My Heart's Desire
Friday, September 03, 2021
|31 July 2020 - Photograph by Rebecca Stewart
Imagine my delight when a couple of days after my birthday
on August 31st, I received a little package from Hornby Island. The
package contained a pocketbook and a handwritten (really!) card from my writer friend Kerry McPhedran.
People like McPhedran may not have been all that rare in
the last century as there were quite a few people that I knew (including my
mother) who were polite, thoughtful, classy and well-mannered. My Burnaby daughter
hammers me constantly with the fact that I am a lucky man to have friends, and
better than that, friends that visit. While I wear my wrist watch on my right
wrist to remind me to be vocally positive it’s still hard to fake it all the
McPhedran doubted that I would not have the Borges book she
sent me. She was wonderfully wrong! I have almost all of Borges’s output, but
this book, a conversation with Borges in
Cambridge by author Richard Burgin in 1968 (Borges was almost 70 and at Harvard
to lecture) is in English. I have few Borges books in English that have not
been translated from Spanish.
Conversations with Borges begins like no other book might
begin. It has a prologue by Borges!
And in Burgin’s introduction I found this:
That first conversation ended when he said, with the
sincerity of a child, “You may win your heart’s desire, but in the end you’re
cheated of it by death.”
After having been married for 52 years my Rosemary died December 9, 2020.
No Blues For Me Today - Blessed & Yellow
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
|Top Rosa 'Buttercup', below Rosa 'Emily Louise' & Hosta 'Marilyn'31 August 2021
For me my birthday has rarely been a happy affair. There
were some pluses, 50 of them. I shared my birthday in the company of my Rosemary for 50 years.
2020 was the first without her as she was in Lillooet helping our daughter in
the garden. But I did have this unusual event in that birthday.
A strawberry daiquiri for a sad birthday
This time my Rosemary is no longer with me and the
melancholy has set in spite of that more-or-less sunny day.
Alexandra has a terrible cold so she will not be drivng to
visit me in Vancouver. My foursome from Burnaby are coming tonight for my dinner
of authentic, Swiss style, cheese fondue and a dessert of two flanes done with
Authentic cheese fondue
This meal will be a pleasant one but Rosemary will be
I decided to do this plant scan to cheer me up. The two
roses, Rosa ‘Buttercup’and Rosa ‘Emily Louise’ were faves of Rosemary who late
in our gardening life learned to appreciate yellow. Yellow hostas, this one
Hosta 'Marilyn’ are usually called gold hostas. For today yellow will do just
There was one event today that almost wants to make me
believe in fate. Anybody who has kept up with my blog may know that I was
raised as a Roman Catholic and that my mother sent me to a Catholic boarding
school, St. Edward’s, in Austin, Texas. It was there where I received a very
good education (the Brothers of Holy Cross are the same that teach at Notre
Dame in South Bend, Indiana) in civics, history, theology and just about
everything else if you throw in the fact that Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. forcibly
persuaded me to play the alto saxophone.
I was driving to Kerrisdale to pick up my arthritis medicine
at London Drugs. When I was almost there I spotted a woman walking with a tall
and young priest. I kept going and thought about it. I drove around the block. He
was getting into the passenger seat of a car. I cried out, “Father!” With a
smile on his face I told him, “Today is my birthday, will you bless me?” This Father Justin did and because of covid he did not touch my forehead. The blessing was
beautiful. Before leaving I said,"Sursum corda." He replied, "Habemus ad Dominum."
As I got into my car, I wondered if in some way today is was lucky
And it began well. At 9:30 I went around the corner to get my haircut with Miri the Albanian barber. After my 78 years of existence ( I do not remember the early years), I have finally secured a barber who talks little and does not (I told him not to the first time he cut my hair) show me the back of my head with a mirror (I hated that)!
Cheating on my birthday self-portrait
Sunday, August 29, 2021
|29 August 2021
At length in these blogs I have written that while I was
born at the Sanatorio Anchorena in Buenos Aires on August 31st of
1942, I never received a satisfactory explanation from my mother why my birth
certificate and all other documents record my birth on April 18, 1943.
Could it have been something about being born when my mother
and my father were not yet married? My mother told me that my father forgot to
register me. I do not think that is credible as registration must be automatic
at a hospital when one is born.
The conflict with my real birthday is that I started
elementary school late and my entry into the obligatory conscription (in my
case) in the Argentine Navy was a year later.
There may have been an advantage, had I become an actor, as it
is always a good thing to be younger. There was one plus that served me
well for 52 years. Since my Rosemary’s birthday was on April 19th,
my fake birthday always reminded me not to forget while I often forgot our
wedding anniversary. My attempts at celebrating two birthdays did not always
bring me fans within my family.
For some years I have taken a self-portrait on my birthday.
My last one can be seen here .
This year, today Sunday, August 29, 2021 I decided to shoot
my self-portrait. It is a tad complicated as I have to use a big heavy mirror in
my little studio. I use a fabulous but long discontinued Fuji Instant 3000
film. One difficulty is to avoid the reflection of the softbox on the huge
framed photograph of Pam behind me.
|23 August 2020
Because I took several courses in statistics at the
University of the Americas in Mexico City and with the death of Rosemary last
December, mortality now accompanies me at all times even when I attempt to
distract myself. I wonder how many of these self-portraits I have left in me.
And on a positive note, last year on my birthday, this happened. This last Wednesday there was a marvelous repetition of it which I will write about shortly.