Image: Urban Daffodils

August 31, 2018

Night Music: Rainy Days & Mondays

August 30, 2018

Image: Bands of Gold

August 29, 2018

A Quiet Summer

August 28, 2018

Regular readers will have noticed that this blog has been noticeably quiet this summer — quiet in terms of my rantings, at least. We can blame illness and the inevitable processes of ageing for that.

For more than twenty years now, I have lived with what the medics like to call dual morbidities: two chronic illnesses, either of which could kill me. In my case, they are severe COPD and diabetes.  Apart from the occasional chest infection that develops into pneumonia (memorialised in blog posts throughout the years), or a low blood sugar event, I have managed these diseases rather well for two decades, and my regular monitoring results are steady.  Unfortunately, over the winter, a third problem arose.

Between the COPD, the diabetes, and their various medications, my kidneys have taken quite a beating over the years and they are now failing at an alarming rate. At the end of May, my nephrologist advised me that I had entered stage four of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and needed to be monitored more closely. It also means I have have to face up to ongoing dialysis or a transplant or a fatal failure.

Although regular blood tests had shown me that the kidneys were beginning to lose capacity, the deterioration came rather suddenly and the news hit me hard. As I mentioned before, I have spent years “managing” both COPD and diabetes; but now there was a new threat that I had no idea how to manage. I might have been able to deal with that intellectually except that, coincidentally, on almost the same day, I was struck down by a pneumonia-like chest infection that laid me flat out for a week, and eventually lasted about a month even after I started aggressive drug therapies.

During those first few days, when I could hardly move from my chair without becoming totally breathless, and when my mind was swirling about the kidney issue, I made a decision to withdraw from public life and concentrate fully on looking after myself. I pulled back from much of my activity on Twitter, stopped attending meetings, and withdrew from some new responsibilities, at the People’s Coop Bookstore, for example.  I assumed that I would be spending a lot more time on blog posts. But for the first few weeks at least I could not concentrate on a topic long enough to write about it, and so that too became neglected.

I still spend most days at home — the hot weather and smoke have helped trap me indoors — but my chest is much improved and I’ll start to get out and about again.  In a couple of weeks I meet with my new team at the Kidney Clinic and we’ll see what has to happen then.  In the meanwhile, I hope to get back to a more regular schedule of writing soon.

Night Music: Now or Never

August 28, 2018

GWAC’s Next Meeting

August 27, 2018

The next monthly meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council is on Monday 10th September in the Learning Resources Centre under Britannia Library at 7:00pm.  The meeting carries the title “Hot Button Civic Issues and Primer for October’s All Candidates Meeting” and the purpose is described as being …

“to create a list of priority issues about which candidates’ opinions could make a difference.”

This should be a useful forum for discussing issues that will come up in the series of all-candidates’ meetings organised for late September and early October in cooperation with Britannia, Ray-Cam, and other community groups.


Image: Salsbury Blossoms

August 27, 2018


Select image for a closer view.

Poem: Five Definitive Movements

August 27, 2018


Childhood is

a flat green blade growing from the stem of a plant,

the absorbing and digesting of

a body of myths


Adolescence is

the property of becoming self-luminous

in the recognition of

fire and hunger and strong desire


Adulthood is

the acceptance of the heat and light caused by burning;

a steady flow that rises

as the tide, and ebbs


Wisdom is

known only to those of special comprehension,

something very white,

a leaf blown across the firmament


Death is

the beginning of all things, the nape

that links the body of one life to

the head of the next


Night Music: Loving You

August 26, 2018

Vegetables in A Chinese Market

August 26, 2018


Seen today after dim sum on Renfrew.

Image: Carbonara

August 25, 2018

Night Music: Last Night of the Proms

August 24, 2018

Schnitzel and Wine!

August 24, 2018

This coming Sunday (26th), the Downlow Chicken Shack at 905 Commercial is closing out the summer with a special schnitzel and wine menu that sounds like fun.  The event goes from 5:30pm to 10:00pm.  I’m sure there will be crowds.

I could rewrite the Scout’s piece on this and pretend I know what’s going on, but I’m happier to point you to their article.

Remembering Sacco & Vanzetti

August 23, 2018

This is the 91st anniversary of the murder by the State of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for the crime of being anarchists.



“What from the splendid dead
We have inherited –
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued –
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does not overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.

Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children’s children this beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.”

— Edna St Vincent Millay “Justice Denied in Massachusetts

Lest we forget.

Night Music: And When I Die …

August 22, 2018

with the longest tuba solo in pop music history!

Image: Two Cyclists

August 21, 2018

Dinner Tonight #48

August 20, 2018


This Dragon Chicken recipe was pretty darned good.

Night Music: Black Napkins

August 20, 2018

Poem: Moving Experience

August 20, 2018


Should we trash your aunt’s portrait with nary a glance?

Take this excuse to throw it away?

Can we use the old closet as a place to deposit

The trumpet that no one can play?


There are sofas and chairs and loafers in pairs

unmatched and still to be packed;

barbecue sets smashed by unhappy pets,

and nine bottles of wine still unracked.


Several old tables with mouldering labels

sit forgotten on the back stoop;

while dozens of books lie hidden in nooks

and unwatered plants sadly droop.


Beautiful oak chests that used to serve guests

for overnight stays in the spring,

now jammed with hi-fi and cups and bonsai,

untidily tied up with string.


Boxes of china and photos of minor

children are packed in the car;

old wooden crates filled with pillows and plates

lie piled like produce bizarre.



There still are the spades, the shades and brocades,

the stove to unplug and wrap;

the children’s old cots, tights tied up in knots,

and plenty of crap to just scrap.


But we’ve lazed away weeks and now conscience tweaks

to put us in such terrible state.

Now that the day’s here, there’s too much to do, dear,

I just hope that the van will be late.



Image: Library Exterior #1

August 19, 2018