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As ever with Aaronovitch, my mind remembers details that zipped past while reading and that can't be found when I go back to look. I was sure there was a 20th century ghost that came apart as Peter was talking to it- a young chap, possibly in tennis flannels. He's not there. Ghost indeed.

But I also noticed a detail that may show up later: or again, may not. Who's poisoning foxes in the countryside? Truly just the displaced Londoners not fancying the local fauna? Because I'd have expected spoiler spoiler spoiler's foxes to have had something to say about it.


Sunday, October 15th, 2017 08:20 pm
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Open bags of ground coffee in the study and bathroom, essential oil peppermint on a paper towel over the vent in the kitchen. Thus do I exorcise Ratso, for today: since windows must be closed in this newly-arrived cold front.

Oddly, though neither furnace nor furnace fan was on, the peppermint smell spread through all the downstairs vents. These were all google solutions, BTW. Have no desire to try the 'cut up onions in a plastic container of water' one. I can smell a fragment of onion caught in the kitchen sink strainer, in my bedroom on the second floor at the other end of the house. Even the faint ghost of Ratso that comes through the plastic covered study vents is preferable to that.
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Canada Post never delivers on Saturdays but sometimes it does, for packages. I do not understand this at all. But in any case, I now have The Farthest Station from [livejournal.com profile] incandescens, for which I am very grateful, since today was one of great wanhope. Many many thanks. Aaronovitch is a great lifter of spirits.

Have put maktak over the study/ bathroom vent and run the air ionizer, so Ratso's ghost is not quite as overpowering as it was. I'm resigned to a good two weeks of faint hints and cold back rooms, but that's how it goes.


Friday, October 13th, 2017 08:45 pm
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Ratso has had the bad taste to die before the exterminator could get him. Exterminator came Wednesday. Thursday morning the unmistakable odour of dead rodent was coming up the back air shaft. Far too fast for a beast that I was assured would take days to take the bait, being the wily critter it is. Have blocked up the vents between bathroom and study and thanked providence for warm weather that lets me keep windows open. I can still smell the acrid tang, but then I'm me. A few more days, judging by the Little Girls' experience with two successive gerbils that escaped into their air duct.

And bought a ceramic heating fan for Sunday, when the temps drop to 5 overnight, if the smell isn't gone by then.

Touching Wood

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 07:22 pm
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I shall be hearing thumps and bumps and the patter of little feet for a while, since rats are suspicious of new things. But for now I can tell myself that this too will pass: and with luck, pass before any ratlings appear. Exterminator was pleased that I hadn't seen any rat droppings, and the one I did see on the window sill with glass vases on it must have been a mouse, size notwithstanding. Rats don't like climbing, and rats would certainly have knocked all that glass down.


Not a thing. Too antsy over the weekend to settle down. Listened to ancient tapes instead, which sent me looking for certain missing ancient tapes (where is my Turandot?), which sent me looking through an archive box at the bottom of the linen cupboard, which led to unearthing a package of the vinyl tiles used in the front hallway thirty years ago, which led to wondering if they might be used again to replace a few hallway tiles that are all worn and scratched from too many bicycle tires. Must call handyman. Ill wind, as they say.

Reading now?

Somehow seem to be reading P.D. James, The Black Tower. I consider James to be fundamentally immoral and Dalgliesh not merely a very unlikely inspector but a very unlikely human being as well. Which said, there are times a PD James hits the spot, as when one is in Tokyo. We shall see f this survives the return of your regularly broadcast reality.


Maybe the escapist detective stories got from the library; maybe something else entirely. Talking to a friend lately who's reading Buddhism and philosophy, in search of the meaning of life. Told her I couldn't manage that level of heavy any more.
'But what do you read instead?' she asked.
'Detective stories, mostly.'
'I read a detective story once,' she said, 'and when I finished it I couldn't understand what I'd read it for.'

Thus the difference between the brainy and the brainless.

(no subject)

Sunday, October 8th, 2017 07:03 pm
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On a sunny blue and white autumn afternoon I rode over to Yonge St to buy a tablet. Which I did, but technology never excites me. More to the point, I rode along the Famous Helen's old street with its jewel houses under yellow leaves, like some image of happiness. And I have been weepy and woeful ever since, which I put down to Rat fallout, not anything metaphysical or 'To think that two and two make four/ And neither five nor three/ The heart of man has long been sore/ And long is like to be.' (Housman is a medicine for melancholy: homeopathic, but effective.)

The fact is, I have always held a fallacious belief that certain past times were Perfect, and the perfection is gone and will never come back. This is why one keeps diaries, to record the grim actuality. The fall of 2001, whose Saturday nights were delightfully spent with Baby Helen, had its moments; but it wasn't an overwhelmingly happy time at all.


Saturday, October 7th, 2017 01:04 pm
flemmings: made by qwerty (firebreathing chicken)
Putting wild life scarer in kitchen, and washing counters with peppermint/ vinegar, water solution, definitely put the mice off. So much so that they came upstairs to get away from it. -_- Woke mid-night to something poking at face. Thought it was misplaced beanbag. Poked again. Shoved bean bag away and something went thump-skitter out of the room. Too light for a rat, at least. But still. Roll on Wednesday's exterminators.

