RSS Feed

Author Archives: ladywholivesdownthelane

My house is broken

And it’s breaking my heart.

First of all, this is no one’s fault.  The house plans were lovely.  The permits were all obtained.  The builders did a great job.  The inspectors all signed off at every stage. But no one could foresee the problems that climate change would bring to our little corner of the world.

For the first 3 years, we had no problem at all with the floors.  It was the particularly harsh 2016-17 winter that first affected a small area of the main/ground floor.

All the precipitation that has traditionally fallen over the East End of Vancouver still falls.  Except it now falls on fewer days.  Great for hot, sunny summers (with the attendant water restrictions).  But the ground in the yard between our laneway and the  main house becomes completely sodden in the fall and winter and spring and that water seeps under our house, and then through osmosis, through the concrete base and up under the floorboards. I don’t know exactly why and I don’t know how, but that’s what’s happening.

Last summer the area around the damage was ripped up and the concrete sealed with pink goo, then the wood floor boards were replaced, but far from fixing the problem permanently it seems to have made it worse.

Walking in our ground floor hallway sounds like we’re stepping on a wharf.  The floorboards are warped and some are discoloured.  Water actually squirts out of gaps between the cupped floorboards and the baseboards, which are also warped and discoloured.  Towels must be stuffed beneath the doors to the bathroom and the studio (where the floors have been sealed and therefore do not leak) and all along the hall.

Of course this will be fixed.  Our builder will come in during the dry season and replace all the wood/laminate floor with ceramic tiles that look just like wood.  That will seal the floors for always.

The house is still under warranty.  The builder is a man of principle.  All will be fixed.  I just have to live through the rainy season until we can make that happen.

The mental problem I have is bigger than the physical one.  I love our house.  I love it when the sunlight streams through the windows on the top floor and the surfaces all sparkle, and you feel like you’re in an aerie floating above the traffic below.  I love it when I am in our bathroom and the sun pours in and it’s like taking a sun shower.  But I really love it when the rain pounds down on the roof and the clouds lower and everything is cozy and warm and protected from the tempest outside.  Not just the weather but all the troubles that ail this world.  Safe and comfortable.

And now there’s a chink in our castle walls (well, floor).  There are sodden towels lining the hallways and tucked beneath doors.  It’s sad.  And depressing. Our sanctuary has been breached.

Of course I realise how foolish this is.  We have a home in one of the most desirable and expensive cities in the world.  The house will stand and the floor will be replaced and we will appreciate it all the more.

I just have to live through a couple of months of the occasional soggy sock (watch the 3rd board in the hallway or oops!).

Let me ruin Blade Runner 2049 for you

I loved this movie.  I thought it was beautifully shot and wonderfully acted.  I saw it a week ago and have been thinking and talking about it ever since.*  Just like the original Blade Runner movie it’s got layers and layers and layers, enough to keep you pondering for ages. You can take it apart and examine each portion of it from every angle. I have a feeling film students will be writing essays on Deckard’s dog 35 years from now.  If you disagree with my opinion please feel free to write a blistering rebuttal. I’ve only seen the movie once, so if I’ve forgotten or misremembered anything, please correct me in the comments.

DISCLAIMER:  This ain’t no “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”  This missive is nothing but one spoiler after another and is strictly my own take on it. so if you haven’t seen it, better leave the room.  We’ll wait.

Blade Runner 2049 is rife with (surely) deliberate misogyny, ageism, ableism, and probably a bunch of other isms that I didn’t notice.  Unlike the original movie which was populated with flabby humans with all their foibles, by 2049 any human with ability and ambition has fled the earth for the outer planets leaving the megalopolis populated with replicants, designed and manufactured by a genius with the mind set of a Donald Trump (but, you know, competent).  In this disposable work force there are few replicants of colour, no disabled, no gays, hell, there are no FAT people.  They are still living in a dystopia of catastrophic climate change and rotting urban landscapes wrought by rampant capitalism.

MISOGYNY MUCH:  With the exception of K’s boss, played by Robin Wright, and the rebel leader (Hiam Abbass) EVERY woman exists solely to attend to her master’s every need and desire.  And every woman is preternaturally beautiful. It’s like an MRA wet dream. (So how is that different from any other movie?  Ha! Right.) There is no plot-driven reason that UberVillain, Nander Wallace (Jared Leto) should have a beautiful woman assistant/assassin/henchperson in stiletto heels and bangs, yet.  Even Wright’s character is named Madame and dresses like a dominatrix, make of that what you will.

