into the near future. Again, my daughter leaves me mute with admiration. It's called putting your time and effort and love where your mouth is. Her speciality.

Here, today's laugh:

 The gardenia Wayson gave me usually shuts down when it comes inside - but no, it's blooming. He's around, keeping an eye on things.
 The last bouquet of the year - Japanese maples in their glory
And yet life stirs in those tiny tendrils. I've forgotten what this plant is. But it's happy.