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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Trees Deemed a Health Hazard

Well, so much for my Saturday evening Christmas movie plans.

Oh, I started things off with a movie I was enjoying. But over halfway through it, I saw my younger brother Mark's van about to back into the driveway.

He had gone to a company Christmas party off in Langley, and said that he was essentially just going out of a social gesture. He generally spends Saturday nights at the home of his girlfriend Bev, so I was hoping things wouldn't be any different ─ that he would hunt her up thereafter.

Instead, he came home with a bottle of liquor ─ probably Scotch.

Naturally, as soon as he was into the living room, the blinds for the window had to be pulled, thereby reducing the beauty of the Christmas lighting I had going on.

And I wasn't going to waste the emotional effect that a good Christmas movie would have on me by trying to enjoy it with his bitter presence, so I cut it down at the 53-minute mark.

I will find it again and resume where I left off.

Despite the drinking of liquor that swiftly ensued by him, he remained conscious all evening, and kept me up late because he showed no intention of getting on up to his bedroom for the night.

I have the duty of being the chief operator of our Android TV Box, so I was locked into setting up the shows we watched.

As I reported in yesterday's post, I had installed a new programme in the Box called Terrarium ─ an alternative to Kodi.

Kodi functions by allowing all manner of add-ons which themselves seek out the sources of the movies and T.V. shows that users want to watch.

But so many of those add-ons become abandoned by the developers, and the links they offer become more and more disabled or invalid.

It was so bad for me Thursday and Friday evenings that on the latter day, I spent over an hour trying to locate a workable link to an episode of either The Voice or Supernatural, and finally gave it up.

Mark had learned of Terrarium a week or so before, and brought home the information from Greg, one of his drinking buddies. 

I resisted bothering trying to download it because I wasn't interested in clogging up our old Android TV Box with even more data than it already contains.

But after Friday night's horrible experience with Kodi's add-ons, I had become desperate. And so yesterday I spent the time involved in getting Terrarium set up.

Once I had it functioning, I sought the episode of Supernatural that I could not get playing the evening before, and it seemed to be accessible without issue.

Unlike Kodi, Terrarium does not rely upon add-ons to find sources for shows and movies. Instead, the developers themselves do the work of cataloguing links for all of that entertainment, and thus the links are far, far more reliable.

So we watched the episode of Supernatural first last evening just to give Terrarium a tryout.

Then I tuned in the second-to-last episode of the first season of Wynona Earp ─ Mark and I are working our way through the series. However, once that episode was watched, Mark wanted to watch that first season's finale, and so we did.

I had meant to tune in a different show.

The evening was growing late, so after finishing with Wynona Earp, I tuned in The Ranch ─ a comedy / drama series that Mark and I have grown extremely comfortable with.

We're still watching the first season of that series.

I remember when I watched the very first episode all by myself, I almost dismissed it. But for some reason ─ probably because of the actors playing the central characters ─ I decided to watch it again with Mark and let him make his own evaluation.

And we have been fans ever since. It makes me wish that I could somehow find a place for myself with a group of people like the characters, and live somewhere like the show's fictional setting. 

Mark is very aware that Danny Masterson has been fired from the series due to allegations of some sort of sexual misconduct, but Mark was sufficiently drunk last evening that he wasn't grasping that we were only watching the first season ─ which has about 20 episodes.

And I think the episode we watched was the fourteenth.

He wanted to keep watching to see how Danny Masterson was going to be written out of the show, believing that this would be found out in the season finale.

It was only after we had watched the fifteenth episode and he was still clamouring to watch more that I managed to get it drummed into his thick head that not only were there several more episodes before that season's finale, but there is still a whole new second season that probably also has about 20 episodes.

So after watching the sixteenth episode ─ our third of the series that evening ─ he was content to call it a night.

After he had gone on up to his bedroom for the night, I wasted little time in shutting things down and getting to my own bedroom. It was 1:23 a.m. by the time I was comfortably in bed, as I recall.

For the second consecutive evening, I had consumed three cans of strong (8% alcohol) beer. However, unlike Friday evening, I imbibed them over a much longer spread of time.

Consequently, I was not suffering the sort of hangover that I had to deal with that first night.

I rose once during the night and used the bathroom ─ around 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. (I now forget).

I do not easily sleep in, but I kept trying. I think that it was 7:41 a.m. when I finally checked the time this morning and then rose for the day.

I was not feeling at all refreshed, though. 

I discovered that my youngest stepson Poté was gone ─ he had to work today over in Guildford.

It had started raining quite steadily last evening, and seemed to continue throughout the night and on into today ─ it is still doing so at 1:45 p.m. as I type these words.

It is not a heavy rain ─ just a steady rain.

I performed the morning's assignment of content supply to the post I am developing at Siam-Longings, one of my six hosted websites.

Mark probably rose around 2½ hours after I did.

A fairly short while after 11:00 a.m., I returned to bed for a nap. When I rose roughly midway through the noon hour, I could hear what I believed was Mark about to drive off in his van.

After I came downstairs, I saw that only my eldest stepson Tho was home, and Mark's van was gone from the open-sided carport. Mark really should not be heading away for the afternoon without a nap ─ the beer he will anon be getting around to drinking will take a harder toll on his ill-rested brain come the evening.

Our household has not had a Christmas tree for maybe the past five years. The last one we did have was one I bought after dark outside of a supermarket and carried home ─ maybe a distance of 1¼ miles.

There are no children in the house. No one displays any interest in helping me decorate.

Besides, trees are becoming costlier due to increasing scarcity.

And I have to admit that I really become sentimental about being rid of the poor things once the suitable point in the New Year arrives ─ to me, it is tragic to see the denuded little tree that brought so much warmth and beauty into a home, just lying outside awaiting the haul-off to some tree-chipping area.

It hurts me.

Unfortunately, an artificial tree is far beyond my means.

I would love to just decorate a small live tree outside, but we don't have one in our backyard; and to do so to a very small (maybe a yard or metre tall) cedar tree that we have in our front yard would just invite desecration by hooligans, for it is essentially next to where people walk by.

Recently, there were a spate of news reports covering the published results of a study that found how mould spores from some Christmas trees can badly aggravate allergic reactions in people susceptible to this sort of thing.

Here are a couple of example reports:



I've never noticed a problem, so I am very much in synchronicity with the following contrary opinion:


I miss having children to share the Christmas season with ─ not that I could afford to do much with my inadequate monthly retirement pension.

Also ─ and Mark brought this up last evening when he talked about the company Christmas party he attended that was held in a family setting, and so children did attend ─ rambunctious children can be incredibly taxing.

It is difficult to be "on" all the time to try and mirror their childish exuberance and thereby be entertaining with them.

Even just being around them as they run about can become tiresome.

Maybe it's different with one's own children. I have never had my own child.

I have a scan of a photo I now wish to post here ─ the description beneath it is from the Google Plus album where I have the scan filed:

My mother Irene Dorosh, apparently on some manner of bus charter. Her husband Alex probably took the photo.

The reverse is date-stamped July 1989, so that would have to be when the film was developed that this image was part of.

I must say, my mother does look more physically active than the gals lined up beside the bus.
There is another photo that must have been taken on that same tour ─ my mother is assuming the identical pose, oddly enough:

I miss my mother.

Perhaps I will bring this post to a close now with an old journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 27 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting in a private home located on Ninth Street, and no more than two houses up from Third Avenue.

The previous day's journal entry left off after I wrote that I was leaving my room at 4:45 p.m. to hike out to where my younger brother Mark was renting a duplex unit in Surrey.

If I am remembering correctly, he was living just a short distance down Semiahmoo Road from where it adjoins Old Yale Road.

My mother was away on a trip with a friend of hers, but Alex was home that week. I was hiking out to Mark's suite with a 25-pound bag of flour that I had intended for my mother.

Mark and I had been invited over for some drinks at the home of his best friend back then ─ Garry Porteous. So I figured we would just drop off the flour with Alex on our way over to visit Garry.

This Friday journal entry will undoubtedly open by telling of what took place after I left my room in the latter Thursday afternoon, for I clearly did not return to my room for the remainder of that day.

Note that I had means of gaining entry to Mark's suite even if he was not home.
FRIDAY, December 17, 1976

What a walk I had last night! I'm considering carrying a wrapped dumbbell or plate regularly for the extra exercise.

Mark didn't get home till nigh 8:30 p.m., having gotten into the beer his disliked foreman was buying him and friends; Al Varga had phoned earlier to get confirmation whether Mark was still intending to go to a dance Marie's sister Donna sold him a $2 ticket to; the dance will be tonight, the ticket is $1 more, and Mark is going.

He & I went to Garry's at 9:00 p.m., avoiding Alex due to the hour.

I got feeling pretty good, for Garry & Cathy were quite liberal with the booze. Mr. & Mrs. Porteous didn't hang around us either.

I got to see Audrey & hubby Jerry, and Brian too.

Anyway, Mark was very drunk by the time he called it quits ─ well past 11:00 p.m.

He wanted chicken, so I had to drive ─ going as far as Fedco and Guildford; I performed better than I did earlier while driving the last half of the way to Garry's.

We retired after midnight ─ long after; however, I did narrow down my beard some first.


Thanks to me, Mark got up in the morning; he admitted that he'd have kept sleeping if I hadn't been there to awaken him.

Just after we left for town, I remembered I had not yet phoned John's Driving School to cancel my appointment for 1:00 p.m.

I picked up 10¢ when I got home, and tried via the nearby pay phone to contact them, but received no answer. 

Thus, I shall return to Mark's early, phoning from there and then exercising.

I'm leaving here at 9:15 a.m.
Mark worked at a plywood or similar mill, and had to drive through New Westminster to get to work. Consequently, it was no problem for him to drop me off in New Westminster so I could get to my room. 

I had taken a 'semester' of driving classes, and three two-hour road practice tests. But John of the driving school had opined that I should have at least one more road practice test before  he could recommend that I try for my actual licence.

Unfortunately, my Unemployment Insurance had just about run out, and I could not afford to pay for this extra practice.

I was actually drunk the first time I had the road practice, and I was far worse the third time; yet John never indicated noticing. Heck, I even knocked back three beers while waiting for him to show up that third time ─ the beers were my effort to stabilize my shattered nervous system from the drinking and too little sleep.

I never did try for a driver's licence. The learner's permit was as far as I pushed myself.  

Mark owned a yellow GMC pickup at this time. I could drive quite well, but I just could not coordinate the gear shifts ─ it was always beyond me. Mark had to shift for me when it became necessary.

Al and Marie Varga were a couple who had an apartment in New Westminster.

Garry Porteous and his girlfriend Cathy or Kathy lived at the family home in the Scottsdale area of North Delta.

Audrey was the oldest sibling in the family, and the sole girl ─ she was a little older than I was, and a beauty in her time. Brian was the youngest of the three brothers.

No doubt Mark would have experienced an extremely rough day at work that Friday.

But I'm a little puzzled why I felt the need to ride into town with him that early morning if I was just going to leave at 9:15 a.m. to hike back out to his suite. It may well be that I had not planned to ─ the need to contact the driving school could have been the sole motivator.

I see that I write nothing more in my journal until Monday, effectively skipping the entire weekend.

Saturday was to be my maternal cousin Bruce Halverson's marriage ─ and I was to be his best man. I must have slept overnight Friday at Mark's suite again, and the two of us went together to attend the event.

The Halversons loved to party, so there would be a heck of a lot of drinking that Satuday, and Mark and I likely spent the night at the scene. 

Bruce and his fiancée Donna Montroy were sharing a large house with Bruce's older brother Randy and Randy's wife of the time, Sandy. 

It would not surprise me if more partying ensued on Sunday. Maybe we even made a trip into nearby Washington State, for there were no alcohol sales in this part of Canada on a Sunday back then.

I will wait the two days before reading the Monday entry ─ I resist reading ahead into my journal entries, for I enjoy the surprises and learning things I have forgotten about my past.

Anyway, back to the present!

The rain has never let up.

I had my afternoon session of pull-ups out in the backyard tool shed (I only perform four sets of maximum repetitions, while taking a slow 30-count between sets).

I will proofread this post and publish it, and then try and get back into that Christmas movie I had to cut out of last evening.

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