Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A very happy new year to each and every one of my three readers, (I know it is sometimes more, but I really can't get used to this, as I think of it as mainly a diary just for me).
That was the year that was.

I can't think beyond my own year at first. I was in hospital for a few very pleasant days. There was a worry that my heart might be ready for failure, but I felt I was coping with that very well. There was no room in the coronary ward, so they put me in organ transplant. While I was there, I met a man who was somewhat sad because he had ruined his liver drinking. He had quit for many years and was suitable for a transplant. After a long wait he had been called in for the operation, only to be told, while I shared the room with him, that once again the donor was found to be unsuitable. Another man had a successful kidney transplant, but he was also miserable. David lent me his laptop and I watched the whole of "Arrested Development" with a headset, so these miserable men were assaulted by my periodic outburst of hilarious laughter. Whatever the outcome, I accepted that I must lose weight. I weighed 264 at the highest and lost about ten pounds fairly easily, keeping a food diary and weighing in every morning. I dipped below 250 a couple of times, but I haven't yet got by that plateau. I joined a fitness club, but haven't been for two weeks, much discouraged by their sauna and steam room both being out of action. I did one free class, which was way too advanced for me, supposedly in Pilates, but, to me, it seemed like basic marine endurance.
Cathy and I went to France for my dear nephew's wedding. My brothers put on a terrific show in the French Alps, which some how included a firework display in the middle of the night. Not one villager protested. For one meal I sat between my first wife, (common law) and my second, Cathy. My younger brother gave me a long promised notebook computer and a lot of money in cash, which covered our expenses and then some.
Soon after our return, we learned that we had to vacate our rented house and we eagerly set about finding a house to buy. We both fell in love with the kooky house we actually bought, just at the wrong time, as house prices collapsed about a month later. We are very happy there and secure in the knowledge that had we waited, (had we known what no one else knew), we would not have the house.
David had to give up his apartment and returned to live in our spare family room. He studied hard and got 78% on his exam. He has an attractive beard. He went through a sort of paranoid anger phase and, as he gains more confidence, it has mercifully passed. He will always think passionately, which can be tiring, but I also admire him for it.
Matthew was doing very well at Davey's as an arborist/ landscape worker, but the dessicans osteo condritis in his knee became too painful and he had to be operated on. He is laid up for at least another four months. His humour is subdued, but healthy and, like our sleepy cat, he is good to have around.
William is thriving on his jewelry course. He has, as Cathy says, found his niche.
Each, in his own way, is excellent company and I wish I was not often too tired to take them somewhere in the one car . Actually, when Matthew started work, he bought his own car, but now that Toyota sits sadly inactive in the garage under the family room. In fact, under our Christmas tree.
We had our first Christmas in the new house, which, for the first time in years, I really enjoyed. I even made up new, favourable words for my grouchy Christmas song. Cathy's stocking turned out to be more rewarding than anyone else's. We did not spend a lot, but each and every one spent a lot of thought on the best gift.
And so we approach Balham, gateway to the South. 2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

Duration: 00:29:22
DG 4233772

Slower than usual. Lovely as usual.

Friday, December 26, 2008



These three are by Matthew

From Costo here:

What's the difference between a sunrise and a sunset? Back in the days before 9/11, when I went to England, I would get a seat as far forward as possible. At least twice, I asked the stewardess if I could go into the cockpit. I distinctly remember the sensation of chasing the setting sun. Another time I was in a very high building and felt that I could sense the earth rotating away from the setting sun. Here in Toronto, Cathy works with a woman, whose father always insisted on living East of where he worked. Thus he never had to drive into the sun, which, apparently, causes much concern and a few accidents. I am so tall, the car's roof usually screens the sun from my eyes. I was once charged with driving across a crosswalk, without stopping for a pedestrian who wanted to cross. The traffic, that morning, was crawling along very slowly. I claimed in court that we all advanced so slowly towards the cross walk, that I could not see the pedestrian behind the other cars, and also that I was so tall that I could not see the flashing X above the crosswalk. The judge let me go. Another time...well, in fact every time I have been charged with a driving offence, I have gone to court to argue my side of the facts in dispute, sometimes in the judges' chambers. I have found that almost all magistrates seem to welcome this. Their days must otherwise be so boring. When I was poor, I disputed parking fines, pleading that whereas their cost was painful, but easily paid by employed people, to the indigent they were overly onerous, (sounds good doesn't it). Only once a judge barked at me, "We are not on 'The Price is Right', you will either pay the full fine, or face further consequences". All the others would politely ask me if I could pay ten or fifteen dollars, instead of thirty. All this turned out to be a very poor example for one of my sons, who never paid any fines and, it seemed, only ever went to court to explain why he had not been in court before. He ended up losing his licence all together. I forget why. Boxing day, for the unacquisitive, must be the slowest day of the year. My household are all out or asleep.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I often think word verification words would make good passwords, but here is one that almost means something.
What do you think it might mean?

On my three sons again.

Now this is ridiculous. They call me at work to beg me to take the eldest shopping when I got home. So I have to skip my own last minute stuff to be home early enough. When I arrive he says he is so tired, won't I go for him. His mother, now get this, has told him she would like a Reitman's gift card. He gets her to give him her bank card, so that he can borrow money from her to get me to buy the gift card she has asked for. Wouldn't it be simpler for her to go out and spend her own money as she pleases? This "spirit of Christmas" thing sometimes gets out of hand. And another thing... people keep asking me what I will be getting drunk on for Christmas. Admittedly mainly alcoholics, but to each and every one I grumble "Whether Christ is a myth or a historical character, I don't think his birth warrants me going out and getting drunk". Herumph. It has snowed heavily here and today rained all afternoon. Most of the drains are blocked and I imagine almost everyone got home with wet feet. I left my wellies in England. They said that Union station would have its busiest day of the year. So everyone went home early. By the time I got there, there must have been about six people on the whole train. I can't think of anything else to grump about for now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

None of these thee sets of three sons are mine, but they might just as well be....

I don't know if can stand having children anymore. The youngest is a neat freak who hides everything I leave in a particular place, so that all surfaces are bare. The only things left on all kitchen counters are the toaster and the kettle. Well God bless him; it's better than the opposite, I suppose, but I can never find anything and he sleeps most of the day during the holidays, so I can't ask him where he put the light bulb I had to change. They all sleep all day. The oldest, who doesn't really live here, sleeps all day and his best friend has been here for two weeks. Yesterday I had to tell him to be gone so that we could have Christmas week ,"just family". The middle son is the least trouble, except he borrows the car and leaves the fuel gauge on empty. He borrowed eighty five dollars from me three weeks ago, "just for a few days" ,and last night, this is the last straw that broke this camel's back. Well, I should explain. He has had an operation on his knee, pins and bone grafts and he has to be off work for months. He hobbles around, but can, in fact, drive. So I had been asleep about two hours and we hear a terrible crashing down stairs sound and then silence. He's slipped on the stairs, I think. I leap out of bed and run half naked past our guest and then, and only then, my son calls out. "It's all right, I dropped my crutches down the stairs". Well, needless to say I could not get back sleep for quite a while after. That's when I realised that with everything else, I'm too old, to be having kids at home. Let them sleep all day and throw their crutches down the stairs at their own places.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My chess loving, Bergman loving co-worker friend just saw this and asked if I could send it to him. I did. It reminds me of the youth I never had. They did not have surfing in England, or basket ball, or base-ball, although we did play "rounders" which is similar. We had bomb sites to scramble over. When I was fourteen we found an abandoned car and my friend's dad towed us in it all the way up to Hamstead. We could not get it to work, so we rolled it down the hill of Hampstead Heath. Talk of litter bugs! That friend had an eventful life and eventually disappeared. No one was ever able to find him. The thing is I left England all those years ago and mainly did not keep up with my best friends there. Now that I am aging, I wish I still had those friends.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I filched this from flickr's best of 2008 challenge.

French Fancy posted this meme. Here goes:

My Ex - we thought we were soul mates. I guess one of the reasons we broke up was my undiagnosed and therefore untreated bi-polar mood disorder. Fortunately we never had children and so only hurt each other.

I love - my wife, life and family.

People would say - that I'm lazy.

But really - I refuse to be and have little experience of being bored.

I don't understand - How economies, often of very different levels of affluence, work.

When I wake up in the morning - weekdays I drag myself into sitting up, on days off, I sleep until I am bored of sleeping.

I lost - My cloth rabbit and my rubber frog. I know exactly where I left both of them.

My past is - gone for ever. No regrets.

Parties are - usually a bit bothersome for me. The only ones I have really enjoyed were cast parties after plays and student parties at theatre school.

I wish - I could find a moustache comb I could slip into my back pocket. This is surprisingly difficult.

Dogs - are sucky, dependant, demanding and sometimes very cute.

Cats - , from kittens to Bengal tigers, are proud, beautiful, noble and sometimes very cuddly.

Tomorrow - and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. A great speech. I feel the diametric opposite.

I have a low tolerance for - prolonged goodbyes. For me it's kiss, kiss and leave. When I was young I had a very good friend who did not even say goodbye. He would just get up and leave. Perfect. Died of alcoholism.

Go on - leap before you look.

If I had a million pounds - I would start a foundation, which would give yearly awards for life philosophies.

I am totally terrified - rarely, but when I jay walk, I sometimes realise I am stuck half way across, with cars speeding by in front and behind. I want to die conscious and calm. Not in extreme pain or alarmed.

The only rule is that anyone is welcome to jump in and use it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This remarkable picture by Virginia inspired me to write to her. I suggested that she come over to our house to paint her pattern on our walls as I have always dreamed of wallpaper without repeats. My family was, for a while, in the business of supplying wallpapers and I saw so many of them, I became totally immune to their charm. My mother also supplied draperies and furniture covering. I drive my wife half crazy with the very strong prejudices that have taken root in me from the influence of that trade.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chest pain and sore teeth. First in right upper back and then left. Uncomfortable, but no longer frightenning. 5.45AM for ten minutes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

French Fancy's French cousins. The bread is brilliant and the apple butterfly beguiling

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oscar Wilde in America



Edwin Booth and daughter

Henry James

London years ago, a mobile bathing hut in Spain, Coney Island. All in public domain.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I take it all back. What I said about women's hair. I just said "Hi" again to the young woman at the front desk at my exercise club and I found myself complimenting her on her hair. I asked her if she had specified the style and she said she had seen Victoria Beckam's and her stylist told her it would suit her. He hair was black and she looked, to my old eyes, even better than Beckam. But it was evident that she had had it done to attract attention and was glad to have it even from an old Santa figure like me. As Lynette said here, if your job involves the public you want to look your best.

Friday, December 5, 2008

803287 (My Picasso picture's number). For a clearer, stereo You tube sound, typ ethis after the URL &fmt=18
This test makes some people feel good by making them out to be younger than they are. Predictably, the opposite is doubly true for me.

You Belong in the Silent Generation
You fit in best with people born between 1925 and 1942.
You are a person of high values and character.
Family, your country, loyalty, and hard work all important to you.
You are willing to do what's right, even when it's difficult.
I don't want to give you the link because it leads to a very pesky perpetual invitation to meet the person in my area who has a crush on me. As if. Actually, if anyone does, we meet and talk at least once every day and that is fine with both of us.
I was challenged by Phil to name favorite films by letters of the alphabet.

Being There
Charlie Bubbles
The Defiant Ones
Elmer Gantry
Funny Face
Good Morning Vietnam
Heaven Can Wait
John And Mary
The L shaped Room
Never On A Sunday
The Odd Couple
The Pumpkin Eater
The Queen
Red River
The Seventh Seal
The Third Man
Under the Elms
V for Vendetta
x (?)
The Young Lions
Zorba The Greek

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This picture won a "Metro News" photo competition.

Metro claims to have the largest circulation in the world

for a small format, free daily.

What I like, is that the streetcar is one I take
every working day

and the picture,

although of a more misty time of night,

is very evocative of what I see every morning.

The picture was also chosen by flckr and igoogle

for their selection of today's interesting shots.