Domestic drama

Friday, October 6th, 2017 08:54 pm
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I thought the rats and I could achieve a modus vivendi, at least until Wednesday when the exterminator comes. For one thing, I blocked the cellar door, down which Rat 2 disappeared when I startled him with the vacuum cleaner day before yesterday. Accidentally closed the door between kitchen and bunker, and when I opened it tonight I found piles of woodchips. Rat had clawed and gnawed several inches off the width of the thing, to what purpose I cannot guess, and something else had gnawed a bit on the lamp cord in the kitchen. So have put my wildlife scarer on in the kitchen, on high. Next door is at the cottage and I shall sleep with ear plugs.

Still I'm puzzled. Heard a bang clash last night from the depths of the house, stomped down to the kitchen to discover nothing disturbed. (May have come from the bunker, after all. Who knows?) This morning came down and found a ceramic Japanese tea bowl sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter. Bowl lives in the whatnot/ shadow box on the counter pushed up against the wall. How it fell off and landed bottom side down I cannot guess. I suppose rat might have picked it up in its ratty paws and carefully set it down, the better to examine its provenance, but I doubt it. Bowl is heavy and as large as a rat's body. Poltergeists?
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Moon Festival moon peers in the window. Cool breeze follows unseasonably warm day. Unseasonable warmth will return on Saturday. 'Cast not a clout'- do not put the fans away until the first snow falls.

Not a good day to dine in Chinatown, obviously, so I went to the Art Gallery's Members' Lounge to see what they had. They had a tiny portion of baba ghanoush for nine dollars. Ah well, have done that and need not do it again. Would have gone back to the exhibitions but my bloody hip was hurting too much to walk happily. This after acupuncture. Not sure what to try next: maybe strengthening abdominals?
And still Wednesday keeps recurring )


Monday, October 2nd, 2017 09:20 pm
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There are always bumps and thumps in my house, from old timber or crotchety pipes, or from houses rebuilding out front and back and echoing down the walkways. This morning there was a steady bumping coming from the side walkway, as I judged it: but as I walked into the kitchen I realized it came from the blue box I keep there for recyclables. And in the box, with its nose in an empty and washed bottle of keffir, was a sleek brown rat. I watched it for several seconds wondering what I could cover the box with to get it outside. But Ratso finally became aware of me, leaped up and out, and vanished I couldn't follow where. Not behind the fridge or bookshelf, which I at once pulled out; maybe into the living room.

Last week I found odd things fallen on the floor from the lower kitchen bookshelves, enough to wonder if we'd had a mild earthquake one night; but now all is explained. Lucky to live in the future: within minutes I was online and talking to a 5-star pest control company that seems to be run entirely by women. If not for work, they'd have been here Thursday, but now will come out Wednesday week. Have read what a time-consuming process it is to get rid of rats, so I possess my soul in patience. At least it's not raccoons moving in. And meanwhile have spread CritterRidder around the baseboards. I dislike the smell as much as critters are said to, so I hope Ratty will keep to his (I suspect) basement home for now.
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I'm starting to get seriously worried here.

I did *not* put a new lens in this morning. I came upstairs with my breakfast, sat down and ate it, and read the net. Looked up and realized everything was in focus. Poked at left eye and realized there was a lens in it. There are no lenses missing from the strip of daily use lenses: still four, after I started a new 5-strip yesterday.

The one time I napped with a lens in, it was dry and peeling off when I woke up. Has everything suddenly changed in this gunk-eyed allergy season? I rather doubt it.

Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness, must be our watchword.

2 found, 1 lost

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 08:52 pm
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1. Poems of the Late Tang, exactly where it should be, on the Chinese shelf in the study. Or one copy of same, because it's much more dilapidated and about to fall apart than I remember it being. Re-reading, am not sure why I found Li He 'Harrowing' the first time around, not in Graham's translation. Online is a different story:
Cut for verse )

2. Grey pants. 'Could I have left them on the line?' I thought last week, glancing out the back door. No. But when I went to hang today's wash on the line, there were my pants carefully folded over the porch rail, where they'd been in all weathers for two weeks, not one. Well-aired at least.

3. Lost: went out to bring the bicycle in. My rain cape was lying beside it on the lawn. Could it have fallen out by itself? No, because my head-light has disappeared, stolen by one of the pesky youth in the neighbourhood, who seem to have made an attempt on the rear light as well before taking off. Just when I thought it was safe to leave things outside. At least pesky youth lack the skills to detach my various neighbours' bicycles from their various porch rails: or lack so far.

PS. The harrowing translations are by Frodsham, whose book I must get. Two reviews that quote even stranger verses can be found here and here .
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Poems of the Late Tang sat on the bedroom shelf for years, known but undisturbed. And then I read it last December and put it-- uhh, in with the Chinese poetry books in the study? No. With the older Chinese poetry books downstairs? No. Back on the shelf? No. This is the trouble with shelving by usage. But now someone is asking for Li He's poetry for yuletide and recommends the introduction to his section in Graham's work, and I don't have it. Of course it might just be hiding somewhere. The combination of 'slim volume with black spine' and Johnson Spot Blindness means it could well be in any of the places I already looked.

Otherwise they promised us rain and thunder and sun and wind today, and we got all of it. Is coldish evening that tempts to turn on the heat but I will not will not, since the day before yesterday I was sitting outside with pants legs rolled up in sleeveless top, sopping in the 30C mug, and it will be 25 again this week.

Possibly rousting about dusty shelves has reignited my allergies, or possibly the sudden temperature change has brought a sudden onset cold, but I have a sore throat and runny nose and think some hot lemon and honey might be just the thing.

