Stability & a Florence Purse
Saturday, January 08, 2022
|Rosemary's Florence purse. It makes me smile & then cry
While in Buenos Aires in December 2021 I kept telling my
family and friends that I longed to return to my boring and stable Canada.
Going to the corner of Lavalle and Florida to change US
Dollars into Argentine Pesos (206 to the Dollar) with my Cuban friend Yosvany (a
perfectly legal procedure) was only slightly off-putting. Eating well kept me
entertained as was conversing with my correntino first cousin Jorge Wenceslao
de Irureta Goyena and my Irish/Argentine nephew Georgito O’Reilly.
But I know I could never live in a place where US Dollars make
more interest inside a bank security box but not in a bank account. The next to
50% inflation is daunting. I could not live having to adapt and find ways of
preventing financial failure or living in country with two polarized political parties.
Here in Vancouver I have found a reluctance with folks to even talk on
the phone. I have called quite a few people to only get a recording, “This mail
box is full, call later.”
With others I get the distinct idea that when I call I am
interrupting a-glue-on-the-TV situation. I don’t call them anymore. And then
few call me. I may be persona non grata.
Last year on my birthday, on August 31 I spotted a priest in Kerrisdale. I drove around the block and asked him to bless me. This he did. He told me in what parish he worked and invited me to attend Sunday Mass. After the Mass I lined up and when I was finally facing him I told him I would like to chat with him. His answer, "I am very busy with my congregation. I do not have the time."
I long for more than my Canadian stability. I long for the awesome
(I hate this word but it applies here) stability and clear head of my Rosemary. On her bed she
could hold court for me and I always felt the world was just fine with her in
it. I could go for her advice and I would get sound advice.
Now without her I am lost in the desert with nobody to go to.
Today I watched my two brother and sister cats, Niño and Niña, on my bed (after my breakfast) be as close together
as they could while on my lap. This need for warmth, be it human or feline,
confirms what it is that I miss in this boring and stable country.
I miss the warmth of my Rosemary.
A day in the life
Friday, January 07, 2022
|January 6, 2022
On December 26, 2021 I gave a lecture on photography in
Buenos Aires. Those attending squeezed me dry with questions. For the first
time in a long while I felt useful.
Today January 7, 2022 I had the kind of day I believe I will
have from now on unless something changes or I change it.
I woke up at 7:25 when Niño got on top of me. He is heavy. I
was out of the bed by 7:45 and went downstairs and fed both Niño and Niña. I
did not open the living room sliding door or the deck gate until 8:20 when
there was more light for the cats. I made my breakfast.
Because I had run out of bread I had my vitamins and heart
pills, orang juice, a big mug of strong tea and tortillas. I brought it up in
the tray that Rosemary and I used to have our breakfast in bed.
Because of the previous day’s snow and no newspaper delivery
today I had two New York Times and two Vancouver Suns.
After an hour Niño got on the bed with Niña who was already
there. I began to experience a cabin fever that these days consists in a lack
of conversation or seeing a person’s face and making eye contact. I have no
distraction from that conundrum as I still do not have a phone. My drowned
phone might be fixed next week.
I decided to collect the stuff I brought from Buenos Aires
for Hilary and I drove (a nice sunny day) to the Burquitlam Safeway where she
is the wellness manager. I bought her a mint/chocolate drink at the store
Starbucks and had a short chat while carefully wearing two face masks.
Somehow this divided my day a bit.
The problem is returning home. I cannot go on the HOV lane
because the empty seat on the passenger seat has no Rosemary. Driving by places
I went with Rosemary are a constant reminder of my loss. Thankfully I have a
large paper town roll I use to dry my tears.
Once at home I have the next event to consider which is what
I will have for my lunch/dinner. Once that is solved (barbecued chicken wings
on my home barbecue) I watched a bit of Rachel Maddow. She had her day off so
she was replaced by Ari Velshi. This made me remember that both he and Rosemary
went to Queens University. I cannot stop associating, which is why I keep
At 7:30 I gave the cats their treats and I took my tub bath.
Rosemary would usually say, “Alex leave the water I think I want to get in.”
I brushed my teeth, put on my flannel nightgown and got into
bed to read my National Geographic History and Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun.
I did not turn off the lights at 8pm as it seems I am doing
so earlier every day. I decided to go to my oficina to write this “day in the
The real issue is that because of my cats I feel that I am
needed and thus I am useful to them. But there is nothing else these days that
can dispel that my utility to anybody is of any importance.
Tomorrow I will wake up at 7:25. I will go down at 7:45
and feed the cats, then…
El Tocador - The Dresser
Thursday, January 06, 2022
A tocador in Spanish is a dresser. This article of furniture
has been somehow present all my life. As a child watched my mother attach a
fake hair ring to her very long hair for her hairdo which was much in Vogue in
the 40s and then popularized by Eva Perón.
Because I knew that women needed to see themselves in a
mirror we had a dresser in Mexico. But in Vancouver while I did purchase one
for Rosemary she refused to use it an preferred sitting on the floor and did
her makeup in front of our sliding door closet mirrors (both in our Kerrisdale
home and her in Kitsilano). Rosemary liked to do lots sitting on the floor.
It was inside a dresser that I wrote this about the first
time I realized I was an individual.
In my Robson Street (corner with Granville) studio I had a
dresser (an antique mirror on a glass table) as I photographed many women writers, actresses and ladies of the
stage. One such woman was Cheri.
Máscaras - Mario Benedetti
Wednesday, January 05, 2022
– Mario Benedetti
gustan las máscaras exóticas
siquiera me gustan las más caras
máscaras sueltas ni las desprevenidas
amordazadas ni las escandalosas
gustan y nunca me gustaron
del carnaval ni las de los tribunos
de la verbena ni las del santoral
de la apariencia ni las de la retórica
la indefensa gente que da la cara
ofrece al contiguo su mueca más sincera
con su pobre cansancio imaginario
con sus ojos de coraje o de miedo
gustan los que sueñan sin careta
tienen pudor de sus tiernas arrugas
y si en
la noche miran / miran con todo el cuerpo
besan / besan con sus labios de siempre
máscaras no sirven como segundo rostro
/ no se azoran / jamás se ruborizan
mejillas no ostentan lágrimas de entusiasmo
mentón no les tiembla de soberbia o de olvido
puede enamorarse de una faz delegada?
piel falsa que supla la piel de la lascivia
máscaras alegres no curan la tristeza
gustan las máscaras / he dicho
Jorge Luís Borges & A Rearview Mirror
Tuesday, January 04, 2022
Because I first realized I (6) was me, starting at myself while
stealing candy corn from my mother’s dresser, I have considered mirrors
important in my life and especially so when I became a portrait photographer. I
have taken hundreds of photographs using mirrors and seeming to find new ways
and new tricks to do it.
A man who was obsessed with mirrors was Jorge Luís Borges
and he kept writing about them even after he became blind.
My guess is that my only one upmanship over that favourite
Argentine writer of mine is that he never wrote about a car rearview mirror. I