The Comfort & Sadness of a Tub Bath
Saturday, May 01, 2021
As the actual date of my Rosemary’s death recedes (December
9, 2020) I find myself in many ways worse than in the immediate sorrow of her
parting. Solitude and loneliness are settling in most
I drop off my daughter Hilary twice a week at her house in
Burnaby after serving her as nice a dinner as I can cook for her. As I drive
home I have and feel a warmth in my heart for the fact my two cats Niño and
Niña will be waiting for me.
They are not human and there is no circumstance where they
could replace or even compensate for not having the presence of Rosemary. But
they definitely have some sort of presence and they stare at me and vie for my
attention. As soon as I turn off the lights they are close to me or lie on top.
They don’t even attempt to wake me up in the morning to be fed.
So the day is the routine of breakfast in bed with the
papers after having fed the cats and allowed them out into the deck (Niño is
allowed to go outside the house). I clean and put stuff into its place and then
figure out what I can do to divide the day. This may involve shopping at
Safeway and now that my bicycle is fully fixed to cycle on Point Grey Road.
In the afternoon I might watch the Rachel Maddow show. I
avoid films as this was something I only did with Rosemary. Since her death I
have avoided what was our regular Saturday night pleasure which was to watch
Film Noir on TCM.
Ultimately the last calming pleasure of the day is to be had
in the tub. I put in lots of magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salts) and my daughter
Hilary has given me little bottles of Lavender and of vetiver. I read the NY
Times editorial page and Niño, on top of the wicker clothes-to-be-washed hamper
stares at me.
It is in the comfort of the hot water that I then find
myself missing Rosemary. She was a tub woman. In her youth she avoided showers
as she was afraid of losing her contact lenses. In Mexican heat she would take
cool tub baths.
In our Kits home, where all the plumbing worked and the tub
did not leak, (that was not the case in our former lovely home in Kerrisdale
where we could not afford plumbing repairs), Rosemary often took baths. We had
no compunction in sharing our bath water.
So as I lie in the tub I think that at one time I would have
said, “Rosemary do you want the water?” She would have answered in the
As I washed my hair last night I looked at the shampoo
container and as things go these days I think, “She bought this. As soon as it
is finished I will have to buy some more.” Will her presence in the house be
I have a few photos of Rosemary in the tub with one of our daughters. I regret that I never made any effort of taking photos of her alone.
In the photograph here it is Aja a friend of mine and of the
now departed Mark Budgen. Her photos in Budgen’s tub were the original ones
that I took which led to me taking pictures of many women I tubs and had my
first show in Vancouver.
My Winged Dinosaur First Out of the Gate
Friday, April 30, 2021
|Rosa sericea ssp. omiensis f. pteracantha - April 30 2021|
This species rose, with all its surprising features (huge,
red and translucent thorns and the only rose with four petals), is consistent
in blooming at the end of April without fail.
I went to my back lane to throw a bucket full of black spot
leaves and other garden refuse when I
noticed my large (it is an aggressive grower so it has to be kept in check) sericea with its two small but startlingly
white flowers. I smiled but became sad when I remembered that last year at this
time I would have run up to tell Rosemary of the joy of seeing the first rose
of the season.
I went a couple of years ago while in North Vancouver to
Garden Works. I was looking at some
roses when suddenly I felt a presence. I turned around and there was Rosa sericea accompanied by others and
all very large specimens. It seems that good stuff can be found in at least
three Gardenworks because Rob (North Van), Rob (Lougheed) and Darryle
(Mandeville) are responsible for ordering stuff that suits their fancy!
First rose of the season 2019
First rose of the season 2020
Rosa sericea 2012
Winged dinosaur 2013
St. Augustine's Melody
Thursday, April 29, 2021
On February 2019 my Rosemary and I went to Venice and
Florence. I can remember vividly the day in Florence, when across the street
where we had bought that evening’s dinner at supermarket not far from our hotel;
we spotted a store with leather goods. Rosemary saw the little cat purse. We
Since Rosemary’s death on December 9, 2020 I have been
staring at the cat purse as it hangs on one side of her dressing table mirror. At
first I smile, the cat has an infectious smile. And then I grow melancholy.
In the evening before I turn off the lights (as soon as I do Niño and Niña
compete to get on top of me) I glance at the happy cat and sometimes I am
overcome with sadness and tears flow.
I have been obsessed with the idea of time for a while. In
particular how it is that when you do something you never think of how that
which you are doing at that time will be remembered (seen?) in a near or far
off future. I can see and remember the smile on Rosemary’s face when she spotted
the cat purse. But I did not think then, that just a couple of years later I
would be scanning it for this blog.
In a recent CBC Ideas program I heard how St. Augustine in
his Confessions wrote how it is that we experience (and remember a melody). You
hear the note, it instantly is in your past memory. You listen to the second
note now, in the present, and then (and this is important) you anticipate that
next note that is still to come.
|Niña on my side of the bed|
Since it is human to associate things, places, smells
with people (or cats or animals or plants) I am constantly bombarded with these
associations in this little Kits house that are all about my Rosemary. Will it
ever cease? I do not think that will happen. Somehow these associations are
much like St. Augustine’s take on melody.
My present is full of that past and I anticipate that future
and wonder what will come next to push me back into the past and then to
reflect in that quickly disappearing present.
As I work on the garden to prepare it for this year's open garden for the members of the Vancouver Rose Society, Rosemary's garden, now also mine, is a St. Augustine shift. She planted this one. We bought these together. They look nice now. How will they look for the VRS? Is is a melody in the making. I can hear it.
Bonnie on the Psychiatric Couch & My Writing Block
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Since my Rosemary died on December 9 2020 I have been unable
to write my blogs with any kind of regularity. I am consumed by melancholy and
by two cats, Niño and Niña who cling to me and stare at me. They want constant
attention. For a while I had the slight pleasure (a bit of melancholy, too) of walking
Niño (without a leash) around the block just like Rosemary did. Then a couple
of weeks ago he crossed the street and got entangled with the legs of an old
man. The old man kicked him. Since then I have been unable to walk Niño past
that spot and when people come he runs away. He used to be extremely friendly.
I wonder how long before he forgets and we can return to our former walks.
Meanwhile I eat food that has little taste as this old man
is losing the sense of taste. I perform the menialities (I love this discovered
word) of the day and then lie on the bed with the cats on top of me telling
myself that on the next days bright and early I will sit at my computer to
write all those missing blogs.
But it doesn’t happen. So this blog is a new tack. It is
vaguely innocuous in content. It is about photographs of a lovely woman I photographed
in 1991 when I was first experimenting with my confused notions on eroticism.
The pictures I took using a just purchased but used psychiatric couch. In those
early 90s studio backdrops of canvas were in fashion. I had one in my studio on
Robson and Granville.
The lovely woman’s name was Bonnie and showed up with Texan
cowboy boots. I immediately had a warm spot for because there is nothing more
Texan (part of my nostalgia of having gone to a Roman Catholic boarding school,
St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas in the late 50) of seeing a woman in skirts or a
dress while wearing cowboy boots.
I took a series of photographs of Bonnie sitting on the
couch but I cannot show the third in the series showing a lot more beneath that
this site would allow.
But it is only now that I have noticed that Bonnie had a
strong resemblance to Brigitte Bardot.
Perhaps tonight or tomorrow I will get down to business and
write a proper blog.