Small happinesses

Thursday, September 28th, 2017 08:16 pm
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1. The parcel I sent from amazon which amazon's ridiculous delivery service was unable to deliver through multiple attempts, was at last delivered, though not to the alternate address I'd given. Props, I suppose, to the much-tried deliveryman who actually got it close to where it should be, but lord! could amazon's policies be less use than they are? You can leave parcels with a neighbour but not, say, the one across the street you're on good terms with. Nope, must be next door- who may be away or non-existent or non-English speakers or feuding bitterly with you. Nor can you change a delivery address once five attempts have failed to find the party at home shock horror during the work week. I mean, contingency plans, guys- that's what you need.

2. I have two books from the library to be brainless with.

3. Theoretically a day off, so I slept in till 11. Muscle relaxant and anti-histamine will do it to you.

4. It's going to rain tomorrow so I don't have to do laundry tonight.

5. I got my pay cheque, swollen to an unlikely number. Check the stub and see I've been paid for 4.5 staff hours when in fact I only did 30 minutes. Groan about how I must have entered an assistant shift in the staff column, as I have in the past, and go to check the hours book. And there, added to my 'garbage cleanup' entry, was the note 'and general helpfulness', while the '1' in the assistant hour column was crossed out and a '4' inserted in the staff hour column. Solid tokens of appreciation always welcome; and now I can buy my gin myself.
Cut for unsavoury garbage tales )
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It's nice to be assured, repeatedly, that the thanks of a grateful daycare is mine, for my simple presence as Fourth Body when the unhappy new bugs are requiring one person apiece and hence playing hob with the programme. But ohh my arms hurt and my elbows hurt and my shoulders hurt and and and. On the other paw, as I've often noted, the immediate and pressing needs of small people make any other concerns disappear swa heo na waere. So I shall keep on appearing and will get, at the very least, and expensive dinner out of it come Christmas, though I think I shall start dropping hints about how a bottle of gin would be much more appreciated.

My mysteriously vanishing blue t-shirt turned up at work where I'd forgotten I'd left it. The mysteriously vanishing grey pants have not turned up anywhere, which is puzzling, because I brought them in off the line last Saturday with my other pair of summer pants, both of which needed mending. I mended the stripey ones and have worn them all week. But the grey ones are not where they should be and not where I must have put them. Vexing and annoying.

Cool blows in at last. 12C tonight! Even my AC was never set that low. Welcome back, autumn: please stay this time.
Wednesday )
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"Oh most unhappy of babies, try to be happy! You have red hair like your sister brother."

But he only loves long-haired women, though his mother isn't long-haired. Am thinking of buying a wig.
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Time was, air quality alerts started in May and went on at regular intervals through to October. We rarely get them these days, a result I assume of closing coal-fired plants. But we had one today and I could feel the familiar burn in the throat. Haven't missed it at all.

Heat gives me apocalypsosis, so between North Korea and the DoJ having finally noted my existence for jury purposes, I'm feeling end of world and out of cope. Come Thursday I shall probably be able to deal with both, but for now I would welcome the G&T I do not have. What's the point of counting calories if we're all going to die, I think; and the point, as ever, remains that *I* may not die, or not soon enough, and in the meantime I would like my mobility back. Sigh.
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Others have remarked the oddity of not turning on the central AC until summer is over, I shall just say, blessed blessed central AC.

C.S Harris does a great deal of research for her Regency detective series. I'm therefore a little puzzled at her aristocratic detective threatening to call in the services of the Bow Street Runners for a crime committed in... Shropshire. Evidently the Runners aided investigations outside London, but Shropshire is an awfully long way from the Home Counties.

Too hot

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 08:35 pm
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Had a lymph drainage massage today. Made me overwhelmingly sleepy.

In light of the recent additions to the Points series, I now find the Marlowe sections of The Armor of Light much more Astreianty than before. Not exactly a sketch for Eslingen, but a less positive version of same.
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So now we're having the summer weather we didn't get in July and August. Mellow warm clear days without a hint of rain, sun hot in the afternoon but not unbearable, cicadas singing out of season, nights what August would call cool- 16, 17- but I still use the window AC, even set at 20C. It's as much for the dryness as to avoidance allergens (bad year for those) as well as the skunk that has its sights set on being king of the block. Gratefully, I can afford this luxury because the property tax increase rebate came through to the tune of 750 dollars.

Can also afford dinner at Pauper's Pub, excellent meatloaf and a frozen margarita, out on the patio under the yellow and falling leaves of the pumpkin trees.

The Indian gardener's son has gone with grass on his front lawn. Foolish foolish Indian gardener's son. Look at your next-door's unavailing attempts to have greenery. Only one house on this street has decent grass, and bets are taken as to whether it's the real thing or an expensive kind of astroturf. Sensible people go with ground cover.

Last April's mouse was invisible except for the magically vanishing bait in the untipped tip-trap. No gnawed bread in the bread bag, no poo on the counters. But I always had a feeling that it was still around somewhere. And thus, when I carelessly left half an unpalatable green-tea mini-mooncake on the table last night, perhaps no surprise that I found much of it demolished this morning, accompanied by large (for a mouse) mouse turds. Tip-trap is now baited with mooncake, and we shall see if mouse has become any porkier since the spring.

And now we're back

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 10:48 pm
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This is the crazy time of year when new babies start one per fortnight: which, yes, is better than one a week. But we're getting little babies, five or six months, and they teethe and fall sick and hate their bottles and cry piteously because the Boob has gone and everything hurts oh oh oh. Thus I spend my days patting their backs and rocking them to sleep and am sometimes paid for my labours, and come home knackered.

