That Strange Cracking Noise

Once again we find ourselves grouped around the phone, or tablet, or monitor, catching up on events of the last week. But first, as the title suggests, I have to explain that strange cracking noise you hear every once in a while.

For some months now, my wife and I have not been painting in the house. Tons of paint and other work is needed, but I didn’t want to do it while it’s cold outside. We’re painting with zero VOC paint, but it still smells like paint, and the less of that we have while the windows are closed the better, so we’ve held off. But the weather is warming in fits andstarts, and Anne is impatient for work to recommence. I, however, have been lazy and less worried about that. The result is that two days ago she let me know (in no uncertain terms) that work must get restarted. And that brings us to the noise…

That’s my spine, popping and otherwise objecting as she jumps up and down on my back to drive home the point that additional time spent not painting is unacceptable.

It seems I need to get back in the painting saddle.

So before I disappear into a painting induced fog, here are a few things that happened this week.

I had a second eye exam where my intraocular pressures were measured again (because they were a tad high last week) and a couple of other tests were done to check for glaucoma. The net result is that everything looks fine, but I will be re-screened with these tests again in six and twelve months to make sure that the current situation is normal for me. We need to be sure that there are no problems just getting started. My pressures were back to my usual numbers this time, though, so it is unlikely I have a problem.

Think of this as a reminder to get your annual eye exam, folks. The prescription for my glasses is pretty stable, but an annual eye exam looks for other things as well. And you want to detect eye disease early to avoid the consequences. In the case of glaucoma, the most obvious consequence is blindness, so don’t mess around. Thus endeth the PSA.

I spent yet more time doing research for the Blueridge Community Association website. I hope to get going on more significant work for that in the coming week or two, if painting allows. I also spent some time helping a fellow BCA volunteer with some computer issues. Turns out the WiFi in her place is terrible, and her landlord has said they will get that fixed. Fingers crossed!

I’m also in conversation with the shop coordinator at Langara College. He has a project he wants help with, and I am pondering design choices for that. Should that come to pass this summer — still an open question —it will drag me away from the house for some time as well. I shudder to think of the damage my back will take as a result of all that lost painting time.

I read the book A Year In Provence this week, and I quite enjoyed it. I’m told it was made into a film at some point, but I have not seen that. Before that I had tried to read some Norwegian murder mystery I found on the shelf. I have no clue where it came from, but I couldn’t get into it. After one and a half chapters the characters were unlikable, unbelievable, and uninteresting, so I gave up. Oh well.

On the project front, I spent time in the hardware store buying more supplies for various things, and at the paint store stocking up on paint. The latter was entertaining because we’re using Benjamin Moore paint and there is a supply challenge with their not-quite-highest grade paint. Thanks Covid. We encountered this problem once before, but I found some of the paint in question at a different store not too far away. This time it seems the warehouse is out of the paint we need entirely, so I bought some of the more expensive paint and we’ll try that. Supposedly it drys very quickly, and we’re not supposed to back-roll over it or we’ll get too much texture on the walls. I guess I’ll figure it out when I get started with that, probably tomorrow.

And the last issue on the painting front is that Anne picked a colour to paint the interior doors. You might recall that the guest bedroom was painted two different shades of very dark grey, bordering on black. Well, it turns out most of the interior doors are painted one of those greys as well. We’re going to repaint them all a lighter shade of grey, which will be nicer.

In less directed news, one day I found Anne staring out an upstairs window into the front yard. I followed her gaze and saw this:

In the centre — with the yellow flowers — is a dogwood. In the lower left is a Japanese maple. And between them, in the middle and upper left, in dark green, is a contorted filbert or corkscrew hazel, otherwise known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. It was the dogwood flowers that caught Anne’s attention, and it seemed worth sharing.

Early in the week I was supposed to hike around Stanley Park with a friend, but that got set aside for various reasons. Instead I wound up taking a hike on some trails here in North Vancouver with Heather, a fellow art student I have mentioned before. Here she is:

Whenever I see her I take a couple of pictures. Back in school I took a photo of her doing something ridiculous in one of our classes and shared it with her parents. I actually created a folder of such photos and shared it with them. It is named “Future Blackmail Material” and I added to it occasionally as we finished up our diplomas. Now — thanks to graduation and Covid — it gets added to less often, but I know they appreciate it when the collection grows.

We were out for nearly three hours and covered a fair distance. It was good to get some exercise and talk with someone I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

While out, I saw this striking sight:

The identification function built into my camera app tells me it is Cascade Barberry. It can turn red like that if exposed to cold temperatures over the winter, but is normally green, as the left side of the second photo demonstrates. That one red stalk really stood out on the side of the trail, so I snapped the photos.

I think that’s it for this week. Next week will be all painting unless I am in a hospital in traction while surgical repairs are made to my back. I hope to have photos to share, but we’ll see.

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.