Sunday, May 15, 2016

Autumnal Sunday

As we hovered about the kitchen to finalize the preparations for this evening's meal, in an unrehearsed moment of synchronized lightheartedness we both announced how pleasant it would be to drink a frozen vodka Martini! No doubt because of the uncommonly cool air today, this Sunday has reminded me of an autumn Sunday.  And that inevitably engenders fond memories of crackling fireplaces, grey tree branches tossed about in the wind and yearnings for drawing room coziness generally. The very sight of the sparkling Sherry decanter moves me! Earlier this morning we had cranked the heat on to remove the chill from the apartment.  Nonetheless undeterred we went for our routine morning bicycle ride (complete with wool cardigan, jackets and gloves) along the nearby country roads; and afterwards when I went for a drive in my car to visit my elderly mother I insisted upon wearing my short pants (something I began to regret when standing in the icy wind by the gas pumps to fill the tank).

Friday, May 13, 2016

Drug Free

From what best I can recall my habit of taking an over-the-counter pain killer started in 1967 when I was studying Philosophy in undergraduate university at Glendon Hall, Toronto. It was after I had left boarding school and when booze began to figure regularly in my existence (though even then the legal drinking age was 21 years so we "fooled" the authorities by frequenting upscale lounges and restaurants in downtown Toronto where our minority of 18 years wouldn't be questioned as would likely have been the case in neighbourhood pubs). Interestingly the professors at the university encouraged weekly "Sherry parties" in the residence common rooms (Glendon was unquestionably elitist in its foundation) but of course Sherry didn't provide much more than a possible alcoholic springboard to greater heights. Eventually I and others learned to "stock" a supply of the liquor of choice (which then, upon the heels of our latest visit to the Caribbean, was rum). The drug of choice was Aspirin, the round, white, common Aspirin pill before the days of "Extra Strength". This was also before Tylenol or Advil were either invented or certainly before they were popularized by the rapacious drug companies. I believe I used the pills to calm me down, not just to eliminate a headache or sore throat for example. And often I combined the digestion with strong, black instant coffee (generous tablespoons of the stuff and hot water).  The concoction was partly a stimulant of course, with the assurance of a smooth ride. Unwittingly I had learned to cultivate a recipe which formed the basis of what eventually became an addiction. It was the first of my "dressing drinks" which were a preamble to a subsequent social engagement. Aspirin was routinely part of my bathroom commodities and certainly was always found in my shaving kit when traveling. I considered it an innocuous and effective additive, as much a part of my daily consumption as an apple.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Speak with music in your voice!

The Platonists tell us, that the soul, during her residence in the body, contracts many virtuous and vicious habits, so as to become a beneficent, mild, charitable, or an angry, malicious, revengeful being; a substance inflamed with lust, avarice, and pride; or, on the contrary, brightened with pure, generous, and humble dispositions: that these and the like habits of virtue and vice, growing into the very essence of the soul, survive and gather strength in her after her dissolution: that the torments of a vicious soul in a future state, arise principally from those importunate passions which are not capable of being gratified without a body; and that on the contrary, the happiness of virtuous minds very much consists in their being employed in sublime speculations, innocent diversions, sociable affections, and all the ecstasies of passion and rapture which are agreeable to reasonable natures, and of which they gained a relish in this life.

Excerpt From: Addison, Joseph. “The Tatler: By the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq;.” Oxford Text Archive, Oxford University.

Monday, May 9, 2016


In the compass of my admittedly shallow experience, the triflings of my existence have today changed from off-key to Middle-C. I had begun to think that the Forces of Evil had conspired against me; dissonance characterized my universe. To begin, several days ago I discovered by accident when examining my Moissanite "gem" in my pinky ring that there was an unmistakeable smudge on the centre flat surface resembling a small oil slick. As with any of these ostensibly negligible issues I at first pretended to ignore it.  But my obsessiveness kept me re-examining the stone to see if by chance I had possibly been deceived by the mere refraction of light. I cleaned the jewel every morning as usual with Ivory dish soap and an old toothbrush.  But the stain persisted. Because the blemish was so difficult to isolate (the exact light and angle were required), I entertained the further possibility that the smear was an anomaly only, a mere accident of circumstance, one that might never be repeated.  This thesis also gave way in short order. Finally I concluded that the stone was defective and forever stained.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Why I'm voting for Donald Trump

There are just too many people, organizations, movements and institutions that already object to much of what I do or think to persuade me to alter my view of Donald Trump. Long ago I stopped being impressed by contrary opinions generally.  Not just because they were contrary but because they had no substance or were playing upon sensitivities to their own advantage and for no other purpose. Really! Who for example in their right mind in the year 2016 pretends to get offended by coarse language! The worst I can say about coarse language is that it lacks imagination; but to portray its usage as less than presidential is preposterous beyond belief!  Do you really think politicians don't regularly lapse into the vernacular when they're not in public!  Give me a break!  Wake up!  Let's start dealing with the real world!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Pictorial Summary

Of course I had a life before I met Denis.  But things didn't really start to pop until then.  We've been together since 1996 - over twenty years - and unlike many couples we have spent most of our time together since that date. Certainly work initially interrupted our congress during the day but because Denis retired at age 51 and we sold our condominium in the By Ward Market, Ottawa and began cohabiting in our house in Almonte (and he's now over 62 years of age), our time apart has been minimal comparatively speaking. The thing is, we enjoy being together, we're like the inseparable Mutt and Jeff, two peas in a pod, that sort of thing. We've even been likened to twins! And more than once! I can only conclude we exude a commonality of spirit. I guess it's generally true to say that we like the same things, furniture, cars, booze, food, hotels and places of travel. Naturally there are differences between us but rather than alienating us we have learned to thrive upon our distinctions, an important mark of our individuality and singularity. We view it as an imperative to preserve our uniqueness, not just because the differences are real but because we wouldn't want to compromise our separate characters by becoming a blur. Although Denis is perfectly bilingual (French/English) we comically share our private Esperanto of bastardized "Frenglish", an artificial language which even has its rules of pronunciation!

Thursday, May 5, 2016


If I may be forgiven for using that preposterous and transparently dated epithet "cleaning lady", ours is a woman named Nadine. I am certain there must now be a more suitable term to describe someone who looks after cleaning one's house or apartment but employing "housekeeper" for example sounds rather more grand than the occupation implies. In any event what matters for purposes of this narrative is that Nadine visits us every two weeks and we favour her with the courtesy of getting lost when she is here, about a 2½ hour duration.  The bi-weekly visits have become the occasion for an outing, one that normally takes us away for most if not all the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Family, Friends & Acquaintances

Occasionally I have heard people remark as proof of their affection that their parents are their best friends. I prefer to preserve a distinction between family, friends and acquaintances.  Each is important; but each is different. Neither requires the signals of one to elevate the other. Indeed to commingle the qualities of one with the other is a mistake and can lead to unfortunate results not the least of which is disappointment. One must learn to distinguish the substantive differences in order to avoid unintended contamination of the relationship.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Rejoining the Herd

Last evening I had a long telephone conversation with my physician who for the instant has alighted in Town before soon departing again for the other side of the Atlantic. Though I have in the past two weeks since our return home reconnected sporadically with friends and acquaintances, today's encounters were unexpectedly and pleasantly sustained. Perhaps being in the mix on Mill Street before ten o'clock this Monday morning contributed to the intensity.