Possible the fatigue causes brain rot, but in fact I'd had it in mind for a while to call the gas company to ask if I'd booked my furnace check-up and if so, for when. Came home last night from two Long Island Ice Teas and a salad, to several calls on the machine. First from the gas guy to ascertain if I was at home that morning, which I wasn't; then to say he'd have to cancel because his car had broken down; and a third silence, which might have been him or, equally likely, some call centre. Dodged a bullet there, whichever. And now I *must* call the dentist to ascertain if my appointment is Oct 10 or Oct 19, because both are marked on the calendar.
Wednesday )

(no subject)

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 10:07 pm
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Internet connection went down, though for some reason I'm still connected to the Addiction Solitaire site. For which I am grateful, you understand, but still. I hear there are people who use two thumbs to write on their phones. If *I* do that not even auto correct can guess what I mean. It's middle finger typing all the way, for me.
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I had great plans for this weekend, starting with a lymphatic massage at noon on Saturday. Alas, came home Friday night to a message on the machine: 'It's now ten past twelve, are you coming for your massage?' How did I confuse Friday with Saturday when I made the appointment on Thursday? Who knows? But Saturday I left my phone on the table at my local cafe and had conniptions when I went to take it out at home. How could I ignore a bright pink phone case sitting on the table? Again, who knows?

Saturday afternoon was merely trying. Went to visit aunt and found the place in the middle of 40th anniversary celebrations, meaning a very loud jazz band playing from 2 to 4 and my aunt sitting in the audience. Even when we made our way to our usual table round the corner the saxophonist still drowned out my aunt's frail voice, and when he didn't, the very genki staff and visitor genkily chatting ten feet away sufficed instead. I suppose the staff get used to speaking loudly, but there's no excuse for the visitor.

Was going on a picnic to Riverdale Park with automobiled friend on Sunday, but Saturday night began to suffer from indefinable malaise. Cancelled, went up to lie on sideroom bed, fell asleep, woke at 11, moved to own bed, slept till 8. Twelve hours should put a dent in anything. But tum was still off, as it has been all week- summer stomach or plague, again, who knows. So frittered the afternoon reading mysteries until I pulled myself together and rescued the day with a little domesticity: made soup from vegetable ends, mended perennially holey summer pants (which I hope will last until the cooler weather comes), vacuumed hallway and washed kitchen floor. Then washed the sweat and grime from me and my hair in a grateful shower, and am almost ready for bed again. Good night.
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Florence and Mary's house- detached, three story- must have sold for large bucks. One imagines that well-heeled yuppies bought it, and fears (if you're someone like the Gecko People with two renovations/ rebuildings happening very near by) that the usual mandatory strip-to-the-walls will ensue. New owners seem finally to have moved in this week- lights were on Friday night and curtains open to the living room- which they never were in Flo and Mary's time. Not much furniture to be seen, but there's a large Canadian flag tacked to the wall. Yuppies don't go in for this kind of interior decorating, so we may have dodged a bullet.

(The ongoing renovation across the street from me has been quiet and discreet. I notice the company's van out front and occasional appliances left for pickup, but none of the banging and cursing that accompany the new house across from the Gecko, or the new house a-building out my back window.)

The Indian Gardener's slow rebuild has reached the point of tearing out the old concrete walk and replacing it with interlocking stone that the IG's son is going to regret the minute it starts to snow. The front garden has once again been leveled flat and all the plants removed; given that various weeds and bushes came back up within a week of the last raze, there's doubtless some mighty fertile soil in the IG's yard. Also the house looked a lot better when it had that twelve feet by eight jungle in front of it, and bright pink woodwork. Homey and loved. Am not looking forward to the landscaping that's clearly planned.

Prof & Mrs Islamic Studies are pruning their magnolia tree, which is a good thing, because it's trying to top the second floor. To be precise, their son is pruning the tree, lost up in the branches eight feet overhead. Wish R could be persuaded to turn his energies to my hedge, but R has gone from rambunctious boy to serious student and prefers not.

(no subject)

Friday, September 15th, 2017 09:12 pm
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Warm sunny soupy September. Pumpkin trees down Spadina turn yellow. Synagogues have High Holiday hours posted. I run the AC at night.

Went back down to the AGO to look again at the Jean Bradbury calendar; still not decided. Then to re-view the Rita Letendre retrospective before it closes. Walked about my favourite galleries and discovered they've swapped out the painting in the room with the wolves, to my annoyance. Trust they'll put it back when the exhibit's over.

Then wandered about looking for something that was on the fourth floor, not the second; but by happenstance walked into a room of-- well, the more than numinous. Inuit artist Manasie Akpaliapik's sculptures done in whalebone, ivory, stone, balleen, and other things beside. That site shows three works: 'Respecting the Circle' (one side of it- the other side is quite different), 'Shaman Muskox' and 'Spirit Woman'. There's also the amazing Suicide Story. That's a youtube video taken at the AGO and showing the work in detail. There's another for Respecting the Circle.

(An excellent overview of the exhibit can be found at this blog, which is, disconcertingly, a Malaysian food blog.)

Never mind the woodwoses and green men of the old country. This is what the Canadian North does instead:
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Muscle relaxants and/or antihistamines guarantee I sleep late this season, if not deep (up several times a night for the loo; that I then go back to sleep indicates the drugs' potency.) But I have a morning shift tomorrow and must be up at 7 at the latest in order to get breakfast (15 minutes) and my body working (45 minimum stretch and strengthen plus time for painkillers to work.) Thus, a full ativan, and the full ativan's happiness.

Actually a full ativan means I won't *want* to get up tomorrow morning: its sleep is so delicious, especially if I indulge in AC tonight to keep more allergens from blowing in through the window fan. But tomorrow's troubles tomorrow.

Sitting in the side bedroom these past nights I hear something moving in the walkway between me and next door. I think of beasts- specifically, I think of raccoons- but it might be people. Poking about with flashlights reveals nothing and after last night's garbage putout, I conclude it may be an odd trick of acoustics, because it certainly sounded like next door was putting out their already put out bins when it was across the street. Then again, what I thought were the clumps of fallen ironwood seeds on my front steps seems to be fecal in origin, though I know no local animal that poops golden. Maybe it's the Mystery Skunk who occasionally perfumes the neighbourhood?


Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 09:03 pm
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Haven't posted because nothing has been happening aside from the usual- work and wandering aches. Lower back/ lumbar at the moment, making walking unpleasant. Have had this pain before, many times: it recurs in spite of chiropracty, physiotherapy, acupuncture, and weight fluctuations. Can't remember what if anything made it go away the last time, and the time before, and back in 2015 when it seriously interfered with meditation, and and and.

But today I went down to the AGO to see what 2018 calendars they have. Not many and nothing that says 'This is IT!!' like last year's Emma Haworth calendar with its long distance views of London. Hokusai, Carr, and O'Keefe, of course; a whole calendar devoted to sections of The Garden of Earthly Delights which I have hanging over my bed and don't need to see in greater detail; and a Canadian artist who does odd representations of animals, so far the best bet. (Midoco had a Hasui calendar with all the warhorses, most disappointing. Maybe when they get more stock in... I mean, I always buy next door a Mucha calendar- the man was beyond prolific- and have no idea what to do if they stop producing art nouveau calendars.)

But being there decided to eat in their restaurant: a $15 Long Island Tea and a $15 appetizer of smoked slamon and marble bread (two slices, I grant you) plus assorted obscure small vegetables. Wish I was rich enough to indulge in a $25 hamburger which has no meat in it, being- as I understand it- a portobello mushroom with trimmings and fries on the side. Pretentions go- well, a lot farther in fashionable restaurants, I believe- but for a sort-of common person's venue like the AGO, that's pretty pretentious.

Wednesday )


Saturday, September 9th, 2017 08:57 pm
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Discovered that when trying to free up space in perpetually 'not enough space' phone, 'empty cache' is good for all apps. 'Delete data' is fine for everything but browser. Since no manufacturer these days will tell you anything about phones, tablets, laptops or desktops (instruction manuals, oh yes, I remembers them) one must learn by trial and error; and occasionally that involves deleting all your browser's bookmarks.

Evening with the Young Ladies last night. We watched a Percy Jackson film. Discover that Percy Jackson works infinitely better as a movie than as a book.

I don't say that all recent Holmes pastiche is ridden with vocabulary near misses, but certainly Paul D. Gilbert's stuff is. Not the true howlers, but a string of niggly Wrong Words that eventually begin to grate. "Holmes' long, sinewy fingers reached out greedily for the wire and he began to read it with urgent intent." "...I believe that our client is sincere in her interpretation of the events she has witnessed. As to whether my investigations validate that construer is, of course, an altogether different matter." "...Daxer's hold over Douglas had its roots in Dundas' handling of the Prussian Crisis, the event that precipitated his meteoric rise to political imminence." And on and on.
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Last finished?
C.S. Harris, Where Serpents Sleep
-- the loonie bin tempted me and I did buy. Number 5 in the Sebastian St. Cyr series about murder and detecting and dark deeds in a Regency London that owes very little to Jane Austen. The Big Bad who *really* runs the country is cousin to the king and behaves like a Mafia don: someone gets in his way, we send our hitman to off them. The author is American. St. Cyr is clearly going to fall for the Big Bad's independent-minded daughter, now that his Twoo Wub is denied him for truly melodramatic reasons. That said, I'd assumed the politicians involved were as invented as the Big Bad cousin, and they're not. Probably a good thing my regency history is as hazy as it is.

Moore and Wossface, Century: 1969
-- a little more meat to it than 1910, but the real point of LoEG is clearly to read them with the online annotations that identify every face in every panel. Yes, I got the Fotherington-Thomas reference myself, but hadn't a clue that Brian Jones died in A.A. Milne's swimming pool. The things you learn

On the go?
V.E Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic
-- that Library crossover gave me false expectations of the tone. Fun up to the point that everything started going Grand Guignol. Will finish, of course, but hope it doesn't lead to reading the next two (three?) books in the series.

Agatha Christie, The Harlequin Tea Set
-- got for the title story, the last of the Harley Quins. A very very late work, confirming that authors in old age shouldn't let their publishers persuade them to revisit favourite characters- cf L.M. Boston and P.L. Travers. (Though the former actually started writing in what, at the time, was considered old age, so I suppose it was older age for her.)

Ima Ichiko, 100 Demons 26
-- Either Ima-sensei has become even more obscure or my Japanese has gotten even worse than it was. I enjoyed the first story but will have to reread carefully to figure out how all the disparate bits fit together.

I still use my Word Tank for lookups because all the Japanese phone apps that get recommended seem to lack a very basic function: the list of compounds attached to every kanji. The apps all seem geared to learning Japanese: memorizing kanji or learning stroke order rather than functioning as a straightforward dictionary. Maybe when I have a tablet I can find an online source; for sure my phone doesn't have nearly enough memory to download a program whose offline access is touted as an advantage. My phone still keeps trying to deny me use of the camera.

All the above? Maybe something meatier if I feel serious; maybe a loonie bin Ian Rankin if I don't.
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But a very large golden moon is rising out of the trees out my back window.

Another triumph: I still have oddments from the family house in my basement, unused and unsorted since 1988. Yesterday I put one box of rusted metal this and thats- wrenches, screwdrivers, a desk lamp on a bracket- out on the front lawn, hoping someone might pick it over and remove the usables. Instead they walked off with the whole shebang. Maybe I can get rid of those three coffee tins of old nails now?

* In fact it's neither. Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, and is Oct 5 this year. Hunter's Moon is the first full moon after that one, which is in November. There's no name for an early September great big moon.
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Warm blowy day, summer's last blast (maybe), blasted itself by our annual Traumatize The Refugees and Any Dogs Within Earshot bunfest aka the Air Show. War planes breaking the sound barrier and stray eardrums. Thus stayed in and adulted- dishes, laundry, and sorting through mounds and mounds of old bills. Some of which will eventually be shredded when I can get to next door's shredder. Possibly a waste of a long weekend, but better than sitting reading all day. And the clean kitchen floor from yesterday glads my heart.

Also cricked my neck sleeping last night, and am plagued by IT band and lumbar aches. So walking was not an option, alas.


Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 07:56 pm
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Such little things can make one so happy. Environment Canada has fixed their coding so the webpage's little icons now sit beside the text again. Sunday the cafe down the street has Eggs Benedict brunch. And someone on the FFL reviewing the complete oeuvre of M.R. James remarks that Count Magnus is clearly a vampire: and suddenly an oogley of over half a century's standing- the last padlock on the Count's coffin falling off and the lid starting to lift- becomes an 'oh yeah, that' thing. I might even be able to read the story again some time.

(OTOH the boy in the bath in Lost Hearts will never cease to be terrifying.)

From the FFL

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 10:31 pm
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Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander along the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

- Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell
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What happened in August? What happened in August that I remember, and not the stuff I noted in my daybook?

There was an eclipse, nothing amazing, that has itself mixed up with the action of Cyrion.
There was losing my acupuncture studio and starting at another, always on muggy days.
My landline went out and was repaired in blistering heat; two weeks later I had a cortisone shot in the rain.
In between mug and rain there were two pleasant evenings with the Young Ladies and two pleasant afternoons in various Second Cups.
I read a number of graphic novels; I reread three of the Tiffany books; I read a collection of Harley Quin stories: but only the last reminds me of the specific place where I read them.

This year was indeed cooler than last; I never had to use the central AC; but neither were there days and days of invigorating sun and splendid clouds. Nothing precisely wrong with this August but none of the usual delightful tropes either.

Now it's distinctly autumnal- grey clouds, jacket coolness, chestnut leaves turning at the edges, pink and purply cosmos filling whatever gardens go for that (next door did a late landscaping project so their front-lawn crop, usually chest-high and covering the side path, is reduced to a discreet and tiny clump in a corner.) Rain tomorrow; maybe I *will* stay in and read. Who knows?
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Is cold this evening: autumn come early. Jacket weather in the daytime, closed windows at night.

The latest Hundred Demons is supposedly on its way to me, so I started a reread of the penultimate volume to refresh my memory. It was like opening a door into a forgotten room: oh yes! Ritsu and Akira and Uncle Kai and 'how changed from what he was' Aoarashi. Why yes, I remember them well.

Environment Canada has changed its webpage's coding so that it no longer displays correctly in this version of Chrome, the last version that will work with WinXP. I will will will get a tablet *soon*, because I dislike having to use my phone for something this basic. (And even my phone's browser is out of date, but its version of Chrome is even worse.) Use my laptop? The laptop is still in its box from last May.

Secrets of the ages

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 09:12 pm
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My father puzzled endlessly how it is that garden hoses tie themselves into knots, and was delighted to find an explanation in the subtle expansion and contraction that comes with heating and cooling. I puzzle endlessly as to how my shower mat acquires brown grunge around its little suckers when I always hang it up to dry immediately after a shower. In those five or ten minutes, does enough water accumulate around the suckers to create mineral deposits? I clean them with an old toothbrush, which works but is time-consuming and annoying.
Wednesday meme )
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It was still light when I left acupuncture at 7:30 but it was dusk when I got to Fiesta Farms at 8, and full dark when I left it at 8:30. I put on my head light (it's affixed to a band that goes round the head, supposedly for handymen) and the bike's tail light to go home. And home was dark. In winter I keep the fluorescent kitchen counter light on all day, so there's light in the house when I come home. Haven't done that since May. And now I must start doing it again.

The porch light itself doesn't give much light, and anyway, the headband headlight illuminates the door quite satisfactorily, thank you.


Sunday, August 27th, 2017 09:48 pm
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Silver-gilt days of late August bring back memories of travels elsewhere- to Florence in '80, to Japan in '90, to- well, Saiyuki-land in 2000. A good run, I suppose, even if I'm not likely to ever do it again. For one thing, flying is now an ordeal I'm really not up for anymore.

I keep telling myself to note the provenance of things I put on hold. I know where I got Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra, which I returned to the library five pages in. Partly because it was large-print, and large-print destroys the text for me; partly because it was ever so slightly off in its pastiche. (Truly, I do wonder at people who indiscriminately read fanfic of a beloved series: the beloved character is simply not themself.)

But why did I put a hold on A Lesson in Dying, however long ago that was? The summary sounds exactly what I want- "A murder mystery begins in a Northumberland village when the local headmaster is killed. As he was hated by one and all, the village is forced to look among its own for the murderer. Before the truth emerges from Superintendent Ramsay's investigation however, another murder is committed." North of England, small towns, detective-inspectors. But I don't know Ann Cleeves from Adam, and I wonder where I came across her. Also am not impressed by this one: characters as thin as Christie's but not nearly as much fun.
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Might as well be. It's September Song weather- coolish under the sun, random smell of woodsmoke in the evening, odd flashbacks to Florence and Paris in 1980. (Oh to be in Paris now that autumn's here.) This last week of August may be the most summer we get. Summer 1994 did the same thing in Tokyo- a muggy warm week between the end of the rainy season and the very early start of the typhoon one. But the autumn that followed was amazing, so I shall hope this one will do the same.

Is it age that makes this year so forgettable and forgotten in my mind? Even major house-related stuff that happened made little impression. I put it down to the world-wide depression of Donald Trump and his Dying Earth. An end-times feel. Well, one felt the same with Dubya, but this is even more so.


Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 10:42 pm
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Monday's optimistic expectation of blissful early slumber was foiled by malign astronomic influences: the conjunction of full moon and eclipse resulted in such next-morning parental notes as 'bad night', 'didn't sleep much', 'restless sleep', and so on. I was corralled for an early shift by an 11 pm phone call and so, naturally, couldn't fall asleep until 1, with, yes, frequent wakings. The resulting 8:15 to 5:45 day passed in a sweaty haze.

But then the wind blew Tuesday evening and suddenly we're in a different world; which is a relief. I was still plagued with leg and ankle and thigh cramps all through last night. They eased off when I finally put my woolly bedsocks on, and I shall hope today's acupuncture has helped. Shall go back to twice a week sessions of same, because once a week has led to five days of lumbar twinges and spastic leg muscles.
Once again Wednesday )


Monday, August 21st, 2017 09:38 pm
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"If you're feeling wonky today," says the cook, "it's because there's both a full moon and an eclipse." And a full-ativan sleep for a twitchy nerve in the lumbar region, that kept me asleep till ninety minutes before my shift, and exercises that didn't uncrick the back so more muscle relaxants as well as an anti-histamine; and heat and mug and air quality alert.

The drugs worked well enough to let me work, but certainly I feel a mite dislocated. Shall sleep well tonight.

(I always expect solar eclipses to look like the description in The Last of the Wine and they never do, possibly because they're never full. Today's looked kind of, well, grimy, to be honest. You'd probably get the same effect from a sandstorm, which we don't get in Toronto: at least, not yet.

Nothing weekend

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 07:11 pm
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I'm sorry, this August is a bust. All it does is carry over from July: rain, forecast to rain, looking like rain, etc. I want sunny dry breezy weather and I've never had more than a day at a time this year. The cicadas don't sing, the nights are not cool, and instead of renewed energy I have obscure twinge and ache in body parts that I actually use. Oh, and I sneeze and cough.

So no, accomplished very little either day. Did finish The Lais of Marie de France as well as I Shall Wear Midnight, and am currently rereading LoEG and Tanith Lee's Cyrion. And all of these are obscurely oppressive and fantoddy when I want something cheerful. Also for my nose to stop dripping.


Thursday, August 17th, 2017 08:27 pm
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There was a Front Lawn Library laid out yesterday in front of the house with the swing (old-fashioned kind: board and two ropes hung from a tree-branch: hence, family with kids.) I passed on the cookbooks and passed a shade regretfully on the YA. I couldn't get into Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe when I had it from the library so I left it for someone of the appropriate age group. But I was having a cortisone shot today at the hospital, meaning much hanging about in waiting rooms, and thought I should bring something light in case the Ghosh-on-the-go proved too heavy, and there was a copy of Jamaica Inn and I've never read any du Maurier so....

And indeed I was in no mood for Ghosh as I sat in Diagnostic Imaging, so I rustled out the du Maurier and found- the first forty pages had a 2 by 3" hole in them, the sort one secretes knives in for prisoners except not nearly big or deep enough. D├ęcoupage, I thought in my innocent fashion. But the people at work- who all claimed to have watched too much CSI: Crime Scene Investigation- said no no no, must be smuggling something in to an imprisoned friend. Which I doubt because- smuggler books don't get put out on front lawns, just for a start. And anyway- 2 inches by 3 by1/2 an inch? Wouldn't even fit a cigarette pack.

Cell phone, said a younger assistant. Not supposed to have or have at school or whatever and smuggled in in a book. Which makes sense. But smuggler hasn't watched enough CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, because you're supposed to hollow out the *middle* of the book.

Meanwhile, if Environment Canada says 30% chance of showers, that usually means sun and some clouds. We've had Alert: Severe Thunderstorm Watches that resulted only in heat and big white clouds and wind. But in this most 2008ish of summers, 30% chance of showers means monsoon downpour. And so today proved- luckily, /after/ I got back from the hospital.
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"August continues to be August, I hope you are well."

Last finished?
Peter Dickinson, Skeleton-in-waiting
-- sort of sequel to King and Joker. Lacks the dislocating feeling of K&J, now that one has the alt-history and new Royals straight. Not as focussed in plot, which all happened in one place in the first book, and the denouement was a bit too Dickinson for my total satisfaction. I like Poirotesque 'unmask the villain and untangle the plot' in a grand finale of detective fireworks. This one has after the fact deduction, which is nowhere near as fun. Does however have the alt-Royals in the 80s still having to deal with the constant bogey of Mrs.T.

Hugh Greene ed, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes
-- cads, cracksmen, and confidence men. Baroness Orczy's stories are the standout, with actual detection in them.

I.N.J. Culbard, The King in Yellow
-- mangaization of Chambers' stories. Truly, why bother?

On the go?
Still with the mysterious Mr. Quin, pleasant bed- and mealtime reading.

Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
-- later Pratchett, sometimes heavily sincere; but still, Pratchett and Tiffany.

Possibly I shall finish the Sandman prequel, though online sources say Do Not Start Here. But I doubt very much that I'm starting anything.

Erm. I have The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: the omnibus edition, which, it turns out, may not contain anything I haven't read.

I could go back to my perennials, or go on with the third volume of the Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. What I thought would be my next book- Sherry Thomas' A Study in Scarlet Women, was abandoned ten pages in. Dull dull dull.


Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 08:18 pm
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I have the feeling Agatha Christie never took a boat to Canada or a train to Alberta. When I was five I sailed from Quebec City to Le Havre and it took a week. These days it's three days travelling time from Quebec City to Banff not counting waits and inevitable train delays, and I fancy that ninety years ago the trains were a lot slower. Certainly in 1974 it took me three days just to get to Saskatoon.

So if in the 1920s you have three weeks to track down a witness in Banff before a man is hanged for murder, and you're leaving from London and travelling by boat and train, I *really* don't think you're going to make it.


Sunday, August 13th, 2017 07:59 pm
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Evening with the Older Girls last night, watching Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. Were those things subtitled when they came out? because I swear, they might as well have been speaking French for all I could make out. Words here and there, 90% lost in mumbles. Except, of course, the older stage-trained actors- Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and but naturally Alan Rickman and his e-nun-ci-a-tion. Though I generally loathe Harry and all his works, I will admit that the movies- when I can see what's happening in them- have a kind of magical far-awayness to them.

Reading graphic novels to see what the genre is about, and have fallen into what I think is a Sandman prequel? Certainly it grabs, and Gaiman's dialogue is miles better than anyone else's I've read; but since it was written twenty years after the original series, why are these anthropomorphic personifications all white people?
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I slept till past noon, in spite of waking and turning off the AC at 8 or so. Never go back for 'just a little lie-down in the warmth.'

Why I went looking into the crowded and jumbled back of the bathroom cupboard I can't think, but there discovered that something sticky had oozed out of one of the unsatisfactory bath oil bottles. Except it had no scent, just foamed when I washed it off everything else in the cupboard. So I cleaned the cupboard with the two cloths also found back there and banished anything not of use/ requiring extreme washing into the study, and left it all to dry while I went to spend an evening with the Formerly Little Girls watching The Half-blood Prince. Tomorrow there will be much decanting of bottles into plastic bags for the garbage, and tossing of emptied bottles into the recycle. But tomorrow is another- and happily cooler- day.
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The great advantage to being pulled out of sweet slumber to come be someone who forgot they had a shift is that you don't read Facebook until the evening, and can believe for eight hours that the world is still a rational place. The drawback is that, though you have your travelling meds in your bag and eventually get to take them after you've had a cracker or so at snack, you don't have the stomach coaters that precede the breakfast you didn't get, so insides are unhappy with the meds you take full doses of throughout this achey day- because of course you don't get to do your mandatory stretch and strengthen exercises either. Or not till the afternoon, when there's finally space and quiet enough to lie down on the floor. But alas again- crawling infants find supine adults irresistible and come looming above your face with a Watcha doin'? drooly smile. Clearly you're here to provide a climbing structure or cruising bar, and your extremities will be used for precisely that.

This after an evening's babysit, or rather girlsit, to midnight; to be followed by same tomorrow night. If I'm MIA, that is why.

(no subject)

Thursday, August 10th, 2017 10:30 pm
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Hmmm. So can I still cross post to LJ?
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Went to put in my one-a-day lens this morning and it wouldn't stick. Slid all over and blurred my vision. Eventually took it out and then realized I was seeing in focus. This means I either a) somehow put it in this morning without noticing I was doing so or b) didn't take it out last night and slept in it without it drying up and coming off. Both of these are worrying as indicating old age forgetfulness, the more so as a) seems the likelier- because I distinctly remember being fuzzy-visioned while getting breakfast. I only just realized option c)- that the factory accidentally put two lenses in one packet.

What would happen if I stopped indulging in nostalgia/ saudade? I can't imagine me doing it because the past is so intrinsically woven into my present that frequently the past is all I see. Certainly in the worn-out everyday, the past is what gives flavour to the present: as today, dropping in at the Avenue Rd Second Cup, still filled with the flavour of reading Yomogi there in November 2000. Of course I must have been there since, but the most recent memory still belongs to 2003, back in what memory incorrectly insists was a golden age of fandom.
Wednesday meme )


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