Bah Humbug! - Halloween
Saturday, October 30, 2021
A Kitsilano Halloween
Halloween - Nobody Knocked
Halloween - Bah humbug!
Those Exciting Georgia Straight Halloween covers
Rebecca prepares for Halloween
Lauren's take on Halloween
I am not the kind of person who likes Halloween. I loathe it. In
Argentina we did not have this holiday. Sometime in the early 70s a couple of poor and very dirty boys rang
our door bell to our little house in Arboledas, Estado de Mexico. They looked
at me forlornly and said, “Danos nuestro jaloyn,”
or “Give us our Halloween.” I was
shocked to see that the incroaching American culture was now close to home. I
may have given them the coins they wanted. Probably, now in retrospect, I would
think that the coins were sugar-free.
Once in Canada, and living in Burnaby, in the mid to late 70s
I have almost fond memories of my daughters, Ale and Hilary coming into the
house all wet because of the bitter rain outside with their booty. It was then
that I told Rosemary that I was not going to answer the door. Until last year and including it, few showed up at
Halloween. Rosemary was not well by then as she died a a month later on
December 9. I did not answer the door.
I feel both ashamed and sad about my Halloween attitude. I
am making up for it by now doing all the things that Rosemary did for us like
taking out the garbage, cleaning the cats’ kitty litter box, paying our bills
and all those other activities that I was either too stupid to understand or
unwilling to do.
Tomorrow Halloween, I know I will have few knocks on the
door. I will turn off the lights and not open the door. This monster will be
upstairs on the bed thinking of my Rosemary and how Halloween and Christmas
were activities that were intimately part of her life.
I will not take out the Christmas decorations or buy a
I do not have the heart.
Horror vacui & Rosemary's Ghosts
Friday, October 29, 2021
|L Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent', Rosa 'Ebb Tide'& Helichrysum petiolare 29 October 2021|
Because my blog is when I think about it a Dear Diary kind
of thing I often write stuff that is a tad personal and my family objects a
is that conundrum of making a blog have content, relevant content to my life
without offending others. It is not easy.
Today I went to pick up my new Windows10 computer. I will
not plug it in for a few day as I scan the last plants of the season and I
consider the problem which I will ultimately solve of converting the new
computer to have an ambivalent keyboard. With this computer if I press the Alt
key I can get ¡¡¡¡¡, ¿¿¿¿¿, ééé, ñññ, and even ö. It is the most convenient
method for me as I write in two languages. I know that the solution with the
Windows10 will not be self-evident. I am in fear. This is something strange as
I always felt excited when I brought a brand new camera home or as recently my
new Epson digital projector with which I plan to bore my Buenos Aires family
with a slide show!
As I approach December 9, when my Rosemary died, I know I will not
have the inclination of buying a Christmas tree and taking out the decorations
from storage. I plant to give my family cheques and I will not buy or wrap
Christmas gifts. Rosemary was a keen and very good wrapper. It seems I keep
repeating this a lot, “I don’t have the heart to…,” a lot. I simply don’t. The
idea of a family Christmas Eve dinner is also something I will not plan for.
Traditionally I would make a roast beef (partially in the barbecue) and
Rosemary her famous Yorkshire Pudding. I would make the gravy. Again I am not
doing any of that.
I keep thinking that I must be a person who might enjoy
feeling sorry for himself. I do not get any pleasure. What makes it all worse
is that my Niño and Niña cats stare at me when I am not cuddling them or they
are cuddling me. I feel bad if I don’t give them attention I feel guilty. "What to they know?"
"What do they remember?" These are questions that I keep asking myself.
Today was a sunny day so I took Niño for a walk. He is
beautiful to look at and he follows me quite well. I imagine he smiles somewhere inside. I take Rosemary’s route and
while I do not believe in ghosts I sense the vacuum of a presence, if there is
such a thing.
Because the 21st century has brought us the
utility of Google I became curious of the origin of the term “nature abhors a
vacuum.” I found it in Wikipedia and I was pleasantly surprised that its origin
is ancient and attributed to Aristotle.
In physics, horror
vacui, or plenism (/ˈpliːnɪzəm/),
commonly stated as "nature abhors a vacuum", is a postulate
attributed to Aristotle, who articulated a belief, later criticized by the
atomism of Epicurus and Lucretius, that nature contains no vacuums because the
denser surrounding material continuum would immediately fill the rarity of an
incipient void. He also argued against the void in a more abstract sense (as
"separable"), for example, that by definition a void, itself, is
nothing, and following Plato, nothing cannot rightly be said to exist.
Furthermore, insofar as it would be featureless, it could neither be
encountered by the senses, nor could its supposition lend additional
explanatory power. Hero of Alexandria challenged the theory in the first
century AD, but his attempts to create an artificial vacuum failed. The theory
was debated in the context of 17th-century fluid mechanics, by Thomas Hobbes
and Robert Boyle, among others, and through the early 18th century by Sir Isaac
Newton and Gottfried Leibniz.
Just about everybody I know recommends the ultimate
Canadian solution to ills, “Get counselling.”
I argue against this as my grief is made worse (but in
one respect more complex, almost interesting) because I think of it all as
philosophical problem. Having had a very good philosophy instructor for a year
in Mexico in the early 60s in Ramón Xirau I could explain right here the
objections of the Greek Atomist, Epicurus and the Roman Atomist, Lucretius cited
in the above Wikipedia excerpt.
I don’t know how they, the Atomists, would sense me
noting, noticing, and sensing the presence of my Rosemary simply because the
presence is not there. Leibniz and Newton also cited, co-discovered without
consultation with each other the Calculus. In calculus those minuscule infinitesimals
that never disappear, they become smaller and smaller, and reach nonexistence
The dent that Rosemary’s body made on our bed just before
she died and then when she did die and we waited for her (her?) to be taken away (they were very efficient and quick) will
never quite disappear. Unless I burn the mattress.
Is this what I sense of her when I walk Niño? Or is it
simply thinking about it conjures that nonexistent presence?
I believe that at age 79 my grief will not go away. But,
it will, when I reach my inevitable oblivion. Why did not Newton and Leibniz
call their infinity oblivion?
This sorry blog is illustrated with a scan of what may be
the two last roses of the season.
But I spoke too soon as I remembered that I have roses in
the back lane. In this second scan I have added what I found Rosa ‘Shropshire
Lad’ with a bloom and two buds.Rosemary planted those Helichrysum
(commonly called the licorice plant) as companions to our roses. With
the roses waning it is pristine and startling gray/white. Perhaps I
should call it Rosmary's Ghosts.
|Same as above but with Rosa 'Shropshire Lad'|
Geranium 'Rozanne' & Feline Philosophy
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
|Geranium 'Rozanne' 27 October 2021|
Today October 27, 2021 I am now not much better in dealing with my
grief over the loss of my Rosemary on December 9, 2021.
But there are some things that have kept me able to cope
from day to day.
I believe that all humans, even those that live alone, need
affection. I do get affection, lots of it, from my sticky orange and white
cats, Niño and Niña. They are constantly at my side and fight at night as to
which one will sleep closest to me when I turn off the lights.
|Geranium 'Rozanne' 25 October 2010|
Of course love’s other side is always guilt and I feel
terrible when I must leave them alone to go shopping. My grief has been so bad
of late that without having the cats I would point my Chevrolet Cruze in any
direction out of Vancouver. I cannot do that. My planned trip to Buenos Aires
either in December or January, my drive alone in March to Rosemary’s New Dublin
and my presentation (the beauty of hosta flowers) in June at the American Hosta
Society National Convention in Minneapolis will force me to check the cats into the West Boulevard Feline Hilton.
As important is my being able to go to my garage oficina and sit down in front of my
computer to either write a blog or scan plants from the garden. Writing every
day is sanity for my soul.
For quite a few days I have not had a computer. This
computer’s contents were being migrated (the word in fashion now) into a brand
new one that I am having Bensen at Powersonic Computers put together for me. I
was able to retrieve yesterday that Windows 7 computer that Bensen says will
serve me as a backup. And today I picked up my scanner that had the glass bed
changed. It had scratches and deposits on the inside from evaporating solvents
from the scanner’s plastic innards.
So here I am writing this, feeling the relief that I was
able to scan a few last roses of the season.
But a few days ago I placed in social media (Twitter and
Facebook) a scan of Rosemary’s Geranium
‘Rozanne’ which I did on October 25 2010 in the old house in Kerrisdale. I
|Geranium 'Rozanne' 27 October 2021|
And yes under a hosta I found today one bloom (the others
must be long gone because of the rain and the heat of the summer). It is not
perfect. But it made me smile. It was the presence of my Rosemary and her
fondness for the colour blue that will mean that tonight I just might get a
good night’s sleep.
And I must finish this by pointing out a happy event from yesterday. I received an email from Indigo telling me that a book I had ordered back in May was now available.