These “women” apparently cannot make a decision that does not directly benefit their masters.  When K uses his bonus to present his computer wife, Joi (Ana de Armas) with a device that will allow her to exist away from the holographic projector in his apartment, she uses her new-found freedom to hire a prostitute/surrogate so the literally untouchable Joi can give K a sexual experience.

And women are disposable.  A naked, vulnerable replicant is sliced open just as a demonstration of Wallace’s power of life and death over his creations.  Faux Rachel is murdered when she is no longer needed.

YET this seemingly inviolable obedience and devotion is just an illusion, as fake as the home-cooked steak dinner that disguises K’s meal of Soylent Green pottage.  When Luv kills the human Madame, she explains that she is making the decision by herself, and states that she will LIE to Wallace regarding her reasons. His supposedly complete control over her is a fallacy.  The giant interactive hologram of a naked JOI basic model who accosts K implies by her nudity that he will be able to attain a physical and emotional intimacy that cannot be.  He will never be able to touch her, and his most personal and poignant moments with his wife are shown to be just part of her program. There is no true allegiance, no love or even respect, even though that is what they were supposedly designed for.  There is just deceptiveness and self-deception.

Thanks to Morgan for pointing out that K’s story is that of the Little Match Girl.  He has been sustained by the illusions of his own making, and at the end, stripped of all these comforts, he sits alone in the snow.

Thanks to Cal for explaining that the anachronistic PanAm sign is a nod to Kubrick’s 2001, PanAm is the carrier that takes Dr. Floyd to the moon and is likely the method the humans take to the outer planets.

Thanks to Rhys for showing that Luv is one of the most deeply interesting characters, who cries at the sight of death.

Things that I cannot explain (if you can, please do):

Wallace seems to be suffering from cataracts.  Why?  Cataract surgery is one of the oldest and most common surgeries.  Has human medical knowledge degenerated to the point where they cannot treat a simple condition?

What’s with the bees?  Out in the desert there are no plants for them to pollinate, why are they there?

That’s enough to think about for now.  It’s just a movie after all.

The balcony is closed.

*Unlike say, Dr. Strange, which I enjoyed while I was watching it but afterwards realized that they had put a goatee and a cape on Benedict Cumberbatch and wrapped him in the sets of Inception.  And I would watch Benedict Cumberbatch read the phone book if such things still existed.  Actually I wish I had watched THAT instead of Dr. Strange.

Now is the summer of my discontent made glorious autumn

I mentioned last month that my asthma was back, and it was pretty much ruining my summer.  I spent many days lying on our sofa like a consumptive cockroach, coughing with any exertion, trapped inside by the smokey air outside.  Week after week, whenever the air was hazy I was wheezy (my least favourite Disney dwarf), even when we went on our vacation to the Okanagan. It was kind of awful, and it was scary, too.

Nothing makes you feel old like ill health.  Actually, isn’t ill health the very definition of being elderly?  Not able to do the activities you love, the boundaries of your world shrinking, your physical frailties becoming more and more apparent. Needing help with everyday tasks (DH was responsible for EVERYTHING.  He never complained, but it made me feel like a parasite).  I am not ready for that.

Fortune is once again shining on me because the sun is not.  Autumn has brought rain, which calmed the forest fires and cleared the atmosphere.  I’m still using my inhalators and meds but now they are actually keeping the asthma under control.  I’m back, baby!

Autumn used to mean the start of a new school year for me, and I always looked forward to that.  Autumn meant the things I was good at (reading, writing, etc.) and the end of things I wasn’t so good at (swimming, hiking).  There’s a freshness in the air that signals new beginnings.

Here’s five reasons I love autumn (and none of them is pumpkin spice*).

  1. Grandchildren.  The teachers in the family have gone back to work.  And I am needed for baby-sitting.  Right now I am responsible for the youngest (15 months) one day a week, and for the others now and again.  Grandchildren really are the greatest!
  2. Exercising.  It was too freaking hot and humid to get out for walks this summer.  Just a trip to and from the grocery store left me with sweat dripping off my nose.  Of course, the answer to that is customarily getting up early and getting out and about before the heat hit (about 8 am).  But I was coughing every morning.  Now I can use my errands to get a brisk walk, get out to the gym 3 days a week.  It’s not just fun, it’s good for me.  Nothing keeps the symptoms of old age at bay like exercise.
  3. Cooking.  The kitchen of our little laneway hit 30C every afternoon.  I would close the blinds to keep the sun from heating the furnishings, open all the windows to get a through breeze, turn on a fan.  And still the heat was brutal. Just putting on the kettle raised the temperature by a couple of degrees. That meant barbecue and salad for dinner every day.  And that’s great, but we miss casseroles and roasts, long-simmering soups, the occasional batch of muffins or cookies.  Now we can use the stove all the time, and the oven was cleaned in preparation for months of use.
  4. Sleeping.  Our bedroom is specifically designed for temperature control and darkness.  It’s built into the slope at the back of the house, with a window that can be kept open all night.  But even with a fan running 24-7, it was hot and sticky.  We would take cool showers before we went to bed, and would wake up soaked with sweat.  Also asthma likes to give you little visits in the night, you wake up gasping and coughing.  I don’t miss that.
  5. Hobbies.  Ironically, although I spent many hours sitting (all right, lazing) on the sofa this summer, I wasn’t able to keep up with my knitting.  My hands would start to sweat, and pretty soon the yarn would stick to my fingers and the gauge would be all wrong.  It was kinda creepy feeling, too.  So I read, and read, and read.  But I missed all my other hobbies, knitting, cooking, and taking walks.
  6. Hallowe’en!

I retired so I could do more of the things I love.  And now I can.  The season change has led to a much brighter mental feeling for sure, and it’s given me a boost.

*Pumpkin spice.  Of course it’s really just the spices you would put into a pumpkin pie were you to bake one (pumpkins aren’t actually spicy on their own).  But don’t dump it in everything!  And why does everyone make everything so sweeeeeeeet?

Smoke and mirrors

Just a few years ago, we Vancouverites were naively chuffed to be told that global climate change would mean warmer, dryer summers.

Imagine! No more rained out picnics!  No more soggy camping trips!

We didn’t think it would mean the whole place would burst into flame.  It’s the worst forest fire season in nearly 60 years.  Right now there are almost 600,000 hectares of BC on fire.  And smoke from those fires is spreading throughout the province, filling our skies, chasing people from their homes, threatening power systems.

And they are really bumming out my retirement.

The smoky air is filled with tiny particles, and according to the Weather Channel’s Air Quality Alert,

Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.

Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

That’s me!  I had asthma as a child, and it’s back again.  I have my inhalers and take them as prescribed, but just walking around the block leaves me wheezing and gasping for air.  I hide inside, but like the advisory says, those tiny particles easily get into our home.  Plus, this place was designed to let air flow through it, there’s no air conditioning.

So although the first 3 weeks of my retirement meant regular trips to the gym, long leisurely walks, visits to Playland with the oldest grandchild (twice!), the last 3 weeks have meant days on the couch, reading, binge-watching TV and coughing, coughing, coughing.

I’m not going to make too big a deal about my problems, there are people who have far more serious health problems, and their troubles are real and even life-threatening.

In a week or so the smoke will blow away and my temporary disability will fade into the background again.  But for now it’s a good reminder that my health has got to be my number one concern, and not ever to be taken for granted.

How to make everyone mad at you — three easy steps to frustration and fury!

Lately the City of Vancouver has been telling us all how they are looking out for us, working to find solutions to the problems of minimum housing stock, diminishing numbers of heritage homes, and keeping Vancouver green — reducing our carbon footprint.

Now, according to this story in the Globe & Mail,  they’ve managed to crush any good will they may have developed in these areas in just three simple steps:

Step One:  Buy a heritage home and leave it empty for over a year

The COV purchased a lovely, restored, 1919 home at 3030 Victoria, in a great neighbourhood in 2016.  They didn’t rent it out, no, they didn’t subdivide it so it could house more citizens — although the area is zoned for duplexes — no they left if empty for 17 months.  Sure, they could start collecting money from themselves with the new empty houses tax, but that would not be a sustainable plan.

Step Two: Announce plans to rip down the house — and all the heritage houses on the block

Yikes!  Lose housing stock AND lose valuable historic properties all in one move.  The city planned — and still plans — to buy and tear down these homes to add more space to Trout Lake Park.  It’s a nice park, my granddaughter plays softball there (Go Diamondbacks!) but tearing down these homes will apparently add a mere 1% to the existing space.  Often the city buys a house, rips it down, and the other people on the block line up to sell their places.  But in this case they didn’t want the other homeowners to hike up the already high housing prices once it was known that it was the city that was buying so they kept these plans on the DL.  Now that’s another thing — each of these houses, eight in all, cost well over $1,000,000.  In fact, if you could get them for under $1.5 million each it would be a miracle, 3030 Victoria sold for $1.6 million. So 8 houses = 8 x 1.5 million, or $12 million dollars just to increase the size of the park by 1%.  And just to flog a dead premise — lose valuable HERITAGE housing stock.

Step Three: Send hundreds of tonnes of materials to landfills

Just 3 years ago, the COV was bemoaning the fact that heritage homes were being destroyed .  And they were concerned about the amount of waste created by each demolition:

the average demolished house adds 50 tonnes of waste,

Even if significant portions of each house was recycled, and that’s not likely, it still means many truckloads of housing materials being dumped into the landfills.

I’m pretty steamed about this, and have already emailed the mayor and council ( to ask them to reconsider this plan.  That email address is a link, by the way, so feel free to vent a little spleen on our elected officials.


So far so good

As my last day at work drew to a close, I started disappearing from my job.  I was locked out of some websites, my email stopped, I was informed that my name was stricken from the directory.  It was like in Back to the Future, when Marty’s family starts disappearing from photos.  But in a way it felt good.  I am no longer part of that organization.  That part of my life is over.

The first day of my retirement I arose at 7:38 with that lovely feeling that you get on Saturday, with the whole weekend ahead of you.  The second best part of waking up was that I wanted to get up around 7:30 and without an alarm clock, my body obeyed my wishes.  I spent the morning just sitting around, starting the preparation for breakfast, reading the newspaper, the grand kids dropped by for a visit and they brought the littlest one, who was spending the day at the main house while her parents went to a wedding.

And every now and again I’d get that little thrill.  “It’s always Saturday now.”

Visiting West Broadway on a sunny afternoon with my husband to pick up the necessaries for a Greek feast, I sat on the bench waiting for the bus.  One of my favourite Saturday things is getting the food for a special meal and taking it home to cook.  And now it’s always Saturday.

I got out the hose as the sun left our back yard and gave the plum tree a good spray with some soap (aphids, ugh!).  Doing a little gardening is another Saturday treat.  And now it’s always Saturday.

This morning (nominally Sunday, but still, Saturday #2), I got up (7:32 am) and got into my gym togs.  I promised myself that I would get back to the gym on a frequent basis.  But I only LIKE to go to the gym first thing in the morning.  If I sit around and think about it I have dozens of reasons not to go to the gym. Work mornings started at 5:45 to give me enough time to get ready and get to work.  But I told myself I would do it as soon as I retired.  And I did!   Sitting here in my slightly damp gym clothes I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much! Early mornings at the gym was an occasional weekend thing — but I’ll do it again on Tuesday, and Thursday, and next Sunday.

Because it’s Saturday every day.

Now I’m off to the showers.  In the middle of the day, when the sun pours in through the window and you feel like you are in a sun shower.

See you next Saturday.

My last day at work

The weirdest thing about my last day at work was that it wasn’t that weird.

I walked down the halls thinking “this is my last day here!  I’ll only ever be a visitor here, never a part of this organization!”  But it didn’t feel any different.

And of course, people still expected me to work.  Do my job, make up reports, file, get the mail, ordinary stuff.  And it felt ordinary.

Everyone was congratulating me, but really all I’ve managed to do is to age.  Gracefully, of course, but it’s the genes that’ve kept me going for 65 trips around the sun.

Then I was clearing out my personal cache on my computer and I ran across all the recipes I’d downloaded (yea, I downloaded recipes on company time.  Gonna fire me?) and I got an actual frisson of excitement.  I can plan meals and shop at specialty shops, go down to Granville Island any day, not just on the weekends.

Take Indian and Chinese cooking classes!

Then my daughter texted me that Playland is free for seniors.  FREE!!!! And my daughter and granddaughter have season tickets!!!! “Oh, grand-person, want to go to Playland with Nana?  Anytime????” It’s magical!

So gradually and imperceptibly I have become used to the idea of being retired. And I like it.



My Pain, My Life, My Struggles, My Fight

Come walk with me, Down My Dark & Stormy Journey BUSINESS INQUIRIES & CONTACT EMAIL : GODSCHILD4048@GMAIL.COM




My journey - The good, bad and the ugly

Im ashamed to die until i have won some victory for humanity.(Horace Mann)

Domenic Garisto/ / IF YOU CAN'T BE THE POET, BE THE POEM (David Carradine) LIFE IS NOT A REHERSAL,SO LIVE IT. | Educational Blog

An interesting educational blog which tackles the truth in Veganism, Politics, Ethics, general News, and more.

The Lady Who Lives Down the Lane

Lane Way Housing for the Nervous Novice

Apartment Therapy| Saving the world, one room at a time

Lane Way Housing for the Nervous Novice

The Tiny Farm

my journey towards sustainable living in the city

Slightly Snug House

building a home that's not too big and not too small


Funny thoughts from a nut like me.

Simple Northern Life

An Independant Voice

Small House Bliss

Small house designs with big impact

%d bloggers like this: