Monday, 16 January 2017

Sausages. Just sausages.

The full Monty will have to wait.  After much anticipation, Brunch was postponed yet again.  Scratchy throat and sneezing have become the norm. After a night of zero sleep, I am even more curmudgeonly than usual.  We are two weeks into the New Year and already looking ahead to the next statutory holiday.  Thankfully, forces conspired to declare Family Day available to all.

But the world has bigger problems.  Sunday was a day of action to counter the coming inauguration--marches on Washington, pink hats, Writers and Readers Resist. Very pleased to hear that Mr. Anka has withdrawn his services.  No one needs to listen to a version of My Way that has been specifically tailored for the event. Stellar performance from Baldwin—and SNL writers—Saturday night. And not to mention a call for Hinckley to give sober though to an encore.  A marathon session of House of Cards II suggests impeachment shouldn’t be all that difficult. We don’t need an assassination attempt.

Streep’s acceptance speech carried me and a lot of people through the week.  Not even the threat of 10 cm of snow could dampen the mood. Some felt she was just as bad as Trump in calling out Kovaleski’s history to get her point across. I have no issues with celebrities using their platform to express their opinion.  

As a counter measure to January 20 and a bleak day for last Sunday’s news—bombings, death by bus—I read Healey’s The Drawer Boy, again.

You carried me—and all that—around all this time?

The snow turned out to be a non-starter and we have endured rain and cloud ever since.  Come back sun, all is forgiven.  Need a sun lamp and brass band to get me up in the morning.  I am better to suited to an equatorial climate.  The rain forecast did not stop the property manager from dumping a truckload of salt on the driveway.  This is why there’s salt shortage; it has nothing to do with snow and ice.

Things do still happen north of the border.  Pleased to see Dion shuffled out as he lacks the social graces and spine for the position of Foreign Minister.  Will the Woman in Red tame the Orange Man? Like her colleagues, Ms. Freeland is equally adept at avoiding answering a direct question.

Not you! Not you! By Wednesday, we were back to the US—the post press-conference blues. More backbone, Press.  Reading that all unsubstantiated claims against Rob Ford’s indiscretions turned out to true.

Three things on the to-do-list:

One, find a way to finally shirk the flushed cheeks, congestion, aches, and sneezing. I took in five minutes of chill, afternoon air to clear the lungs. There is a suggestion of green left in the garden—a robust aquilegia and a spike holding on for dear life. (Also, to convince those around me to wash their hands on a regular basis and encourage them to sneeze not into the hand or the air, but, the armpit.  Germs are no joke.)  

Two, to find the right balance in being engaged with news and avoiding it outright due to rising blood pressure from seeing Trump splashed across the newspaper and screen. But we shouldn’t silo or bubble-wrap ourselves, either.

Three, to find a tastier option than lifeless WASA crisp bread to sustain me through January’s fast. This is critical.

Closed out the week with The Trip—Italy, for respite care. It is pure torture watching beautiful food being hoovered up without any appreciation for the preparation, plating, or mindful eating. Note to self, it is time to return to more adventurous menu planning.  Beautiful pieces of music from Strauss and Mahler (“Wouldn’t you simply die without Mahler?”) throughout the film. Very medicinal movie all round.

Odd to start the Sunday wind-down without a Vinyl CafĂ© story; last year’s weekly double bill made for a good jumping off point; we wish Mr. McLean well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have several pounds of sausage, black pudding, and ham to dispense with.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Middlemarch, again.

After a less than auspicious start to January 1--dry toast, water, and a nap--the new year finally got going around 15:00 with a gin and tonic and the ubiquitous shrimp ring. Ah, the perennial appeal of soggy shrimp and having to wrestle the meat out from its tail. Commitments were made to cut down not only on shrimp, but pastry and potatoes.  Wine is not on the cut list.  Hauled out a copy of Bridget Jones' Diary and relived Xmas all over. The Full Monty breakfast will have to wait.

January 2 was overcast and we braced for the Tuesday reality check.  This time it was the ubiquitous pan of French toast.  Portion sizes discussed again.  I read Thuet--foie gras, truffles, and sea urchin.  Hauled out a copy of Belly of an Architect--a man obsessed with his digestive tract. Look what happened to him.

Like New Year, the workweek started on a low note--rain, thick fog, grunts of good morning.  There should be a code of conduct for first day--nay, week--back.  Civility in all its forms. I don't expect a "happy new year" but let's start with good morning. It would help if we all drank coffee.  Day two of The Purge.  Where is my copy of Apartment Therapy?

Kippered salmon is a fine way to start a Wednesday.  Enjoying the fact that everywhere but Hamilton was experiencing (-28C). Vancouver chastised for having another kind of meltdown.  Near riots in the street because Winter arrived unannounced.  Excitement in the office space as the radiators were left on overnight and the building was warm for a change.

A relapse was inevitable what with early starts and a bloody freezing Wednesday night. Frustrated that we haven't seen a shift from 7:52 to 7:51 sunrise.  The sun appeared in brief and then darkness descended.  Chicken soup, day four.  Mood further lowered by finding Trump splashed across the centre pages of the Globe and Mail, again.

Sun by week's end--portending a good weekend--and more cold temps.  For the first time in five weeks, there was nothing but housekeeping to do.  Shopped for a winter dress and found exactly what I wanted.  However, it was Ivanka and had to leave it on the rack on principle. Other shoppers pointed to the Ivanka wares in jest; nobody was buying. Hauled out a copy of When Harry Met Sally which I hadn't seen in at least ten years. Was in Grade 12 when this was last in theatres. Much ado about Ms. Fisher.

Sunny today and a motivator to exercise and tackle the housekeeping.  However there is no shame in taking a leisurely Sunday. My Catholic neighbours chastise me for performing any labour on his day. There is no tree to take down this year.  Last year's tree wasn't taken down until mid-March. I'm okay with this.  We shall borrow, once again, from the Orthodox and officially celebrate the New Year with them.  It's not New Year's without a Full Monty.

At time of writing, CBC Sunday was in New Year mode:  mindfulness, no information snacks, and book clubs via the telephone. Positivity in an age of Trump. Middlemarch came up.  Like most of us, I was introduced to Middlemarch via PBS.  Reading the novel was a whole other story. What a labour! And why do we feel we have to read the classics? What of all the other books on the shelves? I agree with the head of libraries for Thunder Bay, John Pateman--let the public decide what stays on the shelves.  Although the snob in me says we should aim higher than Dan Brown. I've read Rebecca Mead's take on Middlemarch and feel it's time to revisit Eliot.  With David MacFarlane always in mind--do one thing at a time(did he ever stick to his plan?)this daunting task may yet be achieved. There are only so many to-be-read-piles one can have laying about the house. Purge the shelves of unread books! Just don't call it a resolution or else it probably won